Horses amd Ships

Horses amd Ships by Jemima Blackburn (née Wedderburn) (1823-1909) Click on image to enlarge it. 1886. “Photographed from the originals and printed in planotype.” From Bible Beasts and Birds (Hathi Trust online version of a copy in the Getty Research Institute). Unlike many of Blackburn’s illustrations set in the Middle East, which she had visited, this one is clearly set in comparatively modern times (no steamships appear in the distance to mark it as Victorian!). At the bottom of the picture the artist has inscribed the a more complete version title above and added on a later page the scriptural text from James and plus a passage from Paradise Lost:

Behold, we put Bits in the Horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole Body.

Behold also the Ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small Helm, whithersoever the Governor listeth.

Even so the Tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.

Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!                   James hi. 3-5.

On th' other side uprose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane;
A fairer person lost not Heav'n; he seemed
For dignity compos'd and high exploit:
But all was false and hollow; though his Tongue
Dropt Manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest Counsels: for his thoughts were low;
To vice industrious, but to Nobler deeds
Timorous and slothful: yet he pleas'd the eare."             Paradise Lost, Ed. 1667, bk. ii. U. 108-117.

You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Hathi Trust and the Getty Research Institute and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow.


Blackburn, Jemima. Bible Beasts and Birds: A New Edition of Illustrations of Scripture by an Animal Painter. London: Kegan Paul, 1886. Hathi Trust online version of a copy in the Getty Institute. Web. 11 January 2021.

Last modified 11 January 2021