SOTHEBY’S: COPY C OF THE [FIRST] BOOK OF URIZEN
From Sotheby’s Catalogue / of / Valuable Printed Books / and / a Few Manuscripts / from the renowned Library / Formerly at Britwell Court / Burnam, Bucks / The Property of the Trustees of the Late S. R. Christie-Miller, Esq.:
|First Day||16||Monday, 29th March, 1971|
35 Blake (William) The First Book of Urizen, 25 plates on 25 unwatermarked begin page 70 | leaves (of 28—without plates 7, 8 and 16), PRINTED IN BRILLIANT COLOURS with thick opaque pigments and finished in places with watercolour washes, the text printed in sepia (first 2 plates) and green, brown morocco gilt, g.e., by Francis Bedford, the Gaisford copy (sale in our rooms 23 April 1890, lot 191) 4to (303 mm by 240 mm) Lambeth, printed by Will. Blake, 1794
*⁎*Copy C in Keynes & Wolf’s census (William Blake’s Illuminated Books, New York, 1953), where seven copies (and two fragments) are recorded: of these only two are complete, this being the only other copy which contains plate 4 (“Muster around the bleak desarts . . . ”).
The word “First” appears in the title, Preludium, and in the colophon; the lines “The web is a female in embrio . . . ” (plate 25) and “All the seven deadly sins of the soul” (plate 4) are not erased.
Bound in after the title-page is another impression of plate 2 (Preludium), with the words “Preludium to the first book of” painted out, and with a painted border surrounding the figures added by Blake, who has also delicately heightened the figures with pen and brush; this plate is on different paper and is inlaid to size.
[See Colour Plate]
The colour plate referred to is a handsome full-page reproduction of the picture of the crouching Urizen which is plate 4 in the Trianon Press facsimile (of the Rosenwald copy).
Our thanks to Professor James Hart, Director of the Bancroft Library, for bringing this item to our attention.