Blake in the Marketplace, 2001
The dull Blake market of 2000 extended its otiosity well into 2001. The fall and winter, however, brought forth a burst of exciting activity. On 8 and 9 October, Christie’s New York offered the book collection of Abel E. Berland, including a Shakespeare first folio and copy J of Songs of Innocence. The extensive catalogue entry for the Blake volume was a heady combination of detailed scholarship, misstatements of fact (e.g., Songs of Innocence is “Blake’s first book of illuminated printing”), and odd reasoning—all marshaled in an attempt to convince collectors that this copy, containing only 21 of the 31 Innocence plates, is complete as issued by Blake. The anonymous cataloguer was wise enough to quote excerpts from a relevant footnote in Joseph Viscomi’s Blake and the Idea of the Book (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993) 408n6. Viscomi states that the eight Innocence plates printed recto/verso in green present in Songs of Innocence and of Experience copy E (Huntington Library), and all the plates now comprising Innocence copy J, were harvested from a group of loose plates. He further suggests that the 21 plates that comprise copy J “were probably loose impressions that Tatham inherited after Mrs. Blake died” and were “possibly never collated or sold by Blake as a copy.” To counter this view, Christie’s anonymous cataloguer observes that Innocence J shows stab holes that match one set of stab holes in Songs E, and concludes from this evidence (unknown to Viscomi) that “Blake himself made up copy J as it stands today, with its complement of 21 plates” (1:28 of the catalogue).
David Swinford very kindly measured the stab holes in copy J for me. There are five, and all are used for stitching in the volume’s present binding, although it is possible that any combination of two or more of these holes may have been part of a previous binding, even one produced by Mrs. Blake. The distances between holes, from top to bottom, are 1.2, 3.1, 1.1, and 1.2 cm. I cannot reconcile any combination of these holes with those present in the green-ink plates in Songs copy E. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the several sets of stab holes in the copy E impressions do not match each other in all leaves. For the sake of argument, however, let me assume that Christie’s has not totally misrepresented the situation. If the auction house is right about matching holes, such evidence argues precisely the opposite of the catalogue’s market-oriented conclusion. As a rule of thumb, when any two groups of leaves from the same work, presently bound separately, have identical sets of prior stab holes, then they were probably once bound together. The impressions in Innocence J, and the green-ink impressions in Songs E, were printed (and probably colored) in 1789. Blake assembled Songs E in 1806 from an assortment of impressions (many poorly printed) from several different printings, adding new water colors and pen and ink over-writing of the texts to make the copy as legible and uniform as possible for his chief patron, Thomas Butts. If indeed sets of stab holes in these two copies match, then it seems likely that Blake cannibalized Innocence J to complete Songs E, leaving the former as a fragment of what was originally a complete copy—or at least one closer to completeness than at present. My inability, however, to confirm Christie’s comment on stab holes leads me to conclude that Viscomi’s statements about Songs of Innocence copy J are probably correct.
Christie’s estimate of $1 to 1.5 million seemed exceptionally ambitious. The terrorist attacks of 11 September unsettled all markets, and thus the chances of reaching such a high estimate range became even less likely. Christie’s had planned to display selected works from the Berland collection, including Songs of Innocence, in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York in late September, but the tour was cancelled. The book was knocked down to the dealer Justin Schiller, bidding on the telephone on behalf of the artist and author Maurice Sendak, for $850,000 ($941,000 with the buyer’s premium added). If we treat copy J as a collection of individual colored prints, as seems appropriate in this instance, then Sendak paid $44,809 per plate.
I am told that Schiller’s was the only bid made for the volume; perhaps he and Sendak were alone convinced by Christie’s bizarre argument for the “as issued” completeness of the copy. Although both Christie’s and the vendor may have been at least slightly disappointed with the sale, it still set a record for any copy of Songs of Innocence, much less an incomplete one. The Shakespeare folio, estimated at $2-3 million, fetched $6,166,000.
In late July and August, Joseph Viscomi and I were working together in the Print Room of the British Museum. Much to my surprise, a member of the staff came to me one morning and told me that I had a telephone call from a “Mr. Lloyd.” A very aggressive insurance agent calling from California? Mr. Lloyd turned out to be the head of the print department at Christie’s. He had some “Blakes” to show us; he would bring them to the Print Room the next day. Joe and I were skeptical, and thus we were amazed when Lloyd presented us with a color-printed impression of The Book of Urizen plate 3 and a sheet bearing plates 13 and 14 (both at least partly hand colored) from Europe a Prophecy. Both leaves were already scheduled for auction on 18 December 2001. All three prints were unrecorded, had considerable begin page 109 |
The Urizen plate contains only slight touches of hand tinting, and thus it is easy to see surfaces that have been color printed and the reticulated textures produced by the printing process. Its condition as a color-printed proof is similar to impressions of Urizen plate 25 in the Keynes Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum, and the Yale Center for British Art. A white-line effect is particularly noticeable in Urizen plate 3 (illus. 1) around the figure’s limbs. This is caused by the paper not bending at a sharp enough angle to pick up any colors deposited on the escarpments between relief plateaus and etched valleys.
The hand coloring of the Europe plates in the auction is equally intriguing. The dark coloring of the background, the tomato red gown on the bat-winged Pope, and the general extent of hand coloring on plate 14 (illus. 3) are very similar to what we find in Europe copy D, sold by Blake to Ozias Humphry and now in the British Museum. That copy contains at least two coloring styles, one characterized by rather flat, even washes of the sort we see in illus. 3, and a second featuring smaller brushstrokes and a higher degree of skill and finish. Joseph Viscomi has suggested to me that Mrs. Blake was responsible for the first style. She may have been the sole colorist of both Europe prints at auction. We should not, however, exclude the possibility that husband and wife shared coloring responsibilities on any given impression. In some examples, Catherine may have executed the larger areas of wash (much as we see in illus. 3) and William may have added the more detailed coloring, at least on some impressions. Such a procedure would mimic the common practice of one engraver laying-in the basic (generally etched) outlines of an image and another adding finishing strokes. The two coloring styles in Europe copy D begin page 110 |begin page 111 | and the way in which some plates contain evidence of both may be accounted for by William Blake’s finishing some plates with great care (e.g., the frontispiece) and not touching others at all (e.g., pl. 14). Another sheet bearing plates 13 and 14 printed recto/verso in gray-green ink, but without hand coloring, was once in the “Order” of the Songs album (see Bentley 338, 341) and is now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Loyal readers of this journal are already aware of the amazing discovery of Blake’s original water colors illustrating Robert Blair’s The Grave, thanks to Martin Butlin’s article in the winter 2002 issue. The sale of these treasures is being handled by Dominic Winter, a book auctioneer located in Swindon. As of December 2001, Winter’s intention is to attempt to sell the drawings privately as a group; failing that, they will be sold individually at auction. Such an auction would take place in June 2002 at the earliest, and possibly not until the fall of 2002. I will give as full a report as possible in my year 2002 sales review.
In my last sales review, I commented on the attempt to sell and export to America Blake’s magnificent water color, God Blessing the Seventh Day (Blake 34 : 101-03). Although an export license was initially refused, giving time for a British institution or citizen to acquire the work at the same stated selling price, no such purchaser with the necessary funds stepped forward. The London dealer handling the transaction reapplied, with the stated price raised significantly, and a license was granted. The water color has been shipped to the United States and is now presumably in the hands of either a dealer (who is keeping very quiet about it) or a private collector.
One significant institutional acquisition which did not take place in the open market deserves notice here. In mid-January the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, announced that it had obtained the John Linnell Archive of letters, papers, and business records. These include a good many references to Blake’s artistic activities, particularly the Job and Dante engravings. The explicit references to Blake in this extensive archive are recorded in G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Records (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1969), but there are many records about Linnell’s career, including a few brief references to engravings on which Blake also worked (e.g., the portrait of James Upton), which have yet to be published. According to the press release, the archive was “valued at £185,000” and the Museum “intends the bulk of the material to be available to scholars and students early next year .” Materials from the archive, plus some art works on loan from members of the Linnell family, were exhibited at the Fitzwilliam 17 July through 4 November 2001. An online catalogue may still be available at http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/msspb/exhibit/Linnell/index.htm.
John Windle, the San Francisco book dealer, issued another in his series of Blake catalogues in early April. With 410 numbered lots, this catalogue contains more Blake and Blakeana than was offered by all other year 2001 dealers’ and auction catalogues combined. Although several of the original materials in Windle’s catalogue 32 have been reported in previous sales reviews, I list them here for the sake of completeness. Windle continues to be the world’s foremost Blake dealer.
Works by George Richmond dominated the market in Blake’s circle and followers. Several important drawings, including a portrait of Samuel Palmer (illus. 11), passed through Sotheby’s London sales rooms in March. Agnew’s, the venerable London art dealer, issued a scholarly and handsomely illustrated catalogue in the fall. The 89 lots in Missing Pages: George Richmond R.A. range in price from £650 to £55,000. In the Richmond section below I have recorded from Agnew’s catalogue only works from the late 1820s and early 1830s—that is, the period in which Richmond felt Blake’s influence.
The internet continues to transform the antiquarian book trade. The present survey testifies to this phenomenon, for over half of the entries are based on online listings rather than printed catalogues. Improvements in book-search services and the consolidation of sites are well underway. BookFinder, a “site of sites” as it were (equivalent to printed “bibliographies of bibliographies”), has speeded up its formerly slow search engines. Amazon has taken over Bibliofind and transformed it from a search mechanism into a purchasing node, including “one click” ordering. An annoying feature of most sites is that many of the books listed have already been sold. The new Amazon antiquarian site automatically deletes a book when ordered. Unlike Alibris, another search-and-order site, Amazon provides the email address of the dealer who actually has the book in stock—a convenient feature when one needs more information or if there is a problem after purchase. eBay continues to offer roughly 20-30 lots of Blake and Blakeana at any given time. Even leading print dealers, such as Donald Heald, have begun to offer lesser items (e.g., plates from the Boydell Shakespeare series) on eBay. Generally, however, the art market has been slower to respond to the internet’s potential than book dealers, in part because art dealers handle unique items rather than commodities that exist in multiple copies. Buying a letterpress book sight unseen is not as risky as buying a painting or drawing based only on an electronic image.
The year of all sales and catalogues in the following lists is 2001 unless indicated otherwise. The auction houses add their purchaser’s surcharge to the hammer price in their price lists. These net amounts are given here, following the official price lists. The value-added tax levied against the buyer’s surcharge in Britain is not included. Late 2001 sales will be covered in the 2002 review. I am grateful for help in compiling this review to Elizabeth Barker, Shelley Bennett, Peter Hay, Jenijoy La Belle, Tim Linnell, Richard begin page 112 | Lloyd, Edward Maggs, Jane Munro, Rosamund Paice, Mati Palmet, Christopher Powney, Kathleen Stuart, David Swinford, Joseph Viscomi, John Windle, and Nathan Winter. My special thanks go to Alexander Gourlay for his generosity in keeping me abreast of internet auctions. Sarah Jones’ editorial assistance and John Sullivan’s electronic imaging have been invaluable.
|BBA||Bloomsbury Book Auctions, London|
|Bentley||G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Books (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1977). Plate numbers and copy designations for Blake’s illuminated books follow Bentley.|
|Butlin||Martin Butlin, The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake, 2 vols. (New Haven: Yale UP, 1981)|
|cat.||catalogue or sales list issued by a dealer (usually followed by a number or letter designation)|
|CE||Christie’s East, New York|
|CNY||Christie’s, New York|
|CSK||Christie’s, South Kensington|
|Essick||Robert N. Essick, The Separate Plates of William Blake: A Catalogue (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1983)|
|illus.||the item or part thereof is reproduced in the catalogue|
|SNY||Sotheby’s, New York|
|st(s).||state(s) of an engraving, etching, or lithograph|
|Swann||Swann Galleries, auctioneers, New York|
|#||auction lot or catalogue item number|
The Book of Urizen, pl. 3. Previously unrecorded color-printed proof of 1794 with a few touches of hand tinting and partial outlining of the figure’s arms with pen and ink. Text printed in orange-yellow ochre. Wove sheet, 15.6 × 11.2 cm., without watermark. CL, 18 Dec., #84, illus. color (£47,000 on an estimate of £25,000-35,000 to Maggs Bros. acting for J. Windle acting for R. Essick). See illus. 1.
Europe, pls. 13 and 14, printed recto/verso in green-gray ink, 1794, and partly hand colored, possibly by Mrs. Blake. Previously unrecorded. Printed on a wove sheet, 25.1 × 19.5 cm., without watermark. CL, 18 Dec., #85, both pls. illus. color (£30,550 on an estimate of £10,000-15,000 to Maggs Bros. acting for J. Windle acting for R. Essick). See illus. 2-3.
Songs of Innocence, copy J. 21 pls. on 12 leaves, 16.3 × 11.6 cm., 3 leaves showing an E & P watermark. Printed in green ink and hand colored, 1789. The first 4 pls. (frontispiece,
Drawings and Paintings
God Blessing the Seventh Day. Water color, 42 × 35.5 cm., datable to c. 1805. Butlin #434. Exported from Britain to begin page 113 |
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. Water color, 40.9 × 34.6 cm. Butlin #481. In the collection of Leon Black, New York, by late 2000. Exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 29 March to 24 June 2001, #18 in the handlist.
Wat Tyler, Replica. Pencil “Visionary Head,” approx. 25.5 × 20.5 cm. Butlin #738. Given by Mrs. Gerard B. Lambert to Charles Ryskamp after 1980; given by Ryskamp in 1999 to the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, in memory of Michael S. Currier on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Morgan Library and the 50th anniversary of its Association of Fellows.
Nothing to report.
Separate Plates and Plates in Series
“Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims.” Windle, April cat. 32, #7, 5th (final) st., printed on thin laid paper, showing considerable plate tone and scratches not appearing in later impressions, perhaps a very early Colnaghi or a pre-Colnaghi impression, illus. ($28,750—a record asking price for any st.); #8, 5th st., Colnaghi impression on laid india, perhaps an early impression because the scratches are still visible ($18,750); #9, 5th st., Colnaghi impression on laid india (“sold”). For comments on the scratches that would seem to indicate early 5th-st. impressions, see Blake 29 (1996): 130.begin page 114 |
Dante engravings. Heritage Book Shop, March private offer, complete set probably from the 1892 printing, loose in morocco folding case, bookplate of Philip Hofer with his pencil notes ($45,000). Windle, April cat. 32, #10, pls. 2, 4-6 only, on laid india, probably the 1892 printing ($10,000 for pl. 2, $12,500 for pl. 4, $7500 for pls. 5 and 6 each).
“George Cumberland’s Card.” CL, 18 Dec., #83, printed in black ink on wove paper, 6.0 × 10.8 cm., without watermark, illus. color (not sold on an estimate of £2000-3000; top bid £1300).
Job engravings. CE, 14 Feb., #17, pl. numbered 7 only on laid india, framed, illus. ($1293). Windle, April cat. 32, #57, complete set, 1874 printing on laid india, slight marginal foxing, loose in a new cloth box, pl. numbered 12 illus. ($28,750). Swann, 1 May, #213, pl. numbered 13 only, apparently the issue on Whatman paper after the removal of the “Proof” inscriptions, illus. ($6440 on an estimate of $2000-3000. Probably a record price for a single plate). SL, 11 May, #3, pl. numbered 8 only, published “Proof” on laid india, illus. (not sold; estimate £1000-1200). CNY, 22 May, #188, complete “Proof” issue on laid india, backing sheets 41.3 × 31 cm. (i.e., just a little less than the untrimmed sheets), some marginal foxing, contemporary half morocco, from the collections of Vernon Lushington (friend of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, briefly an unpaid secretary to Thomas Carlyle), Marion Edith Holman Hunt (wife of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Holman Hunt), and Christopher Norris, pl. numbered 15 illus. color ($56,400 on an estimate of $30,000-40,000). CNY, 9 Oct., #141, complete “Proof” issue on laid india, “uncut” in later 19th-century boards, original printed label on front flyleaf, cloth box, from the collection of Abel E. Berland, pl. numbered 15 poorly illus. in color ($44,650). Swann, 5 Nov., #277, pl. numbered 9 only, paper not described, illus. ($1000). Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, #34, pl. numbered 6 only, “Proof” issue on laid india, illus. (£1500); #35, pl. numbered 8 only, same printing, illus. (£1300).
“The Man Sweeping the Interpreter’s Parlour.” Windle, April cat. 32, #19, Essick impression 2L, illus. (price on enquiry).
“Rev. John Caspar Lavater.” K Books, April online cat., 3rd st., full margins, apparently an early impression of this st. with the scratched guidelines for the inscriptions printed (a great bargain at £100; acquired by a private English collector). Dominic Winter Book Auctions, 29 Aug., #370, 3rd st., with an ink drawing by Lavater of “Ruhiger Horcher,” dated 1795, and an engraved portrait of Lavater by Holl (£330); same drawing by Lavater and engraving by Blake, Quaritch, Oct. cat. 1291, #35, the drawing (£650), #36, the pl., illus. (£550).
Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake, Including Prints Extracted from Such Books
Allen, History of England, 1798. Windle, April cat. 32, #2, pls. only ($950).
Allen, Roman History, 1798. Windle, April cat. 32, #3, pls. only ($950).
Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, 1791. Windle, April cat. 32, #4, Blake’s pl. only, 2nd st. and thus from the 1791 ed. ($200). Young’s Antiquarian Books, Aug. cat. 104, #16, 2 vols., modern cloth (£140).
Bell’s Edition of the Poets of Great Britain, 1777-83. BBA, 26 April, #131, 47 (of 109) vols. only, but including the 14 begin page 115 | Chaucer vols., contemporary calf or half calf (Barnaby Rudge, £368). BBA, 28 June, #100, 108 vols., contemporary calf worn (A. Millner, £690). No mention of Blake in either cat., but vol. 13 of the Chaucer may contain Blake’s pl. after Stothard.
Bible: The Royal Universal Family Bible, 1780. Windle, April cat. 32, #6, pls. 1-2, 5 only ($875).
Blair, The Grave. eBay online auctions, Jan.-Feb., several pls. from the 1926 printing sold in individual lots, all illus.: frontispiece portrait of Blake (no bids on a required minimum bid of $95); pl. 1, the engraved title page ($132.50); pl. 2, “Christ Descending into the Grave” (no bids on a required minimum bid of $100 when 1st offered, $65 when offered a 2nd time); pl. 3, “The Meeting of a Family in Heaven” ($102.50); pl. 4, “The Counsellor, King, Warrior, Mother & Child in the Tomb” (no bids on a required starting bid of $115); pl. 6, “The Soul Hovering over the Body” ($125); pl. 7, “The Descent of Man into the Vale of Death” ($75.50); pl. 8, “The Day of Judgment” (no bids on a required starting bid of $125); pl. 9, “The Soul Exploring the Recesses of the Grave” (no bids on a required starting bid of $125); pl. 10, “The Death of the Good Old Man” ($115); pl. 11, “Death’s Door” ($150.51); pl. 12, “The Reunion of the Soul & the Body” ($395). Pacific Book Auction/eBay online auction, Feb., #10, 1808 “folio” (but possibly the quarto) issue, some foxing to margins, early boards rebacked with morocco, pl. 1 illus. ($1500). Robert Frew, Feb. online cat., 1808 quarto, title pl. foxed, contemporary half calf worn, repairs to joints (£850). Kane Books, Feb. online cat., undated c. 1879 New York ed. pub. by James Miller, “lower quarter of leaves waterstained throughout,” original cloth worn ($140). Argosy Book Store, Feb. online cat., 1813 quarto, half morocco worn ($1500). Windle, April cat. 32, #5, pls. 3, 5, and 6 only, from the  ed., margins slightly soiled ($250); #29, 1st published st. of the pls. only (used in the 1808 folio issue), with “Of the Designs” from the 1808 quarto issue, half calf, some spotting and soiling in margins, repairs to verso of a few pls., pl. 12 illus. ($3750); #30, 1808 quarto, half calf, part of the imprint on the engraved title page trimmed off ($1750). SL, 11 May, #2, an “album” of the pls. only dated to “1808” but published by “Ackermann,” who is not known to have issued the book until 1813, sold with 7 other Blake-related works, including the Hesiod designs after Flaxman, no indication of date or binding for the Hesiod (£840). Windle, June private offer, 1808 quarto, imprint on engraved title page trimmed off, quarter leather ($2250). SL, 10 July, #435, 1808 quarto, imprint cropped from engraved title, light spotting, later half morocco rubbed, pl. 12 illus. (£846). eBay online auction, July, 1813 quarto, later morocco worn, binding and 3 pls. illus. ($645). Book Alley, Pasadena, Aug. private offer,  folio, original cloth, hinges weak (price on request). BBA, 13 Sept., #1, “1813” folio, but almost certainly the  issue given the “original blind-stamped cloth” binding, pls. foxed (Claude Cox, £126). Phillip Pirages, Oct. cat. 46, #547, apparently the 1808 quarto, contemporary morocco rubbed, pl. 3 illus. ($3000). Sims Reed, Nov. cat. of “British Illustrators,” #29, 1813 quarto, recent half morocco, pl. 8 illus. (£1200). Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, #32, frontispiece portrait of Blake only from the 1813 quarto, illus. (£120); #36, pls. only sold individually, 1813 quarto impressions, pl. 12 illus. (£50 to £120 each).
Bryant, New System, or, an Analysis of Ancient Mythology, 2nd ed., 1775-76. Barnaby Rudge Booksellers, Jan. Pasadena Book Fair, 3 vols., contemporary calf ($1500). This copy includes, at the end of vol. 3, a quarto pamphlet of 25 pp., A Vindication of the Apamean Medal . . . By the Author of the Analysis of Ancient Mythology (London: T. Payne, et al., 1775), with an engraving of 7 views of antique coins signed “Basire Sc.” This plate can be added to the long list of those Blake may have worked on while an apprentice. At the end of the pamphlet is an “Advertisement” that begins as follows: “Toward the end of this month will be published the Analysis of Ancient Mythology; being the Second Edition of that work in two Volumes, Quarto. And in December will be compleated [sic] the Third Volume. In this last will be continued an account of the great Events in the first Ages:....” No 2nd ed. of vol. 3 is known. eBay online auction, July, 3 vols., said to be bound in “original leather, dark brown,” but the illus. of the bindings suggests worn vellum (no bids on a required minimum of $450).
Cumberland, Outlines from the Antients, 1829. Bryan Matthews, Feb. online cat., half morocco very worn ($500). BBA, 22 Feb., #141, slight spotting, half cloth worn (David Crum, £115). Marlborough Rare Books, Sept. cat. 187, #47, large paper issue, pls. on laid india, some spotting, contemporary calf (£2500).
Darwin, Botanic Garden. Pacific Book Auction/eBay online auction, Feb., #46, 1st eds. of both Parts (1791, 1789), some foxing, calf rebacked, pl. 1 illus. ($850). Windle, April cat. 32, #11, pl. 1 only from a 1791 ed. ($750). eBay online auction, Dec., Part 1 only, 1791, lacking frontispiece but Blake pls. present, disbound, illus. ($111).
Darwin, Poetical Works, 1806. Hollett & Son, Oct. cat., #320, 3 vols., some foxing and browning, pencil underlining of text, modern half calf (£450).
Enfield, Speaker. James Cummins, May online cat., 1785 ed., contemporary calf worn and rebacked ($750). Tom Williams, Nov. private offer, 1795 ed., contemporary calf worn, quarter of the spine loose ($75).begin page 116 |
Flaxman, Hesiod designs, 1817. Second Life Books, Feb. online cat., marginal foxing, new morocco-backed boards ($650); same copy and price, Oct. cat. 136, #84. eBay online auction, April-May, original boards, pls. with “light foxing,” original boards very worn, 3 pls. illus., 2 showing heavy foxing ($485). David Spode, June online cat., some marginal staining, later half roan worn ($432). BBA, 13 Sept., #2, some foxing, bound with Flaxman, Aeschylus designs, 1831, quarter roan worn (not sold; estimate £80-120). Neales auction, Nottingham, 29 Nov., #49, bound with Flaxman’s Iliad (1805), Odyssey (1805), and Aeschylus (1831) designs, some foxing, half morocco (no price information; estimate £400-600). Sims Reed, Nov. cat. of “British Illustrators,” #69, rebound in cloth-backed boards with original title label on front cover (£450). See also the album of Hesiod drawings, first entry under Flaxman, below.
Flaxman, Iliad designs. eBay online auction, Jan., apparently a printing of the 1805 pls., some leaves dampstained, “library binding,” several illus. ($108). Simon Finch, June online cat., 1805 ed., with the Odyssey, 1805, 2 vols. in 1, contemporary calf ($1700). David Spode, June online cat., 1805 ed., some slight staining, half roan worn ($330).
Fuseli, Aphorisms on Man, 1794. Adam Mills, Nov. cat. 50, #21, lacking the half title, contemporary calf (£245).
Fuseli, Lectures on Painting, 1801. Richard Neylon, April online cat., bound with Fuseli, Lectures on Painting, 1820, “a foxed but not shocking copy,” no mention of binding ($347). BBA, 11 Oct., #9, worm holes, underlining of text in pencil, contemporary half calf worn (Kitazawa, £172).
Gay, Fables. BBA, 1 March, #59, 1793 ed., 2 vols. in 1, lacking engraved title page to vol. 2, contemporary calf worn (£149.50). eBay online auction, March, said to be the 1793 ed. but possibly the c. 1811 reprint, 2 vols. in 1, later half leather, engraved title page to vol. 1 and Blake’s pl. 1 illus. ($105). Robert Clark, March cat. 58, #126, c. 1811 reprint, 2 vols., some foxing, contemporary calf worn (£225). Windle, April cat. 32, #42, c. 1811 reprint, 2 vols., modern calf by Bayntun ($575). eBay online auction, May-June, 1793 ed., 2 vols., contemporary calf, several illus. (not sold; top bid of $405 did not meet the reserve). Boston Book Company, June online cat., 1793 ed., 2 vols., full calf worn, covers detached ($600). Robert Clark, July cat. 59, #192, 1793 ed., 2 vols., minor soiling, contemporary russia rebacked, rubbed (£400). Edwin Epps, Sept. handlist, no cat. number, 1793 ed., 2 vols. in 1, some slight water staining and foxing, half calf rebacked ($600). eBay online auctions, Nov.-Dec., pl. 2 only ($135), pl. 3 only ($100), pl. 5 only ($117.50), pl. 7 only ($137.50), pl. 10 only ($98), all illus. Heritage Book Shop, Dec. online cat., 1793 ed., 2 vols., later calf ($1250).
Hayley, Ballads, 1805. Windle, April cat. 32, #48, the pls. hand colored (possibly by Blake), half calf, modern cloth slipcase, pl. 5 illus. color (price on enquiry; acquired by Maurice Sendak); #49, 2nd sts. of pls., leaves washed, modern calf ($4750); #50, 2nd sts. of pls., lacking 1 pl. (which one is not indicated), half calf rebacked ($2000). Pl. 5 (“The Horse”) from the colored copy is reproduced in color in G. E. Bentley, Jr., The Stranger from Paradise: A Biography of William Blake (New Haven and London: Yale UP) pl. 97.
Hayley, Essay on Sculpture, 1800. Ken Spelman, March cat. 44, #35, uncut in recent half calf (£395). Marlborough Rare Books, Sept. cat. 187, #89, slight foxing, modern cloth (£290). Hayley, Life of Cowper, 1803-04. Quaritch, Jan. online cat., 1st ed., 3 vols., supplement of 1806 bound in vol. 3, some pls. with imprints trimmed off, contemporary half calf (£900). BBA, 25 Jan., #196, 1st ed., 3 vols., foxed, contemporary calf rebacked, worn (£109.25). Pacific Book Auction/eBay online auction, Feb., #182, 1st ed., 4 vols., including the Supplementary Pages (1806), contemporary calf, spines illus. (no bids on a required starting bid of $250). Windle, April cat. 32, #47, 2nd ed., 3 vols., calf rebacked ($375). Phillips auction, Bath, 30 April, #221, 2nd ed., 4 vols. with the 1806 supplement, contemporary calf worn (£70). Appelfeld Gallery, May private offer, 1st ed., 3 vols., contemporary calf rebacked ($750). McDermott Books, May online cat., 2nd ed., 3 vols., contemporary calf very worn, 2 covers detached ($550). Book Alley, Pasadena, Aug. private offer, 1st ed., 3 vols., 1st st. of pl. 4, contemporary calf rebacked ($500). eBay online auction, Oct., apparently 1st ed., 3 vols., contemporary calf, illus. (reserve not met; highest bid $416).
Hayley, Life of Cowper, New York, 1803. Hurley Books, Sept. online cat., 2 vols. in 1, pls. water stained, full calf ($100). Contains a wood engraving of Blake’s “Weather House” design; see Blake 30 (1997): 115.
Hayley, Life of Romney, 1809. G. W. Stuart, Jan. cat. 96, #66, foxed, uncut in original boards very worn, covers detached ($275). Windle, April cat. 32, #13, Blake’s pl. only ($450). James Cummins, May private offer, early (but not original) boards covered with decorative printed paper, calf spine label—a most unusual binding ($300).
Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 1803. Windle, April cat. 32, #51, small-paper issue, calf rebacked and repaired ($475); #52, small-paper issue, washed, lacking the half-title, modern slipcase ($275). Phillip Pirages, May online cat., apparently small-paper issue, contemporary calf ($750); same copy and price, Oct. cat. 48, #548. Ursus Rare Books, May online cat., apparently small-paper issue, modern half calf ($750). James Cummins, May online cat., apparently small-paper issue, contemporary calf worn ($475). Thornton’s of Oxford, June online cat., 19th-century morocco ($1055).begin page 117 |
Hogarth, The Beggar’s Opera by Hogarth and Blake, 1965. Windle, April cat. 32, #43, with the modern restrike from the pl., original folding box worn ($975).
Hogarth, Works. eBay online auction, May, Blake’s pl. only, st. not identified but said to be from a Baldwin and Cradock issue of the Works and thus in the 4th state or later ($24.99). CNY, 12 June, #43, 1822 ed., dampstained, half morocco very worn ($764). eBay online auction, Sept., said to be from an “1822” ed. (hence 4th st.), but possibly from the Quaritch c. 1880 reissue (7th st.) with the “1822” date on the title page, illus. ($301.78). eBay online auction, Oct., Blake’s pl. only, st. not identified, but the illus. shows a worn, and hence late, impression (not sold on a required opening bid of $450; not sold again on a required opening bid of $320). eBay online auction, Oct., Blake’s pl. only, st. not identified, not quite as worn as the previous lot, illus. ($51). CSK, 30 Nov., #304, undated Baldwin and Cradock issue, 155 pls. on 115 leaves, some marginal tears and spotting, contemporary half morocco worn (£822).
Hunter, Historical Journal, 1793. E. M. Lawson, June cat. 300, #22, quarto issue, probably large paper but trimmed, later calf (£2350); same copy and price, Sept. cat. 301, #30. Berkelouw, Sept. online cat., octavo issue, modern half calf ($1804); quarto issue, some foxing, quarter calf ($2265); large paper quarto issue, some foxing, uncut in (original?) boards ($5097). Buch- & Kunstantiquariat Hans Horst Koch, Sept. online cat., quarto issue ($4423). R & D Emerson, Sept. online cat., no description of issue or binding, stained and foxed ($3500). James Cummins, Sept. online cat., quarto issue, contemporary calf rebacked ($4250). Evergreen Books, Sept. online cat., no description of issue, slight foxing, “rebound” ($2500).
Josephus, Works. eBay online auction, Feb., pl. 2 only, illus. ($75). BBA, 26 April, #150, apparently Bentley’s issue A, some pls. torn, contemporary half calf very worn, covers loose (not sold; estimate £100-150). eBay online auction, Nov., Bentley’s issue A, contemporary calf very worn, upper cover loose, illus. ($123.50). eBay online auctions, Dec., pl. 1 only, worn, illus. (no bids on a required starting bid of $75); same impression, illus. ($75).
Lavater, Aphorisms. Quaritch, Jan. online cat., 1788 ed., Roger Senhouse’s copy with his notes, “old half cloth” (£600). Windle, June private offer, 1789 ed., 1st st. of the pl., half calf worn ($595). E. M. Lawson, June cat. 300, #72, 1788 ed., contemporary calf, from the collection of Douglas Cleverdon (£420). eBay online auction, Dec., 1789 ed., contemporary calf worn, bottom of spine missing, illus. ($83).
Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy. Donald Heald, Spring 2001 cat., #153, 1792 (i.e., c. 1817) ed., 3 vols. in 5, fancy contemporary morocco ($2400). Stern Academic Books, Feb. online cat., 1810 ed., 3 vols. in 5, slight foxing, 20th-century half morocco ($900). Thomas Goldwasser, Feb. online cat., 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, three-quarter morocco very worn, some covers detached ($1250). Windle, April cat. 32, #14, pl. 2 only ($200); #15, pl. 1 only ($125); #16, pl. 3 only ($125); #17, pl. 4 only ($200). CSK, 30 Nov., #293, vols. 1-2, 1810, vol. 3, 1798, 3 vols. in 5, some spotting, contemporary morocco (£1292). eBay online auction, Dec., pl. 3 only, illus. ($100).
Malkin, Father’s Memoirs of His Child, 1806. E. M. Lawson, Sept. cat. 301, #43, uncut in original boards (£550).
Monthly Magazine, vol. 4, 1797. Payson Hall Books, Feb. online cat., vols. 1-17, 1796-1804, 19th-century calf, ex-library set ($1100). Runs of this magazine that include the 1797 vol. with Blake’s engraved portrait of Joseph Wright of Derby are surprisingly rare on the market. There are also brief references to Blake in the vols. for 1801 and 1803.
Novelist’s Magazine. Vintage Books, April online cat., vols. 10-11 (Richardson, Sir Charles Grandison) only, 1783, 2 vols., calf worn and repaired ($170). Adam Mills, Nov. cat. 50, #20, vol. 8 (Cervantes, Don Quixote) only, 1782, contemporary calf (£155).
Rees, Cyclopœdia, 1820. Windle, April cat. 32, #20, Blake’s 7 pls. only ($950).
Remember Me!, 1825. Windle, April cat. 32, #105, original green morocco, lacking 1 leaf of text, title page and Blake’s pl. illus. from another copy ($8750).
Ritson, Select Collection of English Songs, 1783. Kenneth Karmiole, Jan. online cat., 3 vols., later morocco over marbled boards ($750). Windle, April cat. 32, #21, pls. 1, 4, 6-8 only ($300 the lot); June private offer, 3 vols., half morocco ($1150). John Nicholson auction, Haslemere, Surrey, 26 Sept., #1053, 3 vols., calf (no price information; estimate £80-120).
Scott, Poetical Works, 1782. Windle, April cat. 32, #22, pls. 1 and 3 only ($175 the pair).
Shakespeare, Dramatic Works, 1802. SL, 10 July, #99, 9 vols., some foxing and offsetting, 19th-century russia very worn, some covers detached (£1528).
Shakespeare, Plays, 1805. BBA, 25 Jan., #200, 1805 ed. in 10 vols., browned, some signatures loose, contemporary calf slightly worn (£483). Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, #33, 1811 ed., 9 vols., morocco-backed boards worn, pl. 2 illus. (£275).begin page 118 |
Stedman, Narrative. J. N. Bartfield, April cat. 64.1, #67, 1806 ed., 2 vols., some foxing, contemporary calf rebacked ($3000). eBay online auction, April, pl. 1 only, a bit worn and apparently from the 1813 ed., illus. ($24.99). J. Tuttle Maritime Books, May online cat., 1813 ed., 2 vols. in 1, early half calf ($1350). Peter Harrington Books, May online cat., 1813 ed., 2 vols., modern morocco (£2450). Thomas Goldwasser Books, May online cat., 1796 ed., 2 vols., contemporary calf ($1650). The Book Chest, May online cat., 1813 ed., 2 vols., three-quarter calf ($3500). California Book Auctions, San Francisco, 19 July, #138, 1796 ed., 2 vols., pls. with contemporary hand coloring, some marginal stains, later half calf ($5463). eBay online auction, Oct., pl. 5 only, stained, illus. ($39.99). eBay online auctions, Nov.-Dec., pls. 4 and 9 only, both stained, illus. ($98.77); pls. 6, 10, and 13 only, stained, illus. ($120); pls. 1, 3, and 7 only, stained, illus. (not sold); same group of pls. 1, 3, 7, illus. ($153.50); pl. 15 only, illus. ($101).
Tuer, Follies & Fashions of Our Grandfathers, 1886-87. Michael R. Thompson, Jan. Pasadena Book Fair, quarto issue, original cloth-backed boards ($650). Contains a restrike of Blake’s pl. 3, a portrait of Thomas Hayley, from William Hayley, Essay on Sculpture, 1800.
Vetusta Monumenta, vol. 2, c. 1789. CNY, 12 June, #103, 6 vols. 1767-1835, some dampstaining, modern half morocco ($940). BBA, 11 Oct., #21, 7 vols., 1747-1893, later half morocco worn (Bennett & Kerr, £460).
Virgil, Pastorals, 1821. Abbott & Holder, Jan. online cat. 339, #28, the 7th wood engraving only (Bentley pl. 11), showing a shepherd chasing a wolf, Linnell impression (£400). Windle, April cat. 32, #135, vol. 1 only, later calf, Blake’s 1st wood engraving illus. ($19,750).
Virgil, The Wood Engravings of William Blake for Thornton’s Virgil, 1977. Maggs, Feb. online cat., not numbered, inscribed “Printers’ Trials for Douglas Cleverdon from Iain Bain,” with a second impression of 1 cut, original folder (£3200). Art-At-Home.com, April online cat., 5 wood engravings only, printed on “fine laid japan” by Bain for the 1977 ed., “printer’s proof[s] outside the edition, so annotated and dated by the printer lower left,” illus. (2 “sold,” 3 at $225 each). Windle, April cat. 32, #137, original folder ($6500).
Whitaker, The Seraph. Windle, April cat. 32, #23, 3rd ed., c. 1825-28, pl. after Blake only ($125); June private offer, vol. 2 only, 1st ed., c. 1818-28, quarter calf ($325).
Wit’s Magazine, 1784. Windle, April cat. 32, #24, pl. 4 only, vertical fold, little soiled ($200).
Wollstonecraft, Original Stories. Windle, April cat. 32, #140, 1791 ed., 2nd sts. of all pls., later calf ($6500). BBA, 26 April, #147, 1791 ed., lacking the frontispiece and 1 other pl., contemporary sheep rubbed (not sold; estimate a very optimistic £600-800); same copy, 12 July, #264 (Lane Robson, £368). John Hart Books, May online cat. 43, #31, 1791 ed., some stains, early sheep (£1250). Half Moon Books, June online cat., 1796 ed., some marginal staining, old calf worn ($3500). CNY, 9 Oct., #366, 1791 ed., slight damage and stains, from the collection of Abel E. Berland, later 19th-century calf, pl. 5 (2nd st.) illus. color ($3290). James Burmester, Nov. cat. 50, Part 1, #332, 1791 ed., 1st st. of all pls., the pls. “inoffensively heightened in old watercolour,” contemporary sheep rebacked (£2500). The Burmester copy was previously offered by C. R. Johnson, Feb. 1999 cat. 42, #57, same unprepossessing description of the hand coloring, which is minimal and amateurish (£1800).
Young, Night Thoughts, 1797, colored copies. Copy U in G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Books Supplement (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1995) 272. Uncut, with the “Explanation” leaf, quarter morocco. Rumored to be briefly on the market, at an unstated but reportedly extraordinary price, in England, Sept. 2001, but withdrawn by the owner. Bentley traces the provenance up to the American dealer Laurence Witten, who purchased the book at CNY, 18 Nov. 1977, #110, fly-title to “Night the Third” illus. color ($18,150). To this I can add a subsequent trail of ownership: the dealer Justin Schiller (perhaps in partnership with Witten); a British private collector, probably by 1978.
Young, Night Thoughts, 1797, uncolored copies. Stride & Son auction, Chichester, 6 March, #66, lacking the “Explanation” leaf, spotting and soiling, later morocco worn (no price information; estimate £2000-2500). Windle, April cat. 32, #146, no mention of the “Explanation” leaf, uncut at fore-and lower-edges, signature of Caroline Bowles Southey, half calf, pl. 25 illus. ($12,500; acquired by the Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts); #147, with the “Explanation” leaf, uncut at fore- and lower-edges, 2 pls. before imprints, full morocco rehinged ($8500); #148, lacking the “Explanation” leaf, fly-title to “Night the Second” in the 1st st., “some plates trimmed,” full morocco ($7500; also acquired by the Houghton Library). Sims Reed, May online cat., recent half calf, no mention of the “Explanation” leaf (£5000); same copy and price, Nov. cat. of “British Illustrators,” #38. Appelfeld Gallery, May online cat., “Explanation leaf in facsimile,” minor spotting, later 19th-century half morocco ($8000). By the time I had the chance to see the Appelfeld copy, a week after I saw this online listing, it had been sold to a private collector; but I was told that the “Explanation” leaf was a mid-19th century type facsimile. CL, 6 June, #237, with the “Explanation” leaf, some leaves trimmed begin page 119 | slightly, contemporary morocco with endpapers watermarked 1818 (£4112); #238, lacking the “Explanation” leaf, uncut, “some heavy soiling” and some tears into the designs, later morocco, pl. 26 illus. (£2350). Simon Finch, Sept. cat. 48, #50, with the “Explanation” leaf, uncut in cloth-backed (or rebacked?) original boards, blue endpapers, covers slightly soiled (£14,000); same copy, Sims Reed, Nov. cat. of “British Illustrators,” #37 (“sold”). Phillip Pirages, Oct. cat. 46, #138, with the “Explanation” leaf, “excellent margins,” contemporary morocco, 2 pls. illus. ($19,500). Heritage Book Shop, Dec. online cat., with the “Explanation” leaf, top edge gilt, others uncut, 19th-century cloth boards with morocco spine ($10,000).
J. Quincy, Pharmacopoeia Officinalis & Extemporanea, 1733. Windle, April cat. 32, #1, inscribed “William Blake” on the title page in ink, perhaps a copy owned by the poet and artist, title page illus. (price on enquiry). For discussion and illus. of the title page, see Blake 34 (2001): 109.
J. Boehme, Works, the so-called “Law edition,” 1764-81. Simon Finch, Feb. cat. for the California Book Fair (San Francisco), #12,4 vols., “a very good copy with all parts of moveable plates intact,” contemporary calf rebacked ($13,000). The ed. of Boehme known to Blake and perhaps owned by him. Asking prices for this work, when in good condition, have been ascending rapidly.
Truchsessian Gallery. Summary Catalogue of the Pictures, . Ken Spelman, Dec. cat. 46, #16, original wrappers, title page illus. (£360). Blake visited the exhibition and recorded his enthusiastic responses to it in his letter of 23 Oct. 1804 to William Hayley.
W.P.Carey, Critical Description of the Procession of Chaucer’s Pilgrims to Canterbury, Painted by Thomas Stothard, 2nd ed., 1818. James Burmester, Nov. cat. 50, Part 1, #92, original cloth-backed boards (£110). Praises Cromek for commissioning Blake’s designs for Blair’s The Grave (p. 8n).
W. Hone, The Every-Day Book, 2 vols., London: Hunt and Clarke, 1826-27 (but probably a later reissue). The Book Chest, Aug. online cat., half calf ($225). This issue (there are many) has numbered pages rather than numbered columns; Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper” from Songs of Innocence appears in vol. 2, p. 313.
A. Cunningham, Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, 1829-33. Marlborough Rare Books, Feb. cat. 184, #115, 6 vols., 1st ed. of all vols., later half calf (£340). Contains an important early life of Blake.
R. Southey, The Doctor, 1834-47. BBA, 26 April, #214, 1st ed., 7 vols., contemporary calf worn (Jarndyce, £747.50). Contains 2 references to Blake’s contacts with William Owen.
Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Pickering ed., 1839. Windle, April cat. 32, #114, 1st issue with “The Little Vagabond,” original cloth, hinges repaired ($8750). The 1st letterpress ed. of the Songs.
W.Hosmer, Poetical Works, 1854. The Book Bin, Jan. online cat., 2 vols., original cloth ($100). Contains “Blake’s Visitants” (2: 317-18), a poem based on Cunningham’s account of Blake drawing the Visionary Heads.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, water color copies of the upper design on pl. 3 and the lower design on pl. 4. Acquired many years ago in England by Michael E. Hall, Jr., New York; exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 29 March to 24 June 2001. These “forgeries,” originally executed by Henry J. Bellars in preparation for reproductions to be published by John Camden Hotten, are not listed in the published catalogue, but they are presented as an unnumbered item, between #64 and #65, on the online “Checklist” for the show (http://www.metmuseum.org/special/William_Blake/blake_checklist.htm).
Illustrations of the Book of Job Invented and Engraved by William Blake 1825[,] Reduced in Facsimile by Alfred Dawson 1880. John Windle, June private offer, india paper with laid-paper backing sheets, loose in original blue-paper folder with the title (as above) printed on the upper cover, with a reduced reproduction of Schiavonetti’s engraving of Phillips’ portrait of Blake (acquired by R. Essick). These are the same “photo-intaglios” produced by the Typographic Etching Co. for Gilchrist, Life of Blake (1880), but printed on much larger backing sheets (32.5 × 25.4 cm.) in this separate issue. The portrait also appears in Gilchrist 1880, as the frontispiece to vol. 2, but in some copies it lacks the engraved signatures and title (“William Blake”) present in this portfolio version. Previously unrecorded.
J. Giles and J. Richmond family auction cats., 1881-1929. BBA, 22 Feb., #144,7 cats. plus several duplicates, all priced and annotated by members of the Richmond family (Quaritch, £299; subsequently acquired by R. Essick). The cats. include the original copperplate of Blake’s “Canterbury Pilgrims,” several Blake water colors and prints, and works by Palmer, Richmond, and Calvert.
W. Muir facsimiles of Blake’s illuminated books. James Cummins, May private offer, Visions of the Daughters of Albion, 1884, full morocco, original wrappers (and hence copy number) not present ($2750). Book Alley, Pasadena, Aug. private offers of the following titles (prices on request): begin page 105 |begin page 120 | There is No Natural Religion, 1886, rebound, wrappers not present; The Book of Thel, 1884, original wrappers with “Academy” written in place of a copy number (meaning a review copy for the journal Academy), letter from Muir to the editor laid in; Songs of Innocence, 1884, rebound with wrappers bound in, numbered 44 by Muir; The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1885, rebound with wrappers bound in, numbered 4 by Muir; Visions of the Daughters of Albion, 1884, on paper with an “Antique Note” watermark, original wrappers with “Academy” (see above) written in place of a copy number, note by Muir laid in stating that only 7 copies were printed on “Antique Note” paper; Songs of Experience, 1885, rebound with wrappers bound in, numbered 27 by Muir. Blackwell’s Rare Books, Nov. cat. B136, #16, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1885, morocco rebacked, original wrappers not retained (£350).
“Plucking the Flower of Joy” (design only from pl. 3 of Visions of the Daughters of Albion), “Lord Teach These Souls to Fly” (design only from pl. 2 of The Book of Urizen), and “Death on a Pale Horse,” Frederick Hollyer color reproductions. eBay online auctions, March-April, in the original folders as issued, illus. color ($24.50, $35, and $24.50). The Hollyer “platinotypes” and chromo-lithographic Blake reproductions, apparently produced in the 1910s and 1920s, are surprisingly hard to find.
Postage stamp bearing a portrait of Blake (see cover illustration), issued by the Soviet Union in 1958 at 40 kopecks to commemorate the 1957 bicentenary of his birth. eBay online auction, Jan.-Feb., illus. ($50). Lithographed(?) image 2.2 × 1.4 cm., printed in black. The portrait is based on the painting by Thomas Phillips—or more probably Louis Schiavonetti’s engraving of it first published in Robert Blair, The Grave (1808)—with the palette, brushes, and book added. The inscription in Russian on these motifs below the portrait is “English Poet and Artist.” The only other Blake postage stamp known to me was issued by Romania in 1957; for an illustration, see Blake 26 (1993): 149.
Blake’s Circle and Followers
Works are listed under artists’ names in the following order: paintings and drawings sold in groups, single paintings and drawings, letters and manuscripts, separate plates, books by (or with plates by or after) the artist.
“Milton Dictating to Ellwood the Quaker,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, #31, 3rd st., illus. (£6800).
“Portrait of Barry,” engraved by Picart after Evans, 1811. R. G. Watkins, Oct. cat. 46, #3 (£15); same impression(?), Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, #30, illus. (£250).
Barry, Letter to the Dilettanti Society, 1799. Ken Spelman, March cat. 44, #34, later half calf rebacked (£580).
“The Bride,” engraving. Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, #38, 3rd st. from the Memoir, illus. (£1600).
Calvert, Memoir, 1893. BBA, 13 Sept., #346, apparently with all pls., original cloth rebacked, worn (Sims Reed, £2185).
Album of 37 drawings for the Hesiod engravings. Pencil, pen and ink, on sheets 22.7 × 30.5 cm. showing “1809” and “1815” watermarks according to the auction cat. (but Bentley 556 states that the watermarks are dated “1809” and “1813”). Bound in morocco by M. M. Holloway. CL, 7 June, #78, 6 drawings and the binding illus. color (not sold on an exceedingly ambitious estimate of £80,000-120,000). Possibly, but far from certainly, Flaxman’s original set of finished drawings for Blake’s engravings. The delicacy of the pen lines accords with the stippled lines of Blake’s plates more than with Flaxman’s usual style of drawing. Perhaps no potential purchaser could overcome the suspicion that these may be early copies after the plates by a skilled hand other than Flaxman’s.
A Citharist Taming Devils with his Music. Pen and ink over pencil, approx. 28.5 × 29 cm. Christopher Powney, Aug. private offer (£5000).
Odysseus Asleep Laid on His Own Coast by the Phœacian Sailors. Pencil, pen and ink, 16.9 × 24.2 cm., the design identical to pl. 22 in Flaxman’s Odyssey series. CL, 7 June, #98, illus. (not sold; estimate £2000-3000). The drawing is so close to the engraving that I suspect this may be a skillful copy after the published plate.
Mrs. Matthews [i.e., “Mrs. Mathew”]. Pencil, dated to c. 1780, approx. 12 × 8 cm. on sheet 19.1 × 15.8 cm., signed with initials lower left. Verso sketch of the head of a young man in profile. Abbott and Holder, Sept. online cat. 342, #60 (£525). See illus. 8.
Letter to W.Hayley, 28 Aug. 1786,2 pp. Quaritch, July online cat. (£750).begin page 121 |
Aeschylus designs, 1831. Quaritch, Jan. online cat., some marginal foxing, half calf (£175).
Dante designs, 1807. eBay online auction, Nov., scattered foxing, original(?) boards with title label stained, illus. (not sold; high bid $56).
Flaxman, engraved portrait of, Woodman after Jackson. eBay online auction, Feb., illus. ($15.49).
Flaxman, Anatomical Studies, 1833. Marlborough Rare Books, Sept. cat. 187, #70, some foxing, original boards rebacked (£480). BBA, 8 Nov., #274, original cloth stained and worn (G. D. Perkin, £552).
Flaxman, Classical Compositions, 1870. Robert Frew, Oct. private offer, fancy full morocco (£1000).
Flaxman, Lectures on Sculpture, 1829. Robert Clark, July online cat., modern boards worn (£165). Ken Spelman, Sept. cat. 45, #65, contemporary calf rubbed (£180). Hollett & Son, Oct. cat., #36, some foxing, old morocco (£120).
Hesiod designs, engraved by Reveil, n.d. Heritage Book Shop, July online cat., some foxing, three-quarter morocco ($300).
Iliad designs, engraved by Schnorr, 1804. Marlborough Rare Books, Sept. cat. 187, #71, slight spotting, original boards (£250).
Milton, Latin and Italian Poems, 1808. G.W.Stuart, Jan. cat. 96, #75, contemporary russia very worn ($350); #95, uncut in original boards worn and rebacked, covers detached ($450); #68, bound with Hayley, Life of Milton (1796), contemporary calf very worn, covers detached ($450).
Odyssey designs. eBay online auction, Nov., engraved by Dufresne, n.d.reissue, water stained, early boards worn, illus. (not sold; minimum bid $202).
Allegory of Love, Marriage, Life and Death. Gray and brown washes, 20 × 27.5 cm. Artemis Fine Arts/C. G. Boerner, Jan. private offer (price on request). Illus. color in Burlington Magazine 143 (Jan. 2001): .
A Frieze of Michelangelesque Compositions, recto and verso. Pencil, pen, gray and brown washes, 12.1 × 40.5 cm., signed. Andrew Clayton-Payne Ltd., June private offer (price on request). Illus. color, Apollo 154 (July 2001): 11. Previously sold CL, 14 April 1992, #54 (£44,000).begin page 122 | begin page 123 |
Hamlet, Horatio and the Grave Digger—Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 1. Oil, 24 × 30 cm., datable to c. 1797. SL, 4 July, #126, illus. color (£14,300).
Lady with a Raised [Riding] Crop. Pen and ink sketch on the back of an envelope, 12.7 × 19.1 cm. James LaMantia[e] (New Orleans) at the Feb. London Water Colors and Drawings Fair (price on application). Illus. color and described—with shocking hints about the interdigitations of the equestrian and the erotic—in Country Life (25 Jan. 2001): 85.
Martha Hess. Pencil profile, 11.9 × 8.5 cm., signed with initials. Spink-Leger, July cat. “Black, Blue & White”, no item number, illus. color (£18,000).
A Naked Warrior Attacking with Raised Sword—A Scene from the Niebelungenlied. Pen and brown ink over pencil drawn on the cover sheet of a letter, 17 × 11 cm. SL, 14 June, #6, illus. color (£7200).
Portrait of a Lady. Pencil on a letter addressed to Mrs. James Moore, drawing 25 × 20 cm., datable to c. 1810-25. SL, 4 July, #174, illus. color (£7200).
Study of a Male Nude. Pen and brown ink, 19 × 12.5 cm., datable to c. 1795. SL, 4 July, #168, illus. color (£3000).
Themistocles at the Court of Admetus. Pen and ink, gray washes, 31 × 39.5 cm. on paper with an 1805 watermark but probably dating from c. 1815, given by William Roscoe to Dawson Turner in 1825 (according to an inscription by Turner on the verso). SL, 14 June, #8, illus. color (£40,750). Previously sold SL, 19 March 1981, #84, illus. (£7500). See illus. 9.
“Evening Thou Bringest All,” lithograph. Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, #1, 1st st. on original mount, illus. (£5000).
Bell’s British Theatre, 1791-95. BBA, 26 April, #149, 31 vols., contemporary calf worn (Barnaby Rudge, £184).
Bible, Macklin’s ed., 1800. eBay online auction, Jan., 7 vols. (including Revelation, often lacking from sets), contemporary morocco worn, binding, 2 pls., and 1 title page illus. (reserve not met; highest bid $4000); same copy, Aug. (no bids on a required starting bid of $10,000). eBay online auction, Sept., 6 vols. (apparently lacking Revelation), “original binding” (whatever that means), covers detached, several illus. ($430.78).
Bonnycastle, Introduction to Astronomy, 1787. Steven Temple Books, Aug. online cat., old calf worn ($350).
Boydell, American Edition of Boydell’s Illustrations of the Dramatic Works of Shakspeare, 1852. Swann, 14 Dec. 2000, #229, 2 vols., 100 pls., half calf very worn ($2990).
Boydell, Collection of Prints . . . Illustrating the Dramatic Works of Shakspeare, 1803. Swann, 14 Dec. 2000, #230, vol. 1 only, 46 pls., 11 pls. very dampstained, foxed, calf very worn ($1840). eBay online auction, March, “Macbeth, Act I, Scene III” only, Caldwell after Fuseli, impression showing some wear, illus. ($201.50). Simon Finch, Sept. cat. 48, #57, 96 pls., 2 vols., some spotting, contemporary half sheep worn (£7000). eBay online auction, Sept., “Hamlet, Act I, Scene IV” only, Thew after Fuseli, illus. (very pricey at $760). Bernard Shapero, Nov. cat. “Fifty Fine Books,” #7, 2 vols., “large paper issue” (72 × 56 cm.) with the addition of “proof etchings in various states of finish” for all pls. based on the Shakespeare Gallery paintings, 196 pls. in all, contemporary morocco with minor repairs, “Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act IV, Scene I” after Fuseli illus. (£16,500); same copy and price co-listed in Sims Reed, Nov. cat. of “British Illustrators,” #43, bindings illus. color.
Cowper, Poems, 1811. eBay online auction, Nov., 2 vols., contemporary morocco, bindings and 2 pls. not by Fuseli illus. ($129.50).
Darwin, Botanic Garden, 1824. Hugh Anson-Cartwright, Feb. online cat., bound with The Temple of Nature, 1824, cloth ($450 Canadian). Contains an unsigned re-engraving of Fuseli’s “Fertilization of Egypt,” first engraved by Blake for the 1791 ed.
Darwin, Temple of Nature, 1803. eBay online auction, March, some soiling, folds, and tears, quarter calf very worn, illus. ($107.50). Stuart Bennett, May cat. 7, #63, some spotting, later half calf, 1 pl. illus. ($550).
Fuseli, Lectures on Painting, 1801 and 1820. See under “Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake,” above.
Homer, Iliad and Odyssey, trans. Pope, Du Roveray ed., 1805-06. BBA, 28 June, #120, 12 vols., some browning, contemporary calf worn (R.M. Franklin, £92).
Hume, History of England, 1852. eBay online auction, Nov., Fuseli’s pl. only, foxed, illus. ($4.99).
Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy, 1789-98. Windle, April cat. 32, #12, 23 loose pls. after Fuseli (prices on enquiry); #18, profile portrait of Fuseli engraved by Bromley ($200).
Milton, Paradise Lost, Du Roveray ed., 1802. G. W. Stuart, Jan. cat. 96, #102, 2 vols., apparently the small-paper issue, begin page 124 | some foxing, later calf ($750). John Price, June cat. of “Recent Acquisitions,” #93, 2 vols., apparently the small-paper issue, contemporary morocco (£650).
A group of 8 landscapes, including views of Hampshire, Balcombe, and Ffestiniog. Pencil, chalk, colored chalk, 36.9 × 54.6 cm. and smaller, 1 signed, some variously dated between 1814 and 1848. CL, 21 Nov., #54, 1 illus. (£2115).
The Barley Cart. Oil, 49.5 × 60.5 cm., signed and dated 1865. SL, 26 June, #381, from the Leverhulme Collection, illus. color (£80,500). Possibly an auction record for a work by Linnell.
Coastal Landscape. Oil, 39.4 × 54 cm., signed and dated 1834. CE, 30 Oct., #19, illus. ($5875).
Finchley Common. Black and white chalk on blue paper, 23.1 × 33.4 cm., signed and dated 1805. Spink-Leger, July cat. “Black, Blue & White,” no item number, illus. color (£12,000).
Head of a Young Woman. Pencil, 20.3 × 15.2 cm. Abbott & Holder, April online cat. 339, #60 (£125).
Landscape with Buildings. Slight and rough pencil sketch, 9.5 × 13.3 cm. eBay online auction, June, illus. (no bids on a required starting bid of $95).
The Morning Walk. Oil, 76.5 × 63.5 cm., signed and dated 1847. Phillips auction, Knowle, 10 Jan., #257, with Linnell, Portrait of Elizabeth Gibbons, no information on medium, size, or date (estimate £1500-2500; no price information).
Portrait Miniature of a Young Gentleman, attributed to Linnell. 10.5 × 7.9 cm., no further information on medium. CL, 6 Nov., #106 (£470).
Portrait Miniature of a Young Man. 10.8 cm. high, no further information on size or medium. Bonham’s auction, London, 30 Oct., #493, illus. (£3200). Tim Linnell tells me that the sitter was probably Lord Francis Leveson Gower, painted c. 1820.
Portrait of W. Carter of Birmingham. Oil, 39 × 32 cm., signed. Phillips auction, Knowle, 10 Jan., #245 (estimate £300-500; no price information).
The Rest. Oil, 71 × 94 cm. SL, 6 June, #16, illus. color (£6000).
Road with Sheep, Shepherd, and Windmill, attributed to Linnell. Oil, 12.3 × 19.3 cm., signed. eBay online auction, Oct.-Nov., framed and glazed, illus. color ($615). Previously offered on eBay, April 2000 (reserve not met; high bid $860).
Sheep at Noon. Oil, 24.5 × 38.5 cm., datable to the 1840s. Phillips auction, Leeds, 20 Nov., #347, illus. color online (£5800). A later rendition of the same design Linnell etched in 1818.
Shoreham, Kent. Pencil heightened with white, 45 × 55 cm., signed. SL, 21 March, #223 (not sold; estimate £1000-1500).
Sunset and River. Oil, 21.5 × 26.5 cm., signed and dated “60.” SL, 14 June, #62, illus. color (£10,800).
Underriver—The Golden Valley. Pen and brown ink, brown washes, 28 × 27.5 cm., signed, on paper with an 1812 water-mark. SL, 14 June, #36, illus. color (£30,400). Probably a record auction price for a drawing by Linnell. See illus. 10.
A View of a Sunset, attributed to Linnell. Oil, 23.5 × 32.5 cm. SL, 4 July, #91, illus. color (£4560).
Woodcutters in Windsor Forest. Pencil and white chalk on blue-gray paper, 14.3 × 18.1 cm., signed with initials, datable begin page 125 | to 1815. Spink-Leger, July cat. “Black, Blue & White,” no item number, illus. color (£5000).
“Woodcutting,” engraved by Prior after Linnell, 1851. eBay online auction, April, illus. ($36.99).
The John Linnell Archive of letters, papers, and business records, formerly in the possession of Joan Linnell Ivimy. Acquired Jan. by the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (evaluated at £185,000). See comments in the introduction to this sales review.
MORTIMER, JOHN HAMILTON
Portrait of Mr. Seward, attributed to Mortimer. Oil, 76.2 × 63.5 cm. CL, 15 June, #14, illus. color (£41,125).
“Bardolph” and “Cassandra,” 2 Shakespeare character portraits, etchings. BBA, 31 May, #129, “Bardolph” an early st. before border, printed in brown, some staining on both pls. (£260).
“Battle of Agincourt,” Burke after Mortimer. BBA, 29 March, #63, center fold, with 8 other prints by other artists (Grosvenor Prints, £126).
“Death on a Pale Horse,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, #106, cut close right and left, dust staining top margin, dust staining and creases lower margin, illus. (£5500).
“The Fishermen,” Blyth after Mortimer. SL, 1 May, #8, inscribed “First Proof,” illus. (not sold on a brave estimate of £1000-1200, which would have set a record for any etching by Blyth).
“Pastoral,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, #105, illus. (£175).
Abergavenny from Sugar Loaf. Water color, 14.5 × 32.5 cm. CSK, 3 May, #195, with a study of trees attributed to John Varley, both from the collection of Julia Richmond (not sold; estimate £400-600).
The Bay of Naples. Oil, 19.4 × 41.6 cm., signed, first exhibited in 1855. CL, 21 Nov., #53, illus. color (not sold; estimate £12,000-18,000).
Children Gathering Apples—The Patriarch of the Orchard. Water color and body color, 19.5 × 42 cm., first exhibited in 1862. SL, 14 June, #14, illus. color (not sold; estimate £20,000-30,000).
Cliff Top View in Cornwall. Black chalk, 10.5 × 17.8 cm., inscribed “Cornwall 28,” datable to c. 1848-58. Spink-Leger, July cat. “Black, Blue & White,” no item number, illus. color (£10,000).
Dolbadarn Castle, Llanberis, North Wales. Water color, 34.8 × 47 cm., datable to c. 1835-36. Agnew’s, 128th Annual Exhibition of English Watercolours and Drawings, March, #93, illus. color (£75,000).
The Gypsy Dell—Moonlight. Water color with scratching out, 32.4 × 47.6 cm., first exhibited 1847. Agnew’s, 128th Annual Exhibition of English Watercolours and Drawings, March, #94, illus. color (£65,000).
A Poet. Water color and body color, 19.5 × 42 cm., signed, datable to the early 1860s. SL, 29 Nov., #14, illus. color (not sold: estimate £40,000-60,000).
Sabrina, based on Milton’s Comus. Water color and body color, 16.5 × 23.5 cm., datable to c. 1855-56. SL, 14 June, #34, illus. color (£75,000).
Shoreham. Brown washes over pencil, 8.5 × 11.5 cm., datable to c. 1832-33. SL, 14 June, #40, illus. color (£20,050).
A group of Palmer’s etchings, sold individually. Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, all illus., #41, “The Willow,” 2nd st. (£450); #42, “The Herdsman’s Cottage,” 2nd st. (£520); #43, “Christmas,” 4th st. (£1400); #44, “The Vine” or “Plumpy Bacchus,” between 1st and 2nd sts., inscribed “Trial Proof,” from the Keynes collection (£5500); #45, “The Morning of Life,” 7th st. (£750); #46, “The Tower,” 7th st. printed in 1954 (£750); #47, “The Homeward Star,” 2nd st. (£275); #48, “Moeris & Galatea,” 2nd st. (£250); #49, “Opening the Fold,” 8th st. (£750); #50, “The Cypress Grove,” 2nd st. (£275); #51, “Sepulchre,” 2nd st. (£225).
“Early Ploughman,” etching. Windle, April cat. 32, #410, 4th st., framed ($1250).
“The Rising Moon,” etching. Abbott and Holder, Sept. online cat. 342, #241, “probably” 7th st. (£875).
Dickens, Pictures from Italy, 1846. T. Meyers, June online cat., original cloth “slightly cocked” ($300).
Etchings for the Art-Union of London, 1872. BBA, 29 March, #114, original cloth worn (Campbell Fine Art, £483). Contains Palmer’s “The Morning of Life.”begin page 126 |
Hamerton, Etching & Etchers, 1868. BBA, 22 Feb., #198, original roan-backed cloth, Palmer’s “The Early Ploughman” illus. (Sims Reed, £747).
Palmer, Life and Letters of S. Palmer, 1892. Windle, April cat. 32, #408, original cloth ($750). eBay online auction, April, original cloth worn, cover illus. ($180.08). Ursus Books, June online cat., no information on binding ($500). Bruce Holdsworth, June online cat., no information on binding (£395). Contains “The Willow.”
Palmer, Samuel Palmer: A Memoir, 1882. BBA, 20 Sept., #253, some foxing, original cloth (Campbell Fine Art, £550).
Songs and Ballads of Shakespeare Illustrated by the Etching Club, 1853. Windle, April cat. 32, #407, de luxe issue with Palmer’s “The Vine” or “Plumpy Bacchus” on laid india, margins of pls. foxed, original vellum ($800).
3 albums of drawings, including a portrait of Samuel Palmer. SL, 21 March, #219, with drawings from the 1830s to the 1880s, mostly studies for portraits, 5 illus. color, including the Palmer portrait (£9600 on an estimate of £4000-6000). See illus. 11.
A group of 5 drawings on 3 sheets, one dated 1829. 2 pen and ink, 2 water color, 1 pencil, various sizes. SL, 4 July, #145, 1 sheet with 3 drawings illus. (£2160).
“Boswood’s Thigh” and the Right Arm of Michelangelo’s “David.” Pen and ink, red chalk, 27.2 × 18.8 cm., signed with initials and dated “1828.” Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #6, illus. color (£20,000).
A Dancing Female Figure, a Study for a Fairy in “The Witch.” Pencil, pen and ink, water color, 15.2 × 12.7 cm., signed with initials and dated “1829.” Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #13, illus. color (£3500).
Elijah at the Mouth of the Cave. Pen and brown ink, 18.8 × 14.3 cm., inscribed “1827” on verso. Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #2, illus. color (£16,000).
The Entombment. Oil, 39 × 53.5 cm., signed and dated 1840. SL, 29 Nov., #183, illus. color (not sold; estimate £3000-5000).
Figures in a Landscape, perhaps Susanna and the Elders. Pen and brown ink over pencil, partly squared, 22.7 × 17.5 cm., signed with initials and dated “1828.” Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #4, illus. color (£16,000).
Hagar and Ishmael in the Wilderness. Pencil, pen and ink, chalk, wash, squared in pencil, 44.5 × 32.6 cm., verso sketches of a female head, datable to c. 1830-33. Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #14, illus. color (£25,000).
Lady Macbeth. Pen and ink over pencil with extensive annotations by Richmond, 33 × 21 cm., datable to the late 1820s. SL, 21 March, #221, illus. color (not sold; estimate £800-1200).
A Male Nude Figure in a Rocky Landscape. Pen and ink, water color, 19.4 × 10.2 cm., signed with initials and dated “1829.” Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #12, illus. color (£1500).
A Male Nude Figure, Possibly Prometheus. Pen and ink, body color, 8.3 × 3.5 cm., datable to c. 1829. Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #11, illus. color (£850).
The Old Shepherd. Oil, 59.5 × 49.5 cm., signed and dated 1839. SL, 4 July, #132, illus. color (£5040).
A Profile Self Portrait. Pencil, pen and ink, 13.2 × 19.7 cm., datable to the 1830s. Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #17, illus. color (£7500).
Self Portrait, Aged 21. Gouache on ivory, oval, 9 × 7 cm., signed and dated 1830. SL, 4 July, #127, illus. color (£53,400 on an estimate of only £4000-6000). Very probably a record price for a portrait by Richmond.begin page 127 |
A Shepherd Waking. Pencil and brown ink, 14.3 × 20.5 cm., datable to c. 1829-30. Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #8, illus. color (£3500).
The Shrieking Owl. Pen and ink, gray and brown washes, 28.5 × 36.5 cm., datable to the late 1820s. SL, 21 March, #220, illus. color (£28,100 to Agnew’s on an estimate of £4000-6000). Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #9, titled A Recumbent Youth Startled by an Owl, illus. color (£55,000). Record prices for a drawing by Richmond.
A Study of a Man’s Neck and Shoulders, “From Boswood.” Pencil, 22.7 × 24.5 cm., signed with initials and dated “1828.” Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #7, illus. color (£1500).
A Study of a Man’s Right Leg. Ink over pencil, 17.9 × 7.3 cm. Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #1, illus. color (£2750).
Two Figures in Classical Robes. Pen and brown ink, 18.7 × 23.9 cm., datable to c. 1839. Spink-Leger, July cat. “Black, Blue & White,” no item number, illus. color (£1800).
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, after Leonardo. Pencil, 17.0 × 12.7 cm., inscribed “1829” on verso. Agnew’s, Oct. Richmond cat., #3, illus. color (£1250).
The Witch. Oil, “mixed media on paper laid on card,” 10 × 12.5 cm., exhibited at the R.A. in 1830. SL, 4 July, #128, illus. color (£80,500). Probably a record price for a work by Richmond. An outstanding example of Richmond’s early work when he was influenced by Blake and Palmer.
A group of 5 notebooks and account books, including references to some of Richmond’s Shoreham period works. SL, 4 July, #148 (£1920).
A notebook or diary concerning Richmond’s life in Shoreham, 1825-27, with accounts and “some sketches loosely bound in.” Album, 17.4 × 12 cm. SL, 4 July, #146, 2 p. illus. color (£2640).
A sketchbook, 150 pp., with 28 pencil and 15 pen and ink sketches, c. 1773. Quaritch, July cat. 1288, some leaves detached, original sheepskin (£2750).
Figure Study of a Lady and Study for Dido Bids Farewell to Aeneas. 2 sheets, pencil, 26 × 33 cm. and 26 × 36 cm. SL, 21 March, #142, Study for Dido illus. color (£2160).
Satan: A Study for the Fall of the Rebel Angels. Pen, graywash, 25 × 17.6 cm. Spink-Leger, July cat. “Black, Blue & White,” no item number, illus. color (£9000).
Study of Two Figures: One Seated the Other Standing. Pencil, 26.2 × 16.5 cm. Swann, 25 Jan., #210, illus. ($1840—a considerable price for little more than a doodle).
Whirlwind of Lovers. Pen and brown ink, 25.4 × 36.8 cm. The Orange Chicken (a New York gallery), Jan. private offer (price on request). Illus. color in Apollo 153 (Jan. 2001): .
Design for a Memorial Tablet. Pencil, pen, brown wash, 10.2 × 12.1 cm., signed “T. Stothard,” datable to the 1780s. eBay online auction, March, illus. ($27.66). The signature is probably one of the so-called “Spencer signatures” added to a large number of drawings—some by Stothard, some not—by the London dealer Walter T. Spencer c. 1900.
An Enchantress Veiled in Black, perhaps Mary Queen of Scots. Water color, 10.2 × 5.1 cm., signed. Abbott and Holder, Aug. online cat. 341, #87 (£245).
The Expulsion from Eden, attributed to Stothard. Oil, 16.5 × 12.7 cm. eBay online auction, Oct., framed, illus. color ($1525).
Man Holding a Cornucopia at a Classical Altar. Gray wash, 10.2 × 17.8 cm., framed. eBay online auction, Aug., illus. (undisclosed reserve price not met; top bid $177.50).
An Old Man Bowing before an Angel, attributed to Stothard. Oil, 33 × 25.4 cm. oval, framed. eBay online auction, Feb., illus. color ($1230). The attribution to Stothard is supported by many details in the handling of the paint and the figure of the old man, but the face of the angel is not characteristic and may have been overpainted by another hand.
Three Women Disputing, a page of sepia ink studies. 17.8 × 22.9 cm. Abbott and Holder, Aug. online cat. 341, #88 (£450).
“Amyntor and Theodora,” Tomkins after Stothard, c. 1800. eBay online auction, Nov., color printed with hand tinting, cut close to image right and left, imprint trimmed off, some marginal staining, illus. color (a bargain at $49.95).
“The Benevolent Tar” and “Maternal Enjoyment,” 2 pls. by J. Young after Stothard. O’Shea Gallery, May online cat., color-printed mezzotints with hand coloring, framed, “Maternal Enjoyment” illus. color (£8100—a ludicrously high asking price).
“Henry VIII, Act I, Scene IV,” Taylor after Stothard for Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery. Finbar Macdonnell, May online cat., illus. ($400).begin page 128 |
“John Gilpin,” Worthington after Stothard, pub. Pickering, 1825. An obscure New England auction of Pickering publications, May, open-letter “Proof” (so inscribed), slight tears in margins, pasted to a backing mat of suspicious quality (J. Windle for R. Essick, $87). A. C. Coxhead, Thomas Stothard, R.A. (London: Bullen, 1906), lists only an 1830 version of this panoramic print, or possibly another of the same title, “published by Jennings” (219).
“The Lost Apple,” lithograph. Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, #9, 1st printing on original mount, illus. (£1100).
“Pilgrimage to Canterbury,” Schiavonetti after Stothard. Stuart Bennett, May cat. 7, #45, an impression dated 1 Aug. 1810 before the pl. was finished by Heath, “with biographical text on Schiavonetti in English and French” ($1000; acquired by J. Windle for stock).
“Portrait of Stothard,” engraved by Meyer after Jackson, 1817. R. G. Watkins, Oct. cat. 46, #49 (£15).
“Portrait of Thaddeus Kosciusko,” Sharp after Stothard. eBay online auction, Oct., illus. ($100.95).
“The Wellington Shield,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Nov. cat. 9, #118, “proof impression” of the center of the shield, from the collection of Sir Thomas Lawrence, illus. (£5000).
Akenside, Pleasures of the Imagination, 1795. eBay online auction, Dec., full calf worn (not sold; required minimum bid $50).
Bell’s Edition of the Poets of Great Britain. See under Letter-press Books with Engravings by and after Blake, above.
The Bijou. Claude Cox, Aug. cat. 145, #223, 1829 ed., original silk (“sold”); #224, 1828 ed., original boards (£55); #225, 1828 ed., original boards (£55).
Bray, Life of Stothard, 1851, extra-illus. copies only. Sims Reed, Nov. cat. of “British Illustrators,” extended to 2 vols. with the addition of 335 engravings after Stothard (including many proofs) and 12 drawings and water colors attributed to him, full morocco, 1 water color illus. color (£2500).
Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress, 1840. Howes Bookshop, Feb. cat. 290, #74, contemporary morocco (£120).
Burns, Illustrations of the Poems of, [London]: Cadell and Davies, and Edinburgh: W. Creech, 1814. eBay online auction, April, full calf, original wrappers bound in, binding illus. ($52). Apparently an issue of the 12 pls., without accompanying letterpress text, that first appeared in the London 1813 ed. of Burns’ Works published by Cadell and Davies.
Catullus, Tibullus, & Propertius, Works, Pickering ed., 1824. Howes Bookshop, Feb. cat. 290, #397, original cloth repaired (£45).
Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1809. eBay online auction, Dec., 4 vols., spotted, contemporary calf, illus. ($204).
Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, 1790. eBay online auction, Oct., 2 vols., some staining, contemporary calf very worn, spines split, covers detached, illus. ($261).
Macneill, Poetical Works, 1801. Claude Cox, Feb. cat. 142, #57, 2 vols. in 1, modern half calf (£85).
Milton, Paradise Lost, Pickering ed. G. W. Stuart, Jan. cat. 96, #103, 1828 issue, original cloth ($250); #104, issue with the 1835 engraved title page, original cloth ($225).
Milton, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, Comus, etc., 1823. Robert Clark, July cat. 59, #129, browned, contemporary half calf worn (£35). Marlborough Rare Books, Dec. cat. 188, #188, contemporary calf (£60).
Ritson, The English Anthology, 1793-94. CNY, 9 Oct., #305, 3 vols., some spotting and a few marginal repairs, uniformly bound in morocco with Ritson, Fairy Tales, 1831, which does not contain pls. after Stothard ($705).
Rogers, Italy, 1793. eBay online auction, Oct., some staining of pls., contemporary calf worn, several illus. (no bids on a required minimum of $19.99).
Rogers, Poems, 1834. BBA, 25 Jan., #234, slight foxing, foreedge painting possibly of Westminster Abbey, contemporary calf (£149.50). Howes Bookshop, Feb. cat. 290, #429, with Rogers, Italy, 1830, 2 vols., some foxing, full morocco c. 1850 (£250).
Thomson, Seasons, 1794. Claude Cox, May cat. 144, #89, pls. browned, later calf (£25). Paul Goldman, June online cat., early calf “slightly tender” ($64).
Townshend, Poems, 1796. John Price, Sept. cat., #123, contemporary calf worn, 1 pl. illus. (£150).
Walton, Complete Angler, 1836. SNY, 29 Nov., #132, 2 vols., with an album of additional impressions of 53 pls., full morocco ($5700).
Young, Night Thoughts. Claude Cox, Feb. cat. 142, #99, 1802 ed., contemporary calf slightly worn (£32). Thorn Books, Sept. online cat., 1802 ed., full calf ($250). James Cummins, Sept. online cat., 1798 ed., modern three-quarter calf ($375). Kazoo Books, Sept. online cat., 1800 ed., full calf ($300).
A Man Carrying a Plastercast [sic]. Water color, 42 × 30 cm., signed and dated 1842. SL, 21 March, #227 (not sold; estimate £1000-1500).
Portrait of William William, with a portrait of Mrs. William, a pair. Gouache on vellum, each 10 × 7.5 cm. SL, 4 July, #139, Mrs. William illus. color (not sold; estimate £6000-8000).
Appendix: New Information on Blake’s Engravings
Listed below are substantive additions or corrections to Roger R. Easson and Robert N. Essick, William Blake: Book Illustrator, vol. 1, Plates Designed and Engraved by Blake (1972); Essick, The Separate Plates of William Blake: A Catalogue (1983); and Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations (1991). Abbreviations and citation styles follow the respective volumes, with the addition of “Butlin” according to the List of Abbreviations at the beginning of this sales review. Newly discovered impressions of previously recorded published states of Blake’s engravings are listed only for the rarer separate plates.
William Blake: Book Illustrator, vol. 1
Note: Revisions pertain only to information about Blake’s plates, not to the bibliographic descriptions of the books.
Nothing to report.
The Separate Plates of William Blake: A Catalogue
P. 63, “Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims,” impression 3D. According to his Notebook in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Francis Douce acquired this impression in Nov. 1824. See J. B. Mertz, “A Contemporary Reference to William Blake in the Notebooks of Francis Douce,” Notes and Queries 245, N.S. 47 (Sept. 2000): 306-08.
Pp. 98-101, “Laocoön.” In The Stranger from Paradise: A Biography of William Blake (New Haven: Yale UP, 2001), G. E. Bentley, Jr., reprints the references to Blake, c. 1859 to 1861, from the journal of John Clark Strange. In an undated entry, Strange wrote that Samuel Palmer “shewed me a fine engr. of Blakes of the Laocoon with writing surrounding being Blakes sentiments on many subjects which P asking him about he had given him one of the prints saying at the same time ‘you will find my creed there’” (498). This could not have been impression A (Keynes Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum), owned by John Linnell in the mid-nineteenth century, but it may have been impression B (Essick collection), the history of which is unknown until 1928. Alternatively, this may have been a third impression, untraced and otherwise unrecorded.
Pp. 111-22, “George Cumberland’s Card.” For a previously unrecorded impression, see under “Separate Plates and Plates in Series,” above.
Pp. 151-54,[e] “Rev. John Caspar Lavater,” 3rd st. For an additional (and probably early) impression, see under “Separate Plates and Plates in Series” in the sales review, above.
Pp. 163-64, “The Idle Laundress” and its companion, “Industrious Cottager,” both after Morland. “A Catalogue of Prints,” issued by the publisher John Raphael Smith and datable to no earlier than 1798 on the basis of the imprints of the works listed, includes these two plates by Blake as nos. 195-96 on p. 6, each priced at 4s. For a reproduction of the Smith catalogue, see Ellen G. D’Oench, “Copper into Gold”: Prints by John Raphael Smith 1751-1812 (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1999), following p. 258. The price of 6s., which I quoted from Hassell’s Memoirs of Morland (1806), may have been the original price for each print upon first publication in 1788. Unfortunately, Hassell does not give his source.
Pp. 242-43, “A Lady Embracing a Bust.” See the “Additional Entry” under “William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations,” below.
William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations
Additional Entry: [Elizabeth Blower], Maria, a Novel, 2 vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1785). G. E. Bentley, Jr., has discovered that this plate, previously known only in four separate impressions but presumed to be a book illustration from the 1780s, was published as the frontispiece in vol. 1 of this novel attributed to Blower. For full details, see Bentley, “William Blake and His Circle: A Checklist of Publications and Discoveries in 2000,” Blake 34 (2001): 138-40, with the plate (image only) reproduced from an unrecorded source. For states of the plate and a reproduction, see Essick, The Separate Plates of William Blake, 242-43 and Fig. 110.
Pp. 41-42, Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy, 1789-98. A manuscript in the John Murray Archive, London, headed “Expenses Attending the Engravings of Lavater as well as sundry other Engravings herein specified during the years 1787 to 1799—Inclusive,” records a payment of £39.19s.6d. to “Blake.” Since the only plates by Blake published by Murray during that period are those for Lavater’s Physiognomy, the amount specified is probably the total Blake was paid for engraving his four plates in the book. The page showing both the heading quoted above and the payment to Blake is begin page 130 | reproduced as pl. 23 in William Zachs, The First John Murray and the Late Eighteenth-Century London Book Trade (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998).
P. 47, Darwin, The Botanic Garden, pl. 1, “Fertilization of Egypt.” I suggest that the sistrum pictured in the plate “might be vaguely suggested” in Fuseli’s preliminary pencil sketch “by a few lines forming a rough triangle” below and to the right of the figure’s right foot. This is demonstrably wrong, for the musical instrument is clearly (if somewhat lightly) outlined by fine pencil lines immediately to the right of (but not below) the figure’s right foot in the drawing. The instrument is not mentioned in Darwin’s poem or his notes to it.
P. 73, Stedman, Narrative, pl. 5, “The skinning of the Aboma Snake.” Alexander Gourlay has brought to my notice the fact that the two pine-like trees, projecting above the undergrowth on the left side of the plate and just above the head of the man standing lower left, print much more darkly in the 1806 and 1813 eds. than in the 1796 ed. This may be due only to darker inking in the later impressions, but some work may have been done on the copperplate itself to strengthen the lines defining these trees. If so, then the 1806 and 1813 impressions represent a second state of the plate.
P. 101, drawings of Flaxman’s Hesiod designs from the collection of H. D. Lyon. For the attempted sale of these drawings and comments on their style and attribution, see the first entry under Flaxman, above.