begin page 120 | back to top

Blake in the Marketplace, 1994

After the purse-depleting 1993 auction season, Blake collectors deserved a respite in 1994. But did they really need this much serenity? Lovers of the illuminated books had to satisfy themselves with a recto/verso printing of two plates from proof copy c of Europe (illus. 1-2) and some posthumous pulls of Songs of Innocence and of Experience. The only Blake drawings to come to market were decidedly minor (illus. 3). Significant separate plates failed to appear. Indeed, genuine Blakes were hardly more interesting than the odd bits of Blakeana that changed hands (illus. 6-12, 17). The most important 1994 sale catalogue devoted principally to Blake was the “William Blake 1757-1827” list of 41 items issued by Adam Mills Rare Books in November. Among the 10 works with engravings by or after Blake (all listed below) was Bürger’s Leonora (1796), a very rare title decently offered at £950. Prices for standard items continued to drift sideways. Among letterpress books with Blake’s engravings, only the rarest and more desirable titles—Cumberland’s Attempt to Describe Hafod, Remember Me!, Young’s Night Thoughts in good condition—have been able to command new highs. In the last three years, sets of the Dante engravings have come on the market with too much frequency to sustain the prices they fetched five years ago.

The great auction of Frank Rinder’s Blake collection in late November 1993 (see Blake 27 [1994]: 104-17) resulted in record-setting prices for Blake’s finest prints. Like some politicians who will remain nameless here, this landmark sale seems to have had no coattails—that is, the lower ranges of the Blake market were not boosted by the prices fetched at the market’s upper end. This point was firmly made by the attempt to sell four Blake Trust facsimiles, all in the special-edition format with production materials added, at Christie’s East (New York) on 20 April 1994. None sold, in spite of reasonable estimates.

It has become increasingly clear that the Blake market has two, perhaps even three, tiers. There are a few, very wealthy folk at the upper reaches who buy nothing but the most visually impressive original water colors or prints. Next are collectors who can afford books with Blake’s commercial illustrations and everything below—facsimiles, editions, criticism, etc. Finally there are the scholars and students who can manage everything up to a Blake Trust facsimile, but never indulge in original works. There would seem to be only two or three collectors who cover the full range, from drawings and illuminated prints to postcards. Thus, what happens at the very top end of the market has virtually no effect at the two lower levels. The widening gap between rich and poor—a worldwide phenomenon—seems also at work in the Blake marketplace.

1. Europe, pl. 11 (23.6 × 16.7 cm.) from proof copy c.   Gray-green ink on wove sheet without watermark, 25.7 × 19.3 cm., designated in Bentley as impression 11c. Etching border wiped clean of ink above and to the left of the text and below the kneeling figure’s lower legs. From c. 1964 to 1993 in the collection of Charles Ryskamp; 1993-94 in a private collection; since July 1994 Essick collection. For verso and comments, see illus. 2.

The year of all sales and catalogues in the following lists is 1994 unless indicated otherwise. The auction houses add their purchaser’s surcharge to the hammer price in their price lists. These net amounts are given here, following the official price lists. The value-added tax levied against the buyers’ surcharge in England is not included. I am grateful for help in compiling this review to G. E. Bentley, Jr., Sidney Berger, David Bindman, Betsy Bowden, Peter Briscoe, Michael Campbell, Paul Csank, Detlef Dörrbecker, Richard Godfrey, Thomas V. Lange (the source for more of the book listings than I care to admit), Nicolas Lott (the leading Blakean among print dealers), Jane Munro, Justin Schiller, Maurice Sendak, Jessica Smith, Stephen Somerville, John Steadman, Joseph Viscomi, David Weinglass, John Windle (the leading Blakean among book dealers), and Andrew Wyld. Once again, Patricia Neill’s editorial assistance and photography by Robert Schlosser and John Sullivan have been invaluable.

begin page 121 | back to top
2. Europe, pl. 17 (23.3 × 16.5 cm.), 1st st. of 3 from proof copy c (designated in Bentley as impression 17c).   Gray-blue ink on the verso of pl. 11 (illus. 1). Etching borders wiped clean of ink. The remains of old cellophane tape mar each corner. The plate is not perfectly registered with its recto companion; but what would be the inner margins in a bound volume accord very closely and the general compatibility between recto and verso, given the differences in plate size, is as good as in many complete illuminated books sold by Blake. There are 5 recorded sheets with pl. 11 on the recto and pl. 17 on the verso, all printed in black, blue-gray, or greenish ink on sturdy Whatman-type (or perhaps I Taylor) wove paper. The registration of the plates, the wiping of the etching borders, and the number of such recto/verso impressions suggest that they are not true working proofs but part of a first print run, before the two-step revisions to pl. 17, that may represent an early version of Europe in which 11 and 17 were consecutive plates. This possibility was first explored in regard to copy a (British Museum) in A. W. J. Lincoln, “Blake’s ‘Europe’: An Early Version,” Notes and Queries 223 (1978): 213.


BBA Bloomsbury Book Auctions, London
Bentley G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Books (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977) (Plate numbers and copy designations for Blake’s illumi nated 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)
CE Christie’s East, New York
CL Christie’s, London
CNY Christie’s, main rooms, New York
CSK Christie’s, South Kensington
illus. the item or part thereof is reproduced in the catalogue
pl(s). plate(s)
SB Skinner Auctions, Boston
SL Sotheby’s, 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

Illuminated Books

Europe, copy c, pl. 11 with the 1st st. of pl. 17 on the verso. Acquired July by R. Essick from N. W. Lott. See illus. 1-2.

Songs of Innocence and of Experience, posthumous copy o, 4 pls. only: “The Divine Image” (black ink), “Nurses Song” from Innocence (black ink), “Nurses Song” from Experience (red ink), “The School Boy” (orange ink). N. W. Lott, Dec. 1993 private offer (prices on application). Copy o contained 18 unbound pls. when offered by Dutton’s in 1931. The entire group, or at least a good portion of it, appears to have been acquired by E. Weyhe, the New York dealer, who sold the pls. individually over many years. Besides the 4 pls. offered by Lott, only 4 others have been traced: pls. 36 (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College), 39 (collection of G. E. Bentley, Jr.), 46 and 49 (both Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut).

Drawings and Paintings

The Head of a King, p. 88 of the smaller Blake-Varley Sketchbook. SL, 14 July, #76, illus. (£4830 on an estimate of £2000-3000). See illus. 3.

A Pastoral Figure and Other Sketches (recto); A Harper and Other Figure Studies (verso). Pencil, sheet 31 × 18.4 cm., c. 1785, from the collection of Edwin Wolf 2nd (Butlin #81, recto only). Acquired early 1993 by N. W. Lott; sold by Lott to R. Essick, Dec. 1993. An essay on the newly-discovered verso sketches is forthcoming.

Sketch for Minos (recto), Copy of Michelangelo’s Adam (verso). Black chalk and pencil, 25.8 × 36.3 cm., datable to c. 1824-27. Butlin suggests that the head of Adam “bears a remarkable likeness to Blake himself” and states that “both sides of the drawing were at one time obscured by having other drawings, apparently copies after Francis Barlow, stuck to them” (#814). Reportedly offered, from the estate of George Hooper, to various London art dealers by no later than April 1994; still begin page 122 | back to top available Dec. 1994 through Campbell Fine Art. In Blake 16 (1982): 61, I expressed doubts about the attribution of these drawings, particularly the Adam, to Blake and suggested an alternative attribution to the Linnell family. I know of no other drawings by Blake executed in such soft chalk lines with rudimentary shading. Linnell was much involved in copying Michelangelo in the late 1820s and early 1830s; he engraved single figures from the Sistine ceiling frescos in 1828 and the full “Creation of Adam” panel in 1833. It would have been unusual even for the Linnells to cover a genuine Blake by sticking other drawings to it, whereas sketched copies—after Barlow, Michelangelo, Blake, or whomever—by members of the family are more likely to be treated in such cavalier fashion. I have not seen this drawing and can add nothing further to my earlier suspicions.

Studies for Pestilence: The Death of the First-Born. Pencil recto and verso, approx. 28 × 19.5 cm., c. 1805. See illus. 4-5.

Two Types of Insanity. Pencil, approx. 23.5 × 38 cm., c. 1819-20. Butlin #763 (“Untraced since 1949”). Discovered summer 1994 by David Bindman in the Yale University Medical School Library, New Haven, Connecticut.

Wat Tyler. Pencil, 24.2 × 19.2 cm., inscribed 1819, from the collection of Edwin Wolf 2nd. Butlin #737. Bauman Rare Books, April cat. “Blake,” unnumbered item on inside back cover ($38,000—a record asking price for any Visionary Head).

A Young Woman Reclining on a Couch, Writing in a Book. Pen and gray wash over pencil, 22.8 × 33.9 cm. (irregular), Butlin #147. Acquired Jan. by R. Essick from D. Bindman. Illus. on the cover of Blake Newsletter, 6 whole no. 21 (summer 1972).

Separate Plates and Plates in Series, Including Plates Extracted From Letterpress Books

“Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims.” SNY, 12 May, #3, 5th st., a Sessler restrike, with “Beggar’s Opera, Act III,” Blake after Hogarth, one of the sts. with the inscriptions completed (sts. 2-7), both prints from the estate of Lucile Johnson Rosenbloom ($2,990). John Windle, July cat. 23, #42, 5th st., Sessler restrike ($7500). Butterfield’s auction, San Francisco, 17 Oct., #104, 5th st., Sessler restrike, stained and browned ($2185 to N. W. Lott). N. W. Lott, Nov. private offer, 3rd st. from the Philip Hofer collection, previously sold to D. Heald for $17,600 at SNY, 14 May 1992, #250 (acquired Nov. 1994 by Maurice Sendak from Lott). N. W. Lott, Dec. private offer, 5th st. printed directly on heavy wove, impression dated by Lott to c. 1850 (hence prior to the Colnaghi impressions?) on the basis of the paper (price on application).

“The Counseller, King, Warrior, Mother & Child in the Tomb,” pl. 4 from Blair’s Grave, 1808. Brick Row Bookshop, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, matted ($100).

Dante engravings. Sims Reed, Dec. 1993 cat., #12, complete set in a green levant folding case, probably the c. 1892 printing (£30,000). CNY, 7 Oct., #49, complete set in green levant folding case, with the contents label, probably the c. 1892 printing, from the collection of Philip Hofer, “Whirlwind of Lovers” illus. ($21,850). CL, 29 Nov., #33, complete set in a green morocco portfolio, probably the c. 1892 printing, from the collection of Edwin Wolf 2nd, “Whirlwind of Lovers” illus. (£14,950 on an estimate of £15,000-20,000).

“Fertilization of Egypt,” Blake after Fuseli from Darwin, Botanic Garden. Thomas Goldwasser, Jan. cat. 5, #237, “from the first printing” ($200).

“F: Revolution,” Blake after Ryley for Bellamy’s Picturesque Magazine, 1793. Apparently removed from an uncut copy of the magazine, stained (now cleaned), some surface soiling. Acquired Feb. by R. Essick from D. Bindman.

“The Idle Laundress,” Blake after Morland, 3rd st., 1803. Peter Keisogloff Books, Cleveland, May private offer, color-printed impression with imprint present, good condition ($3500). The last sale of a color-printed impression, also in the 3rd st., was at SL, 17 June 1983, #98, with “The Industrious Cottager” also color printed (£198). Has the market value really increased by a multiple of 17 in 11 years?

Job engravings. Sims Reed, Dec. 1993 cat., #13, complete set on Whatman paper, 1826 printing after the removal of the “Proof” inscriptions, original boards with cover label, “superb condition, completely unrestored” (£26,000); same copy and price, Nov. cat. for the New York Print Fair, #1. Adrian Flümann GmbH, Jan. cat. 1, #45, published “Proof” impressions on laid India, loose in morocco folder, pl. 15 illus. (65,000 Swiss francs—about $44,000). Weston Gallery, March cat. 1, the Rinder copy of the 1874 printing on laid India (acquired by Weston at CL, 30 Nov. 1993, #12, for £6670), all 22 pls. illus. and sold individually at prices ranging from $455 (title pl.) to $2050 (pls. numbered 2, 3, 5, 11, 13-16). SL, 28 June, #7, 1874 printing on laid India, title page heavily foxed, 10 others with some foxing in the images, loose in original brown paper portfolio with letterpress title, “The Book of Job by William Blake,” pl. 12 illus. (£5060). CL, 30 June, #18, published “Proof” impressions on laid India, “reduced margins, other minor defects,” pl. 5 illus. (£10,350). Heritage Book Shop, Sept. cat. 195, #6, complete set, the regular issue of 1826 on “J Whatman 1825” (title and pls. 1, 3, 6, 12, 13) and “J Whatman Turkey Mill 1825” (pls. 11, 17) paper, late 19th-century morocco, printed title label on front free endpaper, “an unusually fine, strikingly clean copy,” pl. 15 illus. with a misleading buff background ($45,000). Bonhams Auction, London, 21 Sept., #43, complete set, apparently the regular issue of 1826 with “S. [i.e., J.?] Whatman” watermark, “the word ‘proof’ deleted but legible on some plates,” cloth backed boards with label on upper cover, some marginal soiling and repaired tears in the margins of 2 pls., 1 pl. illus. on cat. cover (no price record; estimate £12,000-18,000). SB, 19 Nov., #85, complete set, the regular issue of 1826 on “J. Whatman 1825” paper, “original wrap[per]s on which is affixed the letter press pink label . . ., cloth spine,” minor nicks to margins, from the collection of Louise Crane, title page and pls. 13-14 illus. (D. Heald, $19,550).

begin page 123 | back to top

A note on bindings: I cannot recall seeing a set of the Job, 1826 regular issue, in wrappers (as distinct from paper covered boards), or any Job set with a pink label. Not all the labels on off-white paper were used, and thus there would have been no obvious reason for a reprint on pink stock.

Stedman, Narrative, 1796, pls. from. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #10, “Family of Negro Slaves from Loango,” and #11, “The Execution of Breaking on the Rack,” both illus. (£175 each).

Virgil wood engravings. John Windle, July cat. 23, #43, 17 cuts including 3 duplicates, 1st cut $975 (illus.), others $500 each.

Letterpress Books with Engravings By and After Blake

Allen, History of England, 1798. John Windle, Dec. 1993 private offer, pls. little foxed, all imprints present, contemporary calf worn ($1250); July cat. 23, #51, with Allen, New and Improved Roman History, 1798, uniformly bound in half morocco ($2250).

Allen, Roman History, 1798. Ximenes, Dec. cat. 108, #4, contemporary half calf ($1250). See also under Allen, History of England, above.

Ariosto, Orlando Furioso. Francis Edwards, Jan. cat. 1257, #8, a mixed set, 1785 and 1799, 5 vols., “35 plates” (and thus extra-illustrated?), no mention of Blake’s pl., modern half calf, some water staining of pls. (£125). Ximenes, Jan. cat. 102, #54, 1791 ed., 2 vols., contemporary calf ($475); Dec. cat. 108, #7, 1799 ed., 5 vols., half vellum, extra-illustrated with pls. from a continental ed. ($250). Fem Poel Books, July London Book Fair, 1785 ed., 5 vols., contemporary calf (£110). Poetry Bookshop, Aug. cat. 90, #30, 1791 ed., 2 vols. (£135).

The Beggar’s Opera by Hogarth and Blake, 1965. John Windle, July cat. 23, #50, original cloth box slightly worn ($975).

Bell’s Poets of Great Britain. Buddenbrooks, Dec. 1993 cat., #11, 1776-84, 109 vols., original tree calf, no mention of Blake’s pl. ($10,000). CNY, 7 Oct., #45, 109 vols., contemporary calf in a new case with the back in the form of 3 folio volumes, no mention of Blake’s pl., spines and box illus. ($12,650). James Cummins, Oct. cat. 44, #4, 1782-87, 109 vols., contemporary calf in 2 contemporary wooden carrying cases, no mention of Blake’s pl. ($17,500). William Allen, Dec. cat. 316, #G, 97 vols. only, 1782-93, no mention of Blake’s pl., calf very worn ($150). Note: Many copies of Bell’s Poets contain the plate engraved by Cooke rather than Blake (Chaucer vol. 13).

Blair, The Grave. Swann, 18 Nov. 1993, #36, 1808 quarto, some pls. foxed in margins, half roan worn, cloth slipcase (not sold on an overly optimistic estimate of $1500-2500). Pickering and Chatto, Christmas 1993 cat. 714, #3, 1813 quarto, gilt-stamped cloth binding by Heilborn, Breslau (see the 1993 sales review for comments on this binding), bookplate of John Sparrow ($1750); same copy and price, Jan. cat. 717, #164. Sims Reed, Dec. 1993 cat., #18, 1813 quarto, modern cloth (£220).

3. The Head of a King, p. 88 from the smaller Blake-Varley Sketchbook.   Pencil, indistinctly inscribed lower right by John Varley, 20 × 15.5 cm. Bultin #692.88, sold SL, 14 July, #76, where it fetched a remarkably strong £4830. Present location not known; photo courtesy of Sotheby’s London.

Robert Clark, Jan. cat. 35, #163, 1808 quarto, “some darkening of plate edges,” calf rebacked (£580). D & D Galleries, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, 1813 quarto, trimmed close, fancy modern morocco ($1500). Heritage Book Shop, Feb. private offer, 1813 quarto, pls. spotted, quarter calf ($900). Chapel Hill Rare Books, Feb. cat. 86, #33, 1808 quarto, scattered foxing, William Bateson’s copy with his pencil signature, contemporary mottled boards rebacked with calf, edges worn ($2000). SL, 19 May, #19, 1808 quarto, browned and foxed, later half morocco worn (Shimoigusa-Shop, £483). Swann, 26 May, #33, 1808 quarto, light marginal foxing on some pls., contemporary half russia ($747). Book Block, Sept. cat. 30, #6, 1808 quarto, later half morocco, “a very large uncut copy,” skeleton from engraved title page illus. ($2000). Bernard Shapero, Oct. cat., #110, 1813 quarto, some foxing, modern half calf, oddly catalogued under “Schiavonetti” (the engraver of the designs) with Blake mentioned only in passing (£475). BookMine Nuggets (apparently a cat. from a dealer called “BookMine”) Oct. vol. 2, no. 5, item 1, 1808 ed. (apparently the quarto), “original binding . . . paper over boards” ($2500). Pepper & Stern, Nov. cat. N3, #71, 1808 “small folio” (i.e., quarto), recent ¾ morocco ($2750). Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” begin page 124 | back to top cat., #9, 1808 quarto, margins of pls. lightly spotted, near-contemporary half morocco by J. Leighton (who bound books for Thomas Butts between 1820 and 1830), William Stirling’s copy with his bookplate (£680). BBA, 17 Nov., #301A, 1808 quarto, foxed and browned, modern half morocco (Demetzy, £220). SB, 19 Nov., #83, 1808 quarto, scattered foxing and offsetting, calf rebacked ($488.75); #84, 1813 quarto, half morocco ($632.50).

Boydell, Graphic Illustrations of . . . Shakspeare, 1803. Golden Legends, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, tall copy in contemporary (publisher’s?) red morocco, with a particularly fine impression of Blake’s pl. ($3000); same copy, March cat. 90, #10 ($2500). Bernard Shapero, Oct. cat., #30, 100 pls., contemporary morocco, no mention of Blake’s pl. (£750).

Bryant, New System . . . of Ancient Mythology, 1774-76. Swann, 20 Oct., #87, 3 vols., scattered foxing, contemporary calf rebacked ($1150 on an estimate of $250-350).

Bürger, Leonora, 1796. Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” cat., #5, contemporary “publisher’s” half morocco over marbled boards worn, inscribed “For Mrs Holroyd from the Translator [J. T. Stanley] with his best Respects” (£950). Only the 4th copy I’ve seen on the market in the last 25 years.

Cumberland, An Attempt to Describe Hafod, 1796. John Windle, Nov. private offer, Blake’s pl. browned along some folds, bookplate of the Swansea Training College, original marbled boards uncut, new spine and label (acquired by the Huntington Library for $1750). Only the 2nd copy I’ve seen on the market in 25 years. I have been able to locate 6 copies now in institutional collections and 1 in private hands.

Cumberland, Thoughts on Outline, 1796. Phillip Pirages, May cat. 30, #195, uncut and unopened in original boards repaired with new spine, inscribed “from the author,” some foxing and wear, pl. 2 illus. ($2,250); same copy and price, Nov. cat. 32, #89. This copy has been offered in several Pirages cats. over the last 2 years. Richard Hatchwell, Oct. cat., #36, uncut in original limp boards, little worn (£500).

Darwin, The Botanic Garden. Hünersdorff, Jan. cat. 16, #94, 1st ed. of both parts (1791, 1789), full calf ($450); same copy?, Simon Finch, Sept. cat. 23, #50, 1st eds. of both parts (1791, 1789), light staining, 2 of the Portland Vase pls. slightly cropped, contemporary calf rebacked (£680); same Finch copy and price, Nov. cat. 24, #64. Poetry Bookshop, Jan. cat. 86, #67, Part I only, 1791 (apparently 1st ed.), lacking “Fertilization of Egypt” and 1 other pl., but with Blake’s pls. of the Portland Vase, contemporary calf worn (£95); same copy and price, May cat. 89, #65, and Aug. cat. 90, #267; May cat. 89, #66, 4th ed. (1st octavo), 2 vols. (£220). BBA, 13 Jan., #423, “1790-91” (apparently 1st or 2nd ed. of Part I, 2nd of Part 2), 1 pl. partly cut out, foxed, contemporary calf, upper cover detached (Finbar MacDonnell, £44). Blackwell’s, April cat. “Worth,” addenda #6, 1st ed. of Part 1 (1791), 3rd ed. of Part 2 (1791), modern quarter calf (£450); same copy and price, May cat. B110, #62. Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” cat., #6, 4th ed. (1st octavo), 2 vols., some pls. offset, lacking pl. (not by Blake) facing p. 375 in vol. 1, contemporary morocco (£175).

Darwin, Poetical Works, 1806. Poetry Bookshop, Jan. cat. 86, #68, 3 vols., half calf (£550).

Flaxman, Hesiod designs, 1817. CE, 20 April, #186, bound with Flaxman, Aeschylus designs, 1795, light foxing, morocco worn (not sold; estimate $500-600); same copy?, Ximenes, Dec. cat. 108, #136 ($750).

Flaxman, Iliad designs, 1805. CSK, 4 Feb., #50, with Flaxman’s Aeschylus (1795) and Odyssey (1805) designs, 3 vols., pls. spotted, morocco bindings with the original blue wrappers of the Aeschylus vol. bound in (£825 on an estimate of £300-500).

Fuseli, Lectures on Painting, 1801. Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” cat., #7, original boards uncut, modern spine with “remains of original paper label” (£500).

Gay, Fables. Poetry Bookshop, Jan. cat. 86, #69, 1811 ed., 2 vols. in 1, some soiling, quarter morocco (£220). Korn & Towns, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, 1793 ed., 2 vols. in 1, calf rebacked (£260). Hartfield Books, April cat. 46, #L-35, 1793 ed., 2 vols., tissue guards present, half morocco over marbled boards ($1295). Simon Finch, April private offer, 1793 ed., 2 vols., “large paper” (i.e., the royal octavo issue?) uncut, full morocco (price on application). Richard Budd, July London Book Fair, 1811 ed., 2 vols., modern quarter calf (£350). G. David, July private offer, 1811 ed., 2 vols., some pls. foxed, quarter calf (£200). John Windle, July cat. 23, #55, 1793 ed., 2 vols., some spotting, contemporary calf ($650). Robert Clark, Oct. cat. 37, #118, 1793 ed., 2 vols. in 1, minor foxing, contemporary half calf worn (£160). Richard Hatchwell, Oct. cat., #38, apparently the 1793 ed., 2 vols. in 1, contemporary russia rebacked (£400). Heritage Book Shop, Dec. cat. 196, #99, 2 vols., some foxing, later calf worn ($1000). Ximenes, Dec. cat. 108, #153, 1793 ed., 2 vols. in 1, tall copy, probably the “royal octavo” issue, contemporary calf ($450).

Hayley, Life of Cowper, 1803-04. Pickering & Chatto, Jan. cat. 717, #217, 1st ed., 3 vols., some browning, pl. 4 in the 2nd st. (as usual), contemporary calf ($400). West Side Book Shop, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, 1st ed., 3 vols., pl. 4 in the 2nd st., contemporary calf rebacked ($850). BBA, 12 May, #119, ed. and st. of pl. 4 not recorded, 3 vols., some browning, modern boards (not sold; estimate £140-180); same copy, BBA, 11 Aug., #170 (Price, £33); same copy?, John Price, Sept. cat., #64 (£200). Ian Wilkinson, May cat. 94/1, #327, 1st ed., 3 vols., with the supplement of 1806 bound in vol. 3, st. of pl. 4 not recorded, some spotting, contemporary calf over boards (£275); same copy, Nov. cat. 94/2, #132 (£220). Simon Finch, Nov. cat. 24, #60, 1st ed., 3 vols., uniformly bound in contemporary russia with Cowper, Poems, 1806, and Cowper, Illustrated with a Series of Views, 1803 (£800).

Hayley, Life of Romney, 1809. Heritage Book Shop, Feb. private offer, contemporary calf ($1350). Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” cat., #10, margin of Blake’s pl. water stained, contemporary half calf, marbled boards (£500).

begin page 125 | back to top

Hayley, The Triumphs of Temper, 1803. Chapel Hill Rare Books, Feb. cat. 86, #32, apparently the small-paper issue, contemporary morocco ($425). John Windle, July cat. 23, #58, small paper, full calf ($475). SB, 19 Nov., #87, large paper issue, excellent impressions of the pls., inscribed “From the author,” original boards uncut (24.5 × 15 cm.), from the library of John Quinn (#713 a in his sale, Anderson Galleries, 12-14 Nov. 1923), slip case, minor foxing, boards rubbed (J. Windle, $977.50 on an estimate of $400-600). See also Russell under Interesting Blakeana, below.

Hoare, Academic Correspondence, 1804. Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” cat., #8, modern quarter calf, marbled boards (£550).

Hoare, Inquiry, 1806. Ken Spelman, March cat. 27, #20, later boards repaired (£95). Ximenes, Dec. cat. 108, #201, modern calf ($850).

Hogarth, Works. CSK, 4 Feb., #48, 1822 ed., 114 leaves of pls., no mention of Blake’s pl., contemporary half morocco (£1045). Robert Frew, Feb. cat. 2, #21, undated Baldwin and Cradock ed., no mention of Blake’s pl., contemporary half morocco rubbed (£1650). Swann, 24 March, #197, undated Baldwin and Cradock ed., no mention of Blake’s pl., foxed throughout, quarter calf over worn marbled boards ($1380). SL, 19 May, #29, undated (c. 1790) Boydell issue, some tears, contemporary calf very worn, covers loose (Burgess, £1667). Maurice Dodd, June cat. 19, #167, undated Baldwin and Cradock ed., no mention of Blake’s pl. but a complete copy, slight foxing, preliminary text dampstained, half morocco over marbled boards rebacked (£1250). CSK, 10 June, #58, 1822 ed. (but possibly the Quaritch reprint of c. 1880), 188 pls. on “157 sheets,” no mention of Blake’s pl., contemporary calf very worn (£858); #59, undated Baldwin and Cradock ed., 152 pls. on “115 sheets,” contemporary half morocco worn (£935). CNY, 21 Sept., #126, apparently an undated Baldwin and Cradock ed., no mention of Blake’s pl., 114 leaves of pls., dampstaining and offsetting throughout, contemporary half morocco worn ($1725). BBA, 1 Dec., #141, undated Boydell ed., 107 pls., no mention of Blake’s, contemporary half calf, upper cover detached (Symonds, £2420). Christie’s Melbourne, 6 Dec., #217, 1822 ed. (but possibly the Quaritch reprint of c. 1880), “119 engraved plates,” later morocco worn (no price record; estimate $1000-2000 Australian).

Hunter, Historical Journal, 1793. SL, 7 Dec. 1993, #474, quarto issue, half calf (not sold—perhaps withdrawn—on a modest estimate of £1400-1800). Hordern House, Dec. 1993 cat., #67, quarto issue, margins of pls. spotted, half calf ($6000 Australian); #68, octavo issue, contemporary half calf ($3250 Australian). Charles Traylen, June cat. 115, #147, apparently the quarto issue, contemporary calf, hinges repaired (£3300).

Josephus, Complete Works. David Bickersteth, April cat. 129, #37, issue between Bentley A and B printed by J. Cooke, c. 1786, contemporary calf worn, upper joint cracked but holding (£95). Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” cat., #4, Bentley’s issue C, contemporary calf rebacked and recornered (£300). Swann, 20 Oct., #200, Bentley’s issue E, contemporary calf rebacked (not sold; estimate $200-300).

Lavater, Aphorisms, 1788. Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” cat., #1, uncut (16.1 × 9.2 cm.) in original boards with early rebacking, printed spine label (almost certainly not part of the original binding), early owner’s signature on title page (£700).

Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy. Kenneth Karmiole, Jan. cat. 243, #60, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, lacking 3 pls. but with all pls. either by Blake or after Fuseli, contemporary calf, most tissue guards present ($850). Nikolaus Weissert, Jan. cat. 56, #73, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5 (DM3200). CSK, 28 Jan., #245, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, some spotting and dampstaining, contemporary calf rebacked and worn (£462). Swann, 8 Sept., #256, 1810 ed., 3 vols. in 4, contemporary calf very worn ($201). SB, 19 Nov., #187, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, calf worn ($460). Ursus Rare Books, Dec. cat. 11, #75, 1792 ed., 3 vols. in 5, contemporary roan gilt ($7500—certainly a record asking price for any ed. of this work).

Nicholson, Introduction to Natural Philosophy, 1782. P & P Books, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, 2 vols., contemporary calf ($725). John Windle, July cat. 23, #60, 2 vols., contemporary calf ($1250).

Novelist’s Magazine, vols. 10-11, 1783. John Windle, July cat. 23, #63, contemporary calf repaired ($675).

Remember Me!, 1825. Simon Finch, April private offer, rebound in quarter calf (acquired by John Windle); same copy, sold June by Windle to the Huntington Library.

Salzmann, Elements of Morality. Poetry Bookshop, Jan. cat. 86, #70, Sharpe ed. of c. 1815, 2 vols., lacking pl. numbered “40,” half morocco worn (£220). Peter Keisogloff, July private offer, pls. only, sts. not recorded, with title pages and half titles, mounted in a morocco album ($400). BBA, 21 July, #183, 1791 ed., 3 vols., sts. not given but probably a mixture of 1st and 2nd, Bentley’s pl. 1 illus. (1st st.), contemporary calf worn (C. Johnson, £1155 on an estimate of £400-500). Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” cat., #2, 1791 ed., 3 vols., full calf, sts. of pls. not recorded (£1250). James Burmester, Dec. cat. “Recent Acquisitions,” #222, J. Sharpe ed. of c. 1815, 2 vols., modern quarter calf (£750).

Scott, Poetical Works, 1782. Ximenes, Dec. cat. 108, #320, contemporary calf rebacked ($600).

Shakespeare, Dramatic Works, Boydell ed., 1802. Nikolaus Weissert, Jan. cat. 56, #34, 97 engravings, no mention of Blake’s (DM4200). Heritage Book Shop, Feb. private offer, 9 vols., Blake’s pl. before framing lines and all letters (see comments in the Appendix, below), fine contemporary morocco gilt ($7500); same copy and price, Dec. cat. 197, #65, spines of 8 vols. and Blake’s pl. (much reduced) illus. David Bickersteth, Sept. cat. 131, #116, 9 vols., no mention of Blake’s pl. (because not present?), some spotting and offsetting but “an excellent set,” original morocco with only slight wear repaired (£650).

Shakespeare, Plays, 1805. Heritage Book Shop, Dec. cat. 197, #67, 9 vol. issue, contemporary calf ($1750).

begin page 126 | back to top

Stedman, Narrative, uncolored. D. & E. Lake, Dec. 1993 cat. 169, #77, 1796 ed., 3 vols., some pls. foxed and browned, contemporary calf rebacked ($3600). Bernard Shapero, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, 1813 ed., uncut in modern quarter calf ($1800).

Stedman, Narrative, 1796, hand colored. Forum Antiquarian Booksellers, March cat. 102, #269, 2 vols., large paper, half morocco, coloring heightened with gold on a few pls. but lacking the silver found in some copies (25,000 florins—about $13,000).

Stuart and Revett, Antiquities of Athens, vol. 3, 1794. CL, 23 Nov., #208, 5 vols., 1762-1830, some soiling and browning, contemporary calf over marbled boards worn (£2070).

Vetusta Monumenta, vol. 2, c. 1789. CSK, 8 April, #243, 1747-1835, 5 vols. only of 6, no mention of which vol. is absent nor of Blake’s pls., full russia worn (£495).

Virgil, Pastorals, 1821. Donald Heald, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, 2 vols., original sheep with decoration in blind around the edges of both covers (all other copies in the original sheep I have seen lack this work), with the 1814 Illustrations of the School-Virgil, modern calf ($17,250).

Wit’s Magazine, 1784. Ximenes, Jan. cat. 102, #159, complete run, Jan. 1784 through May 1785, with the 2nd version of the frontispiece (Blake after Stothard), full calf ($3500).

Wollstonecraft, Original Stories from Real Life, 1791. Justin Schiller, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, all pls. in 1st sts. hand colored, the tinting not by Blake, the verso of pl. 1 inscribed in ink, “Miss Harriet Moore- / May 29th. 1807” (perhaps—as G. E. Bentley, Jr. reminds me—the Harriet Jane Moore, aged 5, to whom Henry Fuseli gave copy E of For Children: The Gates of Paradise in Nov. 1806—see Bentley 193), worn spine intact but covers missing (acquired by the Library of Congress). Simon Finch, July private offer, lacking the Preface, pls. in 2nd sts., original calf, front cover stained (price on application). Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” cat., #3, sts. of pls. not recorded, later calf (£1350).

Young, Night Thoughts, 1797, uncolored. Ader Tajan auction, Paris, 25 April, #35, full russia, title page to Night the Second (final st.) illus. (no estimate or price information). CNY, 7 Oct., #50, with the “Explanation” leaf “cut round” and mounted at the back, some offsetting throughout, half morocco worn ($3680). Heritage Book Shop, Nov. cat. for the Boston Book Fair, #7, with the “Explanation” leaf, uncut, early 19th-century half morocco repaired ($10,000). Sims Reed, Nov. cat. for the New York Print Fair, #2, with the “Explanation” leaf, uncut in “original cloth backed blue boards,” blue endpapers (£12,000—a record asking price).

A note on bindings: The astute book dealer John Windle tells me that he has seen a copy of the Night Thoughts in gray-brown boards with off-white endpapers, typical of original boards used in the 1790s. Both Windle and Thomas Lange are suspicious that the blue boards of the Sims Reed copy, described above, are later—perhaps an 1830s reissue of sheets printed in 1797. This theory accords with the fact that at least one copy of the book, sold CL, 7 Dec. 1988, #120 (Traylen, £3080), contains an “Explanation” leaf showing an 1833 watermark.

Interesting Blakeana

George Vertue, 1718 engraving of the font in which Blake was baptized. Given July by D. Bindman to R. Essick. See illus. 6.

François Antoine Chevrier, The Political Testament of the Marshal Duke of Belleisle, 1762. Holleyman & Treacher, Jan. private offer, extra-illus. with 10 engraved portraits, contemporary calf (£40). If the signature in a copy owned by Charles Feinberg (see Bentley 685) is right, then Blake seems to have owned a copy of this book. Unfortunately, the lawyer William Blake, active c. 1800-10, has a signature convincingly like our artist’s. Thus, I’m hesitant to accept without suspicion that Blake owned a book when the evidence rests solely on a signature.

“William Blake, Thomas Stothard and Mr. Ogleby in Custody by the Medway,” etching, c. 1779-82. See under Stothard, below, and illus. 17.

Thomas Hollis, Memoirs, 1780. Swann, 14 April, #126, 2 vols., half morocco worn ($80). As an apprentice, Blake may have been involved in the production of the plates in this work signed by his master, James Basire.

Dante, Inferno, trans. Boyd, 1785. Adam Mills, Nov. cat. 31, #73, 2 vols., uncut in original boards rebacked, slip case (£200). Blake’s annotated copy of vol. 1 is in the Keynes Collection, Cambridge University Library.

Francesco Bartolozzi, 4 engravings of the Portland Vase, 1786. Richard Hatchwell, Oct. cat., #56, with an aquatint frontispiece attributed to Bartolozzi, half calf, label on upper cover (£350 to the Huntington Library). Blake engraved the same views of the vase for Erasmus Darwin’s Botanic Garden, first published by Joseph Johnson in 1791. On 9 July 1791, Darwin wrote Josiah Wedgwood that “Mr. Johnson’s engraver [i.e., Blake] now wishes much to see Bartolozzi’s plates of the vase, & will engrave them again if necessary—I told Johnson in my own name, not in yours, that I thought the outlines too hard, & in some places not agreeable” (G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Records Supplement [Oxford: Clarendon P, 1988] 10). On 23 July 1791, Johnson wrote Darwin that “Blake is certainly capable of making an exact copy of the vase, I believe more so than Mr. B[artolozzi], if the vase were lent him for that purpose . . .” (Bentley, Blake Records [Oxford: Clarendon P, 1969] 43-44).

Egerton’s Theatrical Remembrancer, 1788. Ximenes, April cat. 103, #139, contemporary half calf worn ($375). The 1st ed. of the 1st bibliography to list a work by Blake: “W. Blake. ‘King Edward the Third.’ Drama. 8vo. 1783. Printed in a Pamphlet, called, ‘Poetical Sketches’” (258).

begin page 127 | back to top
4. Study for “Pestilence: The Death of the First-Born.”   Pencil, approx. 28 × 19.5 cm., c. 1805. Butlin #443 (“Untraced since [the Graham Robertson sale in] 1949”). David Bindman has discovered that the drawing was acquired at an unknown time after 1949 by the Yale University Medical School Library, New Haven, Connecticut, but was apparently stolen from that institution c. 1984. Presently untraced, but something to look for at garage sales in New Haven. This photo and the one reproduced as illus. 5 (the verso drawing) were made by Christie’s just prior to the Robertson sale.
5. Study for “Pestilence: The Death of the First-Born.”   Verso drawing, pencil, approx. 28 × 19.5 cm. The finished water color (Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Butlin #442) follows the horizontal format of this verso sketch, but with major changes to the titular and his victims. See caption to the recto drawing, illus. 4.
begin page 128 | back to top
6. George Vertue, engraving after a drawing by Charles Woodfield of a baptismal font sculpted in marble by Grinling Gibbons. 44.4 × 27.1 cm., dated 1718 in the imprint.   Essick collection. Both William Pitt and William Blake were baptized in this font, still in St. James’s Church, Piccadilly. Vertue was the engraving master of James Basire, to whom Blake was apprenticed. Adam and Eve stand beside the font’s shaft, shaped to represent the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil with the serpent coiled around the trunk. The bas-relief on the side of the bowl pictures the baptism of Christ. The vignettes right and left show the bowl’s other bas-reliefs: Noah’s ark with the dove bearing “an olive leaf pluckt off” (Genesis 8:11), and St. Philip the Evangelist baptizing “an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians” (Acts 8:27; see 8:38 for the event pictured).

Homer, Iliad and Odyssey, trans. Cowper, 1791. Simon Finch, Nov. cat. 24, #117, 2 vols., full calf richly gilt (£350). The list of subscribers includes “Mr. W. Blake, Engraver.”

J. Reynolds, Works, 1798. Hartfield Books, Sept. cat. 47, #L-75, 3 vols., uncut in original marbled boards ($395). The ed. annotated by Blake.

W. Falconer, The Shipwreck, 1804. Oak Knoll Books, July cat. 164, #37, fancy binding by C. Hering ($450). In May 1804, Blake thanked Hayley for sending him a copy of this book (see Bentley 687).

Alexander Hay, The History of Chichester, 1804. Holleyman & Treacher, Jan. private offer, modern quarter calf (£80). William Hayley, to whom the book is dedicated, evidently sent a copy to Blake—see Bentley 687-88.

J. Ireland, Hogarth Illustrated, 1806. Buddenbrooks, Dec. cat. “Newbury,” #536, 3 vols., 3rd ed. of vols. 1-2 (1806), 2nd of vol. 3 (1804), full calf ($850). Blake is named as the engraver of Hogarth’s “Beggar’s Opera,” 2:349.

J. Hassell, Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Morland, 1806. Sims Reed, Dec. 1993 cat., #206, full morocco by Zaehnsdorf (£250). “Few of Morland’s works have had a better sale than this [“Industrious Cottager”] and the preceding [“Idle Laundress”], its companion” (78). These 2 prints, with “Blake” correctly recorded as their engraver, are also listed on p. 170.

W. P. Carey, Critical Description of the Procession of Chaucer’s Pilgrims Painted by Thomas Stothard, 1808. Marlborough Rare Books, Aug. cat. 158, #243, with the advertisement at the end for Cromek’s ed. of Blair’s Grave (as in the Bodleian and Essick copies), half roan worn (£150). Carey commends Cromek for “employing that extraordinary Artist, Blake, to compose his grand designs for Blair’s Grave” (10-11).

C. H. Knight, The Cypriad in Two Cantos; with Other Poems and Translations, Boston, 1809. Ximenes, May cat. 104, #364, early wrappers ($225). According to Helena H. Withrow, “The Chimney-Sweep in American Verse,” Notes & Queries 160 (1931): 98, “The Little Sweep,” pp. [35]-36 in Knight’s volume, “immediately suggests Blake[’s]” two chimney-sweeper poems. The rhythm of Knight’s poem does not follow Blake’s, but there are a few similarities in imagery between “The Chimney Sweeper” in Experience and “The Little Sweep.” Knight literalizes and racializes Blake’s “little black thing” into a “little Afric Sweep” named “Sampo”; the sweeper’s blackness is contrasted to the “snow” in both poems. I can find no letterpress printing of either of Blake’s chimney-sweeper poems prior to 1824, there seems to have been no copy of Songs of Innocence Innocence or Songs of Experience in America before 1809, and Knight never visited England (according to Withrow and the Dictionary of American Biography). Thus, the chances for direct influence are remote.

Joseph Thomas, Religious Emblems, 1809. Stuart Bennett, Oct. cat. 20, #7, uncut in original boards rebacked, title label on upper cover ($600). “William Blake, Esq.” is included in the List of Subscribers. The honorific suggests that it might be William Blake the lawyer, but the fact that Thomas commissioned sets of Blake’s Comus (c. 1801), Paradise Lost (1807), “Nativity Ode” (1809), and Shakespeare (1806, 1809) water colors (Butlin #527, 529, 538, 547) makes the association with our Blake more likely.

begin page 129 | back to top
WBlake inv.
7 and 8. One of these water colors is by William Blake, the other is a copy attributable to the Linnell circle.   Can you tell which is which? Don’t be misled by the signature; it might be a fake. For the answer and details about each work, see the end of this review.
[View this object in the William Blake Archive]

R. P. Forster, A Collection of the Most Celebrated Voyages & Travels, from the Discovery of America to the Present Time, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1816. Stuart Bennett, Oct. cat. 20, 80 parts in 4 vols., said to include “unattributed copies” of two plates engraved by Blake for Stedman’s Narrative, “The Skinning of the Boa Snake” and “Execution of a Negro in Surinam” (apparently Stedman pls. 5 and 14 with the titles altered), contemporary half calf worn ($550).

Biographical Dictionary of the Living Authors of Great Britain and Ireland [ed. Watkins and Shoberl], 1816. Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” cat., #37, later calf (£250). One of the first bibliographies to include works by Blake, the “eccentric but very ingenious artist” (29).

J. and A. Taylor, City Scenes. Marlborough Rare Books, cat. for the Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, #83, 1818 ed., roan-backed boards ($600). W. & V. Dailey, July private offer, 1828 ed., original cloth rebacked, 1 signature loose ($250). Contains Blake’s “Holy Thursday” from Songs of Innocence, illustrated with a pl. unrelated to Blake’s own design.

Detached manuscript leaf from an early 19th-century album bearing the first 3 stanzas of Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper” from Songs of Innocence. Undated, but the sheet reportedly shows an 1820 watermark. With a note (apparently on the same sheet in the same hand as the poem): “Communicated by Mr C. Lamb from a very rare & curious little work.” This statement varies only slightly from a note published with the poem in James Montgomery, ed., The Chimney-Sweeper’s Friend, and Climbing Boy’s Album (London: Longman, et al. 1824) 343. The now dismembered album bears the bookplates of Henry Field, John Field, Barron Field (who knew Lamb and who, according to Henry Crabb Robinson, was interested in Blake’s poem and visited Mrs. Blake in 1828, buying an impression of “Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims”), and Francis John Field. Nial Devitt Books, April cat. 28, #59, with the speculation that the poem was copied out by one of Barron Field’s sisters (£145).

W. Hayley, Memoirs, 1823. Poetry Bookshop, Aug. cat. 90, #281, worn (£55). With several references to Blake.

Blake, Job engravings, original printed label, dated 1826. Thomas Goldwasser, Jan. cat. 5, #238 ($200).

J. T. Smith, Nollekens and His Times. Ken Spelman, March cat. 27, #35, 2nd ed., 1829, 2 vols., “original cloth backed boards” (£180). E. M. Lawson, Sept. cat. 269, 1st ed., 1828, 2 vols., contemporary calf (£125). Ursus Books, Nov. cat. 8, #91, 2nd ed., 1829, 2 vols., ¾ morocco ($500). The first significant biography of Blake appears in vol. 2.

begin page 130 | back to top

Allan Cunningham, The Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters, Sculptors, and Architects. James Fenning, May cat. 129, #357, 1830-39, 6 vols., vols. 1-2 2nd ed., vol. 5 3rd ed., others 1st ed., original cloth (£85). Ken Spelman, Oct. cat. 28, #42 (the second item with that number), 1829-33, 6 vols. in 3, apparently 1st ed., contemporary half morocco rubbed (£95).

F. Hemans, Scenes and Hymns of Life, 1834. Francis Edwards, Jan. cat. 1257, #121, original cloth worn (£30); same copy and price, Oct. cat. 1279, #116. First book publication of “The Painter’s Last Work,” a poem which, as Hemans describes in a footnote, was “suggested by the closing scene in the life of the painter Blake, which is beautifully related by Allan Cunningham” (157). For a discussion of this poem, see Paula R. Feldman, “Felicia Hemans and the Mythologizing of Blake’s Death,” Blake 27 (1993/94): 69-72.

Family of John Linnell, 6 water color facsimiles of Blake’s illustrations to Milton’s Paradise Regained. Stephen Somerville, Dec. 1993 private offer, acquired by R. Essick through the agency of J. Windle. See illus. 7-8.

Southey, The Doctor, 1834-47. Simon Finch, April cat. 22, #141, 7 vols., contemporary half calf worn (£750); same copy and price, Nov. cat. 24, #213. Marlborough Rare Books, June cat. 157, #309, 7 vols., original green cloth, vols. 1-2 rebacked with original spines laid down (£850). Contains lengthy quotations from Blake’s Descriptive Catalogue (6:116-26), the text of “Mad Song” from Poetical Sketches (6:127), and a passage on Blake’s “Ghost of a Flea” from Varley’s Zodiacal Physiognomy (7:161-62).

Allan Cunningham, Cabinet Gallery of Pictures, 1836. Bow Windows Bookshop, July London Book Fair, 2 vols. in 1, quarter calf (£25).

Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Pickering ed., 1839 (the first letterpress ed.). Pickering and Chatto, Christmas 1993 cat. 714, #4, issue with “The Little Vagabond,” presentation inscription from the editor, J. J. Garth Wilkinson, original cloth slightly worn ($4500); same copy and price, Jan. cat. 717, #165 (sold to Bauman Rare Books at the Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair). Adam Mills, Nov. “Blake” cat., #15, issue lacking “The Little Vagabond,” original cloth rebacked (£680).

M. Raimbach, ed., Memoirs and Recollections of the Late Abraham Raimbach, 1843. Questor Rare Books, April cat. 13, #366, modern cloth (£65). Mentions in passing “the insane genius Blake” (36n58).

The Estray, ed. H. W. Longfellow, Boston, 1847. Charles Agvent, Aug. cat. 4, #835, original boards, spine label chipped ($150). An early American printing of Blake’s “The Little Black Boy” and “The Tyger.”

W. B. Scott, Memoirs of David Scott, 1850. Sims Reed, Dec. 1993 cat., #265, some foxing, half calf worn (£60). “Blake touched the infinite in expression or signification, without distraction from lower aims, and in a kind of Christian purity. He is very abstract in style or meaning, but very defective

9. Cover design for “The Divine Vision[:] Blake’s Illustrations to the Book of Job.”   Pen and black ink, touches of white, 36.1 × 26.8 cm. Essick collection. Perhaps an early title page or cover design for Joseph Wicksteed, Blake’s Vision of the Book of Job (London: Dent, 1910), executed when the book’s title and its emphasis on the author’s critical text (rather than on reproductions of Blake’s designs) had not yet been determined. However, the fact that this drawing is so much larger than Wicksteed’s book supports the alternative theory that this is a title page, cover, or dustjacket design for a different publication, one meant to reproduce Blake’s Job engravings, full-size or larger, with an introductory essay by Wicksteed. I know of no such reproduction of the Job designs; the volume of full-size Job reproductions published by J. M. Dent & Co. in 1902 does not include a title page or any contribution from Wicksteed. An accompanying pen and black ink drawing, 29.8 × 3.2 cm., is probably for the spine of the same volume. Its text reads “The Book of Job” and, at the foot, “J.M Dent & Co.”
in execution” (from David Scott’s “Maxims on Art,” 238).

Leslie, Hand-Book for Young Painters, 1855. Ken Spelman, March cat. 27, #59, later half morocco (£50). Contains a passing reference to Blake’s visions (58).

Gilchrist, Life of Blake, 1863 and 1880. Yerba Buena Books, Oct. “Blake” cat., #32, 1863 ed., 2 vols., with the bookplate of William Bell Scott “and a presentation inscription [from whom?] dated 1864,” but apparently without annotations, begin page 131 | back to top original cloth worn ($250); #33, 1880 ed., 2 vols., with a laid-in letter to Anne Gilchrist dated 10 Aug. 1881 “enclosing a small watercolor (which is present) ‘of a somewhat mystical character,’ asking her whether it is by William Blake; and Herbert Gilchrist’s belated response of 1885, indicating his opinion that it is not,” original cloth ($450).

Muir facsimiles of Blake’s illuminated books. Rockland Bookman, Dec. 1993 cat. 5, #26, Songs of Innocence (1884) and Songs of Experience (1885), 2 vols., Muir’s copy numbers not recorded, original wrappers, slipcases ($3600—very probably a record asking price). CSK, 4 Feb., #182, America (1887), Europe (1887), and The Song of Los (1890) in 1 vol., the latter 2 works colored, Muir’s copy numbers not recorded in the cat., contemporary morocco, wrappers bound in, America pl. 9 illus. (£1210 on an estimate of £300-500). Jeff Weber Books, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1885) on laid paper rather than the usual wove, numbered “3” by Muir ($1200); Milton (1886), numbered “24” by Muir ($1500), both bound by “Knoble” in patterned leather in awkward imitation of Blake’s designs (both previously sold BBA, 12 Aug. 1993, #283 [Estates of Mind, £440]). Black Sun Books, Oct. cat. 94-V, #27, Songs of Innocence (1927) and Songs of Experience (1927), 2 vols., Muir’s copy numbers not recorded, original wrappers ($2500). SB, 19 Nov., #88, The Gates of Paradise, America, Europe, Muir’s copy numbers not recorded, original paper wrappers ($920).

Blake, Poetical Sketches, illus. Ricketts, 1899. Thomas Boss Fine Books, March cat. 19, #16, 1 of 8 copies on vellum, full morocco by Rivière, cloth dust jacket and slipcase ($3500).

Joseph Wicksteed, Blake’s Vision of the Book of Job, 1910. Pen and ink drawings, with touches of white, for the front cover design (22.4 × 17.8 cm.) and the spine (22.4 × 3 cm.). With two other drawings in pen and ink for the cover and spine of “The Divine Vision[:] Blake’s Illustrations to The Book of Job” (see illus. 9). John Windle, July private offer (acquired by R. Essick).

A. G. B. Russell, Engravings of William Blake, 1912. CE, 2 Dec., #21, author’s copy with his annotations, sold with Hayley, Triumphs of Temper (1803), and Gilchrist, Life of Blake, 2 vols. (1880), the latter crudely repaired ($690 to J. Windle for R. Essick).

Paul Nash (1889-1946), 2 illustrations to Blake’s Tiriel. CL, 11 March, #111, The Cry was Great in Tiriel’s Palace, and #112, Darkling o’er the Mountains, both illus. (estimate £1800-2400 each; both acquired by the Huntington Library). See illus. 10-11.

Laurence Binyon, Drawings and Engravings of Blake, 1922. Buddenbrooks, Oct. cat. “Philanax,” no entry #, 1 of 200 largepaper copies in original folding case, slight wear ($1250!); same copy and price, Dec. cat. “Newbury,” #454; #455, lacking the folding case ($1150!!).

Laurence Binyon, 19 pp. autograph manuscript essay, “William Blake: Painter, Poet Seer,” c. 1925?, not published. CE, 2 Dec., #20 ($633); previously sold CNY, 20 Nov. 1992, #18 ($550).

Edwin Wolf’s archive of correspondence and manuscripts, over 400 items, 1937-88. Jonathan Hill, Dec. cat. 87, #57 ($7500). Sold SL, 6 June 1991, #120 (Quaritch, £2420); offered Hill, Oct. 1991 cat. 60, #322 ($7500). For details about the archive, see Blake 25 (1992): 157.

A. Blunt, The Art of William Blake, 1959. SL, 19 July, #468, inscribed “Mrs. Bassett from Anthony [Blunt] December 1959,” sold as part of the “Books, Papers and Memorabilia from the Moscow Flat of Kim Philby,” torn dust jacket (Hyett, £115). Mrs. Bassett was the mother of the spy Guy Burgess, who had by Dec. 1959 fled with Donald Maclean to Moscow. This copy was very probably intended for Burgess, to whom a direct presentation would have been incautious. Burgess died in Aug. 1963 and left his library to Philby. An important document for the new interdisciplinary field, “Espionage and Art History.”

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.


“The Angelic Guards,” etching/engraving. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #7, printing of 1808, illus. (£340).

“Detail of the Diagoredes Victors,” etching/engraving. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #6, printing of 1808, illus. (£360).

“King Lear” (or “Eastern Patriarch”), lithograph. Garton & Co., March cat. 58, #22, on original backing sheet with aquatint border, 1803 issue, illus. (£3750).

“Orpheus Instructing a Savage People in Theology & the Arts of Social Life,” etching. CSK, 22 June, #379, wide margins, surface dirt and repaired tears (not sold; estimate £100-200).

Barry, Account of a Series of Pictures . . . at the Adelphi, 1783. Marlborough Rare Books, Feb. cat. 154, #259, title foxed, contemporary calf worn (£240).

BUTTS, THOMAS, father and son

“Head of a Saint,” engraving. Acquired privately by R. Essick in Jan. See illus. 12.


Apollo with a Lyre under a Tree. Oil on paper, 25.5 × 22 cm., signed with monogram. SL, 14 April, #367, illus. (not sold; estimate £2000-3000). A late work.

begin page 132 | back to top
10. Paul Nash, illustration to Blake’s Tiriel: Darkling o’er the Mountains.   Pencil, brush, black ink and black crayon heightened with white, 19 × 27 cm., datable to 1917. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. Blind Tiriel seeks “his pathless way.” In a letter to Gordon Bottomley of 28 Sept. 1917, Nash wrote that he had “just finished two designs for Blake’s poem Tiriel—” (quoted in Andrew Causey, Paul Nash [Oxford: Clarendon P, 1980] 62-3). He completed at least one further design, The Howling Maiden led her Father—(Causey 359, locating the work in the collection of Timothy Andreae). In a letter of Oct. 1917 to John Drinkwater, Nash notes that “the fourth drawing for Tiriel is designed and half carried out” (Causey 359), but nothing further is known of this work. As far as I can determine, none of the drawings was ever published in an edition of Tiriel. In his autobiography, Nash states that he saw Blake’s own Tiriel illustration, Har and Heva Bathing (Butlin #198.2), at the home of Edward Marsh, who acquired the work in 1904 (Nash, Outline: An Autobiography and Other Writings [London: Faber, 1949] 137). Perhaps it was this experience, rather than a commission from a publisher or patron, that inspired Nash to attempt his own series of drawings for the poem. See also illus. 11.


See also Flaxman under Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake, above.

Contemplation: A Seated Youth Clasping a Tablet. Pencil, pen and gray wash, 13.6 × 14.6 cm. CL, 8 Nov., #2, offered as “Attributed to William Blake,” with a full and objective description (very probably authored by Martin Butlin) of the dispute over the attribution of this drawing, illus. (not sold on an estimate of £2500-3500). In my opinion, this drawing was executed by Flaxman during his residence in Rome, 1787-94.

A Mother and Children. Pen and gray ink over pencil, 7 × 10.5 cm., datable to Flaxman’s Roman period, 1787-94. SL, 14 April, #399 (£230).

Death of Demosthenes. Pen and ink, 5.9 × 14.2 cm., c. 1800. Acquired July by R. Essick from D. Bindman. See illus. 13-14.

Dante illustrations. BBA, 9 June, #320, 1802 ed., 75 of 111 pls. only, foxed, contemporary calf (Krown & Spellman, £93).

Flaxman, Anatomical Studies, 1833. Robert Clark, Dec. 1993 cat. 34, #205, red cloth, apparently a late reissue of the original sheets (£200).

Flaxman, Lectures on Sculpture, 1829. Dillon’s, July private offer, modern quarter calf (£120). Robert Clark, Oct. cat. 37, #228, scattered foxing, contemporary morocco worn (£200).

Hesiod illustrations, engraved Piroli, 1818. Nikolaus Weissert, Jan. cat. 56, #57 (DM300).

Iliad and Odyssey illustrations. Nikolaus Weissert, Jan. cat. 56, #58, both series engraved Dufresne, 1803 (DM850). Marlborough Rare Books, Feb. cat. 154, #312, 1793 eds. of both series, quotations from Pope’s translations added in pen and ink to each pl., morocco very worn, from the family collection of the publisher John Murray (£450, now in the collection of G. E. Bentley, Jr.). Swann, 8 Sept., #230, Iliad, Odyssey, Hesiod, and Aeschylus designs in 1 vol., undated begin page 133 | back to top

11. Paul Nash, illustration to Blake’s Tiriel: The Cry was Great in Tiriel’s Palace.   Pencil, brush, pen and black ink heightened with white, 20 × 28 cm., datable to 1917. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. On the right, Tiriel’s “five daughters” run weeping to their father. See also illus. 10.
Benjamino del Vecchio eds., foxed, quarter sheep worn ($126).


Beatrice (from Much Ado About Nothing). Oil, 92 × 67 cm., dated to c. 1789-91. SL, 9 Nov., #75, illus. color (not sold; estimate £30,000-50,000).

Caryatid Figure of a Boy. Pencil, 28 × 18.5 cm. with verso sketches. SL, 14 July, #13, illus. (not sold; estimate £1500-2000).

Kriemhild at the Wake of Siegfried. Pen and wash, 27.5 × 40.5 cm. Formerly owned by Stephen Spector, New York; by 1994 collection of Eugene Thaw, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Lapland Orgies. Oil, 100 × 125 cm., c. 1796. Sold SL, 9 July 1980, #79 (£22,000) and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Massacre of the Innocents (recto), An Assassin Fleeing (verso). Gray and brown wash over pencil, 44.5 × 64 cm., inscribed “Roma 71 Oct.” Now in the Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco. For illus. of recto and verso, see Blake 18 (1984): 87-88.

Portrait of the Artist’s Wife. Oil sketch on paper, oval, 22 × 18.5 cm. SL, 9 Nov., #63, illus. color (£7820).

Queen Mab. Oil, 71.5 × 91.5 cm., dated to 1814. Christie’s Zurich, 11 April, as advertised in Christie’s International Magazine (March/April 1994): 118, illus. color (estimate on request).

Study for The Weird Sisters. SL, 14 April, #442, illus. color (not sold on an over-ambitious estimate of £60,000-80,000). See illus. 15.

Titania’s Dream. Previously unrecorded water color. Bonhams auction, London, 16 March, as advertised in Country Life 188 (10 March 1994): 120, illus. color.

“The Witches,” engraving by Tomkins after Fuseli, 1809. John Orde, July London Book Fair (£100).

Armstrong, The Art of Preserving Health, 1757. W. & V. Dailey, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, Fuseli’s copy with his annotations, morocco binding decorated in gilt with insect motifs perhaps executed specifically for Fuseli ($4500).

Bible, Macklin’s ed. Sims Reed, Dec. 1993 cat., #404, 1816-24 ed., 4 vols., including the Apocrypha, contemporary morocco (£1600). Robert Frew, Jan. cat. 2, #3, 1800 ed., 6 vols. (£950). Heritage Book Shop, May private offer, 1800 ed., 6 vols., morocco elaborately gilt ($8500).

Bonnycastle, Introduction to Astronomy. Claude Cox, cat. 100, #125, 1811 ed., uncut in original boards, new canvas spine (£35). Demetzy Books, July London Book Fair, 1811 ed., pl. with 1786 imprint, contemporary calf rebacked (£100). David Bickersteth, Sept. cat. 131, #128, 1803 ed., later half morocco (£80); Dec. cat. 132, #136, 1796 ed., contemporary calf (£80).

begin page 134 | back to top

Boothby, Sorrows, Sacred to the Memory of Penelope, 1796. Ximenes, Dec. 1993 cat., #8, original boards with cover label, spine repaired ($475); same copy and price, Jan. cat. 102, #181.

Boydell, Collection of Prints . . . Illustrating . . . Shakespeare, 1803. CSK, 4 Feb., #8, 2 vols., some margins dampstained, contemporary morocco worn, Fuseli’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act IV, Scene I, illus. (£2860); #9, a few pls. torn and repaired, some margins stained, modern half morocco (£1870). BBA, 26 May, #120, 2 vols. in 1, 91 pls., some light spotting and dampstaining, contemporary calf very worn, upper cover detached, 1 pl. illus. (Bifolco, £2640 on an estimate of £800-1200).

Fuseli, Lectures, 1820. J. Windle, Dec. 1993 private offer, pls. only (frontispiece portrait of Fuseli, title-page vignette, portrait of Michelangelo) printed on large sheets of laid India ($100).

Homer, Iliad, 1813, with Odyssey, 1806, trans. Pope. Bauman Rare Books, Oct. cat. “Spenser,” #352, 12 vols. in 6, full morocco ($1650).

Pilkington, Dictionary of Painters, ed. Fuseli, 1805. Ken Spelman, Oct. cat. 28, #27, some foxing, later half calf (£85). Ursus Books, Nov. cat. 8, #63, Signet Library copy, full calf rebacked ($350).

Pope, Rape of the Lock, Du Roveray ed., 1798. Ken Spelman, March cat. 27, #163, apparently small-paper issue, contemporary calf rubbed, tissue guards foxed (£40).

Shakespeare, Dramatic Works, Boydell ed., 1791-[1805]. Heritage Book Shop, Dec. cat. 197, #58, 9 vols., perhaps assembled from the parts issue because the title page is dated 1791 rather than the usual 1802, apparently lacking Blake’s pl., contemporary morocco over marbled boards ($5000). See also all Shakespeare eds. under Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake, above.

Shakespeare, Plays, Stockdale ed., 1807. Ian Hodgkins, Aug. cat. 76, the 2 pls. by Heath after Fuseli disbound, both illus.: #96, “Macbeth and Banquo Meet the Witches on the Heath” (£75); #97, “I’ve Done the Deed” (£95). Heritage Book Shop, Dec. cat. 197, #68, 6 vols., contemporary half calf ($3500).

Shakespeare, Plays and Poems, ed. Valpy, with outline engravings based on the Boydell Shakespeare prints. Stuart Bennett, Oct. cat. 20. #92, 1832-34, 15 vols., later half morocco ($900). Heritage Book Shop, Dec. cat. 197, #80, 1832-34, 15 vols., half morocco ($750); #81, 1833, 14 vols. only, half morocco ($650).

Works of the British Poets, ed. Park, 1808. G. David, July private offer, 42 vols., full morocco (£795).

Young, Catalogue of the . . . Collection of Pictures of . . . Angerstein, 1823. James Cummins, Dec. cat. 41, #2, contemporary half roan worn ($650).

12. Thomas Butts, father and son, “Head of a Saint,” engraving, c. 1806-08, signed in the plate lower left “T. Butts / sc.”   Essick collection. This image was engraved on the verso of the copperplate fragment of rejected pl. a of Blake’s America, now in the Rosenwald Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington. Image and platemark 8 × 5.8 cm. on wove sheet 13.8 × 11.3 cm. Inscribed in pencil on the verso by Frank Rinder, “Mrs Briggs says designed by Blake—engraved by J Butts.” Accompanying this impression is the following letter signed by Ada E. Briggs and dated 14 Jan. 1908:
Dear Sir [probably Rinder],
I have always felt very grateful to you for the kind trouble you took in bringing my article on ‘Mr. Butts, the Friend & Patron of Blake’ before the notice of the Editor of the Connoisseur’ and it will give me great pleasure if you will accept the enclosed engraving in remembrance of it. I recollect you told me y[ou] are delighted in Blake & it was under his tuition, probably from one of his designs that this was executed, though we may hope that it was Mr. Butts who is responsible for the faulty drawing of the features. It was given to me some years ago by my late brother-in-law Captain Butts [grandson of Blake’s patron Thomas Butts, Sr.].
Hoping that this may prove of some little interest to you.
Blake instructed Thomas Butts, Jr., in engraving between 1806 and 1808. According to Briggs’s essay to which she refers in the letter quoted above, “the father seems to have profited far more by the lessons than the son did, and though it is difficult, when father and son both have the same name, to be sure in every case, the drawings and engravings reproduced here are all believed to be by the father” (“Mr. Butts, The Friend and Patron of Blake,” Connoisseur 19 [Sept.-Dec. 1908]: 92-96, quotation from 93, this pl.—perhaps this impression—illus. 96). The only other impressions known to me are 2 in the Keynes Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum, and a modern restrike kept with the copperplate in the Rosenwald Collection.
begin page 135 | back to top
13. John Flaxman, Death of Demosthenes.   Pen and ink, 5.9 × 14.2 cm., c. 1800. Essick collection. A preliminary drawing for Blake’s engraving in Hayley’s Essay on Sculpture (see illus. 14). On the plate, the design is attributed to Thomas Hayley, William Hayley’s son and a student of Flaxman’s. The existence of this drawing, attributable to Flaxman on stylistic grounds, suggests that the true designer of the image was the master, not the apprentice. Perhaps the attribution to Tom Hayley was made to please his father. An ink drawing of the design close to the size of the plate and with the background motifs, probably by the younger Hayley but perhaps touched up by Flaxman, is in the Keynes Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum. There is also a rough pencil sketch of the image, 14.7 × 19.1 cm., in the Rosenwald Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington.


A large collection of drawings and water colors by Linnell, including several folios of drawings, sold in 19 lots, SL, 14 April, #338-55, 363 (10 illus., 5 in color). By far the highest price, £14,950, was fetched by #339, Shoreham, Kent, water color, 28 × 44 cm., signed. A sketch of Windsor Woodcutters, related to Linnell’s etching of 1818, sold for £3910 (#354, black and white chalk on gray paper, 26 × 43 cm., signed and dated 1815).

A collection of pencil drawings, removed from an early sketchbook, and a few water colors and oil paintings. Martyn Gregory Gallery, July private offer, prices on application. The works for sale were included as part of a fine exhibition of Linnell’s work, mostly on loan from private collectors. The pamphlet published for the show does not include a handlist of the works on display and/or for sale.

Three drawings: Study of a Dove, Harvesters, Clouds over a Landscape. Pencil heightened with white, 2 signed, “various sizes.” SL, 10 Nov., #93 (not sold; estimate £400-600).

To face Page 126.
	T. H. invenit. W. Blake Sc.
	He views this Outrage with indignant Eyes,
	And at the Base of Neptunes Statue dies.
	Epistle 5. Verse 61.
	Publishd June 14. 1800 by Cadell & Davis Strand
14. “Death of Demosthenes,” engraved by Blake after Thomas Hayley (and/or John Flaxman?).   12.8 × 18 cm. Published in William Hayley, An Essay on Sculpture, 1800. Essick collection. See caption to illus. 13.
[View this object in the William Blake Archive]

The Clutterbuck Children. Oil, 79.5 × 102 cm., exhibited at the Royal Academy 1843. SL, 9 Nov., #70, illus. color (£5750).

English Woodlands. Oil, 101 × 140 cm., signed and dated 1868. CL, 25 March, #82, illus. color (£58,700—probably a record auction price for a work by Linnell). A fine example of Linnell’s late style.

The Green Lane. Oil, 70 × 90 cm., signed and dated 1860. SL, 9 Nov., #107, illus. color (not sold; estimate £8000-12,000).

In Windsor Forest. Oil, 19.7 × 28 cm. CL, 15 Dec. 1993, #144, illus. (£6325 on an estimate of £3000-4000).

Portrait of Mrs. Robert Hudleston and Her Children. Colored chalks, 46.4 × 59 cm., signed and dated 1838. CL, 12 April, #29, illus. (£2185).

Portrait of the Rev. Henry George Keene; Portrait of Anne Keene, His Wife. 2, both oil on panel, 24.5 × 19.5 cm., signed and dated 1833. SL, 9 Nov., #68, Anne Keene illus. color (not sold; estimate £3000-5000).

begin page 136 | back to top

Portrait of Samuel Palmer. Pencil sketch with touches of white on buff paper, 19.7 × 28.6 cm., datable to 1829, inscribed “Study for Emmaus group” and “John Linnell from S Palmer’s Head” (the “S Palmer” in Palmer’s hand). Agnew’s, June private offer, from the collection of Joan Linnell Ivimy (price on application). Linnell used the sketch as the basis for the head of the apostle on the right in his painting (1838, now Ashmolean Museum) and line and mezzotint print (1839), The Journey to Emmaus. For reproductions of the sketch and the painting, see Edward Malins, Samuel Palmer’s Italian Honeymoon (London: Oxford UP, 1968) pl. 8. Acquired Aug. by the Huntington Art Gallery.

The Storm. Oil, 66 × 94 cm., signed and dated “[18]53-9.” SL, 9 June, #173, from the Forbes Magazine collection, illus. color (£18,400).

Summer Evening. Oil, 71.1 × 91.4 cm., signed and dated 1853. CL, 25 March, #146, illus. color (£7360).

The Tramps. Oil, 70 × 90 cm., signed and dated 1860. SL, 9 June, #74, illus. color (not sold; estimate £18,000-25,000).

Underriver—The Golden Valley. Pencil, brown ink, brown wash on Whatman 1812 paper, 28 × 27.5 cm., datable to c. 1833. SL, 10 Nov., #33, illus. color (£18,975 on an estimate of £4000-6000). The high price was very probably motivated by the striking similarities between this drawing and Samuel Palmer’s work during his “Shoreham” period.

Woodcutters in Wales. Oil, 101.6 × 139.7 cm., signed and dated 1863. CL, 3 June, #199, illus. color (£10,580 on an estimate of £6000-8000).

“Herne’s Oak, Windsor Forest,” engraved by Prior after Linnell, n.d. Lost Horizon Bookstore, March private offer ($12.50).

“Robert Gooch, M.D.,” etching/engraving, 1831. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #78, “lettered proof impression on India paper,” illus. (£375).


Double Portrait of the Reverend John Cocks and James Cocks. Oil, 71.4 × 90.2 cm. CL, 15 April, #11, illus. color (£73,000).

Double Portrait of Thomas Somers Cocks and Richard Cocks of Castleditch. Oil, 71.4 × 91.5 cm. CL, 15 April, #12, illus. color (£100,500). Probably a record price for any work by Mortimer.

Studies of a Seated Woman and Standing Figures. 2 sheets, pencil, pen and ink, 14 × 18.1 cm. and smaller, with a study of a head attributed to Mortimer. CL, 12 April, #8, illus. (not sold; estimate £800-1200).

Two Banditti, One with Spear, One with Axe. Pen and ink, 19 × 13.5 cm., signed on the verso. SL, 14 July, #16, illus. (not sold; estimate £1500-2000).

“Banditti Taking His Post,” etching, 1778. Campbell Fine Art,

15. Henry Fuseli, A Study for The Weird Sisters.   Water color heightened with white and yellow, 36.5 × 24 cm., datable to c. 1783. A study for the right-hand figure in Fuseli’s four recorded paintings of the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s London.
Oct. cat. 5, #92, illus. (£115).

“Cassandra,” etching, 1776. The Print Room, July private offer, Palser restrike (£120); same impression and price, Nov. cat. 14, #154.

“Elegy,” etching, 1778. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #91, illus. (£120).

“Reposo,” etching, 1778. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #93, illus. (£120).

“A River Landscape with Fishermen,” etching by T. Daniell after Mortimer, c. 1774. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #94, “previously undescribed” print, inscribed in the pl. with the names of the designer and etcher, illus. (£580).

Bell’s Edition [of] the Poets of Great Britain. Swann, 26 May, #14, 35 vols. only, including Donne (3 vols.), Dryden (3 vols.), Dyer, Fenton, Hughes (2 vols.), Milton (4 vols.), Prior (3 vols.), begin page 137 | back to top

16. George Richmond, The Forsaken.   Oil, 34 × 26.5 cm., signed and dated 1833. The foreground figure recalls Richmond’s slightly earlier work when he was most influenced by Blake; the hovering angel foreshadows a more Victorian sensibility. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s London.
Spenser (8 vols.), Swift (4 vols.), “1770s-80s,” contemporary tree calf ($517).


Children Gleaning in a Corn Field. Water color, signed, 18 × 39 cm., untraced since 1846. SL, 10 Nov., #181, illus. color (£9200).

Eventide. Water color and body color, 19.5 × 42.5 cm., signed and dated 1841. SL, 14 July, #150, illus. color (£29,900).

Eventide—A Shepherd Boy on a Hill Top, the Sun Setting over the Sea Beyond. Water color and body color, 19.5 × 42 cm., signed, datable to c. 1858. SL, 14 April, #520, illus. color (£20,700). A different design than Eventide, above.

A Kentish Cottage. Brown wash, 7 × 12.5 cm., from an early sketchbook, annotated around the inner mat by A. H. Palmer: “Sketch by S. Palmer done before his introduction to William Blake. . . .” John Windle, July cat. 23, #214, illus. ($6000).

Morning—The Early Ploughman. Water color and body color, 24.5 × 17.5 cm., signed and squared. SL, 14 July, #157, illus. color (£31,050).

Sunset. Water color, 20 × 42.6 cm. CL, 8 Nov., #67, illus. color (£65,300 on an estimate of £30,000-40,000).

View of Conway, North Wales. Water color, 23.5 × 44.5 cm., datable to 1836. SL, 10 Nov., #51, illus. color (not sold; estimate £5000-7000).

Autograph letter signed discussing 2 drawings in an exhibition, not dated but written from Furze Hill House (and hence after 1861). Julian Browning, May cat. 11, #118 (£450).

Autograph letter signed to T. O. Barlow, Sept. 1873. BBA, 9 June, #218 (not sold).

Autograph letter signed to T. O. Barlow, 30 Sept. 1876, with comments about etching. BBA, 9 June, #217 (not sold; estimate £700-1000).

Autograph letter signed to T. O. Barlow, 27 Nov. 1878. BBA, 9 June, #219 (Devitt, £99).

“Christmas,” etching. SL, 3 Dec. 1993, #229, 2nd st. before the reduction of the pl., laid India (£1380—well over the estimate of £600-800).

“Herdsman’s Cottage,” etching. Garton & Co., March cat. 58, #28, 2nd st. probably from the Portfolio (1870), large sheet (£575); Aug. cat. 59, #25, 2nd st. from Hamerton, Etching and Etchers (1880), illus. (£600).

“The Lonely Tower,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #102, 7th st., “special printer’s proof” by Mary Sholten, 1954, illus. (£500); #103, several impressions from the Sholten printing of 25 at £350 each.

“The Morning of Life,” etching. CSK, 21 April, #208, 7th st. (not sold at £100; estimate £200-300).

“Sleeping Shepherd,” etching. Garton & Co., Aug. cat. 59, #23, “post first state,” with title inscription and quoted verse (“The Ploughman seeks the upland lawn / O’er watch’d, the shepherd[e] nods at dawn”) printed from the plate and, below, the verse in pencil in Palmer’s hand, illus. (£3250); #24, 6th st. on laid India (£1450).

Dickens, Pictures from Italy, 1846. Jarndyce, Dec. 1993 cat. 94, #193, some marginal tears, original blue cloth (£350). Swann, 26 May, #178, several pages stained, original blue cloth, slipcase ($201); #179, endpapers marked and soiled, a variant publisher’s binding in blue vertically-ribbed cloth (not sold; estimate $200-300). Ximenes, Dec. cat. 108, #105, original blue cloth ($300).

Hamerton, Etching & Etchers, 1880, with Palmer’s etching, “The Herdsman’s Cottage.” Swann, 21 April, #105, original quarter leather worn ($1150).

Milton, Shorter Poems, 1889. Robert Frew, Feb. cat. 2, #23, small-paper issue, original blue cloth gilt, extremities rubbed (£200). CSK, 18 March, #296, small-paper issue, unopened, original cloth (£495; estimate £120-180). John Windle, July begin page 138 | back to top cat. 23, #216, small-paper issue, original blue cloth ($750). Ximenes, Dec. cat. 108, #267, small-paper issue, original cloth rubbed ($250).

A. H. Palmer, Life and Letters of S. Palmer, 1892. John Windle, July cat. 23, #217, apparently small-paper issue, original blue cloth ($750).

A. H. Palmer, Memoir [of S. Palmer], 1882. BBA, 9 June, #228, some foxing, calf-backed cloth (Sims Reed, £143).

Virgil, Eclogues, 1883. SL, 13 Dec. 1993, #323, large-paper issue, scattered foxing, original vellum, front paste-down inscribed “Artist’s proof copy” (Kitazawa, £517). Sims Reed, Dec. 1993 cat., #224, small-paper issue in publisher’s green cloth, head of spine repaired (£750). John Windle, July cat. 23, #215, said to be large paper but the binding (original green cloth) indicates the small-paper issue, backstrip repaired ($1250).


The Forsaken. SL, 13 April, #117, illus. color (not sold; estimate £8000-12,000). See illus. 16.

The May Queen, attributed to Richmond. Oil on paper, oval, 44 × 57 cm. SL, 14 April, #404, illus. (not sold; estimate £600-800). The tentative attribution to Richmond is dubious.

Portrait of Samuel Palmer. Red chalk, 21 × 15.8 cm., late 1820s. Peter Nahum, London, Jan. exhibit (price on application); see advertisement in Apollo 139 (Jan. 1994): 68, illus.

Study of a Nude Figure, about to Descend Some Steps, with a Hooded Figure Behind. Pencil, brown ink, 33.3 × 21.6 cm., datable on stylistic grounds to c. 1825 when Richmond’s work was strongly influenced by Blake. CL, 8 Nov., #48, illus. (not sold on a modest estimate of £500-700).


A sketchbook, 67 leaves, with drawings in pen and brown ink, 20.7 × 16.5 cm., used by Romney in the early 1770s. CL, 12 April, #16, 4 leaves illus. (not sold; estimate high at £8000-12,000).

A sketchbook, 48 leaves, with drawings in pencil, a few in pen and brown ink, 11.4 × 17.8 cm. CL, 12 July, #19, illus. (£2070); same sketchbook, Ken Spelman, Oct. cat. 28, #16, illus. (£3600).

Figure Studies, probably associated with Romney’s designs based on John Howard’s prison visits. Pencil, brown wash, 34.5 × 49 cm. SL, 10 Nov., #55, illus. (not sold; estimate £1000-1500).

A Foregathering of Witches. Pencil, brown and gray washes, 37.5 × 53.5 cm. SL, 10 Nov., #56, illus. (£5060 on an estimate of £1500-2000).

17. Thomas Stothard, “William Blake, Thomas Stothard and Mr. Ogleby in Custody by the Medway,” etching apparently designed and executed by Stothard c. 1780-82, 20.5 × 24.3 cm.   Essick collection. Inscribed in pencil below the design in an unknown hand, “This relates to Stothard and Blake who went on a sketching ramble and while there situated near Upnor Castle on the Medway were taken Prisoners as spies and detained by the garrison till they heard from London the truth of their story.” This inscription is very probably based on the description of the incident in Mrs. [A. E.] Bray, Life of Thomas Stothard, R.A. (London: John Murray, 1851) 20-21. Bray was also the first to attribute the etching to Stothard and identify the figures, although which figure is which in the design is uncertain. Equally unclear is the relation between the image—three leisurely fellows on a camping trip—and a narrative about imprisonment. Where is the “sentinel” mentioned by Bray? G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Records (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1969) 19n3, reasons that the most likely date of the events pictured is September of 1780 or 1781. In addition to this previously unrecorded example, there are impressions in the Rosenwald Collection, National Gallery of Art, with a pencil inscription relating a different version of the incident (formerly A. E. Moss collection, reproduced in Geoffrey Keynes, A Bibliography of William Blake [New York: Grolier Club, 1921] facing 326, and Keynes, The Complete Portraiture of William & Catherine Blake [London: Trianon Press for the Blake Trust, 1977] pl. 2); Balmanno Collection, British Museum (apparently the print reproduced, much reduced, in Bray 20); another in the British Museum; and one recently discovered by Jane Munro in an album of drawings and prints by Stothard from the collection of George Cumberland, acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1905. My thanks to G. E. Bentley, Jr., for assistance in deciphering the pencil inscription on the impression reproduced.
begin page 139 | back to top

The Fortune Teller. Pen and brown ink over pencil, 35 × 43.5 cm. SL, 10 Nov., #54 (£747).

The Witches’ Cauldron. 2 studies on 1 sheet 28.5 × 44 cm., pen and gray wash, pencil. SL, 10 Nov., #53, illus. (£1610).


“The Marriage of King Malcolm and St. Margaret,” etching, c. 1775. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #110, 1826 printing, illus. (£150).

“Musidora,” etching, c. 1775. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #112, 1826 printing, illus. (£85).

“Perseus and Andromeda,” etching, the large pl., c. 1775. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #111, 1826 printing, illus. (£165).


“Brig O’Doon & Aloway’s Auld Haunted Kirk,” etching designed and executed by Stothard. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #127, illus. (£225).

“The Lost Apple,” lithograph, 1803. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #126, with the original aquatint border, illus. (£1450).

“The Pilgrimage to Canterbury,” the large pl. engraved by Schiavonetti and Heath, 1809-17. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #124, st. not recorded, illus. (£2720 to the Tate Gallery, accession no. T 06857).

“Sailors in Port,” mezzotint by Ward, 1798. John Orde, July London Book Fair (£195).

“The Wellington Shield—Centerpiece,” designed and engraved by Stothard, 1820. Campbell Fine Art, Oct. cat. 5, #125, “proof” from the collection of Sir Thomas Lawrence, illus. (£5000).

“William Blake, Thomas Stothard and Mr. Ogleby in Custody by the Medway,” etching attributed to Stothard as both designer and etcher, c. 1780-82. SL, 1 Dec., #170, dated for unstated reasons to c. 1789, wove paper with wide margins showing the platemark on all sides, drily and flatly printed, surface dirt (Agnew’s for R. Essick, £2185 on an estimate of £2000-3000). See illus. 17.

Aesop, Fables, 1793. Simon Finch, April cat. 22, #3, 2 vols., some spotting, contemporary calf over marbled boards (£480). Bauman Rare Books, Oct. cat. “Spenser,” #1, 2 vols., full vellum, cloth slipcase ($1750). Heritage Book Shop, Dec. cat. 196, #92, 2 vols., some spotting, contemporary calf, folding case ($1250).

Bell’s Edition [of] the Poets of Great Britain. See under Mortimer, above.

The Bijou, 1828. Francis Edwards, Sept. cat. 1274, #250, half morocco (£40).

The Book of Gems, 1836-38. Dirk Cable Books, March private offer, 3 vols., publisher’s calf gilt ($125). Not previously noted to have pls. after Stothard.

Bowen, Historical Account . . . of Bethlem Hospital, 1783. C. R. Johnson, May cat. 36, #25, modern quarter calf, pl. of Cibber’s statues of 2 madmen, drawn by Stothard and engraved by Sharp, illus. (£1350). For discussion and illus., see Jenijoy La Belle, “Blake’s Bald Nudes,” Blake 24 (1990): 52-58.

Bray, Life of Stothard, 1851, extra-illustrated copies only. Robert Clark, Nov. cat. 38, #227, extended to 2 vols. with c. 125 added pls. including the “Seven Ages of Man” complete, full morocco (£400).

Catullus, Tibullus et Propertius, Pickering ed., 1824. Claude Cox, Nov. cat. 105, #209, original cloth faded (£32).

Cowper, Poems, 1798. Blackwell’s, Aug. cat. “Firm,” #18, 2 vols. (£85); same copy and price, Nov. cat. B112, #81.

Defoe, Robinson Crusoe. J. Windle, Dec. 1993 private offer, 13 pls. only, plus 1 duplicate, from the 1820 ed., proofs before letters, all but the duplicate printed on large sheets of laid India ($50). Thomas Goldwasser, Jan. cat. 5, #307, 1804 ed., “the extra-large paper edition,” uncut in later boards ($307). Heritage Book Shop, Feb. private offer, 1790 ed., 2 vols., quarter calf ($750). Bauman Rare Books, Oct. cat. “Spenser,” #95, 1790 ed., 2 vols., half morocco ($1350).

The Gem, [1836]. T. Scott, July London Book Fair, contemporary calf (£30). With one pl. after Stothard, not previously recorded.

Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield, 1792. Claude Cox, March cat. 101, #88 (£45).

Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 1796. Francis Edwards, Sept. cat. 1274, #286, half morocco worn (£24); same copy and price, Oct. cat. 1279, #112.

The Juvenile Keepsake, 1829. Claude Cox, Sept. cat. 104, #50, original yellow glazed pictorial boards, rubbed and soiled (£32).

The Keepsake, 1836. Michael D. Good, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, large paper, quarter calf ($50).

Lady’s Poetical Magazine, 1781-82. Ximenes Rare Books, Jan. private offer, 4 vols., with all 24 full-page pls. after Stothard, contemporary calf ($850).

Literary Souvenir, 1832. G. David, July private offer, original calf (£18).

Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling, 1800. G. Heywood Hill, July private offer, contemporary calf (£35).

Milton, Paradise Lost, 1792. SL, 13 Dec. 1993, #68, 4 vols. (Books 1-4 only), with 4 full-page pls. (“Satan, Sin & Death,” begin page 140 | back to top “Adam & Eve,” “Uriel and Satan,” and “Satan Arousing his Troops”) and 4 headpieces by Bartolozzi after Stothard, some offsetting and foxing, original boards with original cover labels, backstrips missing (not sold; estimate £600-800); same set, SL, 27 May, #773 (same result). Nikolaus Weissert, Jan. cat. 56, #43, 12 pls., lacking title page, rebacked (DM600).

Pinkerton, Rimes, 1782. Simon Finch, Nov. cat. 24, #184, Stothard pl. spotted and stained, mottled calf (£50).

Pope, Essay on Man, 1796. Ewen Kerr, Aug. cat. 46, #36 (£75).

Pope, Rape of the Lock, 1798. See under Fuseli, above.

[Ritson, ed.], The English Anthology, 1793-94. Quaritch, Dec. 1993 private offer, 3 vols., with half-titles, lacking pp. 293-94, 299-300 in vol. 2, with all pls., half morocco over marble boards, top edge gilt others uncut, Robert Hoe’s copy with his bookplate (£50). Adam Mills, Nov. cat. 31, #221, 3 vols., unopened, near-contemporary calf (£155). For the attribution of the unsigned pl. of Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims (3:1) to Stothard as its designer, see Robin Hamlyn’s comments in William Blake: Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims, exhibition cat., Castle Museum, Norwich (Norfolk Museum Services, 1993) 3-4 (pl. and preliminary drawing illus.). The vignette used on all 3 title pages is certainly by Stothard; the pls. at 1:1 (repeated at 2:1) and 2:370 are probably also his work.

Rogers, Italy, 1830. Swann, 3 Feb., #254, heavily foxed at beginning and end, publisher’s gift binding in green morocco ($57). BBA, 7 July, #311, with Rogers, Poems, 1834, uniform morocco (Breckenridge, £93). David Bickersteth, Dec. cat. 132, #117, light foxing, contemporary morocco (£35).

Rogers, Pleasures of Memory, 1803. Francis Edwards, Sept. cat. 1274, #315, calf worn (£30). The 1803 issue has not been previously recorded as containing the pls. after Stothard, first published in 1801.

Rogers, Poems. Thomas Thorp, May cat. 487, #112, 1838 ed., large paper, contemporary morocco (£80). Grampian Books, July London Book Fair, 1834 ed., contemporary calf (£45). Haunted Bookshop, Cambridge, July private offer, 1816 ed., full calf (£25). Bauman Rare Books, Aug. cat. “Iguana,” #201, 1834 ed., with Rogers, Italy (1834), extra-illus. and extended to 4 vols., presentation inscription by Rogers, fancy binding by Mackenzie ($2800). Sumner & Stillman, Oct. cat. 53, #75, 1834 ed., some foxing, full calf ($95).

Rogers, Poetical Works, 1867. Ewen Kerr, Jan. cat. 44, #395 (£100).

Shakespeare, New Edition of Shakespeare’s Plays, pub. Heath and Robinson, 1802-04, Ian Hodgkins, Aug. cat. 76, 3 pls. only, Heath after Stothard, each illus.: #274, “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” full-page pl. (£65); #275, “Taming of the Shrew,” full-page pl. (£50); #276, “Tempest,” full-page pl. (£65).

Shakespeare, Plays, Harding ed., 1800. Heritage Book Shop, Dec. cat. 197, #64, number of vols. not given (should be 12), contemporary calf ($2000).

Shakespeare, Plays, Stockdale ed., 1807. See under Fuseli, above.

Shakespeare, Plays, Pickering ed., 1825. Swann, 21 April, #207, 9 vols., contemporary morocco worn, bookplates of Willis Vickery (not sold; estimate $400-600). Heritage Book Shop, Dec. cat. 197, #76, 9 vols., original cloth ($1750); #77, publisher’s morocco ($1500).

Somerville, The Chase, 1800. Ewen Kerr Books, April cat. 45, #48, contemporary calf worn (£75).

W. R. Spencer, The Year of Sorrow, 1804. Claude Cox, Nov. cat. 105, #39, “title vignette engraved by Cromek after Stothard,” contemporary half calf rebacked (£85). Not previously recorded as containing a pl. after Stothard.

Sterne, Works, 1803. Claude Cox, May cat. 102, #111, 4 vols., diced calf (£135). This ed. not previously recorded as having the 9 pls. after Stothard first published in the 10 vol. ed. of 1798.

Thomson, Seasons. Ursus Books, May cat. 185, #166, 1795 ed. printed for T. Chapman, with the pls. from the 1793 ed., contemporary calf ($550). Nicholas Bernstein Books, July London Book Fair, 1795 ed., full calf (£85). John Price, Sept. cat., #101, 1794 ed., later morocco (£65).

Walton, Lives of Donne, Wotton, Hooker, Herbert and Sanderson, Pickering ed., 1827. Claude Cox, Nov. cat. 105, #218, original cloth worn (£35).

Watts, ed., The Cabinet of Modern Art, 1835-37. Francis Edwards, Sept. cat. 1274, #350, 3 vols., half morocco worn (£120); same copy and price, Oct. cat. 1279, #264.

Young, Night Thoughts, 1798. J & J House, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, fine contemporary calf ($500). Deighton Bell, July private offer, tall copy, quarter calf (£100); same copy and price, Oct. cat. 264, #303.

Young, Works, 1813. G. David, July private offer, 3 vols., foxed, full calf (£60).

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). Abbreviations and citation styles follow the respective volumes.

The Separate Plates of William Blake: A Catalogue. No new information.

William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations

P. 44, Original Works of William Hogarth, 1790. Jessica Smith begin page 141 | back to top of Yale University has kindly informed me that the copperplate of Blake’s “Beggar’s Opera, Act III” after Hogarth is not in the Houghton Library. Apparently the plate, for many years on deposit at the Houghton, was removed from the library by a member of Philip Hofer’s family at some time after his death in 1984. I have not yet been able to locate the plate’s present whereabouts.

P. 80, Hayley, Essay on Sculpture, 1800. For a recently-discovered drawing by John Flaxman of the design for pl. 2, “The Death of Demosthenes,” see illus. 13-14.

Pp. 85-86, Hayley, Life, and Posthumous Writings, of William Cowper, 1803-04. According to Clair Tomalin, “Publisher in Prison: Joseph Johnson and the Book Trade,” TLS (2 Dec. 1994): 15-16, a recently-discovered letter book, containing copies of Joseph Johnson’s outgoing correspondence, includes letters “to William Hayley on the subject of payment to Mr Blake for his engravings to the Life of Cowper” (15). At the time of Tomalin’s essay, the letter book belonged to one of Johnson’s descendants but was “with Messrs Pickering and Chatto” (16), the London antiquarian book dealer.

P. 83, The Dramatic Works of Shakspeare, Boydell ed., 1802. An impression of Blake’s pl. before framing lines and all letters, bound into a copy of the Dramatic Works, is now (Dec. 1994) in the RNE collection. A much reduced reproduction appears in Heritage Book Shop cat. 197 of Dec. 1994, p. 14.

Answer to the Question Posed in the Caption to Illus. 7-8

The original is the signed drawing on the right (illus. 8); the copy is on the left (illus. 7). Both represent Christ’s Troubled Dream from Milton’s Paradise Regained. The original is pen and water color over pencil, 16.4 × 13.2 cm., c. 1816-20 (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge). The copy is pen and water color, 16.4 × 13.2 cm. (Essick collection). In 1913, this facsimile was lent by “the Linnell Trustees” to the National Gallery [of] British Art (now Tate Gallery), #53 in the Catalogue of Loan Exhibition of Works by William Blake [ed. A. G. B. Russell], 2nd ed. (London: Stationery Office, 1913) 41. There the work is attributed to “J. T. Linnell” (James Thomas Linnell, born 1823, the son of Blake’s friend, patron, and fellow artist John Linnell) and said to be part of a “complete set of copies . . . from Blake’s [12] designs for Paradise Regained.” The hand-painted reproduction of Christ’s Troubled Dream was placed in the exhibit side by side with the original, much as with the photo reproductions here.

Six of the Linnell facsimiles, all lacking the “Blake” signature of the originals, are now in the Essick collection: The First Temptation, Mary at Her Distaff Watched over by Two Angels, The Second Temptation, Christ’s Troubled Dream, Morning Chasing Away the Phantoms, and The Third Temptation (corresponding to Butlin #544.2, 4, 7-10). One other, probably Christ Refusing the Banquet Offered by Satan (a copy of Butlin #544.6), was entitled “Satan Tempting Christ” and offered for sale for £10. 10s. by the London dealer T. H. Robinson in his cat. 68 of 1939, #10, attributed to John Linnell and said to be from the collection of John Linnell, Jr. (born 1821). This work was acquired by Chauncey B. Tinker, according to Butlin 1:401. All 6 drawings in my collection would appear to be on the same paper; the sheet bearing The Second Temptation (a copy of Butlin #544.7) shows a watermark, “1801/E & P.” Thus, the paper of these copies is 15 years older than the originals, 3 of which show an “M & J LAY 1816” watermark. Blake used E & P (Edmeads and Pine) paper for several of his illuminated books, but Bentley 71 records none dated 1801. Butlin 1:627 records no 1801 or Edmeads and Pine watermarks in Blake’s own drawings.

It seems unlikely that J. T. Linnell, an artist of considerable ability who exhibited 38 landscapes at the Royal Academy between 1850 and 1888, could have executed such skillful facsimiles before c. 1838, when he was 15 years old. John Linnell, Sr. could have made them at any point after his purchase of the originals in 1825. Stephen Somerville, the London dealer, tells me that my group of 6 designs was at one time in the collection of a son of J. T. Linnell. This however does not exclude a possible attribution to John Linnell, Sr. Indeed, if there were originally 12 copies, they may have been executed by John Linnell and divided between two of his sons—6 to John Linnell, Jr. and his heirs (from whom the work sold by Robinson was obtained) and 6 to J. T. Linnell and his heirs.

The copies are the exact size of the originals and show no variations in the placement of motifs. Thus, the copies may have been made from tracings, although I can find no evidence of black or red chalk that could have been deposited by caulking the tracings onto the sheets bearing the finished copies. Nor is there any pencil under-drawing of the sort one would expect if a graphic telescope had been used (on the use of this device by John Varley and John Linnell to copy Blake’s Visionary Heads, see Martin Butlin, “Blake, the Varleys, and the Graphic Telescope,” William Blake: Essays in Honour of Sir Geoffrey Keynes, ed. Morton D. Paley and Michael Phillips [Oxford: Clarendon P, 1973] 294-304). I can find no indentations in Blake’s originals or other evidence to indicate that tracings were made from them.

Other fine Blake facsimiles attributed to the Linnell circle, such as two versions of The Wise and Foolish Virgins (Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Tate Gallery—see Butlin #479, 481), and even the Linnell set of Job water colors (traced by Linnell and finished by Blake, Butlin #551), show a certain looseness and loss of strength in the faces. This group of Paradise Regained copies retains the expressive force of the originals. As the 1913 exhibition catalogue claims, “the copies are executed with such fidelity as to be easily deceptive apart from the originals” (41).

Print Edition

  • Publisher
  • Department of English, University of Rochester
  • Rochester, NY, USA
    • Editors
    • Morris Eaves
    • Morton D. Paley
    • Managing Editor
    • Patricia Neill
    • Bibliographer
    • G.E. Bentley, Jr.
    • Review Editor
    • Nelson Hilton
    • Associate Editor for Great Britain
    • David Worrall
    • Contributors
    • Robert N. Essick
    • G.E. Bentley, Jr.

    Digital Edition

    • Editors:
    • Morris Eaves, University of Rochester
    • Robert Essick, University of California, Riverside
    • Joseph Viscomi, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Project Manager
    • Joe Fletcher
    • Technical Editor
    • Michael Fox
    • Previous Project Manager and Technical Editor
    • William Shaw
    • Project Director
    • Adam McCune
    • Project Coordinator, UNC:
    • Natasha Smith, Carolina Digital Library and Archives
    • Project Coordinator, University of Rochester:
    • Sarah Jones
    • Scanning:
    • UNC Digital Production Center
    • XML Encoding:
    • Apex CoVantage
    • Additional Transcription:
    • Adam McCune
    • Jennifer Park
    • Emendations:
    • Rachael Isom
    • Mary Learner
    • Adam McCune
    • Ashley Reed
    • Jennifer Park
    • Scott Robinson
    • XSLT Development:
    • Adam McCune
    • Joseph Ryan
    • William Shaw
    • PHP and Solr Development:
    • Michael Fox
    • Adam McCune
    • Project Assistants:
    • Lauren Cameron,
    • Rachael Isom,
    • Mary Learner,
    • Jennifer Park,
    • Ashley Reed,
    • Adair Rispoli,
    • Scott Robinson
    • Sponsors
    • Funders
    • Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly
    • William Blake Archive
    • Carolina Digital Library and Archives
    • Use Restrictions
    • Copyright © 2015 Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly, all rights reserved. Items in this digital edition may be shared in accordance with the Fair Use provisions of U.S. copyright law. Redistribution or republication on other terms, in any medium, requires express written consent from the editors and advance notification of the publisher. Permission to reproduce the graphic images in this digital edition rests with the owning institutions.