This painting illustrates a scene where the child Jesus visits the temple and astonishes the rabbis with his learning and understanding. As described by Bronkhurst, this was Hunt's major figure subject begun on his first visit to Jerusalem. The painting was a popular success, with two engravings produced in 1867 and 1893. A smaller version of the same subject is in the collection of the National Museums of Liverpool. A key plate identifying the figures in the scene was published by E Gambert & Co. in 1867, a copy of which is in Birmingham's collections.

  • Presented by Sir John T Middlemore Bt., 1896.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist William Holman Hunt -


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
Inscribed on the gate of the Temple in Latin and Hebrew;/ on the ivory slip of the frame above: The finding of the Saviour in the Temple; on the ivory slip of the frame at left (from St Luke 2: 45-51): Anh when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem seeking him. And, after three days, they found him in the Temple below: And when they saw him they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son why hast thou dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. and he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?;/ ar right: And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
- - - -


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Exhibition of Holman Hunt's Picture of 'The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple'
- German Gallery, New Bond Street, London 1860-04-18 - 1860-12-31
Exhibited alone
- German Gallery, New Bond Street, London 1861-03-14 - 1861-08-16
- Tour - Leeds, Truro, J. & R. Jennings, Manchester, Plymouth, Bristol, Belfast, Dublin, Dover, French Gallery and Carlisle 1863 - 1868
Exhibited alone
- German Gallery, New Bond Street, London 1861-03-14 - 1861-08-16
- Tour - Leeds, Truro, J. & R. Jennings, Manchester, Plymouth, Bristol, Belfast, Dublin, Dover, French Gallery and Carlisle 1863 - 1868
- Messrs E Gambart & Co, King Street, London 1869-04 - 1869-04
Loan Collection of Pictures
119 Guildhall, Corporation of London Art Gallery 1894-04-02 - 1894-06-30
Thirty-First Autumn Exhibition of Modern Pictures in Oil and Water-Colours
1160 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 1901-09-16 - 1902-01-04
Exhibition of the Collected Works of W Holman Hunt
32 Leicester Galleries, London 1906-10-06 - 1906-11-17
The Collected Works of W Holman Hunt, O.M., D.C.L.
11 Manchester City Art Gallery 1906-12-03 - 1907-01-27
Collective Exhibition of the Art of W Holman Hunt, O.M., D.C.L.
45 Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery 1907-02-02 - 1907-03-02
Loan Exhibition of Works by Ford Madox Brown and the Pre-Raphaelites
230 Manchester City Art Gallery 1911-09-14 - 1911-11
Loan Collection of Works by English Pre-Raphaelites Painters lent by the Art Gallery Committee of the Birmingham Corporation
23 National Gallery of British Art (now Tate Gallery, London) 1911-12 - 1912-03
'The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood' (1848-1862)
44 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 1947-06-07 - 1947-07-27
Peintures et aquarelles anglaises 1700-1900 du musee de Birmingham
69 Lyons, Musee des Beaux-Arts 1966-09-23 - 1966-11-20
William Holman Hunt
31, repro Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery 1969-03-25 - 1969-04-29
The Pre-Raphaelites
85, repro Tate Gallery, London 1984-03-07 - 1984-05-28
Crystal Palace at Sydenham
- Dulwich Picture Gallery, London 2004-02-04 - 2004-04-18
Holman Hunt and the Pre Raphaelite Vision
Plate 47 Manchester City Art Galleries 2008-10-11 - 2009-01-11
Plate 47 Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada 2009-02-14 - 2009-05-10
Plate 47 Minneapolis Institute of Arts, US 2009-06-13 - 2009-09-06


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
Memoir and Letters of the late Thomas Seddon, Artist, by his Brother
1858 - pp. 93, 101, 108-09
25 February 1860; 21 April 1860 - p. 274; pp. 549-550
Art Journal
1 June 1860; 1 July 1860 - p. 182; p.222
Once a Week III
14 July 1860 - PP. 64-66
William Holman Hunt and his Works: A Memoir of the Artist's Life, with Description of his Pictures
1860 - pp. 37, 40-41, 45-46, 50-51, 56-79, 81-82, 85-115
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: A Fight for Art
April 1886 Contemporary Review XLIX, Part I PP. 828-29, 831-32
'Paintiing The Scapegoat'
July 1887 Contemporary Review LII PP. 214, 217-18
The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais, President of the Royal Academy
1899 - I, p. 357
Ruskin; Rossetti; Preraphaelitism; Papers 1854-1862
1899 - p. 281
Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
1905 - I, PP. 391, 406-408ff; II,PP.4,9ff
Loan Collection of Works by English Pre-Raphaelite Painters lent by the Art Committee of the Birmingham Corporation
1911 National Gallery of British Art, London p. 8; repr. facing p. 8
Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti
1965-67 Oxford I, PP.300 ff
The Price of Work: The Background to its First Exhibition
1984 Pre-Raphaelite Papers pp. 145, 150
An Introduction to Victorian Painting
Kenneth Bendiner 1985 New Haven and London pp. 65-77
The Artist as Anthropologist
Mary Cowling 1989 Cambridge C. U. P p. 109-11.
The Portrayal of the Middle East in British Painting
1995 Ann Arbour, Michigan pp. 82-83ff
The Correspondence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti; The Formative Years 1835-1862
2002 Cambridge II, 56.29, p.119ff
William Holman Hunt: A Catalogue Raisonne
Judith Bronkhurst 2006 Yale University Press, New Haven and London cat.86
Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision
2008 Art Gallery of Ontario pl. 47


Bought in instalments by Ernest Gambert, May 1860-November 1861; bought Thomas e Plint, Leeds in instalments commencing November 1860; his executors; bought Gambart April 1864; bought Charles P Matthews April 1870; sold by his executors, Christie's 6 June 1891 (59) bought Agnew; bought John Throgmorten Middlemore, Birmingham 30 May 1896 £3,570 for presentation to City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 1896.
Lot 59.

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Name Type
- Artist

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