The text for this woodblock design is Genesis XXIX, 11 in which Jacob meets Rachel for the first time and kisses her. He agrees to work for her father for seven years in order to claim her hand in marriage. However, his father-in-law tricks him into marrying her elder sister Leah and he is forced to work an additional seven years before he can take Rachel as his wife. Dyce first produced this composition as an oil painting (New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester). He exhibited it at the RA in 1850. It proved so successful that he asked William Holman Hunt, whose own painting 'A Converted British Family sheltering a Christian Priest from the Persecution of the Druids' (Ashmolean Museum) did not sell, to make a copy of it (untraced) (William Dyce and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision, exh. cat., Aberdeen Art Gallery, p. 142). In 1853 Dyce made another version depicting the figures full-length rather than cropped as in the orginal.In the 1860s the Dalziel Brothers used the first painting as the basis for a wood engraving. The only difference to the composition is the addition of a water jar on the side of the well. However, like many other designs commissioned for the project the print was not included in the final 'Bible Gallery' (pub. 1881). It appeared in the later version 'Art Pictures from the Old Testament' which was published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in 1894. This volume gives the title of the work as 'Jacob meeting Rachel' and incorrectly cites the source for the design as Genesis XXIX, 18. The original title 'Jacob kisses Rachel' and correct biblical source are written on the reverse of this woodblock.

  • Acquired through the Executors of J N Hart, c.1965.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Designer William Dyce -
Engraver - Dalziel Brothers


Type Position(s) Method Date(s) Notes
Signature bottom left Engraved -
B. A. M. / Loan / J. N. Hart Esq / No. 51[label] Genesis / Jacob kisses Rachael [sic] / Chap 29 V 11 / Dalziel / 535 [label]
Title reverse Handwritten - Dalziel written in the brother's handwriting and upside down.. In ink.
Manufacturer's name edge Engraved -


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
Book Illustration of the 'Sixties'
535 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 1924 - 1924

Related work & resources

Discuss this work

Start a discussion about this work.

You need to login to discuss this work. Click here to login.

If you are not yet registered click here to become a member.
Find out more about membership