Edward Calvert was one of the principal members of the artistic brotherhood known as The Ancients; youthful devotees of William Blake who were attracted to the moral and aesthetic values of early Renaissance art. Meeting at Samuel Palmer’s cottage in the village of Shoreham, Kent, they reveled in the discovery of an unspoiled countryside that evoked the pastoral ideals of a bygone era. They made art that probed the hidden essence beneath the visible world; enchanted landscapes and rural scenes where every sheepfold, star and furrow is charged with spiritual significance.
A copperplate engraving in the style of Blake’s Virgil illustrations, The Bride is an allegory of the soul on the path of reunification with God. “The bride returns to the fold of the Lord in a landscape glimmering with the light of a large evening star,” observes author Elizabeth Bergmann Loizeaux. Its light “signifies that condition in which the earthly apprehends and approaches, but does not reach, the heavenly.” The print bears the inscription, “O God! Thy bride seeketh thee. A stray lamb is led to thy folds.”