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In 1978, the books and papers of Ruthven Campbell Todd relating to William Blake were given by his son Dr. F. C. C. Todd to the Brotherton Library of the University of Leeds. The Brotherton Library, named after Lord Brotherton who paid for its construction, is the main library of the University for the humanities and social sciences. It is nobly housed and is especially rich in English literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

What follows is primarily a catalogue of Ruthven Todd’s papers relating to William Blake presented to the Brotherton Library, but it is both more and less than that. It is less in that some of the Papers from Todd seem to have no connection with Blake11 314 Begins “different from the engravings . . . ” (n.d.—refers to Apollo [Feb. 1972]), MS (pencil), 1 f., perhaps related to Todd’s “Imaginary Indians in Europe,” Art in America, LX (1972), 40-47. 326 A group photograph taken in 1936 at the opening of the Surrealist Exhibition at Burlington Galleries (London), including Ruthven Todd (second from left, back row). 327 Miscellaneous press cuttings from books in Todd’s collection, 3 ff. 328 An appreciation of the work of Angela von Neumann (c. 1970) in four undated MS drafts with MS amendments beginning i “Permission to share a private world”; ii “Permit to share a private world,” 2 ff.; iii “Permission to accept a private world”, 2 ff.; iv “Permission to accept a private world”, 2 ff. 329 Begins “By the time one is in one’s sixty-second year” [1976], MS. or are merely printed works without annotation,22 The catalogue here also omits most of Todd’s miscellaneous collection of printed works about Blake including 306 Blake Newsletter index to No. 1-4 [1969], TS (carbon), 5 pp. 325 A Descriptive Hand-List of a Loan Exhibition of Books and Works of Art by William Blake . . . Chiefly from the Collection of Mr. Lessing J. Rosenwald, Assembled by Mrs. George M. Millard (Pasadena [California], 1936), TS, 8 ff. 323 Arts & Crafts Exhibition organized by The Bognor Post . . . 11-15 January 1927: The William Blake Centenary section [a scrap-book of newspaper cuttings] (1926-27), 16 ff. Title on front board: “The Man Who Lived at Felpham”; half-title: “Blake Centenary Commemoration”; the exhibition and scrapbook were arranged by G. P. Baker, whose printed monogram is mounted on f. 15r; autograph of Ruthven Todd on f. 1r. 295-297 Three albums, entitled on the spines “William Blake Papers I[-III]”, containing photocopies of miscellaneous critical papers on Blake: Vol. I: ii, 244 [2] pp. (dated on f. 1: “25 de agosto de 1968”), TS contents on p. i Vol. II: vi, 244 pp., MS and TS contents on pp. i and iii (n.d.) Vol. III: ii, 111 [383] pp., no contents list (n.d.) For Vol. IV, see below. and consequently they are dealt with only in footnotes here. It is more in that it includes a) some works related to Blake in the Library which did not come from Ruthven Todd, and b) some works in the Todd collection which are not about Blake but which are about his contemporaries.

This catalogue is organized round Ruthven Todd’s Blake publications in chronological order of date of publication.33 There appears to be nothing relating to a number of Todd’s works on Blake, especially the earlier ones: “William Blake,” Times Literary Supplement, 5 April 1941, p. 172 [a request for letters for a new edition of Gilchrist] with Geoffrey Keynes, “William Blake’s Catalogue: A New Discovery,” TLS, 12 Sept. 1942, p. 456 [revised and reprinted in Keynes, Blake Studies (1949; 1971)—discovery of the flyer to his “Exhibition of Paintings in Fresco”] “‘The Pilgrim’s Progress,’” TLS, 31 Jan. 1942, p. 55 [on the sale of the drawings] “The Two Blakes,” TLS, 10 Feb. 1945, p. 72 [the signatures of both W. S. Blake the writing-engraver and William Blake the poet appear on a testimonial of 1797] Foreword to Albion Facsimile No. 1 of Songs of Innocence and of Experience [facsimile of copy b] (London + N.Y., 1947; [Folcroft, Pennsylvania], 1969), which also appears in Songs of Innocence [facsimile of copy b] (N. Y. [?1947]) Foreword to Albion Facsimile No. 2 of America (N.Y., 1947; n.d.) Introduction (pp. 7-13) to William Blake, Poems (London, 1949) Crown Classics “Fuseli and Blake: Companions in Mystery,” Art News LII (Feb. 1954), 26, 57-58 [about the interchange of ideas between them] “William Blake,” a poem in his Garland for the Winter Solstice: Selected Poems (London: Dent, 1961), p. 26 Introduction (pp. 11-21) and Notes (pp. 157-159) to Blake: Selected Poems (1960; 1963; 1964; 1966; 1967; 1969; 1970; 1971; 1973) The Laurel Poetry Series “Miro in New York: A Reminiscence,” Malahat Review, No. 1 (Jan. 1967), 77-92, reprinted as a 15-page booklet (Brookville, N.Y., 1967) [details about Todd’s experiments with Blake’s method of relief etching (pp. 81-88) not recorded elsewhere—for more details, see S. W. Hayter, New Ways of Gravure (N.Y., 1949), 85, 143-144, 207] “An Accidental Scholar,” London Magazine, N.S., VII (Jan. 1969), 42-51 [about his editions of Gilchrist in 1942 and 1945] “The Bohn Catalogue and James Vine,” Blake Newsletter, IV, 4 (Spring 1971), 149 [correction of a misprint in the Keynes & Wolf Census] Each entry begins with the earliest version of the work and concludes with the published version or, if it was revised after publication, with the revisions. At the conclusion of the list of publications are a number of entries related to Blake but not published, also arranged in chronological order.

The Todd Blake manuscripts have been catalogued anonymously by Miss Jean Radford and Mr. P. S. Morrish, sub-librarian (MSS and Special Collections) of the Brotherton Library, in University of Leeds The Library MS. 470 Blake letters and papers of Ruthven Todd, Handlist 49 [1981], on which the following list is based. I have, however, with Mr. Morrish’s consent, taken a number of liberties with the list. For one thing, I have omitted Nos. 1-291, which are letters of 1927-78 from Blake scholars and collectors such as C. H. C. Baker, G. E. Bentley, Jr., David Bindman, Martin Butlin, Morris Eaves, D. V. Erdman, R. N. Essick, Sir Geoffrey Keynes, T. L. Minnick, W. E. Moss, M. D. Paley, Leslie Parris, Kerrison Preston, Kathleen Raine, Lessing J. Rosenwald, Mark Schorer, and R. R. Wark.44 The bulk of Todd’s private papers are at the National Library of Scotland; large selections of poetry MSS are in the State University of New York at Buffalo; correspondence is in the Huntington Library, National Library of Scotland, New York Public Library, University of California (Berkeley), University of Texas, etc. This is the section of the list to which access is restricted, at least until A. D. 2011. (Written applications from bona fide Blake scholars for a dispensation to consult specific items may be considered by the Librarian and the representatives of Ruthven Todd.)

For another, I have added further information from a personal inspection of the Todd manuscripts and from other sources.

And for another, I have reorganized the material. However, each entry is preceded by the Handlist 49 entry number.

Ruthven Todd’s Life

Two statements by Ruthven Todd in these papers may be sufficient to establish a biographical context for these manuscripts. The first is in an application to the Chapelbrook Foundation on 15 June 1968 for support in preparing the new edition of Gilchrist’s Life of William Blake:

I don’t know what I should say about myself. Fifty-four yesterday, born in Edinburgh, art-student, farm-laborer, editor, begin page 73 | back to top moved to London, worked as tutor and publisher’s reader, reviewer and other jobs. War years was in Civil Defence [as a conscientious objector to military service], and then worked in a bookstore before (bombed out) moving to Essex. To U.S.A. January 1947. Lived mostly in New York (apart from short semester in Iowa City) till 1954. Lived on Martha’s Vineyard till 1960. Came to Mallorca to spend summer as guest of Robert Graves. Got ill and spent return money. Have now got a cottage home. Have written several books of poems, novels (not really good enough), essays on art and science, and edited books on painting and selections from poets. Much more could be said, but I think that may serve.
[No. 44]
And in a latter to the distinguished Blake collector George Goyder he wrote on 6 February 1970: 5 No. 136; this is the ribbon copy, perhaps never sent or sent only in modified form.
I dropped out of the Blake world into a strange world of alcoholism, and only pulled myself out of that some six years ago.5
More details may be found in a moving obituary by M. in the Majorca Daily Bulletin, in Julian Symons, “Ruthven Todd 1914-1978: Some Details for a Portrait,” London Magazine (April-May 1979), 62-80,66 No. 333. Some more information may be found in “Todd Collection,” Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, XII, 4 (Spring 1979), 274 [it is going to Leeds] and [his son] Francis Christopher Crew Todd, Ruthven Todd (1914-1978): a preliminary finding-list [Revised] (1980), mimeographed, 58 pp. (no. 334-336, three versions). and especially in his autobiography which has been edited by his Majorcan friend Robert Latona and excerpts from which will appear in Malahat Review in January and April 1982. One particularly intriguing piece of information provided by Symons is that Symons’
first crime story, The Immaterial Murder Case, . . . was meant to be a collaboration, but Ruthven never did any writing. I wrote it, made him the murderer, and put the typescript in a drawer for several years.
[P. 65]

As a young man, Todd became fascinated by Blake and collected works by and about him as assiduously as his very slender means permitted. He once had an extensive library of Blake and Flaxman, and the Flaxmans in particular were quite important. The bibliography section of Todd’s copy of his edition of Gilchrist’s Life of William Blake (1942), below, is annotated:

All items underlined in red were in my library at Tilty Mill House nr. Dunmow, at the end of 1946 (dotted lines show that I owned only the plates). It was a pretty good library as libraries go and like all good libraries it went. The rest of my Blake collection [of scholarship] is also now scattered.
According to this marked list, among works with Blake’s engravings he once had Allen, History of England (1797) and Roman History (1798), Ariosto, Orlando Furioso (1783), Blair, The Grave (1808; 1813), Boydell, Graphic Illustrations of the Dramatic Works of Shakspeare ([1803]), Burger, Leonora (1796), Cumberland, Thoughts on Outline (1796) and Outlines from the Antients (1829), Darwin, Botanic Garden (1791; 1795; 1799), Flaxman, Iliad (1805), Fuseli, Lectures on Painting (1801), Gay, Fables (1793), Hayley, Little Tom the Sailor (1800), Essay on Sculpture (1800), Designs (1802), Life . . . of William Cowper (1803-4), Triumphs of Temper (1803), Ballads (1805), and Life of George Romney (1809), Henry, Memoirs of Albert de Haller (1783), Hoare, Academic Correspondence (1803), Hunter, Historical Journal of . . . Port Jackson (1793), Lavater, Aphorisms (1789), Malkin, A Father’s Memoirs (1806), Mora, Meditaciones Poeticas (1826), Remember Me! (1825), Shakspeare, Plays (1805), Stedman, Surinam (1796), The Wit’s Magazine (1784), Mary Wollstonecraft, Original Stories (1791), and Young, Night Thoughts (1797). Notice that in the thirty some years after these were lost, apparently only one was recovered or replaced.

Ruthven Todd’s Blake Work

Most of Ruthven Todd’s accomplishments were in poetry and fiction, but he made a major contribution to Blake scholarship. From his earliest published work on Blake (1941) to his latest (1980), he showed an extraordinary skill in finding new facts and relating them illuminatingly to Blake’s work, in areas as diverse as the two engravers named William Blake, to his pigments, to the discovery of his advertisement for his “Exhibition of Paintings in Fresco.” Todd’s earliest and his greatest Blake enterprise was his revised edition of Alexander Gilchrist’s Life of William Blake which, from its first publication in 1863, was recognized as being of central importance for Blake studies: 7 Blake Books (1977), 25.

Its effect was thunderous. Never has an important [English] literary reputation been posthumously established so instantaneously and effectively.7
Gilchrist’s biography was repeatedly reprinted, in 1880, 1906, 1907, 1922, and 1928 and proved its lasting value.

There were, however, a number of serious defects to the work. For one thing, the collection of Blake’s writings in Volume II, edited by D. G. Rossetti and a syndicate of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, was seriously incomplete and inaccurate, though it displayed to the public far more of Blake’s work than had previously been popularly available. For another, Gilchrist’s transcriptions of Blake’s letters in his biography were often merely approximate and usually at one or two removes from the manuscripts. And for a third, Gilchrist was alarmed by footnotes and systematically omitted identification of the sources of his information. All these factors made the work difficult to depend upon, but, because Gilchrist had talked to many of Blake’s young disciples such as John Linnell and Frederick Tatham and Samuel Palmer, his book cannot be ignored. Ruthven Todd approached these problems boldly and solved them successfully. First, he simply omitted Gilchrist’s Volume II with its incomplete and inaccurate writings, reproductions, and catalogues of Blake. Second, he corrected the texts of Blake’s letters and poems in Gilchrist’s biography (except where Gilchrist is the only authority for them, of course). Thirdly, and most laboriously, he sought out systematically the factual bases for Gilchrist’s begin page 74 | back to top conclusions and anecdotes and displayed them in meticulous notes to the biography. Todd’s edition appeared in a modest Everyman edition in January 1942, was promptly recognized as a major work of scholarship, and a new edition appeared in 1945 with somewhat expanded notes. With its handsome prints from the Virgil electrotypes, it was attractive as well as useful, and it is certainly the cheapest and probably the best biography of Blake which has appeared.

For the next forty years, Ruthven Todd collected materials for a new edition of his Gilchrist. After the war, he went to the United States of North America, partly to experiment with methods of recreating color-printing as Blake practiced it. He also wrote the Blake section (1945) of his Tracks in the Snow, a little, cancelled book on Blake (1947), an essay on Blake’s illuminated printing (1948), introductions to facsimiles of Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1947) and America (1947), and trifling, popularizing essays on Blake for an exhibition in Hong Kong (1949) and a collection of Blake’s Poems (1949). Thereafter, except for a brief note on Blake and Fuseli (1954), a short poem

Illus. 1-6 are botanical drawings and notes of 1965-66 in Majorca by Ruthven Todd, from a notebook belonging to his son Dr. C.C. Todd, by whose permission and generosity they are here reproduced.  
on Blake (1961), and a slight edition of Blake (1960), he produced nothing on Blake until his announcement of “Gilchrist Redivivus” (1968). Thereafter, there was a flow of correspondence and notes about Blake, focusing on Gilchrist.

He had a large correspondence with Blake scholars and collectors—he wrote to many scholars with queries and advice, and he wrote at enormous length. One might receive three ten-page, single-spaced, densely argued letters in a month—and then hear nothing for a year or more. These letters were often mini-essays, and generous and admiring editors made more than one into published articles—such as the posthumous one of 1980. Much of Ruthven Todd’s best work on Blake was in stimulating others through this private correspondence.

Besides his surprisingly extensive Blake publications and correspondence, Ruthven Todd worked on at least four books on Blake which he did not live to finish. One is the catalogue raisonné of Blake’s art (298.1 below) on which Sir Geoffrey Keynes also worked and which was a basis for Martin Butlin’s great Paintings and Drawings of William Blake, 2 vols. (1981). Another is the Phoenix House book on William Blake of 1947 (No. 300 below) which was cancelled after it reached galley proof stage. Another was to be called William Blake: The Commercial Engraver.

2 de octubre de 1965
			Under carob tree, in moss.
			2 de octubre de 1965.
			Under Quercus ilex. Spores tawny.
			Dimonde, 3 de
			octubre de 1965.
			Yesterday afternoon
			I went for a walk along
			the road toward Lluch. I
			walked about fo[ur] kilometers
			and, having heard the noise
			of running water, I took off
			into the woods, mostly ilex, on my
			walk back. There I found this
			fine specimen of the mushroom
			I had found under the rose
			bush on the day before, and
			the other mushroom which
			I have drawn on this page.
			In addition I encountered
			a lot of shelf-mushrooms, of
			which I collected three specimens
			when I will try to draw today.
			I could have collected more, but I
			had no basket with me, and had
			to make do with two handkerchiefs
			knotted together as a collecting
			case. Furthermore, I know that I
			can only draw at a  certain speed
			and so I had to content myself
			with only two mushrooms which
			might wilt fast, choosing the less
			perishable shelf-mushrooms which, I knew, would survive through the night for
			drawing today, along with such background material as the carob leaves and
			the broken helix shell. Apart from the fact that this paper tends to be a little
			too absorbent for tinta china used with an ordinary pen (I am writing with a
			German Rapidograph), I am coming to the conclusion that the pen and black
			ink make the stresses too strong. If I do go to Zurich about the middle of this
			month I will see what I can find in the way of extra colored pencils. I hope
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Most important was his new edition of Gilchrist For this work, he made extensive additions to a copy of his 1942 edition, which he subsequently lost in Iowa and then recovered years later. In the interval, in 1968 he had a copy of the 1945 edition taken a part and mounted on large leaves in three volumes, and these he annotated extensively and often differently than in the for-a-time-lost copy. At the same time he was corresponding vigorously with scholars and making tentative arrangements with the Clarendon Press to publish the new edition. The work he did was detailed and valuable, and much of it is new and fascinating. For instance, he quotes a “Cutting, dated from Catalogue” (not further identified) of a “MS. Petition in favour of Wm. Carey being appointed Keeper of Paintings, etc. signed by Jas Northcote, Hy. Fuseli, Jas. Ward, Maria Cosway, Wm. Blake, Rd. Westall, Geo. Clint, John Constable, and other artists of the period, 1 p. folio” (1942, p. 221)—this must be the original of the printed document of December 1820 quoted in Blake Records (1969), 269. He also quotes an unpublished letter from Samuel Palmer to George Richmond of March 1879 in which Palmer speculates about a portrait of Milton etched by Blake “when three years of age.”88 Gilchrist (1942), p. 17—see “A Portrait of Milton Engraved by William Blake ‘When Three Years of Age’?—A Speculation by Samuel Palmer,” University of Toronto Quarterly, LI (1981), 28-35.

These fascinating materials for a new edition of Gilchrist are very extensive and very incomplete. They deserve to be brought into order and up to date

Galilea, Mallorca. 1 de Mayo de 1966. This book has been on my
shelves for a couple of months, but I have not used it until now.
There are several reasons for my holding back. I have been a
little intimidated both by its size and its quality. I have been a 
bit busy so far as drawing is concerned and, frankly, it is only now,
after nearly six years in Mallorca, that I have organized my living
quarters so that I can set up for both drawing and writing. I cannot
hope to keep the book on a regular basis, as I did during those
summers on Martha’s Vineyard fifteen or so
years ago, but I mean to try to do something
in it without rest gaps, such as there have 
been in my drawing. I have made rather
a late start this year, as, after two dry
a winter, such plants as these are are
drying up quickly. However, I suppose I
will find enough to occupy me. One thing
is certain and that is that my colors will
be more truthful than those of the photographs
in Polunin & Huxley, Flowers of the Mediterranean.
Their wild pea may give some indication, but the
salsify is a complete traves[t]y. This may be because it
is only open during the
early hours of the morning,
but I would think that there
must be color film capable of
dealing with that light. There is,
I feel, some irony in James giving me
the book now, when I worry about my
eyesight and wonder whether it will last
out. Anyhow, I am certain that this is the
last book of this size which I will take. I
can only hope that my eye-sight will last
out so that I can fill it. This being Sunday
the pension swarms with people who [are]
enjoying a really lovely day. There
has been very little rain during
the past winter and this is a
real disaster for the Mallorcans
who still try to live by
farming rather than
by battening on the 
foreigners. All the
fields are dry,
and so are the
cisterns. I,
being in this
mountain college, and being
aware of the people, hear
the complaints while I
doubt whether those who
hot in Palma, those
who are strangers, can
have the least idea of
the really serious drought.
For the third time in my life I am again trying to set up some kind
of a library to which I can refer when I want to identify the plants
and mushrooms which I encounter in my wanderings. I have
the Flora analítica de España, which is now out of print,
and the Polunin & Huxley which, with all its faults, is the
best book in English we are likely to get for some time. I do
wish that Polunin & Huxley had had the sense to try to make
their book more interesting, as Geoffrey Grigson’s The Englishman’s Flora is on the 
out, but of salsify they only say that “The cylindrical top roots are eaten as a vegetable.”
There is no mention of the fact that it is also called oyster plant from an imagined resemblance
in the taste, one which I do not notice. Dealing with Tra[go]pogon pratensis, Grigson
mentions that that is known as Joseph’s Flower. “The beard [which gives it the name
of Goat’s Beard] is the long silky pappus. ‘Joseph’s Flower’, because Joseph, the husband
of the Virgin, is always shown bearded in pictures of the Nativity.” Surely Polunin
& Huxley could have found something of interest. They are orientated toward the
eastern Mediterranean and so they failed to notice that, as in English, the common
name for salsify in Spain is Barba cabruna which leads back to Grigson, “It was
called Goat’s Beard by William Turner in 1548 as a translation of the shop name barba
hirci, which goes back to the tra[go]pogon in Theophrastus and Dioscorides.” I want
this to point out what it cured. As any drawing, of a typical plant from below the
pension, shows, the leaves are not particularly leek-like, in spite of the specific name.
and published. I have agreed to serve as midwife if a publisher can be found—Ruthven Todd wanted the work to be very extensively illustrated and very inexpensive—but thus far no publisher has shown interest in it. Meanwhile there is a great store-house of biographical information about Blake among the Ruthven Todd Papers at Leeds.




= The work is in the Brotherton Library but not among the Todd MSS (MS 470)

f. (ff.) = folio (folios)

MS = Manuscript

n.d. = not dated

TS = Typescript

298 = The entry number among the Todd MSS

Published Works



Alexander Gilchrist, The Life of William Blake, ed. W. Graham Robertson (1907), Todd’s copy marked on the endpaper and flyleaves “Working Copy No 1 Ruthven Todd 1940 Annotated and

29 de mayo de 1966. This month has been spent in trying to do too many things at the same time. I have
not only been trying to write both Bead and Other / Friends and Places, but also to catch up with a large
backlog of letters, writing and necessary reading. In addition I have been doing drawings in this
book and then either repeating them, or using fresh specimens for largish separate drawings
for sale, either privately or for my exhibition. The book serves as my draft book in which I
explore the construction and complexities of each plant before doing the more finished work.
Beside doing the drawings of the Mallorca flora, I have also started on the immense job
of transfering all my drawing from Martha’s Vineyard to black and white. This was started by
a letter from Nelson Coon telling me that the Dukes County Historical
Society is going to publish A Check List of the Flora
of Martha’s Vineyard and asking me to do the illustrations.
I have only the 1952 volume of my journal and the smaller
book which Carolyn Kizer gave me in Seattle. From these I
can get some eighty-five drawings. I have written George
Gosthall (and I have also done what I can to bring pressure upon
him) asking for the others. If I get these there should be upward
of three hundred drawings. Since I have now decided to
make as much money as I can from all drawings not
done in my sketchbooks, I have decided that the Dukes
County Historical Society cannot possibly afford to buy
the whole series. So I am going to make all the drawings,
and then have vellum boxes, holding, say, fifty drawings
in each. I will number the drawings in accordance with
Asa Gray’s Flora, arrange them in the boxes with
an index and then, probably, put the whole series
up for sale at Sotheby’s, either in London or else
in New York, according to which ever the firm
advises. All I can do is hope that in this way
I can earn enough money to buy a piece of 
land and have a house built. I have now got
to a stage in which I need a house, both as a
center from which I can operate and also as a
place in which to work. If I had the rest of my
Vineyard and journals and felt free of all pressures I
think I could do all the pen and ink drawings in
about a couple of months of hard, concentrated work.
The day before yesterday a fluorescent desk-lamp, which
I had ordered from Gilet, finally arrived. 3 de junio
Feeling rather depressed. I have been trying to work my way
out of it, without too much success. Today, I have finished
separate drawings of Anacamptis, Ophrys & Synnema, as
well as Antirrhinum orontium in this Book. Although I
realize that I need large subjects for my exhibition,
I must also do small ones for my own benefit. I know
I am too old to attempt to cover the flora of Mallorca,
but, with luck, I can hope to make this book cover quite
a large selection. One thing is that I must go out each
morning and collect such plants as [are] close by noon or one
in the afternoon. Quite a lot of what I had done here is
now over for this year: the Wild Pea, Salsify, Star of Bethlehem
and Gladiolus, while both the Crown Daisy and Corn Poppy are
almost over. I now have nine drawings done on large sheets.
The fluorescent light makes quite a bit of difference to my eyesight,
and I hope it will help me. Finding that Winsor & Newton
still have a small stock of Whatman HP, I have ordered two
quires and also a few Series 12, Sable brushes. I should get them
within a week two. I am financing the large drawings with money
from Tony and Linda Lewis, who have bought four drawings, two of
mushrooms and an iris and a Butterfly Orchid, at £10 each. This
arrangement of two drawings to a  page is monstrous; I must break it
up. The best way will be to do a lot of small drawings and also occasional
drawings filling a complete page. I wish my eyes would improve.
I find that they are pretty tired by the time I have done four or
so drawings and I also find that I do not work as quickly as I
used to do, when making the Vineyard sketchbooks. If I am to
get twenty or thirty drawings by the end of this month, I will
have to work steadily and waste no time. Even on days when
I have to go to Palma, I must try to do a drawing, either in this
Book or on the sheets. I wish I could work myself out of this horrible
depression. I recognize the reasons for it, but that does not help. All I can
do is plod away and hope that somehow things will sort themselves out, in
my favor. This, I fear, is a vain hope, but I have nothing else to which I can hold.
begin page 76 | back to top Corrected”, with his address at 41 Mansionhouse Road, Edinburgh. The notes are in the margins; some pages have many corrections, many have none.


Ibid. (1906 [sic]) in gatherings, apparently without additions, among the Todd books. Each of these volumes was doubtless preparatory to Gilchrist’s Life of William Blake, ed. Ruthven Todd (1942); it was expanded in the 1945 edition.


Alexander Gilchrist, Life of William Blake, ed. Ruthven Todd (1942 [marked by Todd “Published January 29, 1942”]), interleaved and annotated. This is apparently the copy which was lost or stolen, turned up in Iowa, and was returned to Todd.99 Another copy of Gilchrist (1942) annotated by Ruthven Todd, mostly with notes on the location of pictures mentioned by Gilchrist, is in the possession of his friend Mr. Robert S. Latona of Mallorca. I am grateful for many and unfailing kindnesses from Mr. Cox (librarian of the Brotherton Library), from Mr. Morrish (compiler of the Todd checklist for the Brotherton Library), and from Mr. Latona. The extensive marginalia often duplicate those in the COMPLETELY REVISED 1945 edition (below), but sometimes it does not, and some of it is intriguing. Associated with it are letters about the copyright of Gilchrist and his understanding with the Clarendon Press about it.

Alexander Gilchrist, Life of William Blake, ed. Ruthven Todd (1942, 1945), the leaves separated, pasted by a Mallorcan girl on Spanish legal-size paper, interleaved, and bound in three albums, the copyright page emended to read “COMPLETELY REVISED, 1968”, each volume dated “6 de julio de 1968”, copiously annotated by Todd:

292 Vol..I, with preliminaries and pp. 1-134.

293 Vol. II, with pp. 135-302; at the end is a TS letter to Todd from Morchard Bishop [Oliver Stoner] (30 Aug 1968) containing various emendations for pp. 123-400.

294 Vol. III, with pp. 303-366, 402, 401, 403-406 and index; also pasted in is a revised TS bibliography by Todd, 13 ff.

304 Papers about a proposed revision of his edition of Gilchrist’s Life of William Blake (c. 1968).

  1. “A Modest Proposal” (n.d.), TS, 1 f.

  2. “A Modest Proposal” (n.d.), TS (carbon), 5 ff.

  3. Photocopy of ii, with MS amendments (n.d.).

  4. Begins “When, last fall . . . ” [1968] TS (carbon), 7 ff.

  5. “Pictures mentioned by Gilchrist with their owners in 1944” (n.d.), TS, 2 ff.

  6. “List of names, for index, for checking . . . ” (n.d.) TS with MS additions, 10 ff.

  7. “Papers and books I should have—listed 29 August 1968” (1968), TS, 5 ff.

305 “Outline and material for a version of ‘A Bibliographical check-list for William Blake’” (latest date in the bibliography is 1969 [f. 18]), TS, 30 ff.


“William Blake and the Eighteenth-Century Mythologists.” Pp. 68-75 of New Road: Directions in

begin page 77 | back to top European Art and Literature. Ed. Fred Marnau. (1945). B. Pp. 29-60 of Todd’s Tracks in the Snow: Studies in English Science and Art. (London, 1946) C. (N.Y., 1947) D. (Folcroft, Pennsylvania, 1975) E. (Norwood, Pennsylvania,[e] 1976) F. (1977) G. (N.Y., 1977) [A study of Blake’s indebtedness to currents of thought among contemporary antiquarians.]

The 1975-77 printings here are apparently unauthorized. Todd worked on a new edition for Dover publications in 1971-74.


  1. Draft index, TS with MS alterations, 37 ff.

  2. Another version, TS with MS alterations, 20 ff.

  3. A third version, TS (carbon) with MS alterations, 47 ff.

  4. List of plates, TS (carbon), 3 ff.

  5. Seventeen glossy black-and-white photographs, being some of the plates listed in iv above.

  6. Miscellaneous fragments, MS and TS, 13 ff.

According to information received at Leeds from Dover Publications in July 1980, this project was first mooted in 1966, but most of their correspondence with Todd about it was between 1971 and 1974; the project was never formally cancelled, but Todd’s death intervened.


“The Techniques of William Blake’s Illuminated Painting [i.e., Printing].” Print, VI (1948), 53-65. B. Print Collector’s Quarterly, XXIX (Nov. 1948), 25-36.


  1. Photocopy of 1948 edition annotated by R. N. Essick and of TS new footnotes by Todd [1972], 20 ff.

  2. Photocopy of version revised and reprinted in The Visionary Hand, ed. R. N. Essick (1973), 19-44, on 26 ff.

  3. Another copy of ii.


299 “Aspects of the Life and Work of William Blake.” (Latest date in the bibliography is 1945) TS (duplicated), 7 ff. Published as “Aspects of the Life and Work of William Blake” in The Life and Work of William Blake Poet-Painter. [Exhibition in Hong Kong in 1949.]


“Gilchrist Redivivus.” Blake Studies, I, 1 (Autumn 1968), 95-97. [Todd’s plan for a new edition.]

302 Galley proof.


  1. “Blake’s Dante Plates.” TS draft of a letter to the Editor, Times Literary Supplement, 5 ff.

  2. Photocopy of the letter as printed in TLS, 29 Aug. 1968, p. 928, 2 ff.

  3. TS draft of a further letter to the Editor, TLS, 18 Sept. 1968, 1 f.

  4. TS draft of a new version for Book Collecting & Library Monthly, 10 ff.

  5. Carbon copy of iv, with amendments, 10 ff.

  6. TS (carbon copy) second draft of iv, 11 ff.

  7. Photocopy of vi, 11 ff.

  8. Page-proof of the version which appeared in Book Collecting & Library Monthly, No. 6 (1968), 164-171, 12 ff. [A cleaning of Blake’s Dante copperplates has made possible a printing of 25 new sets “considerably superior to the earlier [contemporary] ones.”]

310 “Blake’s Copy of Dante.” Blake Newsletter, IV, 2 (1970), 49-50 (photocopy). [Where is Blake’s copy of Dante?]


308 “Traditional pigments available prior to 1800” (1970), TS. Attached to it are rough notes by Todd on the same subject, in connection with a letter from Dr. Rosamond Drusilla Harley of 29 Jan. 1970 (No. 132).

309 “Review of R. D. Harley, Artists’ Pigments[e] (1970) in Blake Newsletter, IV, 1 (1970), 28-30 (photocopy), 2 ff.


330 Papers [before 1972] relating to his William Blake The Artist (1971).

  1. Draft introduction, partly autobiographical (n.d.), MS.

  2. Another draft of an introduction, partly autobiographical (n.d.), TS, 6 ff.

  3. “Draft and working copy of a chronology of William Blake” (n.d.), TS with MS additions, 8 ff.

  4. “Supplementary material, to be embodied in the chronology” (n.d.), TS with MS notes, 8 ff.

  5. “A Chronology of the life of William Blake” (n.d.), TS, 2 ff.

  6. Further notes on the chronology of William Blake (n.d.), MS (pencil), 2 ff.

  7. Folder containing a full draft (n.d.), TS with MS amendments (the list of proposed illustrations is a photocopy of TS), 75 ff.

  8. Two yellow ring binders containing photocopy of TS draft with MS amendments (n.d.), 64 + 49 ff.

  9. A red spring-back binder containing photocopy of TS draft (n.d.), 115 ff.

  10. Galley proofs, extensively marked (n.d.), 19 ff.

  11. Galley proofs, with only a few marks (n.d.), 20 ff.

  12. A folder containing 117 glossy black-and-white photographs for illustrations, mostly marked for printer’s block-maker.

  13. Photocopy of editorial in The Private Library, 2nd Series, IV, 4 (1971), 153, 155, referring to William Blake The Artist.

311 “Two Blake Prints and Two Fuseli Drawings with some possibly pertinent speculations.” (1971)

  1. TS preliminary notes, much amended (n.d.), 7 ff.

  2. begin page 78 | back to top
  3. TS draft, incomplete (n.d.), 3 ff.

  4. TS draft, another version, incomplete (4 July 1971), 7 ff.

  5. TS draft, another version, incomplete (28 June-4 July 1971), 4 ff. Alterations to the text suggest that this is subsequent to iii.

  6. TS draft, another version with a supplementary note (n.d.), 18 ff.

  7. TS (carbon) draft, another version (n.d.), 21 ff.

  8. TS final version (n.d.), 2 ff.

  9. A folder containing 14 photographic prints of illustrations for the article, 5 being marked for the press.

  10. As printed in Blake Newsletter, V, 3 (Winter 1971-72), 173-181. [Fuseli’s drawings for the frontispiece to Lavater’s Aphorisms and for the last plate to his own Lectures belong to Ernest Seligmann.]



i Photocopy of “A Recollection of George Richmond by his Grandson.” Blake Newsletter, VI, 1 (Summer 1972 [i.e., Feb. 1973]), 24. [“When Blake died, George closed his eyes: ‘to keep the vision in’.”)

315 “A Note on Stothard’s drawing of the ‘Battle of Ai[n]’.” (1972)

  1. TS draft much amended in pencil (April 1972), 2 ff.

  2. TS draft, another version (May 1972), 6 ff.

  3. An envelope of 5 photographic prints, 3 marked for the press. This was published as “Stothard (Thomas) The Battle of Ai.Paul Grinke Catalogue Five [London, 1972], pp. 17-19. [In Blake’s published engraving in Kimpton’s History of the Holy Bible (?1781), showing the warriors fighting left-handed, the sky seems to have “been left unfinished”; the more finished but unsigned and unpublished pull (in the Rosenwald Collection) “is undoubtedly also by Blake”—it is more finished, is right-handed, and corresponds in this respect to Stothard’s newly discovered drawing, offered for sale here.]



ii Photocopy of “The Rev. Dr. John Trusler (1735-1820),” Blake Newsletter, VI, 3 (Winter 1972-73 [i.e., Nov. 1973]), 71. [His interest in “a script type” was like Blake’s.]


320 “The Identity of ‘Hereford’ in Jerusalem.” (1972-75)

  1. Miscellaneous notes (n.d.), TS, 4 ff.

  2. First revision (“March 21, 1972: 8 p.m.”), TS with MS alterations, 10 ff.

  3. Another version (n.d.), TS with MS alterations, 14 ff.

  4. Photocopy of iii (n.d.), 12 ff.

  5. Another version (n.d.), TS (photocopy), 7 ff.

  6. Final draft (n.d.), TS with some MS alterations, 10 ff.

  7. Three glossy black-and-white photographs prepared for the printer.

    It was published as “The Identity of ‘Hereford’ in Jerusalem with Observations on Welsh Matters,” Blake Studies, VI, 2 [1976], 139-151. [A rambling defence of the case for identifying him as Thomas Johnes.]


321 “A Tentative Note on the Economics of ‘The Canterbury Pilgrims’.” (1977)

  1. TS draft with MS alterations (n.d.), 4 ff.

  2. As published in Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, XI, 1 (Summer [June] 1977), 30-31. [Estimates of the costs of copper, printing, etc.]



i Notes on pigments (on verso of a price list of Windsor & Newton Ltd. dated 31 Dec. 69), MS (pencil), perhaps connected with “‘Poisonous Blues’ and Other Pigments,” Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, XIV, 1 (Summer 1980), 31-34. [Prussian blue is not poisonous, as has been alleged; Blake was probably referring to nitric acid.]

Unpublished Works


298. 1 Draft Catalogue of the Drawings and Paintings of William Blake (contains matter datable up to 1946 [f. 110]), TS and MS, 231 ff.; the MS annotations are probably in the hand of Geoffrey Keynes. [There is a typescript (1942) of the catalogue in the Library of Congress (pressmark: NC 1115. B72T6). The work was completely revised by Martin Butlin, whose great catalogue raisonné was published as The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake, 2 vols. (1981).]


300 William Blake[: The Vision of Reality del] [A Mental Prince del] (London: Phoenix House, 1947), TS preliminaries (32 plates described but not reproduced), appendices, and index, 35 ff., and 29 galley proofs of the text (c. 33,000 words).

Recently I was asked by Ruthven Todd’s son Christopher to look at the work to judge whether it is worth publishing today, thirty-five years after its printing.

The book is aimed at a popular rather than a scholarly audience.

This short account of the life and works of William Blake . . . is primarily concerned with begin page 79 | back to top Blake as an artist [but] considerable attention has had to be devoted to his philosophy and mythology in order to present an understandable picture of the man whom I believe to be one of the greatest of Englishmen.

[Prefatory Note]
Its alternative, deleted sub-titles indicate the wider context: The Vision of Reality; A Mental Prince. It consists of ten chapters: Orientation; Childhood and Youth; Poetic Genius; Experience and Expression; The Enemy of Oil; Felpham; With a Different Face [about Cromek and Blair’s Grave designs]; The Grand Style of Art Restored [dealing with Blake’s 1809 exhibition]; “I am Hid”; His Own Eternal House. There is also a typescript Dedication to B. C., Prefatory Note, Contents, Notes on the [32] Illustrations, a note on The Location of Blake’s Pictures, Bibliography of Books by and About Blake, and an Index.

The book is sensible and useful but not very original or interesting, and it is now seriously outdated. Much of it is quotation from Blake—The Proverbs of Hell are here in full, for instance—but there are no notes or specific indications of sources, though Todd does cite scholars such as M. O. Percival and Anthony Blunt. The Prefatory Note gives thanks to “my friends Geoffrey Grigson, Geoffrey Keynes, W. E. Moss, and W. Graham Robertson for unpublished information and material”, and some facts and documents quoted here were otherwise unknown in 1947. He quotes, for example, from John Linnell’s (still) unpublished autobiography about Blake, and he relates that

Mr Graham Robertson . . . told me that when, nearly fifty years ago, he first visited Captain Butts, the grandson of Blake’s benefactor . . . , he found pictures painted on copper hanging against hot water pipes, a treatment no picture, unless it was one of George Stubbs’ enamels, could have been expected to survive.
Had Ruthven Todd’s William Blake been published in 1947, it would have brought him some money and extended William Blake’s fame, but it would not have made a permanent addition to our understanding and appreciation of Blake. It was a competent money-spinner which suffers little disservice from being known only through this notice.

There is no reference to the book in the Phoenix House archives now in Reading University Library, as I am informed by Michael Bott, Assistant Archivist there. The galleys bear corrections by the house editor but apparently none by Todd—perhaps he never returned the proofs.



  1. Notes on Linnell (n.d.), MS (pencil), 1 f.

  2. Fragment on Night Thoughts (n.d.), MS (pencil), 1 f.

  3. Notes, possibly autobiographical, beginning “Edinburgh: John Gray” (n.d.), MS, 1 f.

  4. “Rough list of people who might or should be included in a picture-book of William Blake and his friends” (n.d.), TS, 3 ff. (no entry after “Rigaud”).

332 List of books in Ruthven Todd’s possession, including some by Blake, apparently the latter part of a letter (n.d.), TS (photocopy), 2 ff.

301 “Books read by Blake: a minimal list.” (n.d.—not before 1964) TS with MS additions, 10 ff.


307 “Notes for possible experiments respecting the processes of William Blake’s ‘Colour printed drawings’” (1970), TS, 2 ff.


313 “A Plea for availability” (1972, dated “10 de enero” on f. 4), TS, 4 ff. Refers to the Tate exhibition of Blake’s watercolors for Gray’s poems.

William Blake: The Commercial Engraver. According to his letter to GEB of 28 May 1972 (not in the Leeds collection), the work was to consist of separate essays (originally published individually) on

  1. “Commercial Engraving at the Time of Blake” (“last to be written”)

  2. “Henry Fuseli and William Blake”

  3. “Thomas Stothard and William Blake” (“to appear in the Private Library”)

  4. “John Flaxman and William Blake” (“for an anthology being edited by Morton [Paley]”)

  5. “William Blake after William Blake” (“promised to” Blake Newsletter)

  6. “William Blake and Sundry Artists”

This book is subsequent to and therefore distinct from his William Blake The Artist (1971) but may have been designed to incorporate fallout from it. (It may be the same as the “study of Blake’s illustrative techniques to be called William Blake: The Technical Man” which was announced in Blake Newsletter, IV, 1 [Aug. 1970], 30, as being in progress.) The two following groups of MSS may be related to it.

312 Miscellaneous notes mainly on Blake’s artistic techniques.

  1. Begins “The book should begin . . . ” (n.d.) TS, 2 ff.

  2. Begins “Title . . . ” (n.d.) MS (pencil), 1 f.

  3. Begins “Many books have been written . . . ” (n.d.) TS, 10 ff.

  4. Begins “Regarding the Hesiod . . . ” (refers to Blake Records [1969] MS (pencil), 1 f.

  5. Begins “Introductory notes . . . ” (refers to his William Blake The Artist [1971]) MS (pencil), 1 f.

331 Fragment of a draft letter on techniques of engraving: begins “P.P.S. Mr. Anselmini has pointed out” (1968) TS (carbon).

316 “William Blake and Thomas Stothard (1755-1834); begin page 80 | back to top materials” (n.d.), 6 ff. [A list of engravings in chronological order.]

Other Significant Works Related to Blake in the Leeds University Libraries

Todd Collection

Bible: Illustrations of The Book of Job (1825) pl. 20-21, India proofs [Blake Books No. 421]

“Canterbury Pilgrims”, separate plate (8 Oct. 1810 [printed in 1941, says Todd, on modern cardboard]), given him about 1947 (according to his Gilchrist [1945], p. 247 MS note)

“Christ Triumphing Over Urizen”, separate plate

Dante: Blake’s Illustrations of Dante, pl. VI, “The Whirlwind of Lovers”, no inscription [Blake Books No. 448]

— Two prints labeled by Lessing J. Rosenwald as restrikes of 1955 [Blake Books No. 448C]

— Nine restrikes dated by Lessing J. Rosenwald first proofs 14 Aug. 1968 [Blake Books No. 448D]

298 Album entitled on the spine “William Blake Papers IV”, iv, 75 [171] ff., containing photocopies of Todd’s letters about Flaxman bibliography to Col. William Edward Moss and one other document (1941-45) from the originals in Bodley

Henry Fuseli, Lectures on Painting (1801) [Blake Books No. 459]

324 Notes on the major paintings in oil of John Martin, a bound notebook compiled by Ruthven Todd [c. 1945], MS, 90 ff.

Romney-Blake engraved portrait of Cowper [from William Hayley, The Life of . . . William Cowper, I (1803), frontispiece—Blake Books No. 468 (1)]

J. G. Salzmann, Elements of Morality (1791) [Blake Books No. 492]

Songs of Innocence and of Experience (London: Pickering, 1839) [Blake Books No. 171]

Brotherton Collection

Robert Blair, The Grave (1808) [Blake Books No. 435A]

Poetical Works of William Blake, ed. W. M. Rossetti (1875) [Blake Books No. 299B] with A. C. Swinburne’s signature, of “dubious” authenticity (according to the Brotherton catalogue)

Henry Fuseli letter to F. J. Du Roveray of 27 Dec. 1802

William Hayley, The Triumphs of Temper, 12th Edition (1803) [Blake Books No. 471A]

Brotherton Library

Bible: Illustrations of The Book of Job (1825) India proofs [Blake Books No. 421]

John Flaxman letters to Benjamin Gott of 19 May 1825, 19 Jan., 23 May 1826, and Gott’s replies of 13 Feb., 20 May 1826 (in the Gott Family Papers, MS 194)

William Hayley, The Life of . . . William Cowper 3 vols. (1803-04) [Blake Books No. 468]

Thomas Lawrence letters of 1818-29 (in the Gott Family Papers, MS 194)

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