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The Rich Man and Lazarus

In 1739 Jackson began work on an elaborate project initiated by Joseph Smith, to reproduce 17 paintings (mostly by earlier Venetian masters) as chiaroscuro woodcuts. This pair of prints, to be read as a single image, shows the parable from the Gospel of St Luke, in which the rich man Dives dines in luxury while the beggar Lazarus suffers at his gate.

Jackson’s blocks are ambitious in size and technically accomplished, with a distinctive embossed surface. The inscription states that Bassano’s painting belonged to Smith, though it seems not to have been among those bought by George III in 1762. Smith recruited subscribers to help pay for the costs of the project: Robert Hoblyn, whose name appears on the print, was a Cornish bibliophile who had visited Venice some years earlier.