David Jones (1895-1974) 

Engraved woodblock (image reversed)

10 x 8 cm


Methodist Modern Art Collection

Image Copyright © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. The Methodist Church Registered Charity no. 1132208

Biblical commentary

Matthew 2: 1–2, 11

The woodblock was made for a Christmas card while Jones was living at the Capel-y-ffin community created by Eric Gill in the Black Mountains of Wales. The local hills feature prominently and below them lies Bethlehem (the name of a hamlet in Carmarthenshire) illuminated by the rays of the star. The three kings are on foot with their heads slightly bowed, while near them is a mutilated tree. David Alston has suggested that this tree both foreshadows the Crucifixion and reflects Jones’ experience in the battlefields of the First World War.  The words, inscribed in reverse, ‘Omnes de Saba Venient’ are known from early Epiphany carols and come from the prophecy of Isaiah (Chapter 60:6): ‘All shall come from Sheba bringing gold and frankincense, and showing forth praise to the Lord’.

Commentary based on A Guide to the Methodist Art Collection.