The Ploughman. Artist: Edward Calvert (British, Appledore, Devon 1799-1833 Hackney (London)). Dimensions: image: 3 1/4 x 5 in. (8.3 x 12.8 cm)
sheet: 3 3/4 x 5 1/2 in. (9.6 x 14 cm). Date: 1827.
In this richly detailed engraving, Calvert conjured an idealized medieval world. Made in the weeks immediately following Blake's death, The Ploughman manifests Calvert's affirmation of his own artistic vocation: the farmer who cuts furrows in the soil represents the engraver who incises lines in copper plates. This print's full title, The Ploughman, or Christian Ploughing the Last Furrow of Life, alludes to Luke 9:62, "No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God." As he works, Calvert's farmer sees a heavenly vision that affirms the value of his productive work. Museum: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.