begin page 148 | back to top

“Blake’s Corrections in POETICAL SKETCHES”: A Forthcoming Supplement and the Britwell Court Library Copy

In the “Prolegomenon” appended to my recent article on Blake’s corrections in Poetical Sketches (Blake Newsletter, 4 [Fall 1970], 46), I drew attention to the fact that the present locations of several original copies remained unknown, at least to me. The response to my request for assistance in locating these copies was immediate and generous (though still incomplete), and the information supplied in particular by Professor G. E. Bentley, Jr., has been especially helpful. Arrangements are now being made to inspect these copies for Blake’s corrections and a supplement to my article will be published in a forthcoming number of the Blake Newsletter.

Immediately following publication of my article in hitherto unrecorded copy of Poetical Sketches appeared in auction at Sotheby’s on 29 March 1971 in the sale of the Britwell Court Library. The Britwell Court Library copy was described as follows in the Sotheby Catalogue:

34 BLAKE (WILLIAM) POETICAL SKETCHES. By W. B., First Edition, with the final blank, olive straight-grained morocco gilt, t.e.g., uncut, By Frances Bedford [Hayward 192; Rothschild 413; Keynes 26], A Fine Copy 8vo 1783

* * * This copy is not recorded by Lowery, A census of copies of William Blake’s “Poetical Sketches” (The Library, December 1936, p. 354 et seq.), where 22 or possibly 23 copies are listed.

The earliest of Blake’s poetical works, and, except for the first book of The French Revolution, the only one printed in ordinary type.
A photographic facsimile of the titlepage is given in the Catalogue facing the description.

The Britwell Court Library copy was purchased by John Fleming of New York (lot 34 @ £3,800) on behalf of The Pierpont Morgan Library. The following description of the copy was supplied to me by Douglas C. Ewing of that Library in a letter of 17 May 1971:

This copy bears no manuscript corrections, and there is no indication of ownership before the Britwell Court Library; it is bound in olive morocco in a style typical begin page 149 | back to top of many of the bindings commissioned by S. R. Christie-Miller, and bears the Brit-well-shelf-mark 8.D at the top of the blank binder’s leaf and 87.E.3 at the foot of that leaf. The copy is untrimmed, measuring 8 ¾ × 5 ½ inches, and contains the genuine terminal blank leaf.

I am grateful to Sotheby’s and to both Mr. Fleming and Mr. Ewing for the information leading to the composition of this note.

Print Edition

  • Publisher
  • Department of English, University of New Mexico
  • Albuquerque, NM, USA
    • Executive Editor
    • Morton D. Paley
    • Managing Editor
    • Morris Eaves
    • Associate Editor
    • Donald D. Ault
    • Michael Phillips

    Digital Edition

    • Editors:
    • Morris Eaves, University of Rochester
    • Robert Essick, University of California, Riverside
    • Joseph Viscomi, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Managing Editor
    • Joe Fletcher
    • Assistant Editor Editor
    • Michael Fox
    • Previous Project Manager and Technical Editor
    • William Shaw
    • Adam McCune
    • Managing Editor Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly
    • Sarah Jones
    • Project Director and Assistant Project Manager
    • Grant Glass
    • Project Coordinator, University of Rochester:
    • Eric Loy
    • Scanning:
    • UNC Digital Production Center
    • XML Encoding:
    • Apex CoVantage
    • Additional Transcription:
    • Adam McCune
    • Jennifer Park
    • Emendations:
    • Rachael Isom
    • Mary Learner
    • Adam McCune
    • Ashley Reed
    • Jennifer Park
    • Scott Robinson
    • XSLT Development:
    • Adam McCune
    • Joseph Ryan
    • William Shaw
    • PHP and Solr Development:
    • Michael Fox
    • Adam McCune
    • Project Assistants:
    • Lauren Cameron,
    • Rachael Isom,
    • Mary Learner,
    • Jennifer Park,
    • Ashley Reed,
    • Adair Rispoli,
    • Scott Robinson
    • Sponsors
    • Funders
    • Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly
    • William Blake Archive
    • Carolina Digital Library and Archives
    • Use Restrictions
    • Copyright © 2019 Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly, all rights reserved. Items in this digital edition may be shared in accordance with the Fair Use provisions of U.S. copyright law. Redistribution or republication on other terms, in any medium, requires express written consent from the editors and advance notification of the publisher. Permission to reproduce the graphic images in this digital edition rests with the owning institutions.