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Blake in the Marketplace, 1990

After two exceedingly active years, the Blake market deserved a rest, but 1990 offered no respite for the avid collector’s purse. Two copies of Songs of Innocence came to the auction block—copy A (illus. 1-4) and the long-untraced copy H (no photos received, in spite of multiple requests). The $550,000 fetched by the former reconfirmed the strength of the market for Blake’s most important and popular productions. Reliable sources inform me that both copies of Innocence join copy N of Innocence, copy R of America, and several other Blake treasures in an American private collection. The only copy of the first edition of Poetical Sketches remaining in private hands was sold for the astonishing price of $121,000 in Sotheby’s New York rooms on the last day of April, thereby setting a new record for any letterpress edition of Blake’s writings. No copy had changed ownership since 1978, when Sir Geoffrey Keynes acquired one, now in Cambridge University Library, lacking signatures I and K.

It was a banner year for Blake’s pencil drawings. Three important works were offered in London auctions in November: the preliminary sketch for the color print of Hecate (illus. 5), the tracing (perhaps by Blake himself) of his Last Judgment drawing (illus. 6-7), and, to round out the apocalyptic theme, one of two pencil preliminaries for The Resurrection of the Dead, an alternative title page for the illustrations to Blair’s Grave. The Hecate fetched a hammer bid of £38,000 (£41,800 with the buyer’s premium), a record price for any pencil drawing by Blake. The offering at auction of The Last Judgment and The Resurrection of the Dead continues the slow dispersal of the Gregory Bateson collection, begun in 1983 with the sale of the magnificent large color print, Satan Exulting over Eve (Butlin #292), now in the J. Paul Getty Art Museum, Malibu. The Resurrection of the Dead failed to find a buyer and has been returned to the Bateson estate, at least for the near future. It thus rejoins the remaining two Blakes in the collection which, as far as I can determine, have not yet been placed on the market: Pestilence (Butlin #190) and Illustration to Robert Bage’s “Hermsprong” (Butlin #682).

Visionary Heads appeared in the marketplace in considerable abundance. At this time of writing (January 1991), the larger Blake-Varley sketchbook still languishes unsold at Christie’s in London. Three very minor leaves from the smaller sketchbook failed to find buyers at a Sotheby’s sale, but a group of twelve miscellaneous sheets of Visionary Heads did change hands privately (see listing below and illus. 8-10).

The British bookdealer Simon Finch issued a handsome catalogue of 187 Blake and Blake-related titles in the fall of 1990. The catalogue was unusual for containing neither the dealer’s name nor prices. Upon inquiry, I learned that the books were for sale as a collection only (price available on request). Although dominated by facsimiles, typographic editions, and criticism, the catalogue listed eleven works with Blake’s commercial book illustrations, including copies of Young’s Night Thoughts(1797) and Hayley’s 1805 Ballads, the latter uncut in original boards.

Two developments in the marketplace deserve brief comment. One of the time-tested commonplaces of art collecting is that aesthetic value (however subjective and loosely defined by the art-buying community) is the final determiner of price. When even the top end of the Blake market was dominated by book collectors, prices demonstrated this truth less dramatically than at present, perhaps in part because several major purchasers are print and drawing collectors. Some dealers have been slow to react to the increasing disparity between the market values of the finest work and run-of-the-mill examples. A color-printed impression of “A Poison Tree” from Songs of Experience commanded £30,800 at auction in December 1988. Does this sale mean that posthumous impressions from the Songs are worth anything near that amount? Assuredly not. Impressions of “The Little Black Boy” (second pl.), “The Ecchoing Green” (second pl.), and “Holy Thursday” from Experience, all probably printed after Blake’s death by Frederick Tatham and with incomplete coloring by an unidentified hand, have been kicking about the market since 1979, in spite of attempts to buttress their inflated prices with claims about their special status as “proofs.” (For the most recent failure of one of these plates in the marketplace, see “The Little Black Boy” listed below.) Copy BB of the combined Songs is a fascinating bibliographical treasure, but the absence of color proved fatal at its public offering in a 1988 auction. One of the better drawings from the smaller Blake-Varley sketchbook fetched £11,000 at auction in 1989, but slight sketches from the same book cannot attract even a tenth as much. This phenomenon should give heart to collectors with modest budgets, for it means that they can still acquire engravings and even drawings while the heavy-hitters are scrambling over the masterpieces.

A more disturbing trend is the increasing secretiveness of some major purchasers. In his Blake Books of 1977, G. E. Bentley, Jr., was able to locate begin page 117 | back to top almost every illuminated book known to be extant. Even when Bentley was required by a book’s owner to record it in an “anonymous collection,” the identity of the collector was known to Bentley and he could pass along legitimate scholarly inquiries to the owner. I have tried to maintain this same responsiveness to owners’ requests, complemented by a willingness to pass along letters from scholars, during the nineteen years I have been writing “Blake in the Marketplace.” We are now in danger of having this network of information slowly unravel as books securely located in 1977 disappear into the hands of unknown collectors. In spite of the best efforts of my carefully assembled gang of spies and auction-house moles, I have not been able to uncover the new owners of Songs of Innocence and of Experience copy D and The Book of Thel copy A, both sold in 1989. Rumor has it, however, that both volumes were acquired by the American private collector, mentioned above, who recently acquired copies of Songs of Innocence. Purchasers of other important works have been unresponsive to my inquiries passed along by auction houses during the last two years.

I must conclude with a note of sadness. Beginning in November 1957, Frank Davis contributed a weekly essay, “Talking about Salerooms,” to the magazine Country Life. He never missed a deadline. His great good sense, vast knowledge of the arts from paleolithic sculpture to Victorian saltcellars, and utter lack of pretension made him something of a hero for those who write reviews of the art market. Davis died in March 1990 at the age of 97, shortly after completing his final column.

The year of all sales and catalogues in the following lists is 1990 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. Late 1990 sales will be covered in the 1991 review. I am grateful for help in compiling this review to G. E. Bentley, Jr., David Bindman, M. C. Brand of Marlborough Rare Books, Martin Butlin, Detlef Dörrbecker (particularly for the many 1989 sales I belatedly record here and for invaluable editorial assistance), Alexander Gourlay, Paul Grinke of Quaritch, Donald A. Heald, Thomas V. Lange, Stephen C. Massey of Christie’s New York, Therese Olivieri, Justin Schiller, Robert Schlosser, David Weinglass, Henry Wemyss of Sotheby’s London, and John Windle. Like all contributors to this journal, I am greatly indebted to Patricia Neill’s editorial expertise.


BBA Bloomsbury Book Auctions, London
Bentley G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Books (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 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) or auction house (followed by the day and month of sale)
CL Christie’s, London
CNY Christie’s, New York
illus. the item or part thereof is reproduced in the catalogue
pl(s). plate(s)
SL Sotheby’s, London
SNY Sotheby’s, New York
st. state of an engraving, etching, or lithograph
Swann Swann Galleries, auctioneers, New York
# auction lot or catalogue item number


America, pl. 7 only, posthumous impression in pale brick red. Acquired 1988 by the Hamburg Kunsthalle from Garton & Cooke. For illus. and discussion, see Blake 22 (1988): 6.

The Book of Ahania, copy Ba, frontispiece only. Allocated by Her Majesty’s Treasury from the estate of Sir Geoffrey Keynes, in lieu of taxes, to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 1988. This print was not part of the original Keynes bequest, accessioned by the Fitzwilliam in 1985.

“The Little Black Boy,” 2nd pl., printed in orange on laid India, partly hand colored in scarlet (Christ’s garment), pink, and olive green. CL, 28 June, #7, illus. color (not sold. Returned to the vendor, a New York print dealer, who also owns the two companion prints on laid India, “The Ecchoing Green,” 2nd pl., and “Holy Thursday” from Experience). The cat. entry only tacitly indicates (by associating the impression with copy h of Songs of Innocence and of Experience) that the print is probably posthumous (like its two companions—see comments above) and that the hand coloring is not by Blake. The provenance information given in the cat. seems chronologically confused, omits at least three dealers (Colin Franklin, Jake Zeitlin, and Raymond Wapner) who have owned the print in recent years, and repeats the speculation in Bentley (430n2), made before copy h was rediscovered in 1981, that this “Little Black Boy” may have been one of the three hand-colored plates in copy h when sold from the H. Buxton Forman collection in 1920. However, those three plates are integral to posthumous copy h, now in the Essick collection, and are still bound in it. The olive green tinting on this impression of “The Little Black Boy” is the same as, or at least very similar to, the olive green on “The Little Vagabond” in copy h. In Christie’s defense, it should be noted that its cataloguer was relying on the opinions of Keynes, Bentley, begin page 118 | back to top

1. Songs of Innocence, copy A, frontispiece (relief etching) and title page (relief and white-line etching).   11 × 7 cm. (verso), 12 × 7.4 cm. (recto). Printed in the same brown ink, and hand tinted with the same palette (probably in the same coloring session), as copies B (familiar from the Blake Trust facsimile of 1954) and H. Photo courtesy of Christie’s New York.
Michael Phillips, and Essick recorded in Zeitlin & Ver Brugge’s catalogue of spring 1979 and Justin G. Schiller’s May 1983 catalogue 41. My own earlier opinion that this plate and its two companions were printed by Blake but colored by another hand (the latter point not cited in the dealers’ catalogues) has changed to posthumous printing and coloring as a result of studying copy h and other posthumous impressions. After receiving information and opinions supplied by Thomas Lange, Christie’s very responsibly announced at the auction that the print is probably posthumous and lowered the estimate from £8000-12,000 (published in the cat.) to £2000-3000, but the bidding stopped at £1500.

Songs of Innocence, copy A. 31 pls. on 17 leaves, printed in brown and hand colored. CNY, 8 June, #253, from the collection of Joseph Scott McKell, frontispiece, title page, “Infant Joy,” and “The Lamb” illus. color ($550,000 to an American private collector on an estimate of $300,000-400,000). See illus. 1-4 and comments on copy H, below.

Songs of Innocence, copy H. 31 pls. on 17 leaves, printed in brown and hand colored. CL, 28 Nov., #84, frontispiece, title page, pl. 1 of “The Little Girl Lost,” and “Infant Joy” illus. color (£220,000 to the London dealer Libby Howie for an American private collector). An early copy, probably printed in the same press run as copies A, B, and others in the same ink. The reproductions in the cat. show that the flowers in “Infant Joy” are blue, as in copy A and several others. The rather odd purple tint in the sky on the copy H title page corresponds to the color used for the woman’s dress in copy B, while the rather careless splashes of green in the tree are similar to copy A. The use of opaque dark-brown washes to create shadows throughout the reproduced pls. of copy H parallels their placement

2. Songs of Innocence, copy A, “Infant Joy.”   Relief and white-line etching, 11.1 × 6.8 cm., hand colored. The flowers are colored blue, as in three other copies of Innocence and five of the combined Songs. Photo courtesy of Christie’s New York.
and visual effect in copies A and B. These three copies (plus C-G, K-M, and others?) were very probably finished in the same coloring session.

Songs of Innocence and of Experience, copy BB. 55 pls. on 55 leaves, printed in black and hand tinted in black and gray washes. Sold summer 1990 by Randolph Schlegl, Ltd., to a European private collector.

Songs of Innocence and of Experience. 4 pls. only, “The Divine Image,” “Nurses Song,” and “The School Boy” from Innocence, “Nurses Song” from Experience, on 4 leaves, the first two printed in gray, the second two printed in orange. Posthumous impressions, previously untraced. Offered privately by N. W. Lott, Feb., at a price he has asked me not to disclose. Jerry Bentley, who has inspected the 3 pls. from Innocence, tells me that they are very probably from posthumous copy o of the combined Songs.

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Blake’s letter of 18 Jan. 1808 to Ozias Humphry, containing Blake’s description of his Last Judgment water color. John Wilson, April cat. 67, no item no., with a long description arguing, on the basis of successive revisions, that this is the second of three versions of Blake’s description of his design, final page illus. (£25,000). Previously sold from the collection of Roger W. Barrett, SNY, 14 Dec. 1988, #58 ($24,600).


Poetical Sketches, copy E. SNY, 30 April, #2628, presentation inscription from John Flaxman to William Long, from the collection of F. Bradley Martin, title page illus. ($121,000 to Pickering & Chatto on an estimate of $35,000-50,000). Offered Pickering & Chatto, Oct. cat. 685, #21, title page (and gilt dentelle of the back cover) illus. color (“price on request”).


Adam and Eve. Pen over pencil, 22.8 × 26 cm., c. 1780. Butlin #107. Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, Oct.-Nov. cat. of English Drawings, #46, illus. color (£22,000). An extraordinary asking price for a minor (although not unattractive) drawing.

The Head and Shoulders of a Middle-Aged Man in Armour. Pencil, 6 ⅛ × 7 ¾ in., p. 78 from the smaller Blake-Varley sketchbook. Butlin #692.78. CL, 20 March, #151, illus. (not sold; estimate £1500-2500).

Head of a Girl in Profile, perhaps Corinna. Pencil, 6 × 8 in., p. 80 from the smaller Blake-Varley sketchbook. Butlin #692.80. CL, 20 March, #152, illus. (not sold; estimate £1500-2000).

Hecate. CL, 13 Nov., #92, illus. (£41,800 to a London dealer on an estimate of £10,000-15,000). See illus. 5.

3. Songs of Innocence, copy A, “A Cradle Song” (second pl.) and “Laughing Song.”   Relief and white-line etchings, 11.1 × 7 cm. (verso), 11.1 × 6.7 cm. (recto), hand colored. Photo courtesy of Christie’s New York.
4. Songs of Innocence, copy A, “The Little Girl Found” (second pl.) and “The Blossom.”   Relief and white-line etchings, 11.1 × 6.9 cm. (verso), 11 × 7.1 cm. (recto), hand colored. Photo courtesy of Christie’s New York.

A King Standing and Holding a Sceptre. Pencil, 8 1/16 × 6 ⅛ in., p. 74 from the smaller Blake-Varley sketchbook. Butlin #692.74. CL, 20 March, #150, illus. (not sold; estimate £1500-2000).

The Last Judgment. SL, 15 Nov., #26, offered as “attributed to William Blake,” illus. (£4180 to a London dealer for R. Essick on an estimate of £4000-6000). See illus. 6-7.

The Resurrection of the Dead. Pencil, 38 × 29.2 cm., unidentified pencil sketch on verso. Butlin #615. One of two begin page 120 | back to top

5. Hecate.   Pencil, small patch of gray wash left of the owl (a later repair?), 24.2 × 27.8 cm. Inscribed lower left by Frederick Tatham, “drawn by William Blake.” Butlin #319. A preliminary sketch for the color print of c. 1795, but with five bat-winged creatures in flight, whereas all three examples of the color print show only the two largest. Arguably the most important Blake pencil drawing still in private hands. Gert Schiff, in his catalogue for the Blake exhibition at the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, fall 1990, has re-titled the color print The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy. Photo courtesy of Christie’s London.
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6. The Last Judgment.   Pencil tracing, 46.3 × 34.5 cm., with an old fold running horizontally through the center. Essick collection. Butlin #646. Based on the pen and wash over pencil drawing (Butlin #645) now in the Rosenwald Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington. Perhaps this tracing is the same as Butlin #647, last described by W. M. Rossetti as having the following inscription by Frederick Tatham: “A tracing of an elaborate drawing of his [Blake’s] Last Judgment. The original picture [Butlin #648, untraced] was six feet long and about five wide, and was very much spoiled and darkened by over-work; and is one of those alluded to in his Catalogue [of the 1809 exhibition] as being spoiled by the spirits of departed artists, or ‘blotting and blurring demons.’ This tracing is from some elaborate drawing [very probably Butlin #645] which has never been engraved” (Alexander Gilchrist, Life of William Blake [London: Macmillan, 1863] 2: 242, no. 23). As Butlin suggests, this inscription may have been on a mount destroyed during re-matting. Blake may have made a tracing of his more finished drawing as part of his work on the large tempera painting or, at a later time, as part of some unrealized intention to engrave the design. See also illus. 7.
begin page 122 | back to top known preliminary drawings for the water color in the British Museum (dated 1806; Butlin #613) of a title-page design associated with Blake’s illustrations of Robert Blair’s The Grave. SL, 15 Nov., #27, illus. color, showing the paper to be evenly brown (not sold
7. Detail of illus. 6,   showing the dragon with seven heads and ten horns and Satan’s book of accusations beneath his feet (center), Gog and Magog guarding the dragon, an embracing couple (left) and a fighting couple (right) representing states of the church, a youthful couple awakened from the grave by one of their children (lower left), two personifications of the Inquisition (lower right), and a reanimating skeleton at the bottom. This detail, with contrast artificially heightened, shows the quality of the tracing lines—a bit shaky, but lively and not without a Blakean touch of vigor combined with delicacy. We can find a similar type of nervous hand, perhaps a consequence of Blake’s fatal illness, in some of his late drawings, such as the Genesis Manuscript of c. 1826-27 (Butlin #828) and some of the sketches for the Pilgrim’s Progress illustrations of 1824-27 (see particularly Butlin #829.28 and 831). Thus, if Blake indeed drew this tracing, it may have been some years after the Last Judgment compositions of c. 1809 (see Butlin #648 for conjectures about a late Last Judgment painting). The tracing may be the work sold from the Frederick Tatham collection at auction in 1862. In the early nineteenth-century, John Linnell, his family and students, were active copyists of Blake’s designs, but there is no evidence that either this tracing or the more finished design on which it is based was ever in the Linnell collection.
on a discouragingly high estimate of £30,000-40,000).

A Richly Attired Prince, Perhaps Edward VI. Pencil, 8 × 6 1/8 in., from the smaller Blake-Varley sketchbook. Butlin #692.108. Frederick Cummings, April private offer (price on application). Previously sold CL, 14 Nov. 1989, #151, illus. (£11,000).

Visionary Heads, pencil, a group on 12 sheets, c. 1819-20, from the collection of F. Bailey Vanderhoef, Jr., Ojai, California. Acquired March by R. Essick. The drawings are as follows:

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Richard Coeur de Lion (Butlin #692a-b), 14.9 × 19.2 cm., title inscribed by Varley. From the smaller Blake-Varley sketchbook.

Cancer (Butlin #692c), 13.9 × 18.8 cm., title inscribed by Varley. From the smaller Blake-Varley sketchbook. Probably a caricature self-portrait—see Geoffrey Keynes, The Complete Portraiture of William & Catherine Blake (London: Blake Trust, 1977) pl. 20a.

David (Butlin #698), 25.4 × 18 cm., title inscribed by Linnell. Probably a counterproof of the drawing in the larger Blake-Varley sketchbook inscribed “Alexander the Great.” (A counterproof of a pencil drawing is made by placing it face down against a dampened sheet of paper and rubbing or applying pressure to the back of the drawing. Graphite is transferred to the dampened sheet to create a reversed copy of the original.)

Cassibelane (Butlin #716), 23.3 × 17.6 cm., title inscribed (by Linnell?). Probably leaf 82 verso from the larger Blake-Varley sketchbook, which contains two other versions of this image, a counterproof on leaf 83 recto and what may be a strengthened counterproof of 83 recto on leaf 81 verso (made after the removal of leaf 82).

An Anglo-Norman King. See illus. 8.

The Empress Maud (Butlin #725), 25 × 18.2 cm., title inscribed by Linnell. Leaf 70 recto from the larger Blake-Varley sketchbook, a counterproof of the drawing with the same title inscription on leaf 69 verso.

Faulconberg the Bastard (Butlin #730), 24.9 × 18.3 cm., title inscribed (by Linnell?). Leaf 62 recto from the larger Blake-Varley sketchbook, a counterproof of the drawing on leaf 61 verso, inscribed “The Bastard Faulconberg.”

King John (Butlin #731), 24.8 × 17 cm., title inscribed (by Linnell?). Probably from the larger Blake-Varley sketchbook since this sheet bears the same watermark (C BRENCHLEY 1804), and the list of contents at the end of the sketchbook includes “KingJohn.” Butlin indicates that this drawing is the original from which two counterproofs were made (#732 and 733, the latter untraced since 1920), but the flatness and fuzziness of the image suggest that this drawing is itself a counterproof, perhaps made from #732.

8. Blake.   An Anglo-Norman King (W. M. Rossetti’s title). Pencil, 27.5 × 20.5 cm. on sheet 29 × 22 cm., c. 1819-20. Essick Collection. One of Blake’s Visionary Heads on a separate sheet not part of either Blake-Varley sketchbook. As Butlin #724 points out, the brooch on the figure’s right shoulder suggests a Celtic, rather than an Anglo-Norman, monarch.

Edward I and William Wallace(Butlin #734), two heads on one sheet, 19.8 × 26.9 cm., titles inscribed by Linnell. The list of contents in the larger Blake-Varley sketchbook includes separate entries for these two characters, but the sheet of this double portrait is too large to have been part of the sketchbook. The story of Blake’s vision of begin page 124 | back to top King Edward and his Scottish adversary was first told by Allan Cunningham in The Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters, Sculptors, and Architects (London: John Murray, 1830) 2: 168.

Hotspur(Butlin #745), 22.2 × 17.8 cm., title inscribed (by Linnell?). Probably a counterproof of the drawing with the same title inscription in the larger Blake-Varley sketchbook, leaf 60 verso.

Merlin. See illus. 9.

Nine Grotesque or Demonic Heads. See illus. 10.


“Beggar’s Opera, Act III,” after Hogarth. SL, 26 Oct. 1989, #151, state not recorded, with 5 unrelated prints (not sold; estimate £450-650). See also Hogarth in next section.

Blair, Grave. Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #14, unspecified number of loose impressions from the 1808 quarto ed. (£35 each); pl. 7, “The Descent of Man into the Vale of Death,” 1813 printing on laid India, illus. (£25).

“Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims.” Swann, 4 Oct., #249, framed, state not given ($6875 on an estimate of $500-750). Probably the same impression offered by the New York bookdealer David Waxman at the Nov. Boston Book Fair ($14,000). Although this is a record asking price for any state or printing, descriptions provided by the owner and by John Windle suggest it is nothing more than a Sessler restrike.

Dante engravings. Jeffrey Stern, Jan. cat. 8, #340, complete suite, India laid on unwatermarked backing sheets of wove, 0.34 mm. thick, fine condition, described as being from a printing intermediate between the 1838 and 1892 recorded printings, but probably 1892 (given the lack of burr in pl. 3), from the collection of Edwin Wolf 2nd (£34,000). CL, 19 April, #22, pl. 4, “The Circle of Thieves,” only, laid India (£1320). SNY, 16 May, #8, pl. 4, “The Circle of Thieves,” only, laid India, light foxing, slight damage in margins ($2420). CL, 28 June, #8, complete set

9. Blake.   Merlin. Pencil, 23.2 × 18.1 cm., on leaf 79 verso extracted (by Varley or Linnell?) from the larger Blake-Varley sketchbook. Essick collection. Butlin #757 entitles this Visionary Head “A Welsh Bard [Rossetti’s title], Job or Moses(?),” but the “Merlin” inscription on the counterproof still in the recently rediscovered larger sketchbook, leaf 80 recto, identifies the visage as the magician of Arthurian legend. The patriarchal visage and upturned eyes (compare Mortimer’s etching of Shakespeare’s “Poet” and Blake’s separate plate of “Ezekiel”) embody Blake’s sense that Merlin was one of the bards of ancient Britain, a group linked, through Blake’s syncretic historicism, to the Old Testament prophets. In Jerusalem, Merlin figures “among the Giants of Albion” (93:13), but becomes entangled with Gwendolen and is transformed into “a Worm of the Valley” (56:28). See also “Merlins prophecy” of four lines in Blake’s Notebook.
on laid India, some foxing within the images on two pls. and with minor tears in margins, 1 pl. illus. (£16,500—the first set to sell at auction for less than £20,000 in several years, perhaps because of its condition).

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10. Blake   Nine Grotesque or Demonic Heads. Pencil, sheet 18.6 × 18.4 cm. Essick collection. Although long associated with the Visionary Heads in John Linnell’s collection, neither the conception of these heads, nor the drawing style, nor the paper—a thick wove with a slight pebble grain, a type generally used for water colors rather than pencil drawings—matches anything we find in the Visionary Heads. The only pictorial parallel is suggested by the head top center, which bears a slight resemblance in the tongue (or tongues?) and nose to The Head of the Ghost of a Flea (Butlin #692.98) from the smaller Blake-Varley sketchbook. Butlin #767 notes that “this sheet of drawings is not particularly characteristic of Blake and, if by him, may be considerably earlier than the Visionary Heads.” The heads are even less characteristic of anything we find in the work of Linnell or Varley. The theory that these are earlier, even pre-1800, sketches, first hinted at by W. M. Rossetti, bears consideration. The rough lines used to delineate hair on the largest (and most Blake-like?) head, lower right, and the mouth of the central head (wearing a German World War II helmet?) find precedents in The Dead Ardours (Butlin #232, titled “The Dead Bad-Doers”), a pencil drawing of c. 1794-96. But there are also some interesting (even if slight) parallels with “the physiognomies or lineaments of universal human life” (Blake’s Descriptive Catalogue) in the engraving of “Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims” (1810)—compare, for example, the heads top and center left with the Sompnour, the head lower left with the Miller, and the heads top and center right with the Reeve and Merchant. David Bindman has suggested in conversation that the drawings might be copies after gothic sculptures and contemporary with the composition of the tempera painting of Chaucer’s pilgrims and Blake’s essay on it in the Descriptive Catalogue of 1809. The aphorism below the heads (“All Genius varies Thus / Devils are various Angels are all alike”) has been accepted as Blake’s own by all major editors (Keynes, Erdman, Bentley—see also Bentley #54). The handwriting certainly looks like Blake’s, but it is closer to his loose and open later hand than his smaller, tighter hand of the 1790s. Butlin compares the aphorism to those in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (c. 1790-93), but it is possible that Blake showed this drawing to Varley and/or Linnell because of their physiognomical projects and at that point added the inscription by way of cryptic explanation. A slight drawing of a head on the verso, of a very different character from those on the recto, is probably not by Blake.
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Hayley, Essay on Sculpture, 1800. Pl. 3, a medallion of Thomas Hayley, Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #10, illus. (£120).

11. Miscellany . . .   Gem Engraving” from Abraham Rees, The Cyclopaedia, 1820. Intaglio etching/engraving by Blake and Wilson Lowry, 21 × 17.1 cm. Essick collection. As Tom Lange discovered over ten years ago, a proof of this plate at the Pierpont Morgan Library, showing only the three views of the gem, was printed from a different copperplate than the one represented by impressions commonly found in The Cyclopaedia. I subsequently located published-state pulls from the same copperplate used for the Morgan proof in two copies of the book. The example reproduced here is not bound, but stab holes along the left margin indicate that it once was. The two copperplates are very similar, but they can be distinguished on the basis of two small features. In the more common (and slightly less skillful) plate, the horizontal hatching lines in the background of the gem lower left extend into the thin border defining its outer rim, whereas in the plate reproduced here this border is free of all hatching (although it contains a few dots of stipple). The tube-like fold of cloth on the left shoulder of the bust lower right has its opening defined by two parallel circular lines in this plate. In the other, a single line delineates this circle. Blake probably executed the three views of the gem, and Lowery the machinery above, on both copperplates. Perhaps the plate shown here was damaged during printing and a replacement hastily prepared.

Hayley, Life of Romney, 1809. Blake’s pl. from, Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #9, illus. (£85).

Job engravings. SL, 29 Nov. 1989, #96, complete set, published “Proof” impressions on laid India, mounting sheets spotted, pl. 15 illus. (Finch, £17,600). SL, 30 Nov. 1989, #192, pl. 20 only, published “Proof” on laid India, margins foxed, illus. (£1320); #193, pl. 21 only, published “Proof” on laid India, margins foxed, illus. (£1320). Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #5, pl. 5 only, India laid on heavy wove, 1874 printing, small margins just outside platemark, illus. (£850). SNY, 30 April, #2630, “Proof” issue on laid India in “original terra-cotta boards,” printed label inscribed “J[ohn] L[innell] Subscriber’s Copy [£]5.5-,” worn, rebacked, from the collections of Anne Gilchrist and H. Bradley Martin, pl. 15 illus. ($55,000, an auction record, on an estimate of $8000-12,000); same copy, The 19th Century Shop, New York Armory Antique Show, 23-27 May, cover label and pl. 3 illus. in Maine Antique Digest (Aug. 1990): 28-B ($100,000—a record asking price); same copy, The 19th Century Shop, cat. 17, #14, pl. 17 illus. color, giving the ink a brownish hue ($95,000). Ben Abraham, June cat. 11, #84, title page only, on J Whatman Turkey Mill 1825 paper ($800). SL, 26 June, #171, pl. 2 only, wove paper impression with “Proof” inscription (not sold; estimate £1500-2000); #172, pl. 4 only, wove paper impression with “Proof” inscription (not sold; estimate £1500-2000). William Arader, July cat. 92, #141, pl. 9 only, published “Proof” on “soft white wove French paper,” illus. ($3000); #142, pl. 10 only, same state and paper, “a bit darkened” ($2250). CL, 23 Oct., #16, pl. 6 only, published “Proof” on laid India, slight foxing in the full margins, illus. (£935).

Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy. Pl. 2, “Democritus,” only. Ben Abraham, June cat. 11, #85, soiled and worn at edges ($200).

Rees, Cyclopaedia. Pl. 3 only (“Miscellany. Gem Engraving. Plate XVIII”). Campbell Fine Art, March private offer (£75). See illus. 11.

begin page 127 | back to top

Ritson, Select Collection of English Songs. Blake’s 9 pls. from. Ben Abraham, June cat. 11, #86, pl. 9 illus. ($600).

Stedman, Narrative. 2 pls. from, Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #7, “Skinning of the Aboma Snake” (£120), #8, “A Negro Hung Alive by the Ribs” (£150), edition not recorded, both illus.

Stuart and Revett, Antiquities of Athens, vol. 3, 1794. Blake’s pls. 1-3, Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #11-13, pl. 2 illus. (a bargain at £35 each).


Ariosto, Orlando Furioso. Argosy Book Store, Dec. 1989 cat. 774, #23, 1785 ed., 5 vols. ($350). Deighton Bell, April cat. 253, 1783 ed., 5 vols., contemporary tree calf, two joints cracked (£175). John Price, July cat., #12, 1791 ed., 2 vols., worn (£100); same copy, Sept. cat., #11 (£90). The Bookpress, Nov. cat. 53, #10, 1783 ed., 5 vols., contemporary tree calf, hinges cracking ($425).

Bible, Royal Universal Family, 1781. SL, 1 May, #768, worn, with 6 other vols. (Russell, £440).

Blair, Grave. SL, 30 Oct. 1989, #335, 1808 quarto, original boards with cover label, leaves browned and some with dampstaining (£370). Pickering & Chatto, “Winter [1989-90] Newsletter” no. 111, #6, 1808 quarto, black morocco rebacked ($2500); same copy and price, Aug. cat. 121, #14. David Mayou Books, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, 1808 quarto, lacking advert. for Stothard’s “Canterbury Pilgrims,” ownership signature of the sculptor Francis Chantrey (1781-1841), previously offered by Rota, May 1989 cat. 250, #25, for £400 ($1500). Campbell Fine Art, March private offer, apparently the 1808 quarto, binding defective, some dampstaining not affecting pls. (£375). SNY, 30 April, #2629, 1808 quarto, later half morocco, from the collection of H. Bradley Martin ($1540). Hartung & Hartung, Munich, 16 May auction, 1808 “folio” (but actually the quarto?), engraved title page illus. (estimate DM2000). Charles Traylen, April cat. 106, #428, 1808 quarto, rebacked (£475). Ben Abraham, June cat. 11, #25, 1808 quarto, paper watermarked 1807 and 1808, some foxing, green morocco ($1500). William Arader, July cat. 92, #143, 1808 “folio” (actually the quarto), full brown morocco, from the Doheny Library ($4500, a record asking price. Previously sold CNY, 21 Feb. 1989, #1709, $1320).

Boydell’s Graphic Illustrations of . . . Shakspeare. BBA, 5 July, #232, c. 1803, “98 plates, . . . all but 11 . . . with an additional unfinished proof” (but not for Blake’s single pl.), some pls. cut and mounted, some foxing and waterstaining, worn (Kitazawa, £770 on an estimate of £300-400). Swann, 8 Nov., #30, with printed front wrapper dated 1813 bound in, 100 pls. including Blake’s, apparently remainder impressions from the printing of c. 1803, all pls. hand colored in a restrained, perhaps near-contemporary, style, modern half black morocco ($2420); same copy, Golden Legend, Nov. cat., #12 ($5000).

Chaucer, Poetical Works, 1782, in Bell’s Edition of the Poets of Great Britain. G. & D. I. Marrin & Sons, June Book Fair, London, Bell’s Edition complete in 109 vols., handsomely boxed (£6000). No information on whether this set contained Blake’s pl.

Cumberland, Outlines from the Antients, 1829. Marlborough Rare Books, April cat. 137, #18, folio issue, pls. on India laid on wove with an 1825 watermark, portrait of Cumberland bound as frontispiece (not found in other issues), with Cumberland’s admission ticket as a student in the Royal Academy, dated 30 Nov. 1772, pasted to verso of “Appendix” leaf, contemporary calf rebacked (£600).

Darwin, Botanic Garden. Blackwell’s, March 1989 cat. A95, #120, 1st eds. of both Parts, fine copy (£5000—an extraordinary price). Shapero, Sept. 1989 private offer, 4th ed. (£145). Charles Traylen, April cat. 106, #641, 1st ed. of Pt. 1, 3rd of Pt. 2, 2 vols. in 1 (£420); #642, 2nd ed. of Pt. 1, 3rd of Pt. 2, 2 vols. (£375). SNY, 14 June, 1st ed. of both parts, some spotting and minor tears ($770); same copy, Ximenes, Oct. cat. 88, #82 ($1500). Larkhill Books, Nov. cat. 5, #31, 2nd ed. of both parts, modern quarter calf (£260). CL, 28 Nov., #90, 3rd ed. of Pt. 1, 4th of Pt. 2, the latter lacking one (non-Blake) pl., fine contemporary binding for Trinity College Dublin (Gasgony, £220).

Earle, Practical Observations on the Operation for the Stone, 1793. SL, 6 Nov., #1076, one pl. shaved, bound with two other medical texts, modern calf (Quaritch for Essick, £396). The first copy I have seen on the market in over a dozen years.

Flaxman, Hesiod illustrations. Simonson, 23 Sept. 1989 auction, #76, 1817 ed. ($216). Heritage Bookshop, Feb. private offer, a late (1870?) issue, spotted ($300). For a related drawing, see illus. 16.

Flaxman, Iliad illustrations, 1805. Kuballe, Aug. 1989 cat. 173, #2274, restrikes, dated c. 1870 by the dealer, lacking 3 pls. (DM120). BBA, 5 July, #237, with Flaxman’s Odyssey designs, 1805, light spotting, worn (Sillerman, £93).

Gay, Fables. Kenneth Karmiole, June 1989 cat., #20, 1st ed., 1793 ($600). Simonson, 23 Sept. 1989 auction, #174, lacking 3 pls., including 1 by Blake ($176). In Our Time, Feb. cat. 244, #41, 1st ed., 1793, “large paper copy” ($750); April cat. 247, #16, June cat. 248, #26, Sept. cat. 251, #14, and Jan. 1991 cat. 255, #51, same copy and price. Charles Traylen, April cat. 106, #142, “large paper copy,” but ed. not given, rebacked (£190). Phillip Pirages, May cat. 17, #205, 1st ed., 1793, modern half morocco, some foxing, pl. 1 illus. ($650). Hartfield Books, Oct. cat. 39, #L-42, ed. not indicated, three-quarter morocco and marbled boards, slight wear ($1295). Ursus Books, Oct. cat. 143, #111, 1st ed., 1793, fancy binding, pl. 1 begin page 128 | back to top illus. ($2000—a record asking price). Thomas Goldwasser Books, Los Angeles Book Fair, Oct., private offer, 2nd ed. (1811), uncut in original boards, original spine labels on both vols. giving the price as “£2.12s.6d.” ($1000). (To compensate for the larger leaf size in “large paper” copies of a book, the distance between the gutter and text margins is greater than in small paper copies. This distance can be used to discriminate between large and small paper copies even when both have been trimmed to the same leaf size. In the 1803 edition of Hayley’s Triumphs of Temper, for example, the distance between the gutter and the left margin of text on rectos is 3.4 cm. in large paper copies, but only 1.5 cm. in small paper copies. I have yet to find any differences in this measurement among copies of Gay’s Fables, 1793, and thus have no evidence that the book was printed on sheets of different sizes.)

Hartley, Observations on Man, 1791. Waterfield’s, March cat. 107, #126, contemporary calf, worn (£215).

Hayley, Ballads, 1805. SL, 30 Oct. 1989, #334, some dampstaining, rubbed, spine repaired, pl. 1 (1st st.) illus. (£550). E.M. Lawson, March cat. 244, #28, with a presentation inscription from Geoffrey Keynes to his wife’s cousin and the granddaughter of Charles Darwin, Nora Darwin (Lady Barlow), modern calf (£550); same copy and price, Sept. cat. 246. Larkhill Books, Nov. cat. 5, #34, modern leather, original endpaper inscribed “Ruthven Todd from Geoffrey Keynes 13 April 1942,” pl. 1 (2nd st.) illus. (£750).

Hayley, Life of Cowper, 1803-04. Jarndyce, April cat. 69, #532, 1st ed., a little spotting in text, contemporary half calf (£480). Heritage Book Shop, June cat. 177, #136, 1st ed., contemporary calf rubbed, some foxing ($450). Howes, July cat. 247, #172, 1st ed., with the supplementary vol. of 1806, 4 vols. in 3, new binding (£250). Grant & Shaw, Sept. cat. 3, #49, 1st ed., 4 vols. (including the supplementary vol. of 1806), contemporary half russia (£225). Larkhill Books, Nov. cat. 5, #32, apparently 1st ed., full calf (£300). Robert Clark, Dec. cat. 22, #245, 1st ed., some spotting, worn (£200).

Hayley, Triumphs of Temper. Shapero, 1989 cat. 3, #77, 1803 ed., large paper (£600). Blackwell’s, Oct. 1989 proof list “Troll,” #21, 1803 ed. (£300). Phillip Pirages, May cat. 17, #362, 1803 ed., contemporary calf rebacked, pl. 4 illus. ($750). Howes, July cat. 247, #439, 1807 ed. (much rarer than the 1803), original boards, uncut, spine cracked, inscribed in an unidentified hand, “given me by Mr. Hayley 1813” (£275). Larkhill Books, Nov. cat. 5, #37, 1803 ed., apparently small paper, full calf (£220).

Hogarth, Works. Walford, March 1989 cat. A/331, #161, “plates dated 1795-1803” (£1200); Nov. 1989 cat. A/334, #140, dated to c. “182-” by the dealer (£1500). Swann, 22 Feb., #107, “Baldwin and Craddock [sic], circa 1835,” worn, light foxing ($1430); 22 March, #81, “Baldwin and Craddock [sic], circa 1835,” pls. “very good” ($1980). Walford, April “Trade List,” #67, dated to “c. 182-” by the dealer, but I suspect considerably later (£2500); #68, 1822 ed. (but possibly the c. 1880 Quaritch ed. dated 1822 on the title page), “good dark impressions” (£2200); May cat. H/161, #82, and Oct. cat. H/162, #57, repeats of #67 above (same price). Frew Mackenzie, April cat. 19, #18, “Baldwin and Cradock . . . c. 1838-40” (£2100). BBA, 6 April, #64, “Original and Genuine Works” of “c. 1795,” lacking “The Rake’s Progress and others” (but with Blake’s pl.?), dampstained, disbound (Print Room, £1265 on an estimate of £250-350). Peter Neser (Germany), May cat. 167, #1332, undated issue, 60 pls. only, thus perhaps lacking Blake’s pl. (DM1200). Beeleigh Abbey Books, Sept. cat. BA/45, #101, 1st Baldwin and Cradock issue, c. 1835-37, with G. Woodfall named as the printer on p. 42 of the letterpress text (and hence with the 5th st. of Blake’s pl., if present), half morocco worn (“Sold”). Swann, 4 Oct., #315, “Baldwin and Cradock, circa 1835,” marginal dampstaining, binding very worn ($1320). BBA, 22 Nov., #85, “Baldwin and Cradock . . . c. 1828,” covers detached (B. Bailey, £660).

Hunter, Historical Journal, 1793. James Cummins, June cat. 26, #195, quarto issue, contemporary calf rebacked ($4000). James Fenning, July cat. 104, #209, octavo issue, recent quarter calf (£850). E. M. Lawson, Sept. cat. 246, #24, quarto issue, contemporary calf rebacked, imprint on title shaved (£2200). CL, 24 Oct., #58, quarto issue, some spotting and some pls. torn, later half morocco rubbed (not sold).

Lavater, Aphorisms on Man. David Bickersteth, Dec. 1989 cat. 107, 1788 ed., tree calf (£380); same copy and price, Oct. cat. 112, #14. C. R. Johnson, Feb. cat. 29, #95, 1794 ed., 3rd st. of the frontispiece, illus. (£220). Jarndyce, April cat. 69, #356, 1794 ed., upper corner of margin of pl. torn, contemporary calf, worn (£85). W. & V. Dailey, July private offer, 1789 ed., 1st st. of frontispiece ($850). In the copy sold by Dailey, “subtleness” in aphorism 303 (p. 106) has been altered to “sullenness,” apparently in an early hand. Blake made the same annotation in his copy of the book.

Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy. George Minkoff, Jan. cat. 90-A, #18, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, some foxing and dampstaining, with an additional pl. after Stubbs inserted ($1850); same copy and price, June cat. 90-C, #28. Heritage Book Shop, June cat. 177, #168, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, rebound, some foxing ($1850). Simon Finch, Nov. cat. 5, #58, 1792 issue, 3 vols: in 5, fancy contemporary binding (£1200).

Malkin, Father’s Memoirs of His Child, 1806. Howes Bookshop, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair ($650); July cat. 247, #438, apparently same copy (£375). Quaritch, Oct. cat. 1132, #8, presentation inscription from the author to Dr. Pett, autograph note by W. M. Rossetti begin page 129 | back to top on front endpaper, blue morocco rebacked ($1250—a record asking price?).

Novelist’s Magazine. Sanders, Oct. 1989 private offer, vols. 8-9, all title pages dated 1782, pls. in 1st sts. (£270). Blackwell’s, July cat. “Angel,” #42, vols. 10-11, lacking engraved title pages, worn (£100).

Richardson, Sir Charles Grandison, 1818. Stuart Bennett, Jan. cat. 16, #129, 2 vols. in 1, contemporary half calf repaired ($150). This work contains revised states of Blake’s 3 Grandison pls. after Stothard first published in The Novelist’s Magazine, 1783—see Christopher Heppner, “Notes on Some Items in the Blake Collection at McGill with a Few Speculations around William Roscoe,” Blake Newsletter 10 (1977): 100-08, and G. E. Bentley, Jr., “A Supplement to Blake Books,” Blake 11 (1977-8): 149-50. Both Heppner and Bentley state that one of the plates is not by Blake, but close comparisons of hatching patterns and accidental features in the border designs indicate that all 3 of Blake’s pls. were extensively reworked (very probably by some journeyman rather than Blake himself).

Ritson, Select Collection of English Songs, 1783. SL, 31 Oct. 1989, #763, 3 vols., with an unrelated work (£240). Phillip Pirages, Oct. cat. 18, #300, contemporary tree calf rebacked, internally clean, 2 pls. illus. ($900).

Salzmann, Elements of Morality, 1791. Justin Schiller, April private offer, 3 vols., contemporary calf rebacked, pls. all in the 1st st. ($6000).

Scott, Poetical Works, 1782. Sevin Seydi, Oct. cat. “Zebra,” #54, contemporary calf rebacked (£275).

Shakespeare, Dramatic Works, Boydell’s ed., 1802. Argosy Book Store, Dec. 1989 cat. 774, #515, 9 vols., contemporary calf, some covers loose ($1500). Demetzy Books, June Book Fair, London, (£1400). BBA, 5 July, #141, 9 vols., contemporary calf worn, some covers detached (not sold).

Shakespeare, Plays, 1805. SL, 20 Feb., #861, 9 vol. issue, fancy binding, rubbed (Seibu, £660).

Stedman, Narrative. SL, 7 Dec. 1989, #284, 1796 ed., 2 vols., spotted, rubbed (Segal, £660). Sebastian Hesselink, April New York Book Fair, 1796 ed., 2 vols., pls. with “contemporary” hand coloring ($12,500). Sotheran’s, June cat. 25, #181, 1806 ed., 2 vols., contemporary calf and marbled boards, pl. 12 illus. (£950). CL, 24 Oct., #124, 1796 ed., all pls. “finely coloured by hand, some heightened with gold,” contemporary diced russia rebacked, “Europe supported by Africa & America” illus. color (Okudaira, £2200—rather cheap for a colored copy). Hamill & Barker, Nov. cat. 18, #131, 1796 ed., 2 vols., some foxing and offsetting, contemporary calf rebacked ($2000).

Stuart and Revett, Antiquities of Athens. SL, 27 Sept., #412, 4 vols., 1762-1826, some foxing and waterstaining, half calf worn (Bouas, £5280). CL, 3 Oct., #437, 5 vols. bound in 6, 1762-1830, half vellum, some spotting (Frew Mackenzie, £3850); #438, 4 vols., 1762-1816, fancy binding (Frew Mackenzie, £2750).

Varley, Treatise on Zodiacal Physiognomy, 1828. SL, 20 Feb., #986, lacking pl. of the Ghost of a Flea, rubbed, torn (Kunkler, £121).

Virgil, Pastorals. SL, 7 June, #226, the 1977 restrikes from the original blocks, published by British Museum Publications (Davidson, £440).

Wit’s Magazine, 1784. Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #6, 2 vols. in 1, Jan. 1784—May 1785, “May-Day in London” illus. (£250—a bargain).

Wollstonecraft, Original Stories from Real Life. SL, 29 Nov. 1989, #178, 1791 ed., pls. “all in the first state” (but actually 1st st. of pls. 1-2, 2nd of pls. 3-6), contemporary sheep, top edges of some leaves dampstained, pl. 2 illus. (Ricagni, £1100); #179, 1791 ed., pls. 1 and 2 “second state, . . . others . . . all in the first state” (but actually 2nd st. of all pls.), contemporary sheep, outer margins of some leaves dampstained (Pirages, £880); same copy as #179, Phillip Pirages, May cat. 17, #320, pl. 4 illus. ($2200). Jarndyce, Feb. cat. 68, #626, contemporary tree calf (£1500). SL, 2 May, #819, 1796 ed., soiled, worn (Simon Finch, £880). See illus. 12-15.

Young, Night Thoughts, 1797, uncolored. Bromer Booksellers, Jan. cat. 55, #8, with the Explanation leaf, flytitle to Night the Second in the 2nd st., uncut, top edge gilt, a “good, clean copy,” p. 80 illus. ($8500—a record asking price). CL, 28 Nov., #85, “20 border illustrations shaved,” no mention in the cat. of the Explanation leaf, modern half calf, title page to Night the Third illus. (not sold on an estimate of £2500-3000).


Robinson Crusoe. Gray wash over pencil, 20.5 × 11.5 cm. SL, 15 Nov., #74, “attributed to William Blake,” illus. (£880). In my opinion, this is not a work by Blake. The drawing of the figure, and in particular his face, is uncharacteristic. I suspect that the general similarities in the setting to Blake’s engraving of “Joseph of Arimathea Among the Rocks of Albion,” reversed, are merely a coincidence. Not at all like Blake’s known Robinson Crusoe drawings (Butlin #140-41).

The Expulsion of Adam and Eve. Pen with gray ink and gray washes over pencil, 25.2 × 19.2 cm., inscribed lower left “W. Blake 1803.” SL, 15 Nov., #28, attributed only to “English School, circa 1800,” illus. (not sold on an estimate of £2000-3000). Not by Blake, but possibly by William Young Ottley or a follower of Ottley’s.

Water color drawing in blues and browns, approx. 17 × 22 cm., perhaps representing an Alpine storm at dusk, very loose and messy in execution (a parody of a late Turner?), signed in black ink lower left, “W Blake,” perhaps begin page 130 | back to top

P. 74.
          	Indeed we are very happy! ________
          	Published by J. Johnson, Septr. 1, 1791.
12. Pl. 3, first state, designed and executed by Blake, in Mary Wollstonecraft, Original Stories from Real Life (1791).   Etching/engraving, 11.3 × 6.8 cm. Essick collection. In the second state (1791), crossing strokes have been added to the floor (lower left and center), the wall (left, center, and within the fireplace), the molding surrounding the fireplace, and the legs of the boy far right. In the third state (1796), Blake’s signature has been added lower right and more hatching has been added to the floor, both chairs, the man’s coat and pants, and the right upper arm of the weeping figure behind the man. Except for this last figure, the hair on all other heads has been augmented with more lines. In my 1986 sales review (Blake 21 [1987]: 7), I noted in passing the discovery of previously unrecorded first states of pls. 3-6 for the Original Stories. Dealers and auction houses, when they bother to record the states in copies of the book, cite Roger R. Easson and Robert N. Essick, William Blake: Book Illustrator, vol. 1 (Normal: American Blake Foundation, 1972) 11-12, where the second states of pls. 3-6 are listed as though they were the first, and hence the third as though they were the second. To clear up the confusion, I reproduce here (illus. 12-15) all four plates in question in what I now believe to be their true first states. None is a pre-publication proof, for all have imprints and the examples shown here are all bound in copies of the book. The new signatures on all four plates in the third state are scratched into the copper, not cut with the graver, and were probably added by Blake himself. Pls. 1-2 are properly described in Easson and Essick.
[View this object in the William Blake Archive]
          Be calm, my child, remember that you
          must do all the good you can the present day.
          Published by J. Johnson, Septr. 1. 1791.
13. Pl. 4, first state, Wollstonecraft’s Original Stories (see illus. 12).   11.8 × 6.6 cm. Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress. In the second state (1791), crossing strokes have been added to the areas on the intertwined trees (left margin) shaded only with hatching in the first state. In the third state (1796), more hatching has been added to these two trees and the woman’s skirt. Blake’s signature has been added lower right and the face and hair of the girl on the left have been darkened.
[View this object in the William Blake Archive]
begin page 131 | back to top
          	Trying to trace the sound, I discovered
          	a little hut, rudely built.
          	Published by J. Johnson, Septr. 1, 1791.
14. Pl. 5, first state, Wollstonecraft’s Original Stories (see illus. 12).   12 × 6.4 cm. Essick collection. In the second state (1791), crossing strokes have been added to the harper’s left thigh, his coat below his left arm, the shaded area left and right of his left ankle, and the back and right leg of the chair. In the third state (1796), Blake’s signature has been added lower right. The hatching strokes on the woman’s dress and hat and the man’s clothing have been recut in slightly different patterns. The harper’s left knee is now shaded with curved strokes. More dots have been added to the background, particularly the ruined arch upper right and the area surrounding the woman’s left hand. Stipple has been added to this hand and the woman’s face. The darkening of her eyes makes them look halfclosed.
[View this object in the William Blake Archive]
P. 173.
          	Œconomy & Self-denial are necessary, in
          	every station, to enable us to be generous.
          	Published by J. Johnson, Septr. 1, 1791.
15. Pl. 6, first state, Wollstonecraft’s Original Stories (see illus. 12).   11.6 × 6.5 cm. Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress. In the second state (1791), the floor lower left has been darkened with thick hatching lines. Crossing strokes have been added to the upper half of the wall within the fireplace, the seated man’s left lapel, the area seen through the door, the lintel above it, and the ceiling beams upper right. Blake’s signature has been added lower right in the third state (1796), which also shows new hatching and crosshatching patterns on the clothing of all but the two girls. All ceiling beams are now crosshatched and the entire floor has been darkened. More lines have been added to the man’s hair and the facial features of the two boys have been darkened. Dots have been added to the chair.
[View this object in the William Blake Archive]
begin page 132 | back to top followed by the date “1823.” Colin Franklin, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, from the collection of Leonard Baskin who (according to Franklin) believes the drawing is by Blake ($6500). It would be difficult to conceive of a drawing that looks less like Blake’s work. The signature is similar to those on several non-Blakes in the Huntington Art Gallery.

A Specimen of Printing Types, by Joseph Fry and Sons, Letter-Founders to the Prince of Wales, London, 1786. Marlborough Rare Books, Oct. cat. 139, #230, “dedication carrying the coat of arms of the Prince of Wales engraved by William Blake” (£2800). A copy of the pl. kindly supplied by Marlborough shows that the engraved signature is “Blake Sc Change Alley.” The address indicates that the engraver was William Staden Blake, not the poet and artist.

John Marsh (1752-1828), composer, friend of William Hayley, father of Edward Garrard Marsh. His manuscript autobiography in 37 vols., with several references to Blake. CL, 28 Nov., #285 (Maggs, acting for the Huntington Library, £28,600).

Friedrich Justin Bertuch, Bilderbuch für Kinder, vols. 1-12, Weimar, 1798-1830. SL, 7 June, #273 (not sold; estimate £5000-7500). This work contains an engraving (illus. in the auction cat.) copying Blake’s pl. 5, “The Skinning of the Aboma Snake,” in Stedman’s Narrative. In the copy of the book at UCLA, the handsomely hand-colored impression is bound in vol. 6 (1807), where it illustrates Miscellaneous Subject LXXIV, No. 12, “The Manner, in which the Negros in America Strip the Buffalo Snake (Boa Constrictor).” The brief essay makes passing reference to “the Englishman Stedman.

An unused copy of the printed label originally issued with Blake’s Job engravings, 1826. Questor Rare Books, Feb. cat. 6, #31 (£65).

Songs of Innocence and of Experience, London, W. Pickering, 1839. Argosy Book Store, Dec. 1989 cat. 774, #73, “first issue” (i.e., issue with “The Little Vagabond”?), presentation inscription (an absolute steal at $150). Same copy?, with “The Little Vagabond,” presentation inscription from the editor, J. J. Garth Wilkinson, to T. Hyde, Ximenes, March cat. 86, #14, original cloth (still not bad at $800). Same copy, Black Sun Books, Addendum to April cat. 86, #5 (getting pricey at $1250). Perhaps the copy now in the stock of Pickering & Chatto, London. Will this copy of the first typographic edition of Blake’s Songs ever find a permanent home?

Songs of Innocence and Experience with Other Poems, London, B. M. Pickering, 1866. Extra-illustrated with “17 expert water-colour copies” of Blake’s pls. for Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Claude Cox, July cat. 79, #185, original cloth and paper label, rubbed (£85). Sold to the York dealer Jeffrey Stern, who tells me that these water colors are probably by a skilled amateur, that the copy of “London” shows a watermark of “Joy & Sons / Superfine / [18]79” (date uncertain), and that the outlines are rather crude but brightly colored. Copies, kindly sent to me by Stern, confirm his assessment of the outlines. Most of the drawings bear the title of the poem but no other text.

W. B. Yeats, autograph manuscript journal, 11 July 1898-31 March 1902, including a brief entry describing a dream about a book that “contained lost poems by Blake” (from the journal, as quoted in the auction catalogue). SL, 19 July, #214 (Lyon, £59,400). Previously offered CNY, 10 Nov. 1989, #201 (not sold).

George Moore. Carbon typescript, 11 ½ pages, of “The Nineness in the Oneness,” an essay on art and music dealing with Blake and several other artists. Signed by Moore and with several handwritten corrections in ink. David Holmes, July cat. 29, #144 ($500).


Works are listed under artists’ names in the following order: untitled 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.


Holy Family and Shepherds. Pencil, pen and brown ink, gray and brown washes, 20 ⅝ × 15 ⅞ in. CL, 10 July, #16, illus. (£1760 on an estimate of £300-400).

Venus Anadyomene. Oil, 60.5 × 37.5 cm., inscribed along lower edge, “Js. BARRY 1773 MODEL FOR THE LARGE PICTURE VENUS ANADYOMENE.” SL, 11 July, #108, illus. color (£11,000). The large painting, first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1772, is now in the National Gallery, Dublin.

Four engravings, 1808 printing, Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, all illus.: #1, “Elysium and Tartarus” (£250); #2, “Crowning the Victors at Olympia” (£200); #3, “A Grecian Harvest-Home” (£120); #4, “The Thames” (£120).

King Lear, Act V, Scene III,” engraved by Legat for Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery, 1792. The Print Room, Dec. 1989 cat. 4, #168 (£150). Philadelphia Print Shop, April cat. 2-90, #418 ($175).

Barry, Account of a Series of Pictures in . . . the Society of Arts, 1783. Ann Creed Books, March 1989 cat. 1, #402, bound with More, Description of the Series of Pictures Painted by James Barry, 1792, and another work (£225).


“The Distribution of His Majesty’s Maundy,” engraved by Basire after S. H. Grimm, 1777. The Print Room, Oct. cat. 6, #11, illus. (£250).


Two wood engravings from the Memoir, 1893, Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #21-2, “The Brook” and “The Return Home,” both illus. (£775 each).

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“The Bride,” engraving. Garton & Co., Oct. cat. 51, #1, from the Memoir, 1893, illus. (£1100).


See also Flaxman under Letterpress Books, above.

And when Recalled to Rejoin the Blest Above. Pencil and pen, touches of brown wash, 9 × 7 ¼ in. CL, 13 Nov., #19, with two drawings by “T. Stothard” of “a lady from behind” (£385).

Design for the Monument to the Memory of Captain James Montagu. Pencil, pen, gray wash, 9 ¾ × 7 ⅛ in., signed and dated 5 Oct. 1798. CL, 13 Nov., #17, illus. (£275).

A Dying Hero. Pen and gray ink, 13 × 18 cm. SL, 26 April, #288 (not sold; estimate £400-600).

Father Embracing his Sons. Pencil, pen and ink and touches of water color, 19 × 14.7 cm. Agnew’s, 117th annual exhibition cat. of water colors and drawings, March-April, #30, illus. (£1400).

John Flaxman, a portrait of, by Henry Howard. Oil, 60 × 49.5 cm. SL, 14 Nov., #52, illus. color (not sold on an estimate of £6000-8000).

Lake of Nemi, attributed to Flaxman (the figures) and Georgiana Hare Naylor (the landscape). Water color, 20 ½ × 29 ¼ in., 1793. CL, 10 July, #81, illus. (£990).

Mercury Uniting the Hands of Britain and France. Pencil, pen, and gray wash, 10 ⅛ × 12 ¾ in. CL, 13 Nov., #91, illus. (£3300 on an estimate of £500-800).

Prometheus Attacked by Jupiter, a preliminary drawing from one of the Aeschylus engravings, and a sketch for Thetis Bringing the Armour to Achilles, one of the Iliad engravings. Pencil, pen and gray ink, 9 ¼ × 9 ⅜ in. (no details given for the second drawing). CL, 13 Nov., #18, illus. (£1870 on an estimate of £300-500).

16. John Flaxman.   Rhea Consulting Her Parents Uranus and Terra. Pencil and gray wash, 12.8 × 16.3 cm. Essick collection. This illustration to Hesiod is one of four extant drawings probably not prepared for the series engraved by Blake in stippled line and published in 1817 but executed in contemplation of reproduction in a tonal graphic medium. For another example and further explanation, see Blake 24 (1990): 236.

Rhea Consulting Her Parents Uranus and Terra. Acquired May by R. Essick from Christopher Powney. See illus. 16.

Mrs. Siddons as Queen Constance. Pencil and gray ink, 8 ¾ × 7 ¼ in. CL, 20 March, #44, with a drawing of Siddons by G. H. Harlow (£792).

Aeschylus illustrations. The Bookpress, Nov. cat. 53, #110, 1795 ed., original wrappers slightly soiled ($300). Robert Clark, Dec. cat. 22, #245, 1831 ed., original boards, worn (£65).

Dante illustrations, Paris: Audot & Susse, c. 1833-35. Simonson, 23 Sept. 1989 auction, #145 ($126). Zisska, 17-19 Oct. 1989 auction, #1626 (estimate DM180).

Iliad and Odyssey illustrations. Weissert, Jan. 1989 cat. 41, #91, Berlin: Enslin, c. 1855 (DM360). Krown & Spellman, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, 1805 London ed. of both, probably late impressions ($350). Walford, May cat. H/161, #260, Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, trans. W. Sotheby, 1834 (£75).

L’Oeuvre de Flaxman, engraved by Réveil, 1847. Ars Libri, March cat. 78, #924, combined ed. of 5 works, plus Sujets divers and a letterpress commentary ($200).

Flaxman, Anatomical Studies, 1833. Robert Clark, June cat. 20, #258, original cloth rebacked (£175).

Flaxman, Lectures. Quaritch, Dec. 1989 cat. 1115, #44, 1838 ed., original cloth ($200). Robert Clark, March cat. 19, #209, 1838 ed., original cloth, frontispiece loose, some foxing (£60). Chaucer Head, April cat. 11, #539, 1829 ed. (£120). Dawson Book Service, Oct. cat. 31, #27, 1838 ed., contemporary calf (£140).

Milton, Latin and Italian Poems, trans. Cowper, 1808. Robert Clark, Nov. 1989 cat. 18, #194, lacking 1 pl., spotted (£32). BBA, 5 July, #132, worn (Kohler, £104). Grant & Shaw, Sept. cat. 3, #129, begin page 134 | back to top uncut in original drab boards, rebacked and recornered, the text and pls. exceptionally clean and bright (£150).


Lysander with Helena and Hermia from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Oil, 90.5 × 69.5 cm., c. 1780-85. SL, 14 March, #106, illus. color (£41,800 on an estimate of £20,000-30,000).

Spirit of Knowledge, possibly a design for a frontispiece to William Roscoe’s The Nurse. Pencil and gray wash, 7 ⅛ × 8 ¾ in. CL, 13 Nov., #93, illus. (£4400).

Autograph card signed, 1 June 1799, authorizing admission to the exhibition at the Milton Gallery. BBA, 27 July, #249 (Silverman, £99).

“I have done the deed” from Macbeth, engraved by Heath, 1804. Ian Hodgkins, Nov. cat. 53, #108 (£95).

King Henry the Fifth, Act II, Scene II,” engraved by Thew for Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery, 1798. The Print Room, Dec. 1989 cat. 4, #157, illus. (£150).

Macbeth, Act I, Scene III.” Philadelphia Print Shop, April cat. 2-90, #429, engraved by Caldwall for Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery ($450). Ian Hodgkins, Nov. cat. 53, #106, engraved by Bromley, 1817 (£95); #107, engraved by Heath, 1804 (£75)

Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 3, Scene 1,” engraved by Rhodes, 1794. Ian Hodgkins, Nov. cat. 53, #106 (£125).

“Prince Arthur’s Dream,” engraved by Peltro William Tomkins, 1787. The Print Room, Oct. cat. 6, #181, proof before title printed in brown, illus. (£350).

Tempest, Act I, Scene II,” engraved by Simon for Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery. Philadelphia Print Shop, April cat. 2-90, #436 ($425).

Bell’s British Theatre, 1791-92. Charles Traylen, April cat. 106, #351, 22 vols., fine bindings (£600).

Bible, published by Macklin, 6 vols., 1800. Jeffrey Stern, Jan. cat. 8, #218, contemporary diced russia gilt, rubbed (£600). Blackwell’s, March cat. A97, #510, “a magnificent copy,” fancy binding (£1400).

Bonnycastle, Introduction to Astronomy, 1796. David Bickersteth, Oct. cat. 112, #170 (£120).

Boydell, Collection of Prints . . . Illustrating the Dramatic Works of Shakspeare. Shapero, 1989 cat. 3, #308, 1803 ed., 98 pls. (£2800). Swann, 9 Nov. 1989, #158, 1803 ed., 65 pls. only, no information given on the presence of pls. after Fuseli ($1045); #159, 1803 ed., 92 pls., foxed, dampstained, no information given on which pls. after Fuseli are present ($1650). SL, 20 Feb., #1013, 1803 ed., 98 pls., some cut down and mounted, slight spotting, bound in 2 vols. (Essevi, £2750 on an estimate of £400-500). SL, 1 May, #764, New York 1852 ed., some spotting and tears (Russell, £1430 on an estimate of £400-500).

Boydell Gallery, 1874. Ann Creed Books, March 1989 cat. 1, #410 (£45).

Cowper, Poems. Blackwell’s, Jan. 1989 proof list “Snake,” 1811 ed., large paper, lacking 1 pl., fancy binding, with the supplementary vol. of 1815 (£500); March 1989 cat. A95, #103, same copy (£450). Howes, July cat. 247, #170, 1808 ed., “royal paper issue” (£120). David Morrison Books, Oct., Los Angeles Book Fair, 1808 ed., the pls. with very fine, perhaps contemporary, hand coloring (the buy of the year at $75).

Darwin, Temple of Nature, 1803. John Price, July cat., #52, rebacked, worn, one page repaired with cellotape (£300).

Gray, Poems. Simon Finch, Feb. cat. 3, #63, 1801 ed., uncut in original boards, soiled (£45). Ian Hodgkins, Feb. cat. 49, #143, 1800 ed., large paper, some pls. foxed, full crimson morocco (£125). SL, 11 Dec., #164, 1800 ed., printed on vellum, fancy binding (Huntington Library, $2200).

Homer, Iliad (1805) and Odyssey (1806) —see Pope, Poetical Works, below.

Lavater, Essai sur la Physiognomie, 1781-86. BBA, 4 Oct., #32, 3 of 4 vols. only, with an unrelated work (not sold).

Pope, Poetical Works, 1804. Messrs. Berkelouw, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, small paper, 6 vols. in 3, uniformly bound in full modern calf with Homer, Iliad (1805), 6 vols. in 3, and Homer, Odyssey (1806), 6 vols. in 3, all pls. in 2nd st. ($700).

Pope, Rape of the Lock, 1798. Simonson, 23 Sept. 1989 auction, with 2 other eds. of the same work ($76). Marlborough, Oct. 1989 cat. 135, #95 (£300).

Seward, Anecdotes of Distinguished Persons, 1798. James Burmester, May cat. 8, #213, 4 vols., with Seward, Biographiana, 2 vols., 1799, fancy binding (£275).

Winckelmann, Reflections on the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks, trans. Fuseli, 1765. SL, 10 Nov. 1989, #1500, “wide margins” (£260).

Young, Catalogue of Pictures by British Artists in the Possession of Sir John Fleming Leicester, 1825. BBA, 5 July, #273 (not sold).


Adam and Eve Asleep. SL, 15 Nov., #25, illus. (not sold on an estimate of £1200-1800). See illus. 17.


The Approaching Storm. Oil, 48.3 × 65.1 cm., signed and dated 1819 on the verso. Agnew’s, May cat., #53 (£15,000).

A Country Road. Oil, 69.5 × 99 cm., signed and dated 1864. SL, 11 July, #90, illus. color (withdrawn; estimate £10,000-15,000).

Evening; the Vicinity of a Farm. Oil, 37 × 47 cm., signed and dated 1827. SL, 11 July, #91, illus. color (£42,900 on an estimate of £5000-7000). The auction catalogue identifies the locale as Collins’ Farm, Hampstead, where Linnell lived and was visited by Blake (a fact begin page 135 | back to top

17. James Jefferys.   Adam and Eve Asleep. Pencil, 37 × 49.5 cm., signed and inscribed lower left, “J Jeffreys Roma at a time . . . / N.B. remember to make the thigh of Eve/ to join better to the Body & also to make her a little/ bigger or Adam less, to make a right foot to/ the Angels to make the hips of Adam less.” Inscribed in a later hand, lower right, “William Blake.” Illustrated, and (mis)attributed to Blake, in Geoffrey Keynes, Pencil Drawings by William Blake (London: Nonesuch Press, 1927), pl. 35. For the rediscovery of Jefferys (1751-84) and his work in the styles of Mortimer, Barry, and Fuseli, see The Rediscovery of an Artist: James Jefferys, Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition catalogue, 1976, and Martin Butlin in Blake 10 (1977): 123-24. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s London.
that does not account for the extraordinary price).

Figures on Hampstead Heath. Pencil and gray wash, signed and dated 1824, 4 ⅜ × 6 ⅞ in. CL, 10 July, #109 (not sold).

A Fine Evening after Rain—A Scene in Wales. Oil, 42 × 66 cm., signed. Perhaps the painting of this subject that was exhibited in 1815. SL, 15 Nov. 1989, #99, illus. color (£15,400).

Kensington Gravel Pits. Oil, 61.5 × 95 cm., signed and dated 1857. A later, slightly altered, version of the painting of c. 1809-11 now in the Tate Gallery. SL, 14 Nov., #124, illus. color (£11,000).

Landscape with Children and Sheep on a Path. Oil, 49.8 × 71.3 cm., signed and dated 1863. CL, 18 May, #275, illus. color (not sold; estimate £3000-4000).

Portrait of a Lady. Oil, 26.5 × 20 cm. Phillips auction, London, 13 Nov., #110, illus. color (no price information).

Portrait of Nina as a Child. Colored chalks, signed and dated 1842, 18 ¾ × 14 ½ in. CL, 10 July, #119, illus. (£495).

Portrait of Professor Mylne. Oil, 41.3 × 34.6 cm., signed, datable to 1835. Agnew’s, May cat., #13, illus. (£4500).

Portrait of Thomas Hill. Pencil and chalk preliminary for the oil portrait, signed, 11 ¼ × 10 ⅝ in., c. 1831. CL, 10 July, #29, illus. (£264).

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18. Samuel Palmer.   Harlech Castle—Twilight. Water color, 50.5 × 69.5 cm., datable to Palmer’s visit to Wales in 1843. There is an inscription on the back of the mount by Palmer’s son, Alfred Herbert: “This drawing, in a certain very low light & no other, completely changes its character / It becomes so beautiful that it looks like the actual scene, though at a somewhat later time A. H. P / The illusion is very curious.” Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s London.

The Sand Cart—A View on the Surrey Hills. Oil, 66 × 94 cm., signed and dated 1851/66. SL, 15 Nov. 1989, #89, illus. color (£16,500).

Storm in Harvest. Oil, 37 × 53 ¼ in., signed and dated 1856. Christie’s Edinburgh, 22 Nov., # unknown, illus. color (no price recorded; estimate £15,000-20,000).

Surrey Woodlands. Oil, 99 × 137 cm., signed and dated 1868. SL, 15 Nov. 1989, #98, illus. color (not sold; estimate £40,000-60,000).

The White Cow. Oil, 44.5 × 59.5 cm., signed and dated 1856. SL, 15 Nov. 1989, #100, illus. color (£8800).

The Wood Cutters. Oil, 49 × 71 cm., signed and dated 1853. SL, 11 July, #94, illus. color (£22,000).

Two autograph letters signed, to Dr. Holman and Mr. Cook, 2 Aug. 1875 and 21 Aug. 1877, “mounted with a portrait[?].” BBA, 27 July, #250 (not sold).

“William Evans Esq,” engraved by Weldon Taylor after Linnell, 1840. The Print Room, Oct. cat. 6, #180 (£85).

LOCK, WILLIAM (1767?-1847, friend and student of Fuseli)

Sales exhibition of his drawings and water colors, Daniel Shackleton Gallery, Edinburgh, advertised in Apollo 132 (Aug. 1990): 17, two works illus. color.


Design for Part of the Decoration of a Ceiling. Pencil, pen and wash on light gray paper, 15 ⅝ × 16 ¾ in. CL, 13 Nov., #13, with a small drawing formerly attributed to Mortimer (not sold).

Group of plates by and after, Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2: #65, etchings dedicated to Sir Joshua Reynolds, complete set of 11, 3 illus. (£500); #66, “Ger’d. Lairesse,” illus. (£120); #67, “Silenus,” etched by Blyth, illus. (£85); #68-73, 6 etchings by Blyth of banditti (£35 each); #74, “Banditti Conversing,” proof before title of Blyth’s etching, illus. (£50).

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“Edgar” and “Beatrice,” 2 etchings of Shakespeare’s characters. BBA, 21 June, #149, with a large collection of engraved portraits, c. 180 prints in all (Rainer, £93).

“Meleager and Atalante,” engraved by William Woollett and Benjamin Pouncy after Robert Wilson and Mortimer, 1794. The Print Room, Oct. cat. 6, #200 (£85).


The Approaching Storm. Water color, 50.5 × 70 cm., first exhibited 1849. Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, Oct.-Nov. cat. of English Drawings, #64, illus. color (price on application).

The Bay of Naples. Water color, 41 × 56 cm. SL, 16 Nov. 1989, #98, illus. color (£49,500).

The Brothers in Comus Lingering under the Vine. Water color, signed, 53 × 75 cm. Reportedly available from Richard L. Feigen & Company, London and New York, summer 1990 (price on request). Previously sold SL, 20 Nov. 1986, #98, illus. color (£63,800).

Dolbadern Castle, Llanberis, North Wales. Water color, 35 × 47.5 cm., c. 1835-36. SL, 15 Nov., #117, illus. color (£28,600).

Harlech Castle—Twilight. SL, 15 March, #139, illus. color (£44,000). See illus. 18.

Near Underriver, Sevenoaks, Kent. Water color, 26.5 × 36.5 cm., c. 1843. SL, 16 Nov. 1989, #95, illus. color (£70,400 on an estimate of £18,000-24,000).

The Rising of the Skylark. Oil, 30.9 × 24.5 cm., signed. Acquired 1990 by the National Gallery of Wales. For illus., see Burlington Magazine 123 (Oct. 1990): 752.

The Street of Tombs, Pompeii. Water color, 13 × 16 ¼ in., c. 1837-39. CL, 20 March, #140, illus. color (not sold; estimate £20,000-30,000).

Autograph receipt signed, 26 April 1850. BBA, 27 July, #251 (Silverman, £88).

Two autograph letters signed to Henry Mogford (secretary to the dealer, E. Gambart) “about his inability to produce a new work,” 23 Oct. 1854. SL, 19 July, #424 (Finch, £935). Neither letter appears in Raymond Lister, ed., The Letters of Samuel Palmer (1974).

“Bellman,” etching. CL, 19 April, #244, 5th st., with pencil signature, foxed (£7150 on an estimate of £1800-2500).

“Christmas” (“Folding the Last Sheep”), etching. Garton & Co., Oct. cat. 51, #3, 3rd st., fine impression, illus. (£4750).

“Early Ploughman,” etching. Swann, 30 Nov. 1989, #226, 8th st., illus. ($523). Childs Gallery, Jan. cat. 12, p. 5, 8th st., pencil signature, illus. ($2100). CL, 19 April, #243, 5th st., abrasions in image, surface dirt (£308).

Glass engraving, approx. 3 × 2 in., on a windowpane, showing a lounging figure with a sun or moon above. Attributed to Palmer by Roderick Gradidge in Country Life (12 April 1990): 125. Knight Frank & Rutley Estate Agents (£375,000, including the fifteenth-century house, at one time the property of George Richmond, to which the windowpane is attached).

“Herdsman’s Cottage,” etching. Lott & Gerrish, March cat., #51, 2nd st. on laid India, “a fine silvery impression, typical of those of the 1850s,” illus. (£1500). CL, 23 Oct., #345, 2nd st., trimmed inside the platemark (not sold).

“Homeward Star,” etching. SL, 26 Oct., #280, 2nd st., with “Moeris and Galatea,” etching, 2nd st. (£300).

“Lonely Tower,” etching. SL, 30 Nov. 1989, #205, 5th st., signed in pencil and inscribed “Trial Proof,” slight foxing, illus. (£4400).

“Morning of Life,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #78, 7th st., illus. (£395). CL, 23 Oct., #346, 4th or 5th st., inscribed “trial proof,” illus. (£1210). BBA, 22 Nov., #167A, st. not given, laid india, spots in margins (Colman, £264).

“Opening the Fold,” etching. SL, 26 Oct. 1989, #279, 3rd st., pencil signature (£900).

“Rising Moon,” etching. SL, 30 Nov. 1989, #204, 7th st., minor foxing (£330). SL, 20 April, #95, 7th st., minor foxing and ink staining (not sold).

“Vine” or “Plumpy Bacchus,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #75, early trial proof, 1st or 2nd st., “extensively re-worked by the artist in pencil,” illus. (£5500).

“Weary Ploughman,” etching. Childs Gallery, Jan. cat. 12, p. 5, 8th st., illus. ($1400). Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #77, 7th st., “brilliant, rich black impression,” illus. (£1500).

“Willow,” etching. SL, 26 Oct. 1989, #278, 2nd st. (£160). Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #76, 3rd st., 1926 printing (£350). Garton & Co., Oct. cat. 51, #2, 2nd st., fine impression (£550).

Dickens, Pictures from Italy, 1846. Blackwell’s, Nov. 1989 proof list “Ode,” #21 (£135). BBA, 10 May, #279, contemporary half calf (Fellner, £55).

Hamerton, Etching and Etchers. Swann, 6 Sept., #120, 1868 ed. with “Early Ploughman,” hinges cracked ($1045). Larkhill Books, Nov. cat. 5, #122, 1880 ed. with “Herdsman’s Cottage,” quarter calf (£880).

Household Song, 1861 (1 wood engraving after Palmer). Ian Hodgkins, May cat. 51, #135, apparently original cloth (£45).

Milton, Shorter Poems, 1889. Zisska, 19-20 April 1989 auction, #3639, large paper (not sold; estimate DM1200). Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #79, small paper, original blue cloth, “minor waterstaining” (£95). Robert Clark, March cat. 19, #230, small paper, original blue cloth (£175). Deighton Bell, April cat. 253, #72, small paper, original blue cloth (£175). Frew Mackenzie, Aug. cat. 20, #43, small paper, original blue cloth, slight wear (£160).

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A. H. Palmer, Life and Letters of Samuel Palmer, 1892. Ann Creed Books, Feb. cat. 4, #378, original cloth (£250).

S. Palmer, English Version of the Eclogues of Virgil, 1883. Simon Finch, Nov. cat, 5, #75, paper size not given, rebound in contemporary half calf (£750).

RICHMOND, GEORGE (excluding later portraits)

Portrait of George Richmond. Plaster cast, 32.4 × 42.5 cm., made from the bronze plaque of Richmond by his son, Sir William Blake Richmond, in St. Paul’s Cathedral (but excluding the dedication and scrolling foliate border). Agnew’s, May cat., #88 (£1350).

Study for the Funeral of the Blessed Virgin. Oil over pencil on paper, 37 × 79 cm. A study for the painting finished in 1867. SL, 15 Nov., #67, illus. color (not sold on an estimate of £6000-9000).

ROMNEY, GEORGE (excluding portrait paintings)

Psyche in a Wood. Oil, 73.5 × 109 cm. SL, 14 Nov., #61, illus. color (£9350).

Studies for “Tancred and Erminia”. 5 pen and brown ink drawings, 7 ¾ × 6 ½ in. CL, 10 July, #11 (£385).

Studies of Standing Figures (recto); Study of a Standing Classical Figure (verso). Pen and brown ink (recto), pencil (verso), 11 × 16 ⅜ in. CL, 10 July, #12 (not sold).

Study of a Female Figure Dancing, and Study of a Female Figure with Her Hands Clasped. Pen and brown ink, 5 ⅛ × 3 ¼ in. and 5 ⅛ × 3 ⅜ in. CL, 20 March, #43 (£495).

Study of Women and Children. Pen and ink, brown wash, over pencil, 13.5 × 7 cm. SL, 11 July, #43, illus. (£1430).

Two Lovers Embracing. Pen and ink, recto, with the same subject sketched in pencil on the verso; recto 20.5 × 27.5 cm. SL, 11 July, #42, recto illus. (£1980)


Ten etchings by, collected ed. of 1826, Campbell Fine Art, March cat. 2, #82, 2 illus. (“Sold”).


The Angel Appearing to Christiana, an illustration to Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Monochrome wash, 4 ½ × 3 in. James Cummins, June cat. 26, no. 346 ($2250).

Country Dance. Oil, 43.5 × 56.5 cm. SL, 16 May, #70, illus. (£1650).

Ethelinda Restored to her Father, an illustration to Lee’s Hermit’s Tale; and an illustration to Gil Blas. Pencil and brown ink and water colors, 5 × 6 in. and 6 × 4 ½ in. CL, 22 May, #84 (not sold; estimate £400-600).

Fête Champêtre. Oil, 38 × 25.5 cm. CL, 26 Oct. #249, illus. (£2200).

Lamp Bearers. A pair, pencil and brown wash, 6 ⅞ × 2 ⅝ in. CL, 13 Nov., #15, with a water color by another hand (not sold).

Venus and Cupid. Oil, 66 × 58.5 cm. SL, 11 July, #110, illus. color (not sold; estimate £3000-5000).

A large collection of engravings and a few drawings illustrating Don Quixote, including 3 in pen and ink and 1 in water colors by Stothard (but none engraved by Blake). Ann Creed Books, March cat. 4, #719 (£1950).

“Seven Ages of Man,” suite of 8 pls., 1799. SL, 20 Feb., #1028, pls. hand colored, bound (Ims, £418); #1029, pls. uncolored, original boards, worn (Walford, £55); same copy as #1029, Walford, May cat. H/161, #273 (£295). SL, 30 July, #961, pls. hand colored, bound (Russell, £374).

Shakespeare, A New Edition of Shakespeare’s Plays, 1802-04. Ian Hodgkins, Nov. cat. 53, three pls. only: #264, Midsummer Night’s Dream (£65); #265, Taming of the Shrew (£50); #266, Tempest (£65).

Boccaccio, Decameron, c. 1872 reissue of the 1825 ed. Simonson, 23 Sept. 1989 auction, #113, with another ed. ($49).

Bonnycastle, Introduction to Mensuration, 1807. Young’s Antiquarian Books, Oct. cat. 31, #254, contemporary sheep rubbed (£8).

British Poets, ed. T. Park, 42 vols. BBA, 27 July, #278 (Axe, £396).

Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress, 1856. Ann Creed Books, March 1989 cat. 1, #318 (£65).

Burns, Works, 1813. Howes, July cat. 247, #156, 4 vols., with Reliques of Burns, ed. Cromek, 1813, uniformly bound (£250).

Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1810. Simonson, 23 Sept. 1989 auction, #119 ($149).

Chaucer, Poetical Works, Bell’s ed., 14 vols., 1782. Simonson, 23 Sept. 1989 auction, #129 ($70).

Cowper, Poems, 1800. Deighton Bell, April cat. 253, #130, 2 vols., large paper (£160).

Cromek, Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song, 1810. James Burmester, Sept. cat. 9, #353, uncut in original boards, rebacked (£45).

Dante, Divine Comedy, trans. Boyd, 3 vols., 1802. Thomas Thorp, April cat. 470, #94, “portrait frontispiece after Stothard,” worn (£20).

Defoe, Robinson Crusoe. Swann, 5 May, #50, 1790 ed., 2 vols., modern calf ($358). Howes, July cat. 247, #178, 1804 ed., 2 vols., rebacked (£358). Krown & Spellman, Oct., Los Angeles Book Fair, 1804 ed., 2 vols., with all 14 pls. of 1790-91 (as issued?), extra-illustrated with the 20 pls. of 1820, and with a note signed “R. W.” that this was Stothard’s own copy ($1250).

Fénelon, Telemachus, 2 vols., 1792-94. Ken Karmiole, Feb. private offer ($350).

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Gessner, Works, 1802. Quaritch, Jan. cat. of “Nineteenth-Century English Literature,” #92, 3 vols. ($300).

Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 1788. John Price, July cat., #98, pls. browned, presentation binding (£150); same copy and price, Sept. cat., #93.

Historical Account of the Origin, Progress, and Present State of the Bethlem Hospital, 1783. C. R. Johnson, Feb. cat. 29, #126, frontispiece by Sharp after Stothard illus. (£1250).

Homer, Iliad, 1805. See Pope, Poetical Works, under Fuseli, above.

Johnson, Rasselas, 1796. BBA, 12 Oct. 1989, #296, worn (not sold).

Juvenile Keepsake, 1829. James Fenning, July cat. 104, #412 (£38.50).

Keepsake, 1828, 1830-33. BBA, 24 May, #387, 5 vols., original pink silk, worn (Wells, £66).

Literary Souvenir, 1835. Any Amount of Books, July 1989 private offer, lacking 2 pls. but with both after Stothard (£14).

Park, Sonnets and other Small Poems, 1797. Sevin Seydi, Nov. cat. “Zebra,” #50, disbound (£50).

Pinkerton, Rimes, 1782. Waterfield’s, “March Miscellany,” #69 (£125).

Pope, Poetical Works. Du Roveray ed., 1804—see under Fuseli, above. Ken Nesheim, fall 1989 cat., #175, 1811 ed., 2 vols., fancy binding ($275).

Robins, Gallery of Fine Arts, c. 1840. Kuballe, Oct. 1989 cat. 177, #2419 (DM240).

Rogers, Italy. Roy Young, May/June 1989 cat. 75, #386, 1838 quarto (#125). BBA, 14 Dec. 1989, #193, 1830 ed., with Poems, 1834, bindings rubbed (Kitazawa, £121). Kuballe, Jan. cat. 179, #3398, 1842 reissue (DM240). Jarndyce, Feb. cat. 68, #432, 1838 quarto, with Poems, 1838 quarto, publisher’s dark green morocco (£300). Ars Libri, March cat. 78, #1344, 1830 ed., with Rogers, Poems, 1834, worn, minor foxing ($375). BBA, 26 April, #405, 1830 ed. (Ginnan, £44). Howes, July cat. 247, #948, 1830 ed., original boards with leather label (£50). David Bickersteth, Dec. cat. 113, #194, 1830 ed., light foxing (£35).

Rogers, Pleasures of Memory. Kuballe, May 1989 cat. 170, #2209, 1810 ed. (DM75). Jeffrey Stern, Jan. cat. 8, #230, 1806 ed.

19. Blake.   “The Phoenix / to Mrs Butts.” Illustrated manuscript, executed in water colors, apparently with a small pointed brush, c. 1794? Leaf 22.7 × 15.4 cm. British Library add.MS 63583, reproduced by permission of the British Library. The only previous reproduction of this work known to me was published in Philological Quarterly 67 (1988): 382. I hope that this reproduction, with the contrast artificially heightened to increase legibility, will prove more useful than the somewhat murky representation in PQ. The poem is included in the 1988 revised reprinting of The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, ed. David V. Erdman (New York: Doubleday) 517.
(£35). Ken Spelman, Feb. cat. 16, #93, 1810 ed., small paper (£30). Jarndyce, Feb. cat. 68, #433, 1803 ed. (£20); #434, 1806 ed. (£20).

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Rogers, Poems. Blackwell’s, March 1989 cat. A95, #364, 1834 ed. with a note by Rogers (£40). Kuballe, June 1989 cat. 169, #3581, 1834 ed. (DM200). Sanders, Oct. 1989 private offer, 1814 ed. (£20). Shapero, 1989 cat. 3, #63, 1834 ed. inscribed by Ruskin and with a letter by Pickering (£650). David Holmes, Dec. 1989 cat. 27, #68, 1834 ed., presentation inscription from Rogers ($650). Jarndyce, Feb. cat. 68, #437, 1820 ed. (£20); #440, 1834 ed. (£35); #443, 1854 ed. (£32). Ian Hodgkins, May cat. 51, #272, 1838 ed., “large paper,” pls. on laid India, publisher’s full green morocco, some foxing (£150); #273, 1854 ed., apparently original cloth (£35). James Cummins, June cat. 26, #92, 1838 ed., “large paper,” worn, 1 pl. heavily foxed ($250). Howes, July cat. 247, #949, 1834 ed., some heavy foxing of the pls. (£35). Deighton, Bell, Oct. cat. 254, #230, 1812 ed., issue with 268 pp. (£22). David Bickersteth, Dec. cat. 113, #195, 1834 ed., light foxing (£35).

Royal Engagement Pocket Atlas, 1809, 1814-16, 1819-26. A collection of 240 pls. after Stothard, mounted in a small full leather album. W. & V. Dailey, March private offer ($800).

Sargent, The Mine, 1796. Sanders of Oxford, Jan. cat. 115, #447 (£30).

Shakespeare, Plays, 1798-1800. Grant & Shaw, Sept. cat. 3, #169, 12 vols., fine contemporary calf (£660).

Shakespeare, Works, pub. Pickering, 9 vols., 1825. SL, 30 Oct. 1989, #478 (£320).

Sterne, Works, 1803. Deighton, Bell, Oct. cat. 254, #236, 4 vols. with “9 plates after Stothard”—probably those first used in the 10 vol. Works of 1798, also published by J. Johnson (£150).

Tasso, Jerusalem Delivered, 1787. Howes, July cat. 247, #362, 2 vols. (D. W. Dörrbecker, £60). Previously unrecorded 1st sts. of the 2 pls. after Stothard appearing in the 1792 and 1797 eds.

Thomson, Seasons. Sanders, Oct. 1989 private offer, 1794 ed. (£40). David Bickersteth, Feb. cat. 109, #58, 1793 ed. (£48).

Young, Night Thoughts, 1798. Claude Cox, July cat. 79, #203, marginal browning of pls., rebacked (£40).

Young, Works, 1813. Beeleigh Abbey Books, Sept. cat. BA/45, #249, 3 vols., with the Night Thoughts pls. of 1798 with new imprints dated 1802, considerable offsetting and some foxing (£80).


A Fantasy Based on Goethe’s “Faust.” Oil, 112 × 73 cm., signed and dated 1834. CL, 20 April, #61, illus. color (£14,300 on an estimate of £5000-7000; a record for Von Holst?).

Historical Scene(recto); An Abduction (verso). Black chalk and pencil, 28.6 × 28.5 cm. Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, Oct.-Nov. cat. of English Drawings, #65, illus. color (price on application).

Study of a Young Lady Wearing an Elaborate Headdress. Pencil, 18 × 20.5 cm. SL, 16 Nov. 1989, #27 (not sold).

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Appendix: New Information on Blake’s Engravings

Since the publication of my catalogue of Blake’s separate plates in 1983, I have used this annual sales review to correct and update information in that book. I will continue that effort, and add to it revisions for my catalogue of William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations, published in 1991 by The Clarendon Press. Since these revisions tend to get lost when buried in the lists of sales, I plan to add when necessary an appendix such as this. Abbreviations and methods of citation follow those used in each catalogue.

The Separate Plates of William Blake: A Catalogue

Pp. 12-13, “The Approach of Doom.” In “Heavenly ‘Spears’ and Fiery ‘Tears’ in Blake’s ‘Tyger,’” Notes and Queries 235 (1990): 17-18, Marilynn S. Olson and Donald W. Olson propose the interesting theory that the huddled figures in this print are looking in awe at a meteor, a scene suggested to the artist by the “Great Fiery Meteor of 18 August 1783,” much remarked on in journals of the day. A light streak in the print may be a rather vaguely defined tail of a meteor, although none of the figures is clearly looking at it. In Robert Blake’s drawing on which the plate is based, the streak of light includes a jagged outline of lightning or, less plausibly to my eyes, a meteor’s tail. The figures in the drawing are more clearly looking at the phenomenon. For a detailed argument for dating the print to c. 1788 rather than my c. 1792, see Joseph Viscomi’s review of the catalogue in The Wordsworth Circle 19 (1988): 212-18. I am almost convinced by Viscomi’s analysis.

P. 235, “The Return of the Jewish Spies from Canaan.” This is not a proof of an otherwise unknown plate but a proof before the border design and all letters of pl. 1 in The Royal Universal Family Bible (1780)—see William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations, p. 21.

P. 252, “Beggar’s Opera” in The Original Works of William Hogarth, pub. J. and J. Boydell, 1790. My comment that the plate “was no doubt commissioned by the Boydells specifically for publication in their edition of Hogarth’s works” now seems open to more than a little doubt. According to Ronald Paulson, Hogarth’s Graphic Works, rev. ed. (New Haven: Yale UP, 1970) 1: 71, the Boydells acquired Hogarth’s own copperplates in 1789, one year later than the date inscribed on the first proof state of “Beggar’s Opera.” Indeed, the acquisition must have been late in that year, for Hogarth’s widow did not die until 13 November 1789 (see DNB 9: 986 and Paulson, Hogarth’s Graphic Works, 3rd ed. [London: The Print Room, 1989] 20). She left the copperplates and remaining stock of prints to her cousin, who in turn sold them to the Boydells. Thus, if intended specifically for publication in a book with Hogarth’s works, Blake’s plate must have been commissioned in hopeful (and risky?) anticipation that its companions could be acquired. The “Catalogue” of plates in the 1790 volume states that Blake’s plate was “never before inserted in this Collection.” The word “inserted,” rather than what would seem a more commercially advantageous comment that the print was “produced specifically for this collection” (or some such piece of puffery), also suggests that the “Beggar’s Opera” may have been produced initially as a separate plate. To compensate for the lack of a full entry on the print in the separate plates catalogue, I have provided a description of all nine states, 1788 to c. 1880, in William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations, pp. 42-45.

William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations

P. 19, Enfield, The Speaker (1774 [1780]). Detlef Dörrbecker has brought to my attention yet another re-engraving of Blake’s pl.: Stothard’s signature only, lacking “Shakespeare” after the verses, imprint dated “Aug. 1. 1780.” This pl. appears in Dörrbecker’s copy of the 1807 ed. published by J. Johnson.

Pp. 61-64, Gay, Fables (1793, c. 1811). All pls. in the c. 1811 second ed. are in a second state. The volume and facing page references, appearing far lower right in 1793 impressions, were removed and the same information inscribed top right on each plate. I did not notice the c. 1811 inscriptions until I acquired an uncut copy of the 2nd ed. in Oct. 1990. Another uncut copy, with the added inscriptions visible on most plates, is in the Huntington Library.

P. 68, Cumberland, Outlines from the Antients (1829). The description of the folio issue should include the fact that some copies have the plates printed on laid India paper.

Pp. 111-12, Rees, Cyclopaedia (1820), pl. 6 (“Sculpture, Plate III”). References to Blake’s drawings related to the classical sculptures represented on this plate should include the pencil sketch of the right foot of the Apollo Belvedere on the verso of Moses Staying the Plagues (Butlin 1981, no. 115 verso, dated c. 1779-80?, the source of the foot not identified.

Pp. 125-26, Lamb, Tales from Shakespeare (1807, 1810, 1816, 1822). To the list of modern scholars (falsely) attributing the illustrations to Blake as their engraver should be added Humphrey Carpenter and Mari Prichard, The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1984) 66 (Blake “probably” engraved the plates). On p. 515 Carpenter and Prichard add a new twist to this long-lived ascription: Blake “apparently” engraved the different plates in later editions of the Tales. This too is false in my view.

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