Into my mother’s house

‘In domum matris meae’, by Eric Gill
Wood engraving from Canticum canticorum Salomonis: quod Hebraice dicitur Sir hasirim
[Weimar: Cranach Presse, 1931]
Morison.2.9, pp. 28–29

The title of this wood engraving by Eric Gill comes from the Vulgate Latin version of the Song of Songs which inspired a series of engravings by the artist. Gill’s sense of the interplay between the literal and allegorical meanings of the text may perhaps be evident in the Edenic setting for the two lovers outdoors, though the title would literally require an indoor setting. In accordance with tradition, Gill saw the lovers’ physical union as an image of Christ’s union with the soul of the redeemed Christian. Christ had dwelt in the Virgin’s womb to bring salvation to sinners.

The text of the title comes from Song of Songs 8:2 printed on the facing page: ‘adprehendam te et ducam in domum matris meae ibi me docebis et dabo tibi poculum ex vino condito et mustum malorum granatorum meorum’ (I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother’s house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate: KJV).

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