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3. A Census of Coloured Copies of Young’s Night Thoughts (1797)

The list by W. E. Moss** | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | x | y | z | za | zb | zc | zd | ze | zf | zg | zh | * In the Census, an asterisk (*) indicates that I have not verified information by Col. Moss. of coloured copies of Young’s Night Thoughts (1797) [Blake Newsletter, 11, No. 2 (15 Sept 1968), 19-23] may be somewhat amplified, chiefly with facts of their history since his essay was written about 1942.

Mr Martin Butlin tells me that copies of Young’s Night Thoughts seem to have been coloured in two distinct styles, the first of about 1797, and the second, similar in effect to the coloured copies of Hayley’s Triumphs of Temper (1803, owned by Mr George Goyder) and Ballads (1805, owned by Professor S. Foster Damon), of about 1805. The ascriptions of colouring dates below derive from Mr Butlin.

A Bound for Milnes by J. Leighton in half red-brown morocco, sago-brown cloth sides, with Milnes’ crest, “a garb or”;* 42. 1 × 33 cm;* lacks the “Explanation of the Engravings” leaf.*

  1. Sold anonymously for Thomas Butts at Sotheby’s, 1852 March 26, lot 59 (not described as coloured) [for £2. 1s. to R.M.M.];

  2. Sold by the son of Richard Monckton Milnes, The Earl of Crewe, at Sotheby’s, 1903 March 30, lot 13 [for £1701 1 Not (according to the British Museum master copy) for £260, as in Moss. to Edwards];

  3. Acquired by Algernon Methuen, lent to the National Gallery exhibition (1913), no. 73, and sold posthumously at Sotheby’s, 1936 Feb 19, lot 505 [for £580 to Robinson];

  4. Acquired by A. E. Newton, lent to the Philadelphia Museum exhibition (1939), no. 90, and sold posthumously at Parke-Bernet, 1941 April 16, lot 139 [for $1, 750 to Sessler];

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  6. Sold by Sessler’s to a client, from whom it was inherited by a PRIVATE U.S. OWNER.

B Coloured about 1805; bound in contemporary full straight-grain red morocco, with broad gilt borders, red and blue marbled paper fly-leaves, covers damaged with knife-cuts and ink-stains, leaves intact but slightly soiled;* 41.7 × 33 cm.*

  1. Possibly once the property of Richard Edwards;*

  2. Bound in 1910 from a London bookseller by Lt. -Col. W. E. Moss,* lent to the Manchester exhibition (1914), lot 150, and sold at Sotheby’s, 1937 March 2, lot 261 [for £800 to Rosenbach];

  3. Acquired by Mr. Lessing J. Rosenwald and given to the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

C Coloured about 1797; bound in half-leather and canvas, with a pencil (?) signature “W. Blake” at the bottom left corner of p. 7 and “as pattern” at the foot of p. 95;* lacks the “Explanation” leaf.

  1. A 19th (?) century inscription on the flyleaf indicates that it belonged to “Ottomar[?] Findlaw [or Fiedler]/ 360”;

  2. Apparently acquired “from a Dresden collector”* by St. Goar, a bookseller of Frankfurt, who sold it in April 1925 to

  3. E. N. Adler,* who in turn sold it in 1940 to Lincolns, Ltd., London;*

  4. Acquired by Dr Fazekas of the Czech Diplomatic Staff, who sold it through a London agent (according to a note with the volume) to

  5. H. J.[e] Lutcher Stark, who gave it to


D Coloured about 1797; bound in contemporary brown calf over blue and reddishyellow marbled boards, rebacked with reddish-brown leather.11 | 1b | 1 According to Mr Paul R. Wagner, Curator of Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

  1. Sold by Francis Barlow Robinson at Sotheby’s, 1884 Feb 19, lot 423 [for £22 to Bennett];

  2. Owned by W. P. Bennett;

  3. Acquired by John Ruskin and sold at Sotheby’s, 1930 July 24, lot 109*;

  4. Acquired by John Gribble, who inserted his bookplate and sold it at Parke-Bernet, 1945 April 16, lot 282 2 Erroneously described as imperfect. [for $400];

  5. Sold by Paul Francis Webster at Parke-Bernet, 1947 April 28, lot 5;

  6. Acquired by Mrs Gerard B. Lambert, who gave it on 25 Jan 19601 to


E Bound in half morocco.*

  1. Perhaps this is the copy (in half morocco, uncut, with the “Explanation” leaf) sold anonymously at Christie’s, 1887 June 1, lot 256, and

  2. Offered in John Pearson’s Catalogue 79 (?1894), lot 154, for £68;

  3. Sold for R. A. Potts at Sotheby’s, 1913 Feb 20, lot 64;3 3 Moss is apparently wrong in saying it was (?also) sold by Potts at Sotheby’s on 18 June 1912.

  4. Perhaps this is the copy offered by Francis Edwards in June 1914* and August 1920* for £100;

  5. UNTRACED. (This could be copy C, D, or Q.)

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F Bound in half brown morocco, sides and flyleaves of the same “frog-spawn” marbled paper.*

  1. Acquired by Sir John Soane (1753-1837), who added his bookplate and left it to the


G Bound in half red levant morocco by Riviere, t.e.g.

  1. Acquired by Thomas Gaisford (1779-1855), who added his bookplate and and with whose library it was sold at Sotheby’s, 18901 1 The Gaisford sale was not on 23 April 1891, as in Moss. April 23, lot 192;*

  2. Acquired by Bernard Buchanan[e] Macgeorge, described in his private catalogues (1892, 1906), and sold by him at Sotheby’s, 1924 July 1, lot 118 [for £125 to Quaritch];

  3. Offered by Quaritch in Catalogue 388 (Oct 1924), lot 226 and Catalogue 401 (May 1926), lot 218 for £175;


H Coloured about 1805, perhaps Blake’s model; bound in 1901 by Annie S. Macdonald of the Guild of Women Binders, Edinburgh, in undressed morocco* with embossed designs on the upper cover and Blake’s head on the lower;* title inlaid.*

  1. Perhaps acquired by W. Rae Macdonald* (it has a bookplate of “H. M.”22 | 2b | 2c | 2 According to Mr. Butlin. ) or J. M. Gray;*

  2. Offered by Tregaskis at an unknown date for £25;

  3. Offered by Ellis — Elvey in Catalogue 120 for £45;2

  4. Owned by William Sargent;2

  5. Sold at Sotheby’s, 1908 June 4, lot 734 [for £24 to Stirling];*

  6. Evidently it passed from Stirling in 1919 to

  7. THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON. 3 3 Moss does not connect the Stirling copy (H) with the Boston copy (his O).

I Coloured about 1797; bound in brown morocco, panelled, by F. Bedford;* an inserted leaf of vellum4 4 A copy printed on vellum without the plates was sold by A. G. Dew-Smith at Sotheby’s, 1906 June 27-30, lot 587 [for 12s. to Rewin]. contains pp. 3-4 and a watercolour drawing (on p. 3)5 5 See R. R. Wark, “A Minor Blake Conundrum”, Huntington Library Quarterly, XXI (1957), 83-87. and a proof of Blake’s “Satan” after Fuseli was with it.*

  1. Evidently once owned by “Pearson ’86/ rsi-:”, according to the note on the flyleaf;*

  2. Sold for T. G. Arthur at Sotheby’s, 1914 July 17, lot 848;*

  3. Bought from G. D. Smith in October 1914 by Henry E. Huntington and bequeathed by him to THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY, San Marino, California.

J Coloured about 1797.

  1. Acquired by Samuel Boddington (fl. 1830), who added his bookplate;

  2. Acquired by Herschel V. Jones, who added his bookplate and sold it at begin page 44 | back to top Anderson Galleries, 1918 Dec 2, lot 186 [to Gabriel Wells] for

  3. W. A. White (according to Mr. Butlin);

  4. Acquired (probably with the rest of White’s Blake collection on 1 May 1929) by Mr Lessing J. Rosenwald who gave it to THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

K Bound in full contemporary green straight-grain morocco, gilt and blind-tooled, rubbed, the binding very slightly broken; 41.6 × 32.1 cm.*

  1. Acquired by Oliver Henry Perkins, who added his bookplate;

  2. Acquired by G. C. Smith Jr, described in his anonymous private catalogue (1927), lot 21, and sold posthumously at Parke-Bernet, 1938 Nov 2, lot 45 [for $675];


L Coloured about 1805; Miss Belle da Costa Greene (Morgan’s Librarian) thought it may have been previously in a modern calf binding, rather broken at the joints;* bound about 1919 in New York by Miss M. D. Lahey.*

  1. Perhaps this is the copy (bound in dark blue morocco, g.e., by Riviere, with an appreciation on the title-page) offered in Ellis — Elvey Catalogue 100 (1903);

  2. Acquired by J. Pierpont Morgan, and bequeathed to THE PIERPONT MORGAN LIBRARY, New York.

M Bound in blue crushed levant morocco, g.e., by Riviere, 41.5 × 32.2 cm;1 1 According to the 1958 catalogue.

  1. Inscribed at the foot of the title page J. Bingley Garland, August 1870;1

  2. Another inscription says that it was given by W. A. White in 1903 to

  3. His daughter,1 who may have lent it anonymously to the Grolier Club exhibition (1905), no. 41, and who, as Mrs William Emerson, lent it to the Fogg exhibition (1938),1 and to the Philadelphia Museum exhibition (1939), lot 91, and sold it posthumously at Sotheby’s, 1958 May 19, lot 6 [for £850 to Fleming];

  4. Acquired by MRS LANDON K. THORNE.

N Brown paper back, marbled boards, uncut (about 42.7 × 33.6 cm);* lacks the leaves with pp. 45-46, 71-72;* a copy of the Prospectus is laid in.*

  1. Acquired by A. E. Newton, who lent it to the Philadelphia Museum exhibition (1939), lot 90, and sold it posthumously at Parke-Bernet, 1941 April 16, lot 138 [for $400 to Sessler*];

  2. Acquired by Mr Wilmarth S. Lewis,[e] of Farmington, Connecticut.

  3. Given by Mr. Wilmarth S. Lewis recently to MR. PAUL MELLON.[e]

O2 2 W. E. Moss described copy H under copies H and O; in order not to leave a gap in the list, I have inserted the Rylands copy (which Moss did not mention) under O.

  1. The copy acquired by George John Spencer (1758-1834), Third Earl Spencer, whose portrait Blake etched in 1813, went with his library in 1892 to


P Coloured about 1805; bound in old half brown calf, brown-black marbled paper sides and end-papers, 41.2 cm high.3 3 According to Carolyn E. Jakeman of Houghton Library. begin page 45 | back to top

  1. Perhaps this is the copy (bound in half russia, t.e.g.) sold for Charles Dew of Salisbury at Sotheby’s, 1892 June 25, lot 1002;*

  2. Offered by Quaritch in a letter of 24 May 19001 1 According to Carolyn E. Jakeman of Houghton Library. for £42 to

  3. Miss Amy Lowell, who bought it and bequeathed it to

  4. HARVARD UNIVERSITY, where it is kept in Houghton Library.

Q Coloured about 1797, perhaps Blake’s original; bound in contemporary half calf, the upper cover detached (according to the 1958 catalogue).

  1. Inscribed “This Copy was coloured for me by Mr Blake/ W. E”, perhaps by William Ensom (1796-1832), who made a prize portrait of Blake in 1815, or by William Esdaile (1758-1837) as Sir Geoffrey Keynes and Mr Martin Butlin think;

  2. An erased inscription, “ Milne[?]/ The Rectory/ Farnham[?]”, presumably represents another owner;

  3. Perhaps this is the copy (in original boards, uncut, back defective) sold at Hodgson’s, 1914 July 2, lot 528 [for £46 to Dobell*];

  4. Acquired (for £5?) by a Lady in Geneva, who sold it anonymously at Sotheby’s, 1958 March 3, lot 47 [for £680 to Traylen], evidently for Stonehill, who sold it to

  5. MR PAUL MELLON, with whose collection it will probably go to Yale.

R Coloured about 1797; inscribed in a contemporary hand “This copy col rd by W. Blake”; 22 | 2b | 2c | 2d | 2e | 2 According to Miss Mary C. Johnson, Assistant, Widener Memorial Rooms. bound in half calf and marbled boards and marbled endpapers, uncut2 (42.5 cm high2), the spine repaired;2 two flyleaves at each end are watermarked J WHATMAN 1808.2

  1. Acquired by John S. Harford, Jr (1785-1866), who added his bookplate;

  2. It was bought between 1913 and 1915 for the Widener Collection of HARVARD UNIVERSITY.

S Bound for the New York Public Library in maroon buckram.33 | 3b | 3 According to Miss Elizabeth E. Roth, Prints Division, New York Public Library.

  1. Acquired by Robert Lenox Kennedy, 3 after whose death in 1887 it was bought with The Lenox Library by

  2. THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, where it is now in the Prints Division.

In case the above list should give the impression that most copies of the Night Thoughts (1797) are coloured, it may be worth remarking that there are uncoloured copies in the Ashmolean Museum, the Berg Collection (New York Public Library), Bodley, The British Museum, The British Museum Print Room, GEB, California (University of) at San Diego, Cincinnati Art Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum, Harvard (3 copies), Huntington Library (2 copies), Illinois (University of), Los Angeles County Museum, National Library of Scotland, Newberry Library, New York Public Library (2 copies), New York University, Pforzheimer Library, Princeton University, The Rosenbach[e] Foundation, St. David’s College (Lampeter, Cardinganshire), Sterling Library (University of London, 2 copies), Syracuse University, Texas (University of, 2 copies), Toronto Public Library, Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut), Victoria & Albert Museum, Wellesley College, Westminster Public Library, and Yale University (2 copies).

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