Bunyans Pilgrim 1855

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 Top:   Antique Print Collection:  Bunyan's Pilgrim 1853
Picture depicting scenes from book "Pilgrims Progress" by John Bunyan
Bunyan's Pilgrim 1853 - Colour Edition
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Republished and Digital Image Restoration - Private Collection © Peter N Millward 

Bunyan's Pilgrim by Hammatt Billings.(1818–1874) artist and architect from Boston, The black and white engraving was first published in the USA 1853. (24" x 30") The engraving based on John Bunyan's  "Pilgrims Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come". Portrays the whole of tPhoto of engraving before restoration of colourised Pilgrims progress picturehe Pilgrims Progress, The original design was invented by Rev. D Wight, and original sketches drawn by Hammatt Billings. Who was a leading artist of his day. Billings must have spent considerable time making and preparing original sketches for the picture about 1848, but it took another five years for the engravers to complete and then publish in 1853, but was never produced in full colour.  The original black and white image is very fascinating, but it wasnt a big hit with the art critics of the day, in fact some art critics savaged the artwork, one even writing it was a "Sublime failure" kind of sad how art critics can do this after all the hard work, can we imagine how Billings felt?. But in spite of what the art critics thought, it was still a popular picture with the general public and did quite well. After reading what happened (Accomplished in All Departments of Art. Hammatt Billings of Boston, 1818-1874 By James F. O'Gorman)  it made me wonder how it could be improved after 167 years? The picture has a lot going for it, even if its a faded black and white engraving and so perhaps colouring can make a difference....I couldnt resist trying to work out how it can be done.....at least I dont have professional Art critics to judge my efforts when finished!  Another thing which is remarkable about the engraving it has the whole of the story of Pilgrim's Progress illustrated, featuring the Pilgrim escaping from from the City of Destruction lower right to left and gradually ascending to the right and left zigzagging until the pilgrims reach the New Jerusalem. If anyone is thinking about what to buy children or young adults that may keep them fascinated while learning Pilgrim's Progress and following Christian's route to the Heavenly City. The picture comes in various sizes and even Jigsaws available. For for anyone needing a visual aid to teaching the Pilgrims Progress the picture is ideal.   

Small (20.7 x 16.4 in)
Medium (29.4 x 23.4 in)
Large (41.7 x 33.2 in)

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Before and After Colourization

Before and after colourisation of scenes from engraving "Bunyan's Pilgrim"

efore and after colourisation of scenes from engraving "Bunyan's Pilgrim"

Detail of Palace Beautiful Detail of scenes from engraving "Bunyan's Pilgrim"

Even though I finished colouring the engraving, I needed to follow up with the book Pilgrim's Progress, various scenes in the picture...as the picture recedes into the distance approaching Heavens Gate, everything becomes smaller and smaller...and there is an incredible amount of detail to see.. But I could not seem to find the character, Ignorance or what happened to him, although I did eventually track him down - being carried away by two shining ones!  The scene is right at the end of Pilgrim's Progress, and its a very stark and sobering one, right after Christian and Hopeful are welcomed into the Celestial City - the New Jerusalem. Christian looks back and sees what happens to Ignorance.   He has appeared various times in the book and conversed with Christian and Hopeful.  He arrived at the gates of the Celestial City (Heaven) assuming he would be admitted. Instead quite the opposite happens, he is carried away by two shining ones and thrown into hell. Ignorance was presumptuous to think he would automatically be admitted into Heaven, even though he had no reason to think he was truly saved.  he just assumed a conventionally “good” life, exemplified by conventionally “good” works was enough. But he did not know the one who is the King of Heaven or the prescribed way of Salvation. Dear friends, Ignorance definitely is not bliss......

Detail of scenes from engraving "Bunyan's Pilgrim"

The Celestial City

Picture showing the Celestial City from the engraving "Bunyan's Pilgrim"
The artist and architect - Hammatt Billings
 Black and White Portrait "Hammatt Billings"

Republished and Digital Image Restoration © Peter N Millward.

With gratitude for original source image - Credit: Wellcome Collection   

Bunyan's Pilgrim 1853 - Colour Edition
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© Peter N Millward 2020