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INNOCENCE LOST & FOUND: AN UNTRACED COPY TRACED

The year 1980 has already been described with numerous epithets. For those interested in the graphic work of William Blake it has been a year of unexpected rediscoveries. This is especially true of Blake’s best known work in illuminated printing, the Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

Some time in Spring 1980, Copy BB of the Songs reappeared in a sale at Sotheby’s,11 See Robert N. Essick’s article with “New Information on Blake’s Illuminated Books.”, Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly, 15 (1981), 4-13. and in autumn a series of coincidences led me to the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum (WRM), Cologne, where in the collection of Dr. Walter Neuerburg I found a fragmented copy of the Songs of Innocence which has never been available to the scholarly or non-scholarly public before.22 The private collection of Dr. Walter and Marlis Neuerburg, which since 1978 has been on permanent loan at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, covers European printmaking from Goya to the Brücke masters. Among many other English illustrated books of this period it also includes a proof copy of Blake’s Illustrations to the Book of Job. A preliminary review of the holdings of the collection is given by Barbara Catoir, “Panorama der europäischen Graphik: Die Sammlung Neuerburg im Kölner Wallraf-Richartz-Museum/Von der Dauerleihgabe zum Besitz?”, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22 July 1980, p. 19. —I am much indebted to Dr. Neuerburg for his imprimatur; at the same time, I would like to thank Dr. Hella Robels, curator of prints and drawings at the WRM, and her staff for organizational help. Neither the “rediscovery” nor this publication of the Innocence series at Cologne would have been possible without Horst Meller of the Dept. of English at the University of Heidelberg and Robert N. Essick, who both played a vital part in the series of coincidences mentioned above. The reproductions were supplied by the Rheinisches Bildarchiv, Cologne (where prints can be ordered, quoting their negative nos. 180629-180643). The following description of what I believe to be Songs of Innocence, Copy Y, attempts to supply a few new details about this particular copy and thus to supplement G. E. Bentley, Jr. ’s bibliographical notes on entry no. 139 in his Blake Books.33 G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Books (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), pp. 364-432. My paramount indebtedness to this work will be evident throughout the following pages.

The private collector’s typewritten catalogue44 The xeroxed TS of the catalogue is available at the WRM Prints Dept.; it lists the set from Innocence as inv. nos. 1561-1575. mistakenly assumes that the fifteen handcolored prints which are now preserved at the Cologne museum once formed “Seiten 3-17 [ . . . ] der kombinierten Ausgabe aus den beiden Titeln ‘Songs of Innocence, 1789’ und ‘Songs of Experience, 1794’.” Since all the designs, however, belong to the Innocence series, and since the authentic foliation leaves no room for the combined titlepage of the Songs—which in most cases was numbered as page 1 by Blake—I think it is much more likely that this copy in its original integrity consisted of the Innocence plates only. Yet Dr. Neuerburg was correct when he stated that this copy was still missing from the Keynes and Wolf Census, and that the year 1802 is the approximate terminus post quem for its execution.

The Cologne copy consists of fifteen plates, printed on fifteen leaves with relatively wide margins. The leaves have been foliated consecutively 3-17 by Blake in the upper right corners, just outside the framing lines of the designs.55 As in other copies of the illuminated books which are generally assumed to have been numbered by Blake himself, the foliation of the Neuerburg copy has been executed in ink. The color of the ink is of the same light gray which was employed for the single framing lines in most of the plates. The numbers themselves I have compared with those in facsimiles of the Notebook, the “Pickering Manuscript” of post-1803, and copies of the illuminated books where the hand has been accepted as Blake’s own. Since the character of the script in the Cologne copy of Innocence strongly resembles that in the other examples, I see no reason to doubt the authenticity of the present pagination. Their arrangement coincides with the “standard order” of plates 4-18 as established in Bentley’s Blake Books, which of course corresponds with Blake’s own late order.66 See Bentley 1977, pp. 375-76; according to the Keynes & Wolf ordering of Innocence, the Cologne copy shows the following sequence of plates: 3. 15. 10-11. 8. 29-30. 9. 13. 20-21. 28. 18-19. 12.

Two of the leaves show a distinct, though fragmentary, watermark. Plate 7 as well as plate 16 have “BUTTA” in the lower right corner of the sheet and in both the original watermark certainly read “BUTTANSHAW” before the leaves were cut down to their present size. Buttanshaw wove paper without at least portions of a date has not been recorded otherwise in Blake’s oeuvre.77 Bentley’s entry under the respective heading in his table of watermarks, “Songs (3 pls.),” refers to the three plates in Innocence (Y), i.e. our copy (see Bentley 1977, p. 71; Professor Bentley agreed to this correction in correspondence). The watermark fragments of the Neuerburg copy both appear in the lower right corner of the sheet, and it seems likely that with the edge of the paper not just half of the maker’s name (to the right) but also a date—which originally may have been visible below—has been trimmed off. At the same time I ought to point out that Bentley’s source for the description of Innocence Copy Y (see below) mentioned the Buttanshaw watermark for plates 6, 15-16 (see Bentley 1977, p. 366); I cannot find any sufficient explanation for this discrepancy, but I hope that the remaining evidence will prove to be strong enough to confirm my identification of Innocence (Y) with the fifteen prints at Cologne. Buttanshaw paper with the first two digits of a date, “18[ ],” was employed by the artist for his euphoric letter to John Flaxman of 19 October 1801. The same make, and three digits of a date, “180[ ],” appear to be visible in three of the leaves of Copy O of Innocence (University of Texas), whereas only two copies of the combined Songs (P in an anonymous private collection in Britain, and Q in the collection of Mrs. Dennis of New York, N.Y.) seem to have preserved both the name and date intact: “BUTTANSHAW / 1802.”88 Ibid., pp. 71, 366, 368. Obviously, Blake made use of Buttanshaw paper during a comparatively short period of time. The Buttanshaw watermark in the present copy of Innocence thus points to the Felpham period and the years immediately following (up to c. 1807) for an approximate date of the printing.

Two other facts seem to support 1801-02 as the terminus post quem for the production of the Cologne begin page 126 | back to top copy: unlike the early copies, the plates were (1) printed on one side of the leaves only, and (2) foliated by the artist. At the same time, however, the arrangement of the designs as confirmed by the autograph pagination in this case poses a new problem. While Blake “began numbering his copies” of Innocence and the Songs from “at least 1806,” the sequence of the fifteen plates at the WRM is that of the late, post-1818 copies of the combined edition.99 Ibid., p. 383. An interpretation of the plate numbers in the Cologne copy that concludes that the sequence here chosen by the poet-printer actually anticipated the order of the late copies in full, must remain hypothetical. The Neuerburg copy is a fragment, and the order of plates 4-18 does not necessarily imply that the sequence of the remaining Innocence pages, now lacking from it, must also have been the same as in the late copies. In this context it is of particular importance that plates 2-27 (with plates 53 and 54 interpolated) in Copy S of Innocence—with an 1808 Whatman watermark—really are in the same order as in the late copies and in the fragmented Copy Y (ibid., p. 377). Thus, the existing evidence certainly makes the Cologne copy and Innocence (S) the most likely candidates to testify for a much earlier date of the so-called “standard order.”

The contradiction between the extrinsic evidence of the watermarks and the plate order might be explained if we assume that the copy with which our fragment once belonged had been printed (and colored) by about 1802-06, but was foliated, bound, and sold at a much later date (or, very simply, by assuming that the pagination was not the work of the artist himself). In this situation, intrinsic evidence that only stylistic analyses of the coloring can supply becomes crucial. A close comparison of the Cologne copy, especially with the other “Buttanshaw copies,” may yield the decisive clue; unfortunately, however, I have never seen Innocence (0) and Songs (P-Q), and therefore cannot offer more than a few cursory remarks on the use of color in the present example.

THE COLOGNE COPY OF INNOCENCE, PLATE BY PLATE

Note: The printing color is a pale, somewhat sepialike brown, unless stated otherwise. All the strengthening of outlines has been executed with pen and gray or black ink. Generally, this pen work and the coloring follow closely the etched lines of the designs. There is no colorprinting, of course, and the following glosses all apply to watercolor washes which have been added to the printed design by hand. Blake’s foliation, running from 3 to 17, is to be found in the upper right corners of each page and has been written with grayish ink. In the measurements height precedes width.

Pl. 4: “Introduction.” Leaf-size 20.1 × 14.5 cm. At three sides the design is surrounded by a light blue wash; at the bottom, however, there is no indication of “the water clear” (as, e.g., in Copies T and Z of the Songs), but a simple horizontal strip of brown color from which the Tree-of-Jesse foliage shoots up into the margins. These vines are colored green and yellow, and, from the tiny panels they enclose, streaks of rose color are drawn horizontally into the area of the text. On both sides the figures in the third vignette from the bottom, as well as the foliage itself, have been strengthened with pen and ink.

Pl. 5 (illus. 1): “The Shepherd.” Leaf-size 20.1 × 14.0 cm. Elaborately colored, with much modulation of the various hues, creating a completely convincing image of an Arcadian sunset. Behind the ochre colored flock extends a line of bushes in varied tones of green; the hill in the background is of a saturated dark blue. Above, pink washes have been laid over some gray shading. Behind the text panel the sky has been tinted with a light blue which also reappears at the top of the design where it has been applied in a darker pigmentation. The plant twining up the trunk of the tree in other copies has been partly eliminated by a brown watercolor wash except for its lower portion; there it shows three red calyxes. The Shepherd’s clothes are of a light brown. His face and hair, some of the folds of his gown, his crook, and the foremost of his sheep have all been reworked with the pen. Necessitated by poor inking and/or printing the text of 11. 1-4 had occasionally to be strengthened too.

Pl. 6: “The Ecchoing Green,” I. Leaf-size 19.8 × 14.0 cm. Behind the green and yellow foliage of the central tree (which seems to cast light, not shadow, on the scene below) and the group of playing children, the sky is a mixture of pink and bright blue. These hues return in the foreground where they dominate, slightly more saturated and in an a-b-a-b-like rhythm the colors of the various costumes. The ground is divided into areas of lime-green and warm orange which is composed—in an almost “divisionist” manner—of red and yellow washes. The outlines of the tree and of most of the figures have been strengthened with pen and ink. Bright yellow, blue, and pink washes (i.e. the classic trias of primary colors) have been used to structure the lower half of the page. The title line, having been thinly inked, had to be painted over (with dark brown watercolor).

Pl. 7: “The Ecchoing Green,” II. Leaf-size 20.9 × 14.7 cm. The group of figures is set against a blue background which changes first to pink, and then to yellow, with some orange added in the upper part of the design. As in many other copies, the two grape-plucking figures are clothed in pink and blue dress. Below them, the man wears a gray-green overcoat, and the surrounding figures are clad in dresses of pink, yellow, and orange. Some of the contours and faces of the figures have been worked over with pen and ink. The large vine has a brown stem and green leaves (which, with Blake, is not a matter-of-fact).

Pl. 8: “The Lamb.” Leaf-size 20.5 × 14.3 cm., printed in a somewhat darker brown than the rest of the plates. All in all, the coloring here is more subdued; there are yellowish greens for the fore-ground and the tree’s foliage in mid-distance, a warm quality of yellow for the upper and rose color for the lower portion of the sky. The same hue of pink has also been employed for the child’s skin. The outlines of the child’s arms, its hands, and the central lamb have all been reworked with the pen, and the child’s right hand even shows some pentimenti.

Pl. 9: “The Little Black Boy,” I. Leaf-size 20.6 × 14.2 cm., printed in brown. The mother and child are the usual dark brown; the mother’s skirt, though partly shaded, is of the same color in a brighter, nougat-like mixture. The foliage of the tree, printed in brown, has been enriched by yellow and green washes. These contrast with the blue and reddish tints which have been employed for the sky. The orb of the sun on the horizon of the green hills does not at all act as a source of light (here then, the sun itself appears to be “bereav’d of light”). Its dull yellowish-brown color seems to belie the luminosity of both the sky in the design, and the bright yellow, pink, and blue washes which streak begin page 127 | back to top horizontally across the text panel. The contours of the tree to the left and the mother’s right arm have been hastily re-worked with pen.

Pl. 10 (illus. 2): “The Little Black Boy,” II. Leaf-size 20.7 × 13.7 cm. The whole of the page seems to be bathed in a silvery light; this light, of course, emanates from the paper which has been covered with particularly delicate layers of paint. The Christ-like shepherd’s garment, the skin of the English boy, and the flock of sheep have all been treated with only a few gray washes; in a more saturated, darker pigmentation the same gray has been used for the black boy and the tree. The water in the immediate foreground is of a steel-like blue-gray. The landscape scenery makes a colorful contrast with this almost monochrome center of the picture; there is green, yellow, and bright cinnabar in the foreground, green and blue (with an inlaid strip of red) in the background hills and foliage. For the sky, the primary colors have again been employed in their most luminous state; the halo-like sun emanates rose colored rays into the blue (right), bright gray-blue (area of the text), and orange-yellow “atmosphere.” Pen work is to be seen on the outlines of the three figures, strengthening especially the shepherd’s profile, and on the branches of the arching tree.

Pl. 11: “The Blossom.” Leaf-size 20.8 × 14.4 cm., printed in dark blue. The blossoming plant is colored carmine red and blue, with some brown near the right-hand border of the design. The six children have pink skin and light brown wings; the wings of the central maiden are blue. A warm quality of yellow, tending distinctly towards orange to the right of the second stanza, has been washed in for a background. No additional outlining with the pen, but some of the text (the title, 11. 4-6, and especially 11. 11-12) has been strengthened with watercolor in beige.1010 In the left margin of this sheet the fragment of a lower case roman letter, probably a “d.” is visible. At first glance it looks as if printed, but in fact it appears to be the only surviving part of an ink inscription which was cut off when the leaves were prepared for binding.

Pl. 12: “The Chimney Sweeper.” Leaf-size 21.3 × 14.8 cm. The printed design leaves little room for coloring in this case. There are some blue (11. 1-12, 20-24 [to the left of the page]), bright salmon and carmine red (11. 15-20), and yellow (11. 20-24 [washed in from the right]) lanciform washes between the lines of the text. The flourishes between the stanzas and the background of the design at the bottom of the page are of a pale yellowish green; also, some brown is interspersed, which has been used for the trunk of the tree to the right as well. The long-robed figure, the child rising from the

1 “The Shepherd,” Songs of Innocence, Copy Y.   Relief etching, hand-colored with additional pen and ink work. Neuerburg Collection at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne.
2 “The Little Black Boy,” plate 2, Songs of Innocence, Copy Y.   Relief etching, hand-colored with additional pen and ink work. Neuerburg Collection at the WRM, Cologne.
begin page 128 | back to top dark brown earth, nine of the ten dancing and running children, and the title line at the top of the page have been firmly outlined in pen.

Pl. 13: “The Little Boy lost.” Leaf-size 20.3 × 14.4 cm.; the lettering of the text has been re-worked with pen and gray ink, thus considerably darkening the original pale brown of the printing.1111 Blake’s reason for doing this must have been the weak legibility of the text in this impression of plate 13, not the decision to color the words themselves (as, e.g., in the late Copy H of the Marriage at the Fitzwilliam Museum). I could detect no textual variants caused by this reworking except the commas after the “fathers” in 11. 1 and 3, at the end of 1. 4, and after “deep” in 1. 7, and the colon at the end of 1. 8, which found no consideration in the “strengthened version.” As in most other copies, the design is dominated by a strong chiaroscuro contrast between the dark, in this case blue-gray, background on one side, the uncolored and only lightly shaded dress of the boy, and the bright yellow and red of the will-o’-the-wisp-like gleam on the other. The same pink which has been used on the boy’s face and bare forearms serves to set off the text from the ground. The floating angels are colored yellow, so that together with the blue washes at the bottom of the page and between the stanzas the trias of primary colors is present once more in the lower portion of this page. The outlines and drapery of the boy as well as those of the three angels to the right of the text, and the contours of the tree have been worked over with the pen.

Pl. 14 (illus. 3): “The Little Boy found.” Leaf-size 20.7 × 14.5 cm. The text panel has been treated in much the same way as in the preceding page, with the addition of some blue-green for the twining plants that surround the two stanzas of the poem. The setting of the scene with its dark brown tree trunks, brownish green bushes, and marine blue sky is sombre but nevertheless colorful. Thus, patches of red, creating the effect of reflected sunset light, have been introduced on the branches of the tree to the right. The two figures, however, have been left almost uncolored, with only a few gray washes to indicate light, shade, and relief of their white robes. The adult figure does not have the disc-like halo of the late copies, though when washing in the blue sky, the artist left uncolored an oval circlet above the head. The faces and hands of both figures show some pink flesh-color; the boy’s hair is a dark blonde, and the brim of his hat is dark gray. The pen has been used to define more clearly the faces and the outlines of the figures (including the angel to the right of the text), as well as the contours of the three trees.

Pl. 15: “Laughing Song.” Leaf-size 20.6 × 14.8 cm., printed in a darker brown than most of the other plates in this copy. Again, the text panel shows the primary colors: from the left a bright blue, from the right a luminous red, and at the bottom a warm quality of yellow has been washed in. There the birds with their red bodies and blue wings take up once more the colors of the upper part of the text area, and of the dresses of the figures in the design above. The same three colors, with the addition of some green and orange-red, are arranged round the white of the uncolored table-cloth. The dress of the woman on the left, sitting in front of the table, is mainly of a bright blue, but has been sprinkled with pinkish red. Her male pendant at the right (facing the table in this copy) is dressed in blue, and two of the women behind the table wear pinkish red gowns. The central figure, seen from the back, is colored orange-red and thus corresponds with the autumn-like splendor of the tree’s yellow, orange, and even red foliage. Only a few details like the shoulders of the man with arms upraised and the chair at the right have been strengthened in pen and ink.

Pl. 16: “A Cradle Song,” I. Leaf-size 20.7 × 14.8 cm. The flourishing branches are either brown (i.e. the printing color), or a lusterless green; the tiny figures have not been hand-colored. The text is set off against yellow, blue, and rose colored washes which run down the margins (at the left: yellow; at the upper right: blue, and at the lower right: pinkish red); these have also been extended horizontally between the lines of the text. To the left of the title and of the fourth stanza a few of the plant ornaments have been worked over with pen and ink.

Pl. 17 (illus. 4): “A Cradle Song,” II. Leaf-size 20.8 × 14.3 cm. The plant-like flourishes above, below, and between the two remaining stanzas on this page have been colored green, modulating towards yellow; they, as well as the woman carrying a child to the left of 11. 26-28, have been given stronger outlines with the pen. The design below is composed of only three different hues: the floor, chair, and cradle, as well as the mother’s hair, are colored a light brown; the curtain is blue and vividly structured by the printed lineament in pale brown; at the left—behind the woman’s back—it is covered with dark gray-blue shading; finally, the woman’s dress is tinted with the bright pinkish carmine red that has been observed so often in this copy. The faces of mother and child, the outlines and drapery folds of the woman’s dress, the chair, and even some of the folds in the curtain have all been forcefully strengthened with pen and black ink.

Pl. 18: “The Divine Image.” Leaf-size 20.0 × 13.6 cm., printed in blue-gray. Text and design have been equally set off against washes of pink (left margin and top left), bright blue (top right), yellow and orange (lower right-hand portion), the latter two gaining in intensity near the “raising” scene with the haloed Christ-like figure. Yellow, cinnabar red, and the orange which is the product when these two are applied on top of each other, are the colors of the flaming plant. The figures have been touched with pink for their carnations. There is no additional pen work on this design.

It should be evident from these glosses that the Cologne copy of Songs of Innocence is characterized by a particularly luminous transparency of all the various hues of watercolor that have been employed in its hand-coloring. The combined use of the three primary colors (often together with green as the fourth), or at least two of them in weak saturation, is an essential aspect of the formal unity of the complete set. Also, the extensive use of pen and ink on the figures and other important details belongs with the characteristic qualities of this copy. Throughout, the basic rule of traditional color perspective has been observed; wherever the printed design allowed for it, “warm” colors and especially reds have been employed in the fore-ground whereas dark blue tones have been reserved for the background, and the brighter blues mostly for the “distant” sky.1212 Copy P of Innocence (now at Yale) was printed on different makes of paper, which, however, are dated 1802 and 1804. The copy was given by Malkin to one of his friends in 1805, and thus it was evidently produced at about the same time when Blake probably also executed the present copy (see Bentley 1977, pp. 366, 409). The sequence of plates in Copy P differs largely from that of the Cologne fragment, yet the coloring of the two copies may have a lot in common. David Bindman in Blake as an Artist (Oxford: Phaidon, 1977), p. 59, described Copy P as follows: “ . . . the outlines are firmly outlined in pen . . . The predominant color note is a cerulean blue, which acts illusionistically, usually over the whole page, giving the suggestion that the text is floating in the sky. The effects of luminosity are correspondingly more subtle.”

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Though the following paraphernalia certainly give no clue for either the dating and the early history of the Neuerburg copy, or for an estimation of its aesthetic value, a bibliographical account would be incomplete without it. So let me briefly mention that the leaves have apparently been trimmed offhand; their slightly varying sizes, which range from 19.8 to 21.3 cm. in height, and 13.6 to 14.8 cm. in width, indicate that a pair of scissors instead of a chopper was probably used for cutting them to their present size.1313 This becomes even more evident when the leaves are measured at all four sides. In most cases the measurements provided above, which have been taken at the left and bottom edges of the paper, do not exactly match those of the opposite sides. For plate 8, e.g., I noted 20.4 (left) × 14.6 (bottom) cm., and 20.6 (right) × 14.1 (top) cm. Whereas today the prints are mounted separately with perspex guard sheets, they were originally stabbed with three holes in preparation for binding.1414 The original (?paper) covers or any other remains of a former binding have not been preserved with the prints. These stitch-holes are about 5.0 to 6.0 cm. from the top of the pages, and about 3.0 cm. apart from each other; they have been closed in the course of the restoration of the prints (see below), but are still visible on close examination.

As regards the history and identification of the Cologne copy, only a few details are known. On 12 March 1962, “a gentleman” sold an incomplete copy of Innocence for £1000 through Sotheby’s to “Fairbrother.” This copy had not been recorded before, and it was described in the respective Sotheby catalogue under lot 151.1515 I have not been able to obtain a copy of this particular sales catalogue from a German library. The sale was probably devoted exclusively to books, since there is also no copy of a Sotheby’s catalogue with this date in the Dept. of Prints and Drawings of the British Museum. I did not go any further; I have relied entirely on Bentley’s account of the first surfacing of Innocence (Y); see Bentley 1977, p. 412. “Fairbrother,”

3 “The Little Boy found,” Songs of Innocence, Copy Y.   Relief etching, hand-colored with additional pen and ink work. Neuerburg Collection at the WRM, Cologne.
according to Bentley was the pseudonym of the art dealer Nicolas Rauch of Geneva, whose “sale records [—unfortunately—] were not preserved after his death by his successor.”1616 Ibid., p. 412, n. 1. Thus, shortly after the illuminated book had made its first appearance on the art market, we lost track of Songs of Innocence, Copy Y, once again. The description in the sales catalogue was detailed enough, however, to allow for future identification. The data supplied by the catalogue—and since then incorporated into Blake Books—included the number of plates and their contents, watermarks, foliation details, approximate leaf-sizes, and printing color. With the help of Bentley’s superb tables it is easy to find that these details all suit the Cologne copy, which, in
4 “A Cradle Song,” plate 2, Songs of Innocence, Copy Y.   Relief etching, hand-colored with additional pen and ink work. Neuerburg Collection at the WRM, Cologne.
begin page 130 | back to top turn, cannot be identified with any other of the untraced copies of either the Songs of Innocence or the combined Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

Obviously, Dr. Walter Neuerburg bought Copy Y from Rauch (who may well have acted on behalf of the distinguished German collector) or some intermediary agent soon after the sale at Sotheby’s was over. This is confirmed by the correspondence between the collector and Mr. and Mrs. Kästner of Wolfenbüttel which is still preserved with the prints at the WRM. The first of these letters is dated 6 April 1962, and it refers to the projected restoration of Blake’s newly acquired prints. This restoration had been brought to a successful end by 19 May 1962.1717 The restoration was executed by Mrs. Anita Kästner, who has done expert work for the Herzog-August-Bibliothek at Wolfenbüttel. From her report—which is still inserted in the respective box at the WRM—and from the prints themselves one gets the impression that she treated the fragment of Blake’s illuminated book with all the care and knowledge that are required for a difficult job like this. From her correspondence with the owner it is clear that Mrs. Kästner knew beforehand how much special care must be taken with both the fragile printing relief and the delicate layers of paint. Consequently her restoration concentrated on cleaning the paper in the margins, leaving the actual printing surface unaffected. The present owner himself, however, was reluctant to supply me with further information about the provenance of his treasure; yet he was kind enough to tell me that—“all in all”—the reconstruction of the last stages in the history of his copy, as offered here, is correct.1818 Each of the fifteen leaves has been blind stamped with a collector’s mark (showing the Neuerburg coat of arms) in the lower right corner of the sheets. This mark is basically the same as the one described for Heinrich Neuerburg, the present owner’s father, under no. 1344a in Frits Lugt’s Lee Marques de collections de dessins et d’estampes, supplement [i.e. vol. 2] (La Haye: Martinus Nijhoff, 1956), p. 190.

Songs, Copy BB, and Innocence, Copy Y, have been merely re-discovered. And yet, the first of Blake’s illuminated books ever to appear in a collection on the Continent, outside of the English-speaking world, may raise hopes for more and even bigger surprises in the future. I do not expect the “Ancient Britons,” or the painted version of the “Last Judgement” stored away on the backstairs of some provincial museum on the Continent. But the unexpected finding at Cologne certainly highlights another “work needed” in the field of Blake studies which is missing from Gerald Bentley’s list. Our knowledge of the entire corpus of the graphic work of William Blake will be limited in an almost inexcusable way until a thorough investigation into the holdings of at least the major public collections in France, Germany, Italy, and the Scandinavian countries has been undertaken.1919 This attempt at bibliographic exactness and its amateur author have profitted enormously from the help of three friends who are professionals in the field. Wihtout the questions and suggestions of G. E. Bentley, Jr., Robert N. Essick, and Sir Geoffrey Keynes my description would have lacked much relevant information. Those flaws in the argument which certainly remain, however, are entirely my own.

Print Edition

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