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Blake in the Marketplace, 1993, Including a Report on the Sale of the Frank Rinder Collection
After a year’s hiatus, the upper reaches of the Blake market returned to newsworthy activity in 1993. Blake’s final version of The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins shifted by private sales from one American collection (Hofer family) to another (anonymous). This is the most important Blake water color to change hands since 1991, when the National Gallery of Art in Washington acquired The Death of St. Joseph (and arguably more important than it or Infant Jesus Saying His Prayers in the Doheny auction of February 1989). Another major work, a color-printed impression of just the design from Jerusalem plate 6, made a similar move between private American collections (from the family of Ian Woodner to another “anonymous”), but through the more public vehicle of a New York auction, where it set a record price for any single print from one of Blake’s books. The outstanding qualities of this work can be appreciated by glancing back to the color reproduction on the cover of the fall 1993 issue of this journal (vol. 27, no. 2); see also pages 36-42 in the same issue for a discussion of its significance.
The Jerusalem impression has joined a considerable group of Blake’s colored prints, in addition to one important water color, in a private American collection. This is now the finest Blake collection in private hands, particularly when it comes to illuminated books. It is remarkable that such a collection could be assembled since 1986. I am not permitted to record the owner’s name, but it may serve some purpose to list here the major works I believe are now in this collection:
America, copy R
The Book of Thel, copy A
“The Ecchoing Green” from Songs of Innocence. First plate, upper design only, partly hand colored
Infant Jesus Saying His Prayers. Water color, Butlin #473
Jerusalem plate 6. Design only, color printed and hand colored
Little Tom the Sailor, hand colored by Blake
“The Poison Tree” from Songs of Experience, copy G. Color printed and hand colored
Songs of Innocence, copies A, H, and N
Songs of Innocence and of Experience, copy D
The auction season for Blakeans concluded with the spectacular sale of the Frank Rinder collection at Christie’s in London on 30 November. All 13 lots, to which the auction house devoted a separate, well-illustrated catalogue, had been acquired by Rinder early in this century and had resided for many years in the possession of his daughter, Mrs. Ramsay Harvey. She died in the summer of 1993, and the Blake books and prints were consigned to the auction house by her heirs. The auction, which I was fortunate enough to attend, was the most important sale of Blake’s prints since the 1958 dispersal of Francis White Emerson’s illuminated books at Sotheby’s. Thirty years of writing academic prose is poor preparation for you-are-there reportage, but I will try to give some sense of the action, lot by lot.
The auction of Books and Prints by William Blake from the Collection Formed by the Late Frank Rinder, Esq. (catalogue title) began promptly at 2:30 pm in Christie’s main sales room in King Street, St. James’s. Several of London’s major antiquarian book dealers attended, including Edward Maggs of Maggs Bros., Kirstie Bain of Pickering & Chatto, and Max Reed of Sims Reed. Dealers in British prints—Christopher Drake, Andrew Edmunds, Christopher Mendez, William Weston, Nicholas Lott, Michael Campbell—outnumbered the bookish contingent. Most were there to watch the drama, not to bid. Many hovered near the entry door, as though to pretend that they had only a casual interest in the event. An exception was the San Francisco book dealer (and Blake specialist) John Windle, who sat directly in front of the auctioneer, David Llewellyn of Christie’s Print Department. I sat next to Windle, who would be bidding for me on several lots. I did not spot any other collectors, perhaps because none was so indelicate as to descend into the money-grubbing environs of an auction room. But several friends from the museum and academic world were there to join in the fun, including Karen Blansfield, David Bindman, Martin Butlin, Robin Hamlyn, Jane Munro, Guilland Sutherland, and Joseph Viscomi. As we will see, Joe had already played a major role in the pre-sale maneuvering.
The first lot was copy L of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, consisting of plates 25-27 (“A Song of Liberty,” see illus. 4-5). Other than a color-printed impression of the design only from plate 20, these are the last plates from the Marriage still in private hands (plate 11, listed in Bentley 302 as in the collection of Caroline Newton, has been in the collection of Princeton University Library since 1975 [Butlin #261.2]). The bidding quickly exceeded the modest catalogue estimate of £8000-12,000. As with most of the lots, there were only two serious bidders—in this instance Windle (bidding for Essick) and the London print dealer Christopher Drake. “A Song of Liberty” was knocked down to Windle for the hammer-bid (that is, the amount actually bid in the room, exclusive of the buyer’s premium) of £28,000 against Drake as the “under-bidder” (the party who makes the bid immediately before the winning one).
Those not used to the pace of an auction hardly had time to catch their breath before the next lot had already surpassed its pre-sale estimate of £20,000-30,000. This was plate 38 from Milton (illus. 6)—the only impression of any plate begin page 105 | ↑ back to top from Milton still in private hands and one of only two prints not in a copy of the book (the other is an impression of plate 13 in the Philadelphia Museum of Art). The lot fell for £55,000—again to Windle for Essick against Drake. I believe that this price establishes a new record for an uncolored print by a British artist.
Jerusalem copy C—the centerpiece of the auction—followed as the third lot. This magnificent book (illus. 1-2) was given no estimate in the catalogue, but upon inquiry Christie’s would allow that £500,000-800,000 was the expected range. Bidding was subdued and it was difficult to tell who was in the hunt, other than Felix de Marez Oyens of Christie’s Book Department on the telephone to a customer. Jerusalem sold for a hammer-price of £560,000 to Oyens’s bidder. According to Christie’s International Magazine for January/February 1994, the volume is now in “the hands of a distinguished and caring collection” (65), but I presently have no clue as to which distinguished collection this might be. I would be surprised if it were an institution.
The price fetched by Jerusalem, near the low end of the estimate range, may have been a considerable disappointment to the sellers. Several members of the trade have told me that a private-treaty proposal for substantially more money had been tendered prior to the auction. A different version of the story claimed that a million pounds had been offered for the entire collection. Such a sum would have been about £165,000 more than the total in hammer-prices realized by the Rinder auction. Whatever the exact offer, it was rejected by Christie’s, no doubt after consulting Rinder’s heirs who had consigned the collection. The look on Oyens’s face when leaving the sales room tended to confirm the rumors.
The lot immediately following an auction’s chef-d’oeuvre often draws little notice. This rule-of-thumb held true, and thus lot 4, a well-printed but posthumous impression of Jerusalem plate 28 trimmed to the design (illus. 3), fell to Windle for Essick for £2,400—close to the middle of the estimate range of £2,000-3,000. For the third time, Drake was the under-bidder. If there was a bargain in the Rinder auction, this was it.
The fifth lot had caused a good deal of controversy before the sale. This was a proof impression, rather oddly printed on two sheets of paper, of designs 2-5 among Blake’s Virgil wood engravings (illus. 8-9). The catalogue entry claimed that this print, and thus by implication all the other proofs of the blocks before being cut apart and trimmed, were relief etchings. This extraordinary revision in medium rested on the following observation: “. . . a close examination of this impression, of the two at the British Museum and of the signed example at the Fitzwilliam, along with an equally close comparison of all these with other relief etchings by Blake as well as with the ‘cut’ impressions of the wood engravings as published by Thornton, shows clearly that different matrices have been used.” Subtle differencesbegin page 106 | ↑ back to top
The first salvo against Christie’s catalogue description was fired by Thomas Lange of the Huntington Library in the form of a fax to David Llewellyn, the defender (and apparently the inventor) of the relief-etching theory. Next came broadsides, viva voce in Christie’s Book Department only four days before the sale, from Viscomi and me. Neither a photograph of the actual relief etching nor Viscomi’s arguments—the latter both cogent and enthusiastic—could shake Llewellyn’s position. Instead, he speculated that Blake made the supposed relief etching by covering the raised surface of a wood engraving with acid resist, transferring this to paper or some more stable matrix, and then, to get the image the right-way around, transferring the image once again to a copperplate. This is the same sort of impractical thinking that led to the old (and now thoroughly demolished) belief that Blake used transfers to produce relief etchings. Llewellyn’s theory left me speechless, but turned up Viscomi’s volume and the frequency of his appeals to Occam’s Razor. Why invent elaborate, exotic, and impractical processes, unprecedented in Blake’s work, when simple explanations are readily available? The combatants withdrew on friendly terms, agreeing to disagree.
The case against Llewellyn’s view was next taken up, only a day before the sale, by Martin Butlin. As one of Christie’s most astute advisors on English art, his influence was more effectual than Viscomi’s or mine. The auction house posted the following statement, also read to the audience at the beginning of the auction: “Christie’s wish to emphasize that the received opinion on the medium of this print [lot 5, the Virgil proof] is that it is a first-state proof impression of the four-illustration woodblock before it was divided, as opposed to the theory on relief etching proposed in the catalogue.” Announcements of this sort can poison bidding, but such was not the case on this occasion. The Virgil proof was won, after strenuous competition from Windle, by the Connecticut print dealer N. W. Lott (bidding for Maurice Sendak) at £53,000, well above the estimate range of £10,000-15,000. I believe that this is a record for a wood engraving by a British artist.
The next two lots were a complete set of Linnell impressions of the Virgil wood engravings (£4000 to Lott for stock on an estimate of £4000-6000) and a group of 17 Linnell impressions, including three duplicates (a good buy at £2200 to Windle for stock on an estimate of £2000-3000). Excitement resurfaced with lot 8, the unique first-state impression of “The Man Sweeping the Interpreter’s Parlour” (illus. 7). The print was over-estimated in the catalogue at £40,000-60,000 but managed to fetch a hammer-price of £46,000 from someone bidding through Oyens on the telephone—perhaps the same “distinguished and caring collect[or]” who acquired Jerusalem copy C. Windle was again the under-bidder.
The first-state “Man Sweeping” was followed by a very fine impression of the second state. This leapt well beyond the estimate range (£20,000-30,000) to set a record price for the print at £52,000. Unfortunately, neither I nor my army of spies could see who the winning bidder was. As its estimates indicate, Christie’s believed that the first state would attract more money than the second. The reason for reversal was easy to see. The catalogue claimed that the first state was a “richly inked and atmospheric impression”; to my eyes, it was over-inked and fuzzy, with some pigment-separation problems on the right (see the caption to illus. 7). Blake’s white-line work that transformed the plate into its second state lent a great deal more visual presence and power to the image, as was evident from the beautiful impression in lot 9. The prices fetched by the two prints are in accord with these aesthetic and technical differences.
Lot 10 was a somewhat dirty impression of the “Hiding of Moses” torn from a copy of Remember Me! (1824, 1825). The last such detached print (now in the collection of Detlef Dörrbecker) to come to auction brought £264—and was accompanied by a fine copy of Lavater’s Essays on Physiognomy (1810) with Blake’s plates and three volumes of Blake criticism (Sotheby’s London, 14 Nov. 1991, #101). The Rinder impression was given the full treatment in the catalogue—scholarly description, reproduction, provenance record. The hype paid off, for the print was sold over the ambitious estimate of £800-1000 for £1700 to a bid “at the desk” (that is, a bid given by someone to the auction house prior to the sale to execute on his or her behalf).
A splendid copy of the Job engravings followed as lot 11. The prints, in the published state of 1826 after the removal of the “Proof” inscriptions, were still in the original boards with cover label; the inside upper cover bore George Richmond’s signature. Maggs (almost certainly bidding for a private client) acquired the book of prints for £24,000 on an estimate of £15,000-20,000 against Sims Reed (bidding for an American dealer). Another Job was next on the block, but this was only a set of the 1874 restrikes on laid India turned by time to an unpleasant dull yellow. The only unusual feature is that this group of loose impressions was housed in a large brown paper envelope with the letterpress title, “The Book of Job by William Blake.” This may have been printed for the Linnell family as the original container for the Job restrikes. The winning bid of £5,800 by Weston on an estimate of £5,000-7,000 seemed about right. Perhaps some judicious cleaning will transform these prints into a more pleasing set.
The Rinder sale ended with a whimper—merely an impression of William Bell Scott’s etching of Blake’s ink drawing, The Spirit of God Moved Upon the Face of the Waters (Butlin #690). Even this was reproduced in the catalogue and managed to fetch the low estimate of £80. Yet this anticlimax could not disrupt the conclusion we can draw from the Rinder sale: the marketplace now considers Blake one of the world’s greatest printmakers.
The Rinder/Harvey collection also included Copy E of There is No Natural Religion, identified by Viscomi as one of several bogus copies previously thought to be genuine. begin page 107 | ↑ back to top The full details of Viscomi’s amazing discoveries had not been published when, in late September, Christie’s staff was writing the auction catalogue. On 24 September I informed Viscomi about the impending sale and he contacted Christie’s with the bad news. As a result, No Natural Religion was omitted from the sale. Upon inquiry in October, I was told not that the book was a fake, but that “further investigation” was required before it could be sold.
Readers will find more than the usual number of copies included in the section on books with engravings by and after Blake. This results not from a sudden increase of volumes on the market, but from your intrepid reporter’s attendance at the London book fairs in June—four fairs at three venues in one week. I have lumped these activities together under a single rubric, “June London Book Fair,” in the lists below since the dealer, not the specific fair day and place, is the important point to record. My June rambles, which extended beyond the fairs to some two-dozen shops in London and the Cotswolds, combined with another shop-till-you-drop tour of London and Brighton in November, confirmed what I had suspected from recent auction prices. The upper-end of the Blake market—illuminated books, fine separate prints, good drawings—has soared in recent years, but the lower end has flattened out and, when adjusted for inflation, even declined. Perhaps the hardest-hit area is Blake Trust facsimiles. Ten years ago a copy of the 1951 facsimile of Jerusalem copy E fetched around $1200. You can buy a copy today for about the same money. Prices for books with Blake’s reproductive engravings have also drifted sideways. When dealers list such titles in their catalogues, followed by over-ambitious prices, the same volume tends to appear in several successive catalogues—a clear sign that the market is resisting attempts to budge it upwards. Christie’s has begun to place books with Blake’s commercial engravings in their South Kensington sales, reserved for lesser books than those offered in their major rooms on King Street. One brighter area, from a seller’s point of view, is the William Muir facsimiles of the illuminated books (see a few examples under Interesting Blakeana, below). They have become rare, and their hand-made qualities are now appreciated.
Palmer dominates—qualitatively, if not quantitatively—the lists of Blake’s Followers. The venerable Bond Street firm of Agnew’s assembled a remarkable number of Palmer’s water colors, plus a late Shoreham-period oil, in the spring and early summer. These rarities were complemented by an outstanding collection of Palmer’s etchings, many in rare states and all but one or two printed with great care. Some of these impressions are among the finest I have ever seen. The prices (available on application) are correspondingly high.
Sotheby’s book department in London provided two interesting examples of how to botch auctions. In 1992, the department was brought an album of prints bearing several
At least Sotheby’s second error worked to the benefit of the purchaser. A lengthy omnibus catalogue of books to be offered over four days in June and July included a copy of begin page 108 | ↑ back to top Thomas Commins, An Elegy Set to Music (illus. 10), well buried toward the end of the sale. The estimate, a mere £300-400, was less than the estimate placed on the previous lot, a copy of the Blake Trust facsimile of The Book of Urizen (£500-750). Surely the third known copy of Blake’s first unquestionably original book illustration was worth more than a facsimile published in 1958 in a printing of 526 copies. When I enquired about the estimate on the Commins, Sotheby’s told me that it was kept fairly low because of the pamphlet’s condition. True, Blake’s print on the cover sheet was amateurishly hand colored, the surface dust-stained, and the corners a little tattered. But the bibliographic condition was pristine—uncut and stitched as originally issued. Although the work brought twice the high estimate, more informed and aggressive marketing could have increased the price several times over. At least two potential bidders did not even know about the auction. The facsimile of Urizen failed to sell.
The year of all sales and catalogues in the following lists is 1993 unless indicated otherwise. The recorded prices include the purchaser’s surcharge for all auction sales, but not the 17.5% value-added tax levied on the surcharge in England. Late 1993 sales will be covered in the 1994 review. I am grateful for help in compiling this review to Kirstie Bain (expert bookperson of Pickering & Chatto), G. E. Bentley, Jr., David Bindman, Karen Blansfield, Carol Briggs (expert bookperson at Quaritch), Martin Butlin, Michael Campbell, Warren Dennis, Jay Dillon, Detlef W. Dörrbecker (my continental spy, also active in Hay-on-Wye), Jenijoy La Belle, Thomas V. Lange (champion reader of catalogues), Raymond Lister, David Llewellyn, Nicholas Lott, Christopher Mendez, Felix de Marez Oyens, Christopher Powney, Jonathan Rendell, Justin Schiller, Maurice Sendak, Joseph Viscomi, David Weinglass, John Windle (now the leading dealer in Blake and his circle), Andrew Wyld, and Koji Yukiyama. Once again, Robert Schlosser’s expertise with a camera and Patricia Neill’s editorial assistance have been invaluable.
|BBA||Bloomsbury Book Auctions, London|
|Bentley||G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Books (Oxford: Clarendon P, 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)|
|CNY||Christie’s, New York|
|CSK||Christie’s, South Kensington|
|E||The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, ed. David V. Erdman (Berkeley: U of California P, 1982).|
|illus.||the item or part thereof is reproduced in the catalogue|
|PAL||Phillips Auctions, London|
|SNY||Sotheby’s, New York|
|st(s).||state(s) of an engraving, etching, or lithograph|
|Swann||Swann Galleries, auctioneers, New York|
|#||auction lot or catalogue item number|
Jerusalem, copy C. CL, 30 Nov., #3, from the Rinder collection, pls. 2, 4, 26, 32, 39, 41, 47, 100, and James Tregaskis’s bill of 2 April 1918 to Rinder illus. color, pls. 1 and 99 illus. on the cat. cover (£617,500). See illus. 1-2.
Jerusalem, pl. 6, design only, 14.5 × 16.2 cm., printed in blue and black, hand colored. CNY, 11 May, #85, sold from the collection of Dian Woodner and Andrea Woodner (formerly collections of Mrs. Jack Greenberg and Ian Woodner), illus. color ($156,500 on an estimate of $50,000-60,000 to a dealer acting for a private client). I believe that this is a record price for a print by a British artist.
Jerusalem, pl. 28, a posthumous impression printed in reddish-brown, trimmed to the upper design only. CL, 30 Nov., #4, mis-identified in the cat. as “Plate 25,” from the Rinder collection, illus. color (J. Windle for R. Essick, £2760). See illus. 3.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy L, comprising pls. 25-27, “A Song of Liberty,” printed in black with a slight brown begin page 109 | ↑ back to top
Milton, pl. 38, 2nd st., printed in gray-black. CL, 30 Nov., #2, from the Rinder collection, wrongly described as “the only separate sheet [from Milton] recorded,” illus. color (J. Windle for R. Essick, £62,000 on an estimate of £20,000-30,000). See illus. 6.
DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS
The Bed of Death. Pen and gray wash, 15 × 14 cm., c. 1780-82. Butlin #139. Sold fall 1992 by Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, to Maurice Sendak. For illus., see Blake 25 (1992): 148.
A Girl Painting (recto), A Woman Reading or Singing (verso), from the smaller Blake-Varley Sketchbook. Pencil, sheet 15.5 × 20.5 cm., Butlin #692. 19-20. Acquired 1992 by David Bindman. Butlin attributes both drawings to Varley, but in my opinion both are by Blake. The woman portrayed in delicate profile on the recto might be Mrs. Blake.
Lady Macbeth and the Sleeping Duncan. Pen, gray and brown washes over pencil, 32.7 × 42.6 cm., Butlin #249. In my 1991 sales review (Blake 25 : 147), I reported that this drawing had been sold by Agnew’s to a “private collector.” Koji Yukiyama of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, has looked into this matter on my behalf and discovered that the purchaser was the Koriyama City Museum of Art. As far as I am aware, this is the first Japanese institution to acquire a drawing or painting by Blake.
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. Water color, 40.9 × 34.6 cm., signed, c. 1825. Butlin #481. Sold early 1993 from the collection of the late Philip Hofer to a private American collector.
Wat Tyler. Pencil, 24.2 × 19.2 cm., leaf 66 from the larger Blake-Varley Sketchbook, a counterproof of leaf 65. Inscribed, probably by Varley, “Wat Tyler By Wm Blake. from his Spectre. as in the act of Striking the Tax Gatherer on the head. drawn Octr 30.1819.1h AM.” Butlin #737. CL, 13 July, #7, illus. (£4830 to a British dealer, apparently for stock). Certainly a record for a counterproof of one of Blake’s visionary heads. The new owner contacted at least one New York dealer and one New York auction house, apparently in the hope of turning a quick profit on the American market.
With Songs the Jovial Hinds Return from Plow, an illustration to Thornton’s Virgil (Butlin #769.19). Previously listed in my 1992 sales review (Blake 26 : 142) as sold to Justin Schiller “acting for a private client.” I can now reveal that the client was the artist and writer Maurice Sendak.
SEPARATE PLATES AND PLATES IN SERIES, INCLUDING PLATES EXTRACTED FROM LETTERPRESS BOOKS
“Beggar’s Opera, Act III,” Blake after Hogarth. The Print Room, Jan. cat. 10, unnumbered entry between #315 and 316, 4th st., heavily washed with some creases, trimmed within platemark at top (very reasonably priced at £50).
Blair, The Grave. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #18, selected pls. from the 1808 quarto, “Christ Descending into the Grave” illus. (£38 each).
“Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims.” CNY, 11 May, #86, “late fourth state (of five), with parts of the faint drypoint inscriptions just visible,” cream wove paper, tear into image, stains; with “Agnolo Brunelleschi Attacked by a Six-Footed Serpent” from Blake’s Dante engravings, laid India, the Dante illus. ($6900 on an estimate of $2000-3000). John Windle, May cat. 15, #202, 5th st., Sessler restrike, “excellent condition” ($8500).begin page 110 | ↑ back to top
Dante engravings. A. R. Heath, June London Book Fair, complete set, almost certainly the 1892 printing, Edwin Wolf’s copy, green morocco with the original label bound in (£25,000). See also first entry under “Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims,” above.
“The Fall of Rosamond,” stipple etching/engraving after Stothard, 1783. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #9, previously unrecorded impression, claimed to be “between states 1 and 2” but actually the 2nd st. color printed (pink, blue-green, brown), “with full margins beyond the platemark,” yet the illus. excludes the inscriptions below the image (“£3500—Sold” to the Tate Gallery). The only color-printed example of the 2nd st. known to me.
Gay’s Fables. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #10-12, pls. 5, 12, and 4 from the 2nd ed., all illus. (£55, £85, and £85).
“Hiding of Moses” from Remember Me!. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #17, apparently from the 1825 issue, illus. (not priced; acquired by the Tate Gallery). CL, 30 Nov., #10, from the Rinder collection, printed crooked on the sheet, time-stained, illus. (£1955 on an estimate of £800-1000).
Job engravings. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #15, title page from the published “Proof” issue, laid India, backing sheet with the Whatman 1825 watermark, illus. (£950); #16, pl. 5 from the 1874 printing, laid India, cut close to plate mark, illus. (£850). SL, 17 Feb., #190, complete set on laid India, apparently without the “Proof” inscription and thus the 1874 printing, some spotting, half morocco, inscribed on endpaper “to C.S.R. [probably Charles S. Ricketts] July 1909 from HL [a member of the Linnell family?],” pl. 3 illus. (£5310 to Sims Reed on a ridiculously low estimate of £300-400); same copy offered by Sims Reed, April New York Book Fair ($18,500). The 19th Century Shop, June cat. 30, #4, published “Proof” issue, laid India, backing sheets with the Whatman Turkey Mill 1825 watermark, original terra cotta boards, printed label, from the collections of Anne Gilchrist and H. Bradley Martin, pl. 17 illus. color, giving the ink a brownish hue ($85,000; acquired at auction in 1990 for $55,000 and offered in the same year for $95,000). SNY, 14 June, #85, 1st issue without “Proof” inscription on Whatman Turkey Mill 1825 paper (the backing paper used for the “Proof” issue) rather than the usual paper lacking “Turkey Mill” in the watermark, pls. tipped onto stubs, trimmed to 36.7 × 26 cm., edges rubricated, 19th-century calf, rubbed, pl. 15 illus. ($27,600 on an estimate of $30,000-50,000); same copy, Bromer Booksellers, Oct. cat. 79, #1, pl. 14 illus. ($48,000). SL, 29 June, #261, pl. 4 only, on laid India but apparently without “Proof” inscription and thus from the printing of 1874, stain at right (£517); #262, pl. 6 only, same paper and printing as the previous lot, India lifting at lower left (£517). CL, 1 July, #197, 1st issue without the “Proof” inscription on J Whatman 1825 paper, a few fox marks, cloth and paper boards with original printed label on front cover, price written in brown ink, binding worn, pl. 3 illus. (£17,250); probably same copy, Sims Reed Aug. cat., #6, “superb condition, completely unrestored” (£26,000). CL, 30 Nov., #11, 1st issue without the “Proof” inscription
“The Man Sweeping the Interpreter’s Parlour.” CL, 30 Nov., #8, unique impression of the 1st st., printed in black with a brownish hue, from the Rinder collection, illus. color with the brown emphasized, thus turning the paper from off-white to buff (£52,100 on an estimate of £40,000-60,000), see illus. 7; #9, 2nd st., very well printed in black on wove paper, 10.8 × begin page 111 | ↑ back to top
Stedman, Narrative. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #13-14, pls. 15 and 16 from the 1st ed., both illus. (£175 each).
“Upton, James.” Impression of the 1st st. acquired by the British Museum in June 1989. See the Appendix, below, for details about this impression.
Virgil, Pastorals. CL, 30 Nov., #5, cuts 2-5, 1st proof state before the woodblock was cut and trimmed, from the Rinder collection, illus. color (N. W. Lott for Maurice Sendak, £59,800 on an estimate of £10,000-15,000), see illus. 8-9; #6, the set of 17 wood engravings, Linnell impressions on thin paper, from the Rinder collection, cuts 2-5 illus. (N. W. Lott for stock, £4600); #7, 14 of Blake’s wood engravings (lacking the 7th, 12th, and 13th cuts), Linnell impressions on thin paper, with duplicate impressions of the 3rd, 6th, and 9th cuts, from the Rinder collection, cut 1 illus. (J. Windle for stock, £2530).
LETTERPRESS BOOKS WITH ENGRAVINGS BY AND AFTER BLAKE
Allen, New and Improved History of England, 1798. Simon Finch, Nov. private offer, pls. foxed, uniformly bound with Allen’s Roman History (1798) in modern quarter calf (acquired by J. Windle for stock).
Allen, New and Improved Roman History, 1798. Maggs, June private offer, quarter calf (£400).
Ariosto, Orlando Furioso. Claremont Books, May Glendale Book Fair, 1799 ed., 5 vols., contemporary calf ($500). Francis Edwards, July cat. 1247, #6, a mixed set, 1785 and 1799, 5 vols., some water stains, calf-backed marbled boards (£125).
Bible. The Protestant’s Family Bible (1780-81). Sterling Books, Sept. private offer, slight stains on preliminary leaves, contemporary calf worn, covers detached (£125). The only copy I’ve seen on the market in 25 years of Blake collecting. Bentley 514 lists only his own and the British Museum copy.
Blair, The Grave. Pickering and Chatto, Feb. cat. 701, #8, 1813 quarto, some foxing and browning, with the bookplate of John begin page 112 | ↑ back to top Sparrow, red cloth binding, gilt lettering on cover, signed by Heilborn, Breslau, rebacked, John Sparrow’s copy with his bookplate (pricey at $1750); same copy and price, Feb. cat. 703, #5, pl. 9 illus.; same copy and price, Sept. cat. 710, #9. This appears to be the original binding on the volume. Rudolph Ackermann, the publisher of the 1813 ed., may have sent some unbound sheets to Germany for binding and sale on the Continent. Ackermann was born in Stolberg, Saxony, in 1764 and set up his book and print business in London in 1795. Harrington Bros., June private offer, 1813 quarto, cloth rebacked (£300). Bernard Shapero, June private offer, 1813 quarto, quarter calf over marbled boards (£475). BBA, 3 June, #312, 1808 quarto, extensive spotting and browning, contemporary calf, covers detached (R. Clark, £121). Chapel Hill Rare Books, June cat. 9304, 1808 quarto, contemporary mottled boards rebacked, slight foxing, William Bateson’s copy with his pencil signature ($2500); same copy and price, Aug. cat. 81, #29. CL, 10 Sept., #80, 1808 quarto, soiled, worm holes in margins, contemporary calf with part of spine missing (£220). Book Block, Sept. cat. 27, #6, 1808 quarto, said to contain at the end a “four-page prospectus for Blake’s Chaucer’s Pilgrims” (almost certainly an error for Stothard’s Canterbury Pilgrims), uncut in recent three-quarter morocco ($2000). Bowie & Company, Oct. cat. 118, #12, 1858 ed., pls. foxed, half morocco ($150). Swann, 4 Nov., #32, 1813 quarto, modern morocco ($880). Heritage Book Shop, Nov. Boston Book Fair, 1813 quarto, pls. lightly foxed, quarter morocco rebacked ($900).
Chaucer, Poetical Works, 1783, in Bell’s Poets. Simon Finch, June London Book Fair, complete set of Bell’s Poets, 109 vols., fine contemporary calf (£6000); same copy and price, Sept. cat. 20, #10. BBA, 12 Aug., #122, 105 (of 109) vols., with Cooke’s pl. rather than Blake’s, contemporary calf (Poetry Bookshop, £198); sold by the Poetry Bookshop in single-author sets—see listings under Mortimer and Stothard.
Commins, An Elegy Set to Music, 1786. SL, 6 July, #1525, stitched through 3 stab-holes as issued, original (?) thread still present, uncut, the cover pl. by Blake hand tinted, dust-stained, edges a bit frayed (£920 on an estimate of £300-400 to Quaritch for R. Essick). See illus. 10.
Cumberland, Thoughts on Outline, 1796. Phillip Pirages, Feb. cat. 25, #40, uncut and unopened in original boards, spine repaired, inscribed “From the Author” on leaf preceding the title page, some foxing and dampstaining (reduced from $2250 in earlier cats. to $1800); same copy, May cat. 26, #118, pls. 2, 6 illus. (back up to $2250); same copy, Nov. cat. 28, #75, pl. 2 illus. ($2250). Robert Clark, June cat. 32, #74, one pl. “scraped by a prudish owner to emasculate a male figure,” recent quarter calf (£350).
Darwin, Botanic Garden. Walford, Jan. cat. S/221, #9, 1st ed. (1791) of Part 1, 3rd of Part 2, contemporary half roan rubbed (£450 for a copy offered at the same price without success in three 1992 cats.); same copy and price, rebound in calf-backed boards, July cat. H/171, #320. BBA, 11 March, #14, 4th ed., 1799, 2 vols., foxed, contemporary calf rebacked (Ginnan, £132). Plandome Book Auctions, 21 April, #155, 3rd ed. (1795)begin page 113 | ↑ back to top Edmeads and Pine stock (“E & P” watermark), one pl. showing an “R G” watermark, contemporary tree calf (£375). SL, 6 July, #1347, 2nd ed. of Part 1, 3rd of Part 2, many leaves loose, contemporary half calf worn, with Darwin, The Temple of Nature (4 pls. after Fuseli), and 5 other vols. by Darwin (not sold on an estimate of £300-400). BBA, 22 July, #390, 3rd ed. of Part 1, 4th of Part 2, Charles James Fox’s copy with his bookplate, contemporary calf, covers detached (Ginnan, £198). CL, 10 Sept., #78, 1st ed. of Part 1, 3rd of Part 2, dampstained, contemporary half calf worn and rebacked (£200). BBA, 16 Sept., #291, 1st ed. of Part 1, 3rd of Part 2, spotted, some leaves water-stained, modern cloth (Psychometrika, £77). Holleyman & Treacher, Nov. private offer, 1st ed. of Part 1, 2nd of Part 2, calf rebacked (£250).
Enfield, The Speaker, 1797. Christopher Edwards, Aug. cat. 3, #109, contemporary sheep worn (£85).
Flaxman, Classical Compositions, 1870. Swann, 9 Sept., #141, contemporary leather rubbed (not sold; estimate $300-500).
Flaxman, Compositions from . . . Hesiod, 1817. Phillip Pirages, Feb. cat. 25, #41, original boards recased, label on front cover, some browning, morocco-backed slipcase (reduced from $1600 in earlier cats. to $1250). Swann, 9 Sept., #140, with Flaxman’s designs for the Iliad (1805), the Odyssey (1805), and Aeschylus (1831), all with light to moderate foxing, bound together in morocco ($220).
Gay, Fables. Phillip Pirages, Feb. cat. 25, #109, 1793 ed., 2 vols., contemporary marbled calf (reduced from $900 in earlier cats. to $700); same copy May cat. 26, #171, spines and pl. 7 illus. (back up to $900). Hartfield, Feb. cat. 44, #L-24, 1793 ed., 2 vols., morocco and marbled boards ($1295). John Windle, May cat. 15, #214, 1793 ed., 2 vols., “occasional spotting and stains,” contemporary calf ($650). G. David, June London Book Fair, 1811 ed., 2 vols., quarter calf over marbled boards (£200). Dylan’s Books, June London Book Fair, 1793 ed., 2 vols. in 1, contemporary calf rebacked (£260).
Gough, Sepulchral Monuments, 1786. Carmarthen Books, June London Book Fair, 2 vols. in 5, 1786-96, contemporary russia (£1150; sold to the dealer Robert Frew, who also offered the vols. at the Fair); same copy, Robert Frew, Aug. cat. 1, #277 (£1500).
Hartley, Observations on Man, 1791. Sevin Seydi, spring cat. “Delos,” #372, quarto issue, “rather decorative [library] stamp on the plate” (£250).
Hayley, Ballads, 1805. Swann, 4 Nov., #33, light soiling, half-title and 2 other leaves “possibly supplied from another copy,” sts. of pls. not indicated, 19th-century morocco ($302 on an estimate of $400-600).
Hayley, Life of Cowper, 1803-04. Swann, 14 Jan., #181, 1st ed., 3 vols., half calf, A. E. Newton’s copy with his bookplate ($192). BBA, 11 Feb., #268, 1st ed., 3 vols., contemporary calf worn (Quaritch, £55). Piccadilly Rare Books, June London Book Fair, 1st ed., 3 vols. in 2, with the 1806 supplement bound in at the end, pl. 4 in the 2nd st., modern quarter calf (£230). Quaritch, June private offer, 1st ed., 3 vols., contemporary calf, 2nd st. of pl. 4 (£800). G. David, June private offer, 1st ed., 3 vols., with the 1806 supplement bound at the end, pl. 4 in the 1st st. (see illus. 11), contemporary calf rebacked (£180). Simon Finch, Sept. cat. 20, #50, 1st ed., no mention of sts., uniformly bound in contemporary russia with Cowper, Poems (1806) and Cowper Illustrated by a Series of Views (1803), 5 vols. (£800). Pickering and Chatto, Sept. cat. 710, #29, 1st ed., 3 vols., pl. 4 in the 2nd st., occasional browning, contemporary tree calf ($400). Piccadilly Rare Books, Nov. Chelsea Book Fair, 1st ed., 4 vols., including the 1806 supplement, with all half-titles, pl. 4 in the 2nd st., modern quarter calf (£190).
Hayley, Life of Romney, 1809. SL, 17 Feb., #155, lacking 3 pls. but with Blake’s, with 8 other vols. on British art (Grosvenor, £253). Edna Whiteson, June London Book Fair, large-paper issue, 19th-century quarter calf, marbled boards (£350). This is only the 2nd large-paper copy I’ve seen. The large-paper issue is distinguished by the “1807” watermark on text leaves; the small-paper issue shows a “RYE MILL / 1807” watermark (except for the final gathering, with an “1804” watermark). Further, the distance between the gutter and the left margin of the text on rectos is 5.1 cm. in large-paper copies, whereas the distance is 3.2 cm. in small-paper copies. Howes, June London Book Fair, small-paper issue, uncut at tail and foreedge, trimmed and gilt at head to an overall height of 29 cm., 19th-century half morocco (£250); same copy and price, Nov. cat. 260, #246. CL, 10 Sept., #81, uncut, original boards rebacked with cloth, original printed spine label retained, from the collection of Morchard Bishop; with Hayley, Life of Cowper, apparently 1st ed. with the supplement, 4 vols. in 3, spotted, contemporary half morocco, 2 covers detached (£140).
Hayley, Little Tom the Sailor, broadsheet, 1800, hand colored by Blake. Sold March to Maurice Sendak by Justin Schiller, in whose private collection this copy had resided since 1983.
Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 1803. John Windle, May cat. 15, #217, apparently small paper, lacking half-title, old calf with joints repaired ($217). Phillip Pirages, May cat. 26, #334, small paper, contemporary calf, 4 illus. ($750); same copy and price, Nov. cat. 28, #76. Simon Finch, June London Book Fair, large-paper issue, quarter calf (£500). E. M. Lawson, Sept. cat. 264, #26, large-paper issue, half sheep (£600).BBA, 4 Nov., #148, lightly spotted, lacking half-title, contemporary mottled calf worn (Ginnan, £143).
Hogarth, The Beggar’s Opera by Hogarth and Blake, 1965. John Windle, May cat. 15, #209, box worn ($975).
Hogarth, Works. Appelfeld Gallery, addendum to March cat. 52, no item #, undated Baldwin and Cradock issue, half morocco rebacked ($2500). BBA, 20 May, #125, undated Baldwin and Cradock issue, no mention of Blake’s pl., some leaves torn, some spotting, contemporary half morocco worn (Erlini, £715). Robert Vaughan, June private offer, undated Baldwin and Cradock issue printed by Norman, Blake’s pl. in the 5th st., quarter calf over marbled boards in unusually fine condition begin page 114 | ↑ back to top (£650). SL, 29 June, #272, title page dated 1822 (but possibly the Quaritch reprint of c. 1880), half morocco, spine damaged (£920). CL, 3 Nov., #96, undated Baldwin and Cradock issue, no mention of Blake’s pl., some spotting and soiling, contemporary half morocco (£1380). Titles, Nov. private offer, apparently an undated Baldwin and Cradock issue, 116 leaves of pls., modern half calf (£1400).
Hunter, Historical Journal, 1793. James Fenning, Jan. cat. 120, #394, octavo issue, modern quarter calf (£850). Albion Books, June London Book Fair, quarto issue, quarter calf over marbled boards (£2000). Ximenes, Oct. cat. 101, #291, quarto issue, contemporary half russia rehinged ($7500). A. J. Cumming, Nov. Chelsea Book Fair, quarto issue, tall copy, contemporary calf rebacked (£3500).
Josephus, Works. Harrington Bros., June private offer, Bentley’s final (E) issue, contemporary calf worn (£180). John Trotter, June London Book Fair, Bentley’s 2nd (B) issue, modern half calf and marbled boards (£187.50).
Lavater, Aphorisms. Jarndyce, Jan. cat. 90, #572, 1789 ed., library stamp on verso of title page, half calf rebacked (£220). Maggs, June private offer, 1788 ed., 1st. st. of the pl., contemporary calf, front cover almost loose (£275).
Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy. BBA, 11 March, #100, 1810 ed., 3 vols. in 5, spotted, original boards uncut, cloth spines damaged (Graves-Johnston, £104). Peter Baring, London June Book Fair, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, with Lavater’s Physiognomical Sketches, contemporary russia (£1800). CL, 10 Sept., #79, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, spotted, contemporary russia rebacked (£420); same copy?, Mellor & Baxter, Nov. private offer (£1200).
Malkin, Father’s Memoirs of His Child, 1806. Pickering and Chatto, Jan. cat. 701, #7, pls. lightly foxed, uncut in modern cloth, Blake’s pl. illus. ($550); same copy and price, Feb. cat. 703, #35. Richard Budd, June cat. 9, #52, original boards uncut, new spine (£500). Howes, Nov. cat. 260, #247, 19th-century half calf rubbed (£525).
Nicholson, Introduction to Natural Philosophy, 1782. P & P Books, June London Book Fair, 2 vols., contemporary calf (£475).
Novelist’s Magazine. John Windle, May cat. 15, #203, vols. 10-11 only (Richardson, Sir Charles Grandison), 1783, 1st sts. of Blake’s pls., contemporary calf repaired ($675).
Olivier, Fencing Familiarized, 1780. Swann, 4 Feb., #287, half morocco ($165).
Rees, Cyclopaedia, 1820. Francis Edwards, July cat. 1247, #618, complete in 45 vols., half calf over marbled boards, some hinges weak (£3500).
Salzmann, Elements of Morality. BBA, 1 April, #52, 3 vols., vols. 1 and 3 dated 1792, vol. 2 dated 1791, 50 pls., frontispiece partly hand colored, 2 pls. in vol. 2 inserted from another copy, contemporary sheep “almost uniform” (meaning not uniform?), worn (R. Clark, £352); same copy, Robert Clark, June cat. 32, #75 (£650). CL, 10 Sept., #82, J. Sharpe ed. of c. 1815, 2 vols., lacking the pl. numbered “40,” contemporary half morocco worn, with Gay, Fables, 1811, 2 vols. in 1, spotted, modern boards (£200).
Scott, Poetical Works, 1782. Bookpress, March cat. 68, #163, contemporary calf ($375). Simon Finch, June London Book Fair, presentation inscription from Scott to John Hoole, quarter calf (£380); same copy and price, Sept. cat. 20, #154, and Nov. cat. 21, #288. Holleyman & Treacher, Nov. private offer, contemporary calf, front cover loose (£250).
Shakespeare, Dramatic Works, Boydell, 1802. SNY, 15 June, #318, 9 vols., no mention of Blake’s pl. (sometimes absent), contemporary morocco gilt, worn ($1955 on an estimate of $800-1200). Robert Frew, Aug. cat. 1, #197, 9 vols., 97 pls. (no mention of Blake’s), contemporary morocco gilt, worn (£1100). David Bickersteth, Sept. cat. 126, #120, 9 vols., 99 pls. (no mention of Blake’s), contemporary morocco gilt, some spotting, few spines repaired (£650).
Stedman, Narrative. Chapel Hill Rare Books, June cat. 9303, #117, 1806 ed., 2 vols., 79 of 80 pls. (lacking “Indian Female of the Arrowauka Nation,” engraved by Benedetti), large-paper issue, the pls. hand colored as in the 1796 ed., contemporary calf worn ($3500, offered by Chapel Hill in a 1992 cat. for $2625). CL, 10 Sept., #83, 1813 ed., 2 vols., soiled and spotted, modern boards (£550).
Stuart and Revett, Antiquities of Athens, 1787-94. SL, 21 June, #224, vols. 1-3 only, “fine neoclassical bindings of contemporary red morocco designed by James Stuart,” bindings illus. color, from the collection of Alan G. Thomas (Maggs, £89,500—a record price because of the bindings).
Tuer, The Follies & Fashions of Our Grandfathers, 1886-87. W. & V. Dailey, Feb. private offer, small-paper issue, publisher’s binding ($300).
Virgil, Pastorals, 1821. Simon Finch, Nov. private offer, 2 vols., original sheep, with the 1814 Illustrations of the School-Virgil, modern calf (acquired at an undisclosed price by D. Heald).
Whitaker, The Seraph, c. 1825-28. Robert Clark, Oct. cat. 34, #174, Bentley’s “C” issue published by Jones & Co., 2 vols. in 1, half calf (£285). Same copy offered for the same price one year earlier.
Wollstonecraft, Original Stories from Real Life, 1791. Swann, 4 March, #299, no indication of the sts. of the pls., contemporary (original?) sheep rebacked, cloth folding case ($1870). James Burmester, June London Book Fair, 2nd sts. of the pls., contemporary calf (£2500). James Cummins, June cat. 39, #26, no indication of sts. of the pls., contemporary calf rebacked ($4000). SL, 19 July, #233, no indications of the sts. of the pls., contemporary sheep worn (C. R. Johnson, £1840 on an estimate of £700-900).begin page 115 | ↑ back to top
Young, Night Thoughts, 1797, uncolored. CSK, 2 Dec. 1992, #221, lacking letterpress title page, preliminary leaves, and Explanation leaf, some leaves shaved and others repaired, contemporary half calf worn, title to Night the First illus. (bought-in at £750 on an estimate of £1500-2000). Heritage Book Shop, March handlist for the New York Book Fair, #9, with the Explanation leaf, first few leaves foxed, full leather, front hinge weak ($7500); same copy and price, May handlist for the Chicago Book Fair and June handlist for the London Book Fair. E. Joseph, June private offer, with the Explanation leaf, a few pls. trimmed at lower edge, quarter calf over marbled boards (£6800).
Nicholas Beatrizet, “A Standing Man with Arms Folded,” unfinished engraving after a figure in Michelangelo’s Crucifixion of St. Peter. SL, 29 June, #76, only recorded impression of the full pl. including the large blank area on the right, illus. (not sold on an estimate of £4000-6000). Possibly the basis of Blake’s etching/engraving, “Joseph of Arimathea among the Rocks of Albion” (1st st. 1773).
Annibale Carracci, Historia del testamento vecchio dipinta in Roma nel Vaticano da Raffaelle Urbino et intagliata in rame da Sisto Badaloccis et Giovani Lanfranchi (Rome, 1698), oblong octavo approx. 17.2 × 23 cm., bound in worn vellum. A sun with a human face and “W Blake/ 1773” inscribed into the vellum with a sharp instrument (an etching needle?), leaf 18 recto inscribed in pencil “W Blake 1773,” and three pencil sketches on leaves 5 recto (slight drawing, rubbed, of the head of God based on the facing print), 9 recto (a human leg, based on the leg of Adam in the facing print), and 10 recto (outline of a human leg). SL, 19 July, #198, inscription on leaf 18 recto illus. (not sold on an estimate of £10,000-15,000). My request for photos of the Blake signatures or drawings was denied. The auction catalogue failed to point out a few salient features, including the full title with its reference to Raphael. After a brief engraved and/or etched text, the tattered volume is an album of fairly crude prints by Sisto Badalocchio and Giovanni Lanfranco of Carracci’s copies of the frescoes after designs by Raphael in the Vatican Loggias (often called “Raphael’s Bible”). The group includes all five of the prints after Raphael (2 misattributed on the plates to “Rubens”) that Blake engraved for The Protestant’s Family Bible (c. 1781). Several prints, including “Lot’s Escape” (pl. 2 in The Protestant’s Family Bible), show six brown spots (just outside each corner and top and bottom center) that were probably created by glue used to affix tracing paper over the prints so that they could be copied. Thus, the volume may have been used by Blake as the source for his plates after Raphael. However, the prints in this album, like the frescoes and all other engravings of them I have seen, are in a horizontal format, whereas Blake’s begin page 116 | ↑ back to top plates have a vertical major axis. The volume may also have been an important influence on a good many of Blake’s original compositions. The drawing of a leg on leaf 9 recto was executed with some skill and includes slight touches of the delicate hatching found in Blake’s apprentice drawings of the tomb effigies in Westminster Abbey (see Butlin #22, 25, 40, 43, 46, 47). If indeed Blake owned this album early in his life, as I think very probable, then he had direct knowledge of books with etched and engraved texts long before he began creating his own. See also Commins under Letterpress Books, above, for another etched or engraved text very probably known to Blake before 1788.
Berkeley, Siris (Dublin, 1744). E. M. Lawson, Jan. cat. 259, #44, contemporary calf (£285). The scarce 1st ed. that Blake annotated.
Winckelmann, Reflections, trans. Fuseli, 1765. For copies of this work, which Blake may have owned (see Bentley #751), see under Fuseli, below.
Chatterton, Poems, 3rd ed., 1778. Simon Finch, Sept. cat. 20, #27, contemporary russia (£120). Blake’s copy of this edition, with his signature but without further annotation, is in the Keynes Collection, Cambridge University Library.
Joanna Southcott, an extensive collection of manuscripts and printed materials relating to her sect, 1790s-1840s. SL, 20 July, #412, 1 broadsheet illus. (the London bookdealer Christopher Edwards, £4140).
“Stonehenge Medal.” Silver, 5 cm. diameter, by T. Wyon, Sr. Richard Hatchwell, April cat. 29, #99 (£1200). Hatchwell describes this curiosity as follows: “On the obverse a view of Stonehenge within an open wreath upon which appears STONEHENGE 1796 on a label. Above is a Druid’s head within a wreath, over an inscription on a ribbon, TANTUM RELIGIO POTUIT (a quotation from Lucretius, ‘So great was the power of religion’). On the reverse, a circular calendar with druidical signs representing the orrery of the druids, the words Orrery of the Druids surrounded by a plan of the reconstructed monument. A label above bears the words DUM TACENT CLAMANT (a quotation from Cicero, ‘While silent, they shout begin page 117 | ↑ back to top aloud’). Beneath are the words CHOIR GAUR. Signed by Wyon on the obverse, immediately beneath the view of Stonehenge. Enclosed in a blue mock-leather case.” Hatchwell further points out that, in an article published in the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine no. 147 (1927), Capt. B. H. Cunnington claimed that the medal was designed by Blake, based on a letter from the “Corresponding Councillor of the ‘Druid Universalist Council[!],’ Mr. T. Ireland, who stated that the medal was designed by Blake, and had been issued by the A.D.U.B. (An Druidh[e] Uileach Braithreachas, or Church of the Universal Bond[!!]).” I propose an alternative attribution: might the medal have been designed by T. Wyon?
Falconer, Shipwreck, 1st ed. with Fittler’s pls., 1804. Ewen Kerr, March cat. 40, #15 (£120). Phillip Pirages, May cat. 26, #419 ($350). Claude Cox, Sept. cat. 98, #68 (£85). In a letter of 4 May 1804, Blake thanked Hayley for a copy of this book (Bentley 687).
A set of 12 silver buttons and 4 small silver buckles, apparently issued in 1809 or 1810 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary (1810) of the reign of George III. Housed in a leather case (as originally issued?), approx. 14.5 × 20 cm., with an engraving on paper, signed “[George?] Noble sculp.,” of George III and Queen Charlotte set into the inside upper cover. Two of the buckles are dated “1809” on their faces. The round buttons, each approx. 3 cm. in diameter, are decorated with incised portraits inscribed with the names Edmund Burke, Nelson, Queen Charlotte and George III (on one button), Wellington, Horace Walpole, Adam Smith, James Watt, the Earl of Chatham, Charles James Fox, Warren Hastings, William Wilberforce,—and William Blake! The portrait of Blake is clearly based on the painting by Thomas Phillips, exhibited in May 1807, or the engraving of it by Louis Schiavonetti, first published in the 1808 edition of Robert Blair’s The Grave illustrated with Blake’s designs. Why Blake was included in this distinguished company in 1809-10 remains a complete mystery to me. I can find no evidence that Phillips painted portraits of all the other worthies included, but perhaps all were portrayed in paintings recently exhibited or published as engravings and Blake was included by a fluke. Tender Buttons (a shop selling buttons new and old), New York, July private begin page 118 | ↑ back to top offer ($6000 for the set). Exhibited in August 1993 at The Athenaeum, La Jolla, California, as part of the collection of Diana Epstein and Millicent Safro. No photos obtainable; for a color illus. of the set in its box, see Epstein and Safro, Buttons (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1991) 60.
Taylor, City Scenes. Swann, 20 May, #92, 1828 ed., quarter roan ($330). Marlborough Rare Books, Nov. cat. 153, #126, 1818 ed., roan-backed boards (£400). Contains Blake’s “Holy Thursday” from Songs of Innocence, illustrated with a pl. unrelated to Blake’s own design.
Montgomery, ed., The Chimney-Sweeper’s Friend, 1824, with the first typographic printing of Blake’s “The Chimney-Sweeper” from Songs of Innocence. Graham Weiner, Nov. Chelsea Book Fair, modern boards, I missing leaf supplied in photocopy (£200).
Cumberland, Essay on the Utility of Collecting the Best Works of the Ancient Engravers of the Italian School; Accompanied by a Critical Catalogue [of Cumberland’s collection] . . . now Deposited in the British Museum and the Royal Academy, London, 1827. Ursus Books, April cat. 170, #42, cloth over drab boards ($850). Cumberland records in his notebook that he “Lent Blake [his] Catalogue to read” in November 1823 (Bentley, Blake Records [Oxford: Clarendon P, 1969] 279).
Moon, Boys, and Graves, A Catalogue of Engravings, 1829. BBA, 30 Sept., #75, contemporary morocco-backed boards worn, with a manuscript catalogue of “Engraved Portraits” (Grosvenor Prints, £396). This sale catalogue includes (65) Blake’s engraving after Opie,” Romeo and Juliet, Act IV. Scene V,” originally executed for Boydell’s ed. of Shakespeare but here offered as a separate pl. (“Prints, 4s. Proofs, 7s.6d.”).
The Ladies Pocket Magazine, Part 2, 1833. Holleyman & Treacher, Dec. private offer, quarter calf (£5). Contains Mrs. D. L. Child’s essay, “Mrs. Blake, Wife of William Blake,” 1-5.
Southey, The Doctor, 1834-47. Marlborough Rare Books, Jan. cat. 149, #211, 7 vols., original cloth, vols. 1-2 rebacked (£850). With Blake references in vols. 6-7 of 1847 (although the work’s real claim to fame is the first publication of “The Three Bears”).
Cunningham, Cabinet Gallery of Pictures, pub. Nicol, Hodgson & Graves, 1836. Colin Page, Nov. private offer, 2 vols., original gilt-stamped cloth (£75). Contains a brief anecdote about Blake (1: 11-13); this ed. not in Bentley.
Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, published Pickering, 1839 (first letterpress ed.). John Windle, May cat. 15, #204, issue without “The Little Vagabond,” publisher’s cloth bound without the final two leaves ($600). Pickering and Chatto, Sept. cat. 708, #60, issue with “The Little Vagabond,” publisher’s cloth, presentation inscription from the editor, J. J. Garth Wilkinson, to J. Hyde ($4500—a record asking price).
Blake, Poetical Sketches, published Pickering, 1868. Gekoski, April cat., #36, with a presentation inscription to W. M.
William Muir facsimiles of Blake’s illuminated books. SL, 15 Dec. 1992, #422, Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience, The Book of Thel, Visions of the Daughters of Albion, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and Milton, bound in 4 vols. (Jones, £2000 on and estimate of £600-800). BBA, 12 Aug., #283, Milton and Visions of the Daughters of Albion, with “3 other reprints of Blake works, all in rather crude ‘designer’ bookbindings by W. B. Knoble,” worn (Estates of Mind, £440 on an estimate of £100-150).begin page 119 | ↑ back to top
Charles Ricketts, original pen and ink drawing for the frontispiece to his ed. of The Book of Thel, 1897. Heightened with white, initialed[e], 8.6 × 8.6 cm. Ian Hodgkins, Nov. cat. 71, #189, illus. (£1600).
Quaritch, Catalogue of Rare and Valuable Books, No. 218 (Nov. 1902). Huntington Library, May sale of duplicates ($15). The cat. includes, #261, Satan’s Triumph over Eve, “an original Drawing in water-colours” (£42); and #262, “My soul cleaveth to the Dust, an engraving by G. I. F. Tupper, from Blake’s design. 18 ½ by 14 ½ in. Printed for Private Distribution, 1874,” further described as a “facsimile of one of the unpublished drawings” for Young’s Night Thoughts (7s.6d.). #261 is Satan Exulting over Eve in John Craxton’s collection (Butlin #291); this Quaritch cat. listing is earlier than the first (No. 228, March 1904) cited in the provenance given by Butlin. An impression of the Tupper engraving is in the Rosenbach Foundation, Philadelphia (Bentley 646).
Illustrations to Thornton’s Pastorals of Virgil . . . [:] Enlarged Facsimiles in Platinotype from the Scarce Original Edition by Frederick H. Evans, 1912. CL, 10 Sept., #8, Evans’s own copy with his bookplate, “one of two unnumbered presentation copies,” contemporary half morocco (Justin Schiller, £600 on an estimate of £100-150).
An archive of Blakeana, about 300 items, assembled by the Blake collector Frank Rinder, c. 1900-30, with some later items added by one or more other accumulators. Mostly articles from periodicals, letters to editors, and reviews from British newspapers, but also including clippings from auction and dealers’ catalogues, authors’ proofs, letters, prospectuses, and exhibition catalogues. Acquired privately by R. Essick and D. W. Dörrbecker in August.
Fine Art Society, Ltd., London. Spring Exhibition of Early English Water-Colours and Drawings, sale catalogue, n.d. (c. 1950?). Fine Art Catalogues, Oct. private offer (£6). This cat., not noted in Butlin, includes, as #31 and 45 for £600 each, Blake’s St. Paul Shaking off the Viper (Butlin #509) and Jephthah Met by his Daughter (Butlin #450). Both water colors were acquired by the Fine Art Society at the Graham Robertson sale, CL, 22 July 1947, #46 and 11 (£462 and £483 respectively). By today’s standards, these are exceedingly modest mark-ups.
BLAKE’S CIRCLE AND FOLLOWERS
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.
“Elysium and Tartarus,” engraving. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #5, 1808 printing, illus. (£275).
“King Lear,” lithograph. SL, 29 June, #249, on the original support sheet with aquatint border, from the collection of C. A. Lennox-Boyd (not sold; possibly withdrawn).
“Lord Baltimore and the Group of Legislators,” engraving. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #6, 1808 printing, illus. (£340).
“The Phoenix or the Resurrection of Freedom,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #4, 3rd st., illus. (£720).
“Queen Isabella, Las Casas, and Magellan,” engraving. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #7, 1808 printing, illus. (£160).begin page 120 | ↑ back to top
Group of 6 wood engravings from the Memoir, 1893, Lott & Gerrish, April cat.: #8, “The Ploughman” (£1000); #9, “The Cyder Feast” (£1000); #10, “The Brook” (£375); #11, “The Lady with the Rooks” (£300); #12, “The Return Home” (£375); #13, “The Chamber Idyll” (£3500—probably a record asking price for any print from the Memoir).
“The Bride,” engraving. Garton & Co., Feb. cat. 55, #2, 1st st., “brilliant contemporary impression,” illus. (£12,500). A record asking price, justified by the great rarity of lifetime impressions.
“The Return Home” and “Shepherd and Sheep” (meaning the lithograph, “Ideal Pastoral Life”?), both described as “wood engravings.” CSK, 26 Aug., #215 (£82.50).
S. Calvert, Memoir of Edward Calvert, 1893. Lott & Gerrish, April cat., #7, no description of binding or condition but apparently with all the original prints (£8000).
A folio of 16 early drawings, pen and gray or brown wash or pencil, various sizes. SL, 15 July, #69, 2 drawings of a muscular male on one sheet illus. (Christopher Powney, £1150). See illus. 12.
Classical Study (man and woman holding hands, another woman filling a goblet held by the man) attributed to Flaxman. Pen and wash, 17 × 31.2 cm. Family Album Books, Sept. Washington Book Fair ($4000).
Death of Demosthenes. Pen drawing, 5.9 × 14 cm. on sheet 12.9 × 18 cm., a preliminary drawing of the two central figures only for pl. 2 in Hayley, Essay on Sculpture, 1800. Gallery Downstairs, London, Nov. private offer (acquired by D. Bindman, London).
Our Saviour. Pencil drawing, 18.4 × 15.2 cm., inscribed with the title in ink and with a large capital letter “F” upper left. Christopher Powney, May private offer ($1250). The style of the draughtsmanship is not characteristic of Flaxman. The conception of the face, pictured full-face, is similar to what we find in Blake’s Visionary Heads.
Study for a Funereal Monument. Pencil, 17 × 24.8 cm. CL, 13 July, #22 (not sold; estimate £200-300).
Dante illustrations, 1807. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #69, original green cloth, “The Giants” illus. (£120). Robert Clark, June cat. 32, #172, some foxing and minor dampstaining, original cloth rebacked, worn (£150).
Dante, La Divina Commedia, 3 vols., Vallardi, c. 1802. Nikolaus Weissert, Jan. cat. 53, #53 (DM850).
Homer, Iliad and Odyssey, trans. Sotheby, 1833. Blackwell’s,
Homer, Sujets de l’Iliade, Dufresne, 1803. Nikolaus Weissert, Jan. cat. 53, #54, with the Dufresne ed. of the Odyssey designs (DM850).
Milton, Latin and Italian Poems, trans. Cowper, 1808. Holleyman & Treacher, Nov. private offer, large paper, contemporary morocco worn (£60).
Odyssey illustrations, 1793. SL, 28 June, #362, spotted, modern half morocco (not sold on an estimate of £300-400).begin page 121 | ↑ back to top begin page 122 | ↑ back to top
Male Nude Seated Against a Wall. Pen and gray ink over traces of pencil, 11 × 17.5 cm. SL, 11 Nov., #30, illus. (£1150).
Odysseus Threatening Circe. Pencil, pen and brown ink, 22.5 × 19.2 cm. CL, 30 March, #35, from the collection of Paul Grinke, illus. (£3450).
Scene from Milton’s Comus (recto); Figure Study (verso). Pen, pencil gray wash, 30.7 × 38.4 cm., recto a preliminary for the lost painting, The Rout of Comus. CL, 9 Nov., #11, both sides illus. (not sold on an over-ambitious estimate of £15,000-25,000).
Scene from Shakespeare. Pencil, pen, gray wash, 19.1 × 16.2 cm. Spink, May cat., #35, illus. (£6,500). Previously sold CL, 14 April 1992, #23, entitled An Old Woman Wearing a Rosary Cursing a Seated Man, illus. (£4400, apparently to Spink). David Weinglass has kindly informed me that the subject is actually Eleanor berating the Duke of Gloucester from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, pt. 2, act 1, scene 2.
Siegfried’s First Arrival at Worms. Pen and gray ink, gray wash, 31 × 21.5 cm., datable to c. 1805. SL, 11 Nov., #47, illus. (not sold; estimate £5000-7000).
The Stoning of St. Stephen. Pen and brown and gray wash, 19.9 × 31.8 cm., signed and dated 1777. CL, 13 July, #9, illus. (£2990).
“Queen Catherine’s Dream,” stipple engraving by Bartolozzi. CSK, 4 Aug., #403, color printed, cut close, stained (£90).
“The Witches,” engraving by Tomkins, 1809. Christopher Mendez, June private offer, platemark showing all around, printed in dark brown and light brown on faces, hands, and the moth (£300).
“Woman at a Window,” lithograph. SL, 29 June, #251, 1st st., detached from original support sheet, some defects, with another impression, 2nd st., also detached, some defects (not sold; possibly withdrawn).
Bell’s British Theatre. PAL, 10 Dec. 1992, #17, 33 vols., no dates given, dampstained, contemporary half roan worn (not sold on an estimate of £80-120); 18 Feb., #72, 19 vols., 1780(?), later tree calf rebacked (£400).
Bonnycastle, Introduction to Astronomy. Phillip Pirages, May cat. 26, #337, 1803 ed. (not previously known to me), contemporary half russia, spine illus. ($250). G. David, June London Book Fair, 1822 ed., contemporary calf (£120). Bow Windows Bookshop, June London Book Fair, 1803 ed., contemporary calf rebacked (£125); same copy and price, Nov. Chelsea Book Fair. David Bickersteth, Nov. cat. 127, #144, 1796 ed., speckled calf (£80). BBA, 18 Nov., #282, 1786 ed., later half morocco (Sotheran’s, £60).
Darwin, Temple of Nature, 1803. SL, 11 Dec. 1992, #70, original boards uncut, cloth case (not sold on an estimate of £500-700). Deighton, Bell, March cat. 260, #101, modern half calf over the original boards, slight spotting to pls. (£300). Sotheran’s, Nov. private offer, tall copy, contemporary calf (£450).
Homer, Odyssey, 1806. Robert Frew, June London Book Fair, 6 vols. in 3, some dated 1813, contemporary calf (£150).
Milton, Paradise Lost, 1805, in Park, ed., The Works of the British Poets. Stuart Bennett, Oct. cat. 1, #162, 42 vols. plus 6 vols. of supplements, contemporary half morocco ($1500).
Pilkington, Dictionary of Painters, revised by Fuseli, 1805. Grant & Shaw, April cat. 17, #74, David Wilkie’s copy with his signature, contemporary calf backed with roan (£100).
Shakespeare, Plays, Stockdale ed., 1807. Robert Vaughan, June private offer, 7 vols., perhaps some plates missing, contemporary morocco gilt extra (£1450).
Thomson, The Seasons, 1802. Robert Clark, June cat. 32, #173, large- paper copy with the pls. before title inscriptions, minor foxing, contemporary calf rebacked (£58).
Winckelmann, Reflections on the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks, trans. Fuseli, 1765. Swann, 11 Feb., #363, some foxing, modern buckram ($330). Ursus Books, April cat. 170, 3/4 calf, title page illus. ($1250). Sevin Seydi, April cat. “Delos,” #531, contemporary calf, from the library of John Sparrow (£750).
Young, Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of . . . Angerstein, 1823. Ursus Books, April cat. 170, #5, roan spine over boards (a record at $1250).
Carrying Wheat. Oil, 49 × 63 cm., signed and dated 1862. SL, 10 Nov., #105, illus. color (£10,350).
Extensive River Landscape. Pencil, 12 × 17.8 cm., signed and dated Sept. 1814. CSK, 17 Feb., #58, with a drawing by Varley (£85).
Kensington Gardens, London. Water color, 10.5 × 14 cm., signed and dated 1812. SL, 11 Nov., #108, illus. color (£35,600 on an estimate of £6000-8000). I cannot explain this extraordinary price.
On the Road from Harlech to Barmouth, Wales. Water color, 7 × 28 cm., inscribed with title. SL, 3 Feb., #127 (not sold on an estimate of £800-1200).
The Piper. Oil, 71 × 99 cm., signed and dated 1878. SL, 3 Feb., #437, illus. (not sold on an estimate of £1500-2000).
Portrait of Edward Sheppard. Oil, 32.5 × 25.5 cm., signed and dated 1825. SL, 12 May, #15, illus. (£1725).
Portrait of John Hose. Oil, 25 × 20 cm., signed and dated 1817. SL, 10 Nov., #72, illus. color (£3450 on an estimate of £1500-2000). begin page 123 | ↑ back to top
Portrait of a Lady and Portrait of a Gentleman. Oil, each 43 × 34 cm., one signed and dated 1834. Sotheby’s Billingshurst, 2 June, #381, the gentleman illus. (no price record).
Portrait of Lady Lyndhurst. Oil, 39 × 33 cm., signed. SL, 10 Nov., #73, with 3 pencil sketches by Linnell, painting illus. color (£7475).
Portrait of Thomas Hill. Pencil, black and red chalk heightened with white, 11 1/4 × 10 in. Richard Hatchwell, Jan. cat. 49, #52 (£650).
Reaping. Oil, 66 × 98 cm., signed and dated 1855. SL, 10 Nov., #103, illus. color (£29,900).
Sheep in a Field. Water color, 10 × 14.5 cm., initialed and dated 1811. SL, 11 Nov., #137, illus. (not sold; estimate £1000-1500).
Study of Horses. Pencil and white chalk, signed and dated 1811, 5 × 7 in. CL, 14 July, #143 (£104.50).
Winding the Skein. Oil, 25 × 36 cm., signed and dated 1860. SL, 14 July, #95, illus. color (not sold on an estimate of £6000-8000).
A Woman Working in a Garden and Landscape in North Wales. Both pencil heightened with white on blue paper, signed, 13.5 × 22 cm. and slightly smaller. SL, 29 Sept., #570 (not sold on an estimate of £300-400).
Woodcutters—The Glade. Oil, 53 × 74 cm., signed and dated 1881. CL, 11 June, #186, illus. color (£7130).
Family of John Linnell and his son James, “voluminous collection of prints, drawings and correspondence,” including a folder of sketches, 5 letters by John Linnell, prints by various hands, and letters from famous people, all in “two suitcases.” PAL, 18 March, #9 (estimate £600-800).
Autograph letter signed to the picture dealer Dominic Colnaghi, 6 May 1836. BBA, 2 Sept., #250, with 3 brief autograph notes, 1 with a rough sketch of 3 dogs, 2 letters from 2 of Linnell’s sons, James and William, an engraved portrait and a photograph of Linnell (Sanders of Oxford, £143).
Autograph letter signed to the poet Jean Ingelow, 9 June 1867, containing a drawing of an owl on the 3rd and final page. BBA, 2 Sept., #251 (Kunkler, £88).
“Dove Dale,” lithograph, c. 1814. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #83, presentation inscription in pencil from Linnell, illus. (£420).
MORTIMER, JOHN HAMILTON
Don Quixote, Pelted by the Galley-Slaves. Pencil, pen, brown wash, 23.1 × 20.9 cm. CL, 13 July, #10, illus. (£2185).
The Meeting of Vortigern and Rowena. Oil, 48.3 × 63.5 cm., exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1779. CL, 7 April, #36, illus. color (£45,500 on an estimate of £8000-12,000). A surprisingly high price, perhaps a record for one of Mortimer’s historical paintings.
Group of etchings after Mortimer, The Print Room, April cat. 11: #205, “Rustic Dancers” by Blyth (£200); #206, “Soldiers Funeral” by Blyth, illus. (£200); #207, “A Banditti Made Prisoners [sic]” by Hardy (£150); #208, “Banditti Regaling” by Richardson (£130).
Etchings of Monsters. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, a selection, all illus.: #109, “Enrag’d Monster” (£280); #110, “Jealous Monster” (£320); #111, “Musical Monster” (£260); #112, “Sleeping Monster” (£190); #113, “Successful Monster” (not priced).begin page 124 | ↑ back to top
Shakespeare Characters, etchings: Ophelia, Poet, York, Beatrice, Richard II, Falstaff. CSK, 4 Aug., #344, discolored, with 4 unrelated prints (bought-in at £65).
Bell’s Poets of Great Britain. Poetry Bookshop, Nov. cat. 85, vols. from the series, divided into sets by author, including Addison (#5, £10), Butler (#122, £15), Milton (#572, £16), Parnell (#612, £12), Shenstone (#700, £12), Swift (#765, £16), Thomson (#840, £12). Poetry Bookshop, Dec. private offer, Pope, 4 vols. (£16).
OTTLEY, WILLIAM YOUNG
The 13 original copperplates, engraved in line and aquatint, for Twelve Stories of the Old Testament Engraved by Thomas Piroli from the Designs of William Young Ottley (Rome, 1797). Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #119, 2 pls. illus. (a great bargain at £1600). A remarkable survival, now in the Huntington Library.
A miscellaneous group of 8 water colors and 1 pen and ink drawing (#43 below), Agnew’s, March-April 120th Annual Exhibition of Watercolours and Drawings, all illus. color in the cat.: #36, The Bay of Naples, 42 × 58.2 cm., datable to 1838 (price on application); #37, Near Underriver, Sevenoaks, Kent, 26.5 × 36.5 cm., datable to c. 1843 (price on application); #38, The Bay of Baiae from Monte Nuovo, 14.3 × 39.7 cm., datable to 1841 (£37,500); #39, Will o’ the Wisp, 12.1 × 21.6 cm., datable to c. 1865 (£35,000); #40, Ploughing with Oxen, with a Village in the Distance, see illus. 13-14 (£22,000); #41, The Cornfield: Cloudy Morning, 18.5 × 41.3 cm., datable to 1847 (“sold”); #42, Sir Guyon with the Palmer Attending, Tempted by Phaedria to Land upon the Enchanted Island—from Spenser’s Faerie Queene, 52.1 × 72.7 cm., datable to 1849 (price on application); #43, Mark yon Old Mansion, the preliminary drawing for the engraving after Palmer in Rogers, Pleasures of Memory (c. 1865), 9.5 × 15.5 cm., signed (“sold”); #44, Backways near Tintagel, Cornwall, 18.5 × 26.7 cm., datable to 1848 (“sold”). Sir Guyon also in Agnew’s 1993 cat., 2nd ed., #22, illus. color (not priced).
The Cascades at Tivoli. Water color, 27 × 37.5 cm., datable to 1838. SL, 15 July, #154, illus. color (£19,550 on an estimate of £10,000-15,000).
Children Gleaning in a Corn Field. Water color, 18 × 39 cm., signed. SL, 11 Nov., #123, illus. color (not sold on an estimate of £10,000-15,000).
Evening: A Cottager Returning Home Greeted by His Children. Water color, 18.9 × 41.1 cm. CL, 9 Nov., #64, illus. color (£29,900).
Landscape with Cottage Roof. Water color, 15.4 × 26.6 cm. CL, 9 Nov., #63, illus. color (£11,500).
Oxen Ploughing at Sunset. Water color, 39.5 × 27 cm., signed, begin page 125 | ↑ back to top datable to 1863. SL, 15 July, #118, illus. color (£62,000 on an estimate of £20,000-30,000).
Sabrina, from Comus. Water color, 53 × 75 cm., exhibited in 1880, untraced since 1935. SL, 15 July, #161, illus. color (not sold on an estimate of £30,000-50,000). Apparently acquired after the sale by the London dealer Chris Beetles, who included the work in his 25 Oct. - 20 Nov. 1993 exhibition, “The Victorians,” and advertised it in Country Life (28 Oct. 1993): 33, illus. color (price on application; sold to a private collector in Nov.).
Scene at Underriver, Kent (or The Hop Garden). Oil and tempera on panel, 18.8 × 26 cm., c. 1831-32. Agnew’s 1993 cat., 2nd ed., #10, illus. color (not priced). One of the few Shoreham period works to appear on the market in many years.
The Silver City: Morning on the Jura Mountains Looking towards the Alps. Water color, 18.5 × 40.5 cm., signed and dated 1844. SL, 15 July, #182, illus. color (£20,125 on an estimate of £10,000-15,000).
Street of Tombs, Pompeii. Water color, 33 × 41.9 cm., possibly the work exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1840. CL, 30 March, #77, illus. color (not sold on an estimate of £15,000-20,000). The most probable cause for the failure of this attractive drawing to sell is the odd features in the background on the left and center that suggest some reworking by another hand (Palmer’s wife Hanna?).
The Villa d’Este from the Cypress Avenue. Pencil on card, 13.5 × 8.2 cm., mounted on a card inscribed in pencil by A. H. Palmer, “One of the Illustrations of the First Edition  of Dickens’s ‘Pictures from Italy.’” An earlier version of the design than the pencil drawing of the same size in the Pierpont Morgan Library. Offered at auction in 1991 and 1992; acquired June 1993 by J. Windle from Holleyman and Treacher, the Brighton book dealers; sold July by Windle to R. Essick.
A complete collection of Palmer’s etchings, many in early states, most expertly printed by Palmer or his son, all in fine condition. The group includes some of the finest impressions I have ever seen. Agnew’s, offered as a collection early 1993, offered individually in May (handlist and price list available on application).
“Lonely Tower,” etching. Garton & Co., Feb. cat. 55, #4, 6th st., signed in pencil, illus. (£3950). SL, 29 June, #276, 6th st., pencil signature, vertical crease and a few stains, corners of sheet damaged, with Palmer’s “Herdsman’s Cottage,” 2nd st., collector’s mark within platemark, “Lonely Tower” illus. (£920).
“Moeris and Galatea,” etching. CL, 1 July, #201, 3rd st., 1924 printing, minor defects (not sold).
“Rising Moon,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #123, 7th st. on laid India, illus. (£195).
“Skylark,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #122, 7th st., illus. (£450).
“Sleeping Shepherd,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #124, 4th st., illus. (£550).
“Weary Ploughman,” etching. Garton & Co., Feb. cat. 55, #3, touched proof between 4th and 5th sts., signed in pencil, illus. (£7500). Agnew’s, 1993 cat., 2nd ed., #28, touched proof between 3rd and 4th sts., illus. (not priced). The cat. entry points out that this is one of a complete set of working proofs of Palmer’s etchings, all but one printed by Palmer or his son A. H. Palmer. All are apparently available from Agnew’s.
“Willow,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #121, 3rd st., 1926 printing, illus. (£350).begin page 126 | ↑ back to top
Hammerton, Etching and Etchers, 1880 (with “Herdsman’s Cottage”). Thomas Throp, Dec. 1992 cat. 479, #55, quarter roan (£400); June cat. 483, #44, contemporary half morocco, binding detached (£250).
Keats, Poetical Works, ed. Forman, 1883. Deighton, Bell, Aug. cat. 261, #158, 4 vols., special issue on untrimmed leaves, with the supplement of Poetry and Prose, 1890, in all 5 vols. in modern half calf (£500).
A. H. Palmer, Life and Letters of Samuel Palmer, 1892. Bookworks, June London Book Fair, small paper, modern quarter calf (£235).
Rogers, Pleasures of Memory, published Sampson Low, et al., c. 1875? Simon Finch, March cat. 18, #91, original green cloth, Thomas Hardy’s copy, with a presentation inscription from his mother dated 11 May 1879 on the half-title (£450).
Virgil, Ecologues, 1883. Stephen Miller, June London Book Fair, large- paper issue, original parchment (£1000). SL, 6 July, #1542, small- paper issue, original cloth worn (Beccaria, £299).
Three figure studies. Pen and brown ink, approx. 19.5 × 16 cm. SL, 11 Nov., #24 (not sold).
Centurion with His Horse, Studies for Susannah and the Elders, and Mutus Scaevola. 4, 2 pencil, 1 pen and brown ink, 1 watercolor, 28 × 42 cm. and smaller. SL, 11 Nov., #6 (not sold).
Lamentation. Pen and brown ink, 15.5 × 25 cm. SL, 11 Nov., #7 (not sold).
A Mother and Child. Pencil and brown wash, 18.4 × 13 cm. CL, 9 Nov., #13 (£690 on an estimate of only £200-300).
Psyche Being Rowed across the Styx. Pen and brown ink, gray wash, squared for transfer, 49.5 × 70 cm., c. 1775. SL, 11 Nov., #10, illus. (£2070).
Studies for John Howard Visiting a Prison. 2, pencil, 18 × 14 cm. and 14 × 23 cm. SL, 11 Nov., #23 (not sold).
Studies for a Portrait of Two Young Ladies Standing among Trees (recto), A Head Study and Subsidiary Figure Drawings (verso). Pencil (recto), red chalk (verso), 14 × 20.4 cm. CL, 30 March, #23, with another sheet of figure studies by Romney, recto illus. (not sold on an estimate of £500-700). The 2 recto drawings are preliminaries for Sisters Contemplating on Mortality, engraved by J. Dunkerton in 1779 after Romney’s untraced painting.
Three Studies of a Female Figure. Pen and brown ink, 14 × 19.5 cm. SL, 11 Nov., #20 (not sold).
Two Children with a Donkey. Gray wash heightened with white, 22 × 18.5 cm. SL, 15 July, #23 (£460).
“Cormac Attacking the Spirit of the Water,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #145, 1826 printing, illus. (£120).
“Sigismunda Weeping over the Heart of Tancred,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Feb. cat. 4, #144, “rare early printing,” illus. (£280).
Album of 36 figurative and architectural drawings, some signed, pencil, pen, and gray wash, album 37.7 × 28.7 cm. CL, 30 March, #24 (not sold on an estimate of £500-700).
A Battle Scene. Oil, 16.5 × 13.7 cm. CL, 13 July, #145 (£632).
Cleone in a Man’s Habit Attempts to Save Memnon and Artaxerxes from Imprisonment in the Temple of the Sun. Pen and ink with gray wash. Abbot and Holder, Jan. cat. 281, #229, entitled “a man with a lantern confronting two turbanned conspirators” (£125). See illus. 15-16.
Four Classical Figures. Acquired spring 1993 by Christopher Powney; sold July by Powney to R. Essick. See illus. 17.
Hide and Seek. Pen and ink, oil, 14 × 19 cm. Agnew’s, March-April 120th Annual Exhibition of Watercolours and Drawings, #21, illus. in the cat. (£1750).
Nagrakut Approached and Council Him. 2 pen and gray wash drawings, 7.6 × 5.8 cm. and smaller. CSK, 4 Aug., #105 (£50).
Interior of a Room. Water color, 13.4 × 11.2 cm. CL, 30 March, #112 (£1035); same work, Spink, fall cat., #107, illus. (price on application).
“First Bite” and “Just Breeched,” stipple engravings by Nutter, 1791. CSK, 20 Oct., #84, color printed (£220).
“The Lost Apple,” lithograph. SL, 29 June, #252, on the original support sheet with aquatint border, some creases to support, illus. (not sold; possibly withdrawn).
“Rangoon Views,” 13 colored aquatints. CSK, 4 Aug., #321, trimmed to the image, some tears (£400).
“The Wellington Shield,” large circular etching on 6 jointed sheets, c. 1820, by an unknown craftsman. CL, 1 July, #202, good condition for such a large print (no size given in cat.), in an elaborate gilt frame, illus. (£14,950 on an estimate of £8000-12,000). Surely a record price for any print by or after Stothard.
Akenside, Pleasures of Imagination, 1794. Mavis Eggle, June London Book Fair, contemporary calf (£24).
Armstrong, Art of Preserving Health, 1796. Francis Edwards, June London Book Fair, contemporary calf (£65).begin page 127 | ↑ back to top
Bell, ed., Art and Song, 1867. Bernard Shapero, June private offer, publisher’s bizarre roan and imitation wood-grained paper binding, corners chipped (£110).
Bell’s Poets of Great Britain. Poetry Bookshop, Nov. cat. 85, vols. from the series, divided into sets by author, including Akenside (#10, £12), Armstrong (#30, £10), Buckingham (#115, £10), Cunningham (#200, £10), Denham (#224, £10), Donne (#231, £15), Fenton (#295, £10), Garth (#336, £10), Hughes (#412, £12), King (#466, £12), Lansdowne (#476, £10), Pitt (#620, £10), Pomfret (#626, £10), Rowe (#671, £10), Tickell (#844, £10), and Watts (#882, £22). Poetry Bookshop, Dec. private offer for 13 of the 14 Chaucer vols., with Cook’s pl. rather than Blake’s in vol. 13 (£25).
Blane, Cynegetica; or, Essays on Sporting, 1788. Ximenes, July private offer, uncut in original boards, only a fragment of the spine label present ($325). The frontispiece, engraved by Heath after Stothard, can be added to the list of untigerish tigers before Blake’s.
Boccaccio, Illustrations of the Decameron of, 1825. Pickering and Chatto, Sept. cat. 708, #333, pls. only as issued, original printed wrappers ($450).
Bray, Life of Stothard, 1851 (extra-illustrated copies only). CL, 10 Sept., #13, extended to 2 vols., contemporary morocco (£160); same copy?, Robert Clark, Oct. cat. 34, #177, 2 vols., with the addition of c. 125 pls., including the “Seven Ages of Man” and other Shakespeare designs, full morocco (£400).
Burns, Poetical Works, 1821. G. David, June private offer, 2 vols., pls. foxed, contemporary calf (£60).
Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Pickering ed. Pickering and Chatto, Sept. cat. 708, #88, 1830 ed., 5 vols., original cloth ($275). Stuart Bennett, Oct. cat. 1, #41, 1822 ed., 5 vols., contemporary half morocco ($275). Howes, Nov. cat. 260, 1822 ed., 5 vols., large-paper issue, Stothard’s pl. in 2 sts., half calf over marbled boards (£350).
Cowper, Poems. Robert Kirkman, June London Book Fair, 1800 ed., 2 vols., large octavo, contemporary calf rebacked (£75). Ursus Books, July cat. 176, #59, 1798 ed., 2 vols., small octavo, fancy binding ($450).
Cromek, Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song, 1810. Deighton, Bell, March cat. 260, #92, original boards uncut (£75). Kenneth Karmiole, April cat. 230, #52, contemporary calf ($100). Maurice Dodd, June cat. 18, #18, contemporary calf rebacked, worn (£60). Alan Rankin, Oct. cat. 38, #68, original boards uncut, chipped spine label (£55).
Defoe, Robinson Crusoe. Thomas Goldwasser, April private offer, 1804 ed., 2 vols., uncut in modern boards ($500). Paul Melzer, May Glendale Book Fair, 1820 ed., 2 vols., uncut in publisher’s quarter roan over orange paper boards ($300).
Friendship’s Offering, 1832. Holleyman & Treacher, Nov. private offer, publisher’s blind-stamped calf (£15).
Gessner, Works, 1802. Young’s Antiquarian Books, Aug. cat. 49, #43, 3 vols., lightly browned throughout, contemporary calf rebacked (£70).
Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 1795. Phillip Pirages, Feb. cat. 25, #129 (reduced from earlier cats. to $140); same copy, May cat. 26, #181 (back up to $175).
Keepsake, 1828-30. BBA, 12 Aug., #300, pls. only, mostly on laid India, foxed, half morocco worn (Heath, £71).
Literary Souvenir, 1828. Haywood Hill, Nov. private offer, large paper, contemporary calf (£7).
Marmontel, Belisaire, 1796. Quaritch, Nov. private offer, lacking half-title, contemporary calf (£150). This French ed., published by Isaac Herbert, has not been previously recorded as having the 6 pls. after Stothard, first published by Harding in the English translation of 1794.begin page 128 | ↑ back to top
Milton, Comus . . . to Which Are [sic] Added, L’Allegro and Il Penseroso, 1799. Kenneth Karmiole, March private offer, pls. foxed, contemporary calf ($125).
Milton, Paradise Lost, 1792-93. Swann, 23 Sept., #230, 13 (of 15?) pls. engraved by Bartolozzi, no text, 3 pls. before all letters, some foxing, quarter morocco (Ximenes for R. Essick, $357.50).
Park, Sonnets, and Other Small Poems, 1797. Ximenes, July private offer, quarter calf ($250).
Pictorial History of the Bible, 1835. G. David, June private offer, 2 vols., quarter calf (£80).
Pinkerton, Rimes, 1782. Simon Finch, Nov. cat.21, #263, pl. spotted, mottled calf (£50).
Rogers, Italy. Ewen Kerr, May cat. 41, #502, 1848 ed. (£85). Bernard Shapero, June private offer, 1830 ed., contemporary calf (£120); 1852 ed., publisher’s blue cloth (£75). Clive Burden, June London Book Fair, 1838 quarto, contemporary calf (£335). Deighton, Bell, Aug. cat. 261, #260, 1830 ed., foxed, original boards worn and recased, spine label (£50). Book Block, Sept. cat. 21, #67, 1830 ed., with Rogers, Poems, 1834, uniformly bound in full calf by Root & Son ($300); Sept. cat. 27, #53, 1838 quarto, with Rogers, Poems, 1838 quarto, 2 vols. uniformly bound by Hayday in full morocco ($850). Ken Spelman, Nov. cat. 26, #171, 1852 ed., slight foxing, original cloth (£30). Holleyman & Treacher, Nov. private offer, 1859 ed., full calf (£50).
Rogers, Pleasures of Memory. Holleyman & Treacher, Nov. private offer, 1798 ed., quarter calf (£10); 1801 ed., quarter calf (£20).
Rogers, Poems. Walford, Jan. cat. “Ascot,” #227, 1830 ed., contemporary half morocco (£150). Hartfield, Feb. cat. L-67, 1830 ed., full morocco ($265). Young’s Books, March cat. 45, #40, 1816 ed., with Rogers, Human Life, 1819, 2 vols. in 1, calf rebacked (£38). Ewen Kerr, April cat. 40, #449, 1816 ed., bound with Human Life, 1819 (not illustrated), full leather worn (£85). K Books, June cat. 421, #346, 1816 ed., embossed calf (£40). Bernard Shapero, June private offer, 1834 ed., contemporary calf (£145); 1838 ed., with Rogers, Italy (1838), both large paper, contemporary calf (£250). G. David, June private offer, 1838 ed., contemporary calf (£15). Thornton’s (Oxford), June private offer, 1822 ed., contemporary calf (£30). E. Joseph, June private offer, 1834 ed., original boards uncut, morocco case (£325). Quaritch, June private offer, 1845 ed., 2 vols., presentation inscription from Rogers to Lady Byron, contemporary morocco (£800). Holleyman & Treacher, Nov. private offer, 1814 ed., foot of leaves dampstained, half calf (£10); 1860 ed., full calf (£50).
Shakespeare, Plays, 1807. See under Fuseli, above.
Shakespeare, Seven Ages of Man, 1799. Robert Vaughan, June private offer, with the descriptive text, pls. printed in brown and hand colored, later morocco gilt extra (£1000). Kenneth Karmiole, Dec. cat., #175, uncolored, bound with descriptive text, original wrappers bound-in but lacking the cover label, contemporary morocco ($750).
Shenstone, Poetical Works, 2 vols., 1798. Poetry Bookshop, July cat. 84, #332 (£30).
Smollett, Peregrine Pickle, 1784. Tiger Books, June London Book Fair, 4 vols., contemporary calf (£80).
Somerville, The Chace, 1796. Holleyman & Treacher, Nov. private offer, printed boards rebacked (£20).
Townsend, Poems, 1796. Derek Gibbons, June private offer, uncut, boards (£35).
Walton and Cotton, Complete Angler, Pickering ed., 1836. Heritage Book Shop, May private offer, 2 vols., full calf, fine copy ($1250). Ross Old Book & Print Shop, June private offer, 2 vols., some foxing, quarter calf worn (£175).
Young, Night Thoughts, 1798. Swann, 1 April, #230, contemporary morocco heavily gilt ($165). Francis Marsden, June London Book Fair, contemporary calf (£75).
Young, Works. Chaucer Head Bookshop, June private offer, 1813 ed., 3 vols., quarter calf (£65). Holleyman & Treacher, Nov. private offer, 1802 ed., 3 vols., Siegfried Sassoon’s copy, very fine full calf (£400).
Yriarte, Music, a Didactic Poem, 1807. Ximenes, July private offer, quarter calf ($225).
VON HOLST, THEODORE MATTHIAS
The Bride. Oil, 87.6 × 73.7 cm., signed and dated 1841. CL, 7 April, #147, illus. (not sold on an estimate of £3000-4000).
APPENDIX: NEW INFORMATION ON BLAKE’S ENGRAVINGS
Listed below are substantive additions or corrections to Essick, The Separate Plates of William Blake: A Catalogue (1983), and Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations (1991).
The Separate Plates of William Blake: A Catalogue
P. 89, “Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims.” Morris Eaves, The Counter-Arts Conspiracy: Art and Industry in the Age of Blake (Ithaca and London: Cornell UP, 1993) 258-59, offers cogent remarks on the graphic style of the plate, one in which Blake has “combined various modes of representation at a single stylistic level instead of blending them with a uniform system.” The print emphasizes variety and difference by exposing “transitions” not covered by the “shimmering skein of tonal effects” favored by most early nineteenth-century printmakers and connoisseurs (258). Eaves’s comments provide a means for locating the nexus between graphic style and Blake’s views begin page 129 | ↑ back to top on how Chaucer distinguished the classes of men and women in his poem.
P. 98, “Laocoön.” In William Blake: Milton a Poem and the Final Illuminated Works, ed. Robert N. Essick and Joseph Viscomi (London: Blake Trust/Tate Gallery, and Princeton: Blake Trust/Princeton UP, 1993) 229, 240-43, the editors redate the execution of the “Laocoön” plate from the traditional c. 1820 to c. 1826-27. The main basis for this redating is the “J Whatman/1826” watermark in copy B. Copy A is without watermark, but the paper is of the same type and may even be another quarter of a sheet of “Imperial” size Whatman paper, also used in Blake’s Genesis Manuscript (Butlin #828) of c. 1826-27. The chronology of Blake’s printmaking activities and the relationships between the “Laocoön” plate and the Job engravings also support the redating.
Pp. 102-10, “The Man Sweeping the Interpreter’s Parlour.” The previously unrecorded impression sold SNY, 9 May 1991, #7 (N. W. Lott, $60,500) is now in the collection of Maurice Sendak. For illus., see Blake 25 (1992): 154.
P. 104, “The Man Sweeping the Interpreter’s Parlour,” impression 2G. The paper shows the first half of the “W” of a Whatman watermark just below the top edge on the right.
P. 134, “The Fall of Rosamond.” Detlef Dörrbecker has discovered a previously unrecorded impression in the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Kupferstichkabinett, Karlsruhe, Germany. He tells me that the impression is in the 2nd st. and is printed in reddish brown on laid paper, 39.1 × 33.3 cm. This impression may have been acquired in 1783 (the year the plate was published, according to the imprint) by Margravine Karoline Luise of Baden-Durlach, who died in 1783 and whose collection mark graces the verso of the print. For another impression, previously unrecorded and now in the Tate Gallery, see the sales records under Separate Plates, above.
Pp. 150-57, “Rev. John Caspar Lavater.” Much new background information about the print is offered in Joan K. Stemmler, “The Physiognomical Portraits of Johann Caspar Lavater,” The Art Bulletin 75 (1993): 151-68. She reproduces, as her fig. 11, the black-chalk drawing of Lavater by Johann Heinrich Lips, 41.1 × 33.3 cm. in an oval frame and in the same direction as Blake’s print (Lavater facing left), now in the Kunstsammlungen, Weimar, Germany. Stemmler concludes that this drawing is the basis for Blake’s print, although with an intervening copy. She suggests that the intermediary may be the drawing now at Princeton (fig. 67 in the Separate Plates catalogue). I remain mildly suspicious that the Princeton drawing, with Lavater facing left, is a copy after Blake’s pl. Stemmler also reproduces (fig. 12) the 1787 engraving of Lips’s drawing by Adam Ludwig Wirsing (oval, 40.7 × 32.6 cm., Lavater facing right). She rejects Wirsing’s print as the model for Blake’s engraving; both Dörrbecker and I think it is still a good candidate. Stemmler also notes (160) early plans to issue Henry Hunter’s translation of Lavater’s Essays in Physiognomy in folio rather than the large quarto actually used—see John Knowles, The Life and Writings of Henry Fuseli (London: Colburn and Bentley, 1831) 1: 79. As Stemmler (162) indicates, these plans tend to support David Bindman’s theory (see Separate Plates 156) that the “Lavater” separate pl. was originally produced as an illustration for the Essays, even though the pl. is too large for the published volumes.
P. 172, “Head of a Damned Soul in Dante’s Inferno.” The early plans to issue Lavater’s Essays in Physiognomy as a folio support Bindman’s suggestion that this plate was originally executed for the book—see comments above on pp. 150-57, “Rev. John Caspar Lavater.”
Pp. 186-88, “James Upton.” An impression of the 1st st. on wove paper was acquired by the British Museum in June 1989. It is inscribed in block capital letters in pencil (by Linnell?) below the image, “PAINTED AND ENGRAVED BY J. LINNELL / JAMES UPTON / PASTOR IN CHURCH STREET SURREY ROAD. SOUTHWARK” (the last line partly written over an erased pencil inscription in script). In pencil script, probably by the same hand, along the lower margin is “London Pub March 31.st 1814 [probably an error for 1819] - Linnell.”
William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations
P. 30, The Novelist’s Magazine, pls. dated 1782 and 1783. According to John Pye, Patronage of British Art (London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1845) 248n, James Heath received “five guineas” (£5.5s.) to engrave one of Thomas Stothard’s illustrations to Joseph Andrews in The Novelist’s Magazine. Since all the pls. are the same size and have a similar graphic style, this fee was probably the standard for all of Heath’s engravings in the magazine. In the early 1780s, Heath and Blake were in very similar stages of their careers and their reputations as engravers were about the same. Thus we can surmise that Blake’s fee for his 8 pls. was about five guineas each.
P. 80, Hayley, Essay on Sculpture, 1800, pl. 2. A drawing of the two central figures, attributable to John Flaxman on stylistic grounds, is now in the collection of David Bindman, London (see Death of Demosthenes under Flaxman in the sales lists above). This newly-discovered drawing offers further indication that Flaxman played a major role in creating the design attributed to Thomas Hayley in the engraved inscription (“T. H. invenit.”) on the plate.