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All Religions Are One. Published by the Trianon Press for the William Blake Trust, July 1970. Distributed throughout the world by Bernard Quaritch Ltd., new address 5-8 Lower John Street, Golden Square, London W1V 6AB. Description and bibliographical statement by Sir Geoffrey Keynes.
For a variety of reasons Blake’s early tractate, All Religions Are One, is of the greatest interest. There is only one known copy of the work in existence, the title-page coming to light only recently; this facsimile is therefore the first publication of this delightful and important little book. It consists of ten small etched plates, all printed in shades of green, touched here and there with brown or grey, averaging in size only 5.5 × 4 cm.: the frontispiece, depicting John the Baptist, a title-page, an “Argument” and seven “Principles.” In these Principles Blake formulates some of the ideas to which he returned in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Blake identifies the Poetic Genius, that is God, with “Divine Humanity.” Man is therefore uniform, yet with infinite variety in the individuals. All men, thus derived from a universal Poetic Genius, have but one religion, though each nation has its different beliefs according to its needs.
Technically the background to the plates is most intriguing. They were almost certainly etched soon after the death, in 1787, of Blake’s brother, Robert, and just before those of the first illuminated book, Songs of Innocence, dated 1789. It was during this period that Blake was in doubt about the technique he should use for his “illuminated” printing and he received “instruction in a vision” from the spirit of his brother, Robert. These plates are therefore the first ones done by the illuminated-printing technique Blake perfected in the great prophetic books.
The reproduction in the facsimile is by two- and three-colour collotype, with the occasional addition, by hand, of water-colour washes through stencils. For all the begin page 34 | plates, except the title-page, the Trianon Press worked from ektachromes supplied by the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, corrected from artist’s colour-guides made at the library; the title-page was reproduced from the original, lent by Sir Geoffrey Keynes. To obtain a faithful reproduction, the entire text was silhouetted by hand on the collotype negatives. The Trianon Press facsimile is printed on pure Arches rag paper, matching the colour of the original, on leaves the size of the title-page, 30 × 23.5 cm., which is slightly smaller than the Huntington plates.
There are 636 copies offered for sale:
36 copies numbered I to XXXVI, each containing a set of proofs shewing the progressive stages of the collotype printing of the plates, with an extra set of the finished plates; bound in full morocco with a leather-edged slip-case covered in hand-marbled paper. £50 or $120
600 copies numbered 1 to 600 bound in quarter morocco with hand-marbled paper sides and a matching slip-case. £18 or $43.20
The Double Elephant Folio & Quarto Co., Inc., and the San Vito Press of Seattle have published William Blake’s Illustrations to The Grave (1969; folio, paper covers, about $5.00). It contains in the following order (1) Cromek’s two-page “Advertisement” (but not Fuseli’s two-page introduction) and Blake’s dedicatory poem “To the Queen”; (2) the portrait of Blake painted by T. Phillips and Blake’s twelve designs for Blair’s The Grave, all executed by Schiavonetti; (3) Keynes’ text of “The Caverns of the Grave I’ve seen” (with a typographical error in line 17, “Far” for “For,” to be found in Ruthven Todd’s Blake in the Dell Laurel Poetry Series), though the publishers nowhere indicate that the poem is from Blake’s Notebook and not from The Grave; (4) the notes “Of the Designs” that Damon attributes to Fuseli, Bentley and Nurmi (more probably) to B. H. Malkin; and finally, (5) a note from the publishers, who explain that their book “has been printed by photo-offset lithography from the original edition of 1804 [i.e., 1808]. It is number three in the Double Elephant-San Vito Press series.” The reproductions were made from a copy of The Grave in the University of Washington Suzzallo Library. The order of the designs is that of the first edition—in his edition (Brown University Press, 1963) Damon followed the order stipulated by the writer of “Of the Designs”—except that the order of the last two designs is reversed without explanation.
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., has published William Blake: Jerusalem, Selected Poems and Prose, edited with introduction, notes, and commentary by Hazard Adams, in the series of Rinehart Editions. There are xxxv + 747 pages, about 80 pages of which are the editor’s. The text is modernized except for capitalization. Two designs are reproduced, “Ezekiel’s Vision” on the cover and “Ancient of Days” as a frontispiece. $1.75.