Manchester Art Gallery

In Manus Tuas, Domine

Briton Rivière, 1840 - 1920

In Manus Tuas, Domine

Briton Rivière 1840 - 1920


A young knight mounted on a white horse, accompanied by three blood-hounds, is approaching a dark cavern or dense, shadowy woodland. In the right background is sunlit woodland, which becomes dark and indistinct in the left foreground. The horse and rider are seen in profile facing to the left. The rider is a youthful and fair-haired man with a Greek profile, wearing a a soft black cap and a full suit of shining silver-coloured armour, complete with star-shaped spurs. Tied to his saddle is his helmet, which is trimmed with pink and black ostrich plumes. He looks directly ahead into the darkness as he raises the cross-hilt of his sword before him; he also carries behind him a black shield painted with a narrow blue cross, and a lance. The horse lowers its head, pricks its ears forward and snorts as it makes its way cautiously into the darkness; the hounds also show that they sense danger by cowering around the hind legs of the horse and looking up imploringly at the rider. A red-eyed bat flies out of the dark tangle of branches towards the knight. On the woodland floor in the foreground are red and yellow fungi of various kinds, and what might be the tail of a snake, disappearing into a hole. In the large old tree behind the rider two yellow-eyed owls look out from a hole. The title of the work is Latin, and can be translated as ‘Into Thy Hands O Lord!’.

Display Label

'In Manus Tuas Domine' 1879 Briton Rivière 1840 - 1920 Oil on canvas The title is part of a Latin phrase which translates as 'Into thy hands O Lord, I commend my spirit'. It has often been used by people facing death. The knight's raised sword forms a cross, symbolising the victory of man's faith as he leaves the daylight to enter a dark chasm. This contrasts with the brute fear of the animals. Rivière wrote that he would have failed if his picture did not carry a message not only about the fears of a medieval knight 'but to ourselves, today, whatever our doubts or fears'. Presented by the sons of Abraham Haworth in memory of their father 1902.14

Object Name

In Manus Tuas, Domine

Creators Name

Briton Rivière

Date Created



Canvas: 147.7cm x 217.6cm
frame: 188cm x 257.5cm
Frame (approximate): 190.5cm x 260cm

accession number


Collection Group

fine art

Place of creation





oil paint

On Display

Manchester Art Gallery - Gallery 9
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Presented by Arthur A. Haworth and his brothers in memory of their father, the late Abraham Haworth


© Manchester Art Gallery

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