This collection of paintings forms an altar screen, intended to be hung above and behind the altar in a church. The text used for the titles on this work are from The Benedicite or A Song of Creation – a canticle used in Christian worship which speaks of the creation of the world as described in the Bible.
Prynne was a devout High Anglican like his better-known architect brother, George. Associated with Pre-Raphaelitism, Edward worked in a style that is sometimes likened to Edward Burne-Jones, as this altar screen shows.
Prynne is less well-known now than he ought to be, probably because much of his time and skill were given to devotional works, which are to be found not so much in art galleries but in the interiors of churches designed by his brother.
The images in the screen each represent a line from The Benedicite.
Left to right they are:
‘O all ye green things upon the earth, bless ye the Lord’
‘O all ye whales and all that move on the waters, bless ye the Lord’
‘O ye mountains and hills bless ye the Lord’
‘O all ye fowls of the air bless ye the Lord’
‘O all ye beasts and cattle bless ye the Lord’