Artwork - Moses Bringing Down the Second Tables of the Law

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  • Title: Moses Bringing Down the Second Tables of the Law
  • Artist: John Rogers Herbert
  • Date: 1864--
  • Medium: Waterglass painting
  • Dimensions: 3150cm (h) x 6325cm (w) x - (d) x - (dia)
  • Catalogue number: WOA 3244
  • Description: This water glass painting by John Rodger Herbert depicts Moses bringing down the second tables of the Law. These Tablets of stone in the bible are two special stones that have the Law (the Ten Commandments) written on them and were given to Moses by God. In the bible two sets of these stones exist. This Image shows Moses coming down from Mount Sinai carrying the second set of tablets. He is depicted surrounded by the Israelites who camped out at the bottom of Mount Sinai awaiting Moses return. This huge canvas gave its name to the room it is located in. The work was painted in 1864 by John Rodgers Herbert. It was commissioned for the new Palace in 1850.

    Water glass painting was a method of mural painting, intended to resist damp and pollution. Pigments are mixed with water and painted onto dry plaster, before being sealed with a solution of waterglass (potassium silcate or sodium silicate). This provides a protective film when it drys. This method of mural painting was chosen because it was thought that they would be protected against the damp and dirty atmosphere of London, but this method was found to be unsuccesful in stopping deterioration caused by damp and pollutants.

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