Active and Passive

William Holman Hunt


Wood engraving by Horace Harral

5 x 4 inches

Illustration to Parables from Nature (1865), facing p.93.

An illustration to one of Mrs Gatty’s didactic tales which focuses on questions of morality, time, change, and death. Holman Hunt crystallizes the key issues by juxtaposing the grave-digger and the old sailor: one reflecting on times past and how he might have better lived his life; and the other, intruding into the viewer’s space, therein reminding us of the grim realities of life and its limited opportunities.

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Scanned image and text by Simon Cooke.

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