The Lent Jewels

William Holman Hunt


Wood engraving by the Dalziel Brothers

4 7/8 x 4 inches

Frontispiece for English Sacred Poetry (1862).

An illustration to Richard Chevenix Trench’s poem, Hunt’s design shows the moment when the husband counsels the wife that she should not demur to pay back the ‘lent jewels’, which were borrowed from a friend. His rationality, expressed in his opened hand, is contrasted with her thoughtfulness. In the next, only imagined scene, she will show him the real ‘jewels’ – their two children, both dead, whose lives were only given by God on loan. The image reflects Hunt’s interest in the Holy Land, and is very much in the manner of his paintings of Palestine.

[Click on image to enlarge it.]