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.
The Sheep of His Pasture pays homage to Blake, who had died the previous year. Quoting the landscape depicted in his eighth wood engraving for The Pastorals of Virgil, it adds a setting sun, barn and enclosure for more populous sheep. Time has moved forward and Blake’s sun is setting, but his flocks have multiplied.