Come and visit our new collection website, featuring over 90,000 new object records and 35,000 newly digitised artworks
Death Knell for John Knox
© the Artist / Bridgeman Art Library. All rights reserved.

Reference URL

Death Knell for John Knox Dated 1971

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Bellany only began to experiment with printmaking when he started teaching at Winchester College of Art, in 1969. Norman Ackroyd, who taught printmaking at the college and shared a studio with Bellany, noted: “He was an obvious etcher because there was so much drawing in his painting... he is a very spontaneous painter and etching is a spontaneous medium”. This is one of a series of prints Bellany made in 1970, when he was beginning to explore the potential of etching. Here Bellany reflects on his Calvinist demonology. John Knox, the leader of the Protestant Reformation, lies on his death bed as skeletal figures of death emerge from the darkness behind. The intense shadow cast by Knox implies a strong light, as if he is about to pass to the other side.

Glossary Open


A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.



  • Acc. No. GMA 2993
  • Medium Etching on paper (4/50)
  • Size 20.80 x 17.80 cm (paper 41.60 x 34.60 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1986