The Old Testament prophet Elijah is fleeing from his great enemy Queen Jezebel, who has vowed to have him killed. Here, he has fallen asleep in the wilderness having asked for death; an angel from God, however, brings him bread and water. The story of Elijah and Jezebel was favoured by the artist for its dramatic possibilities and there is a magnificent contrast between the superbly muscled but prone body of Elijah and the tender but upright figure of the angel, whose wings are just closing as he lands to bring the prophet back to life. More striking still is the way the artist has caught the solemn grandeur of the occasion - a turning point in the prophet’s life - while preserving the intimacy of a very human mercy mission. This painting was commissioned by a St. Helens chemical manufacturer, A G Kurtz, who wanted the newly founded Walker Art Gallery to have a contemporary picture of international importance.