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Henry Hugh Armstead RA, Compositional sketch for 'The Sun and Moon Stand Still'
Henry Hugh Armstead RA, Compositional sketch for 'The Sun and Moon Stand Still'

Compositional sketch for 'The Sun and Moon Stand Still', 1860s?

Henry Hugh Armstead RA (1828 - 1905)

RA Collection: Art

This is a compositional drawing for Armstead's illustration 'The Sun and Moon Stand Still' which depicts an episode from the Old Testament in which divine intervention saves the warrior Joshua from his enemies. The Bible relates that when the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon attacked Joshua's camp in the city of Gibeon, rocks and hailstones miraculously rained down on them. Joshua then commanded the sun to 'stand thou still upon Gibeon' and the moon to remain 'in the valley of Ajalon'. Following this command 'the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies...So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day' (Joshua 10, 12-13).

Although it lacks some details, the general composition of this drawing is very close to that of the finished illustration, showing Joshua standing on a clifftop accompanied by a group of archers watching as their enemies flee. The drawing was probably produced around 1862 when the Dalziel brothers intended to publish an illustrated Bible. This project was never fully realized but the Dalziels' Bible Gallery, including this illustration, was eventually published in 1881.

Object details

Compositional sketch for 'The Sun and Moon Stand Still'
Object type
Pencil on cream wove paper

177 mm x 162 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Given by Dr. Hugh Wells Armstead 1932
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