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The Days of Creation - Light and Darkness (Dalziels' Bible Gallery)

The Days of Creation - Light and Darkness (Dalziels' Bible Gallery), 1863

Watercolour, gold and bodycolour over pencil on white paper.
62mm x 134mm
Bequest of J R Holliday, 1927.

Accession Number:



One of seven unrealised designs commissioned by the Dalziel Brothers for their original Bible project. The scene shows bird flying between three spheres symbolising the division between light and darkness.


Exhibition History

1955 Aberystwyth; Swansea
1971 Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield
1972 Petit Palais, Paris
1975-76 Hayward Gallery, London; Southampton City Art Gallery; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery


G. Dalziel and E. Dalziel. The Brothers Dalziel. London: 1901. pp. 164,166.
Fortunee de Lisle. Burne-Jones. Methuen, London: 1904. p. 66.
Martin Harrison and Bill Waters. Burne-Jones. Barrie & Jenkins, London: 1973. pp. 67,72.
Elisa Korb with John Christian and Tessa Sidey. Hidden Burne-Jones, Works on paper by Edward Burne-Jones from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Dan Giles, Ltd., London: 2007. p. 69, B249.

Research Information:

These seven drawings were commissioned by the Dalziel Brothers in 1863 for their 'Illustrated Bible' and seem to have been the only designs Burne-Jones made for the project in this medium. They suggest the influence of William Blake, whose 'Life' by Alexander Gilchrist appeared in 1863 and was read by Burne-Jones that year. Burne-Jones had already treated this subject in designs for the rose window at the east end of Waltham Abbey, made in 1861, and he was to return to it again, in much more elaborate form, in a famous series of paintings exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877, now in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts.