begin page 89 | back to top



A glance through Bibliotheca Reediana (London, 1807), the sale catalogue of the library of Isaac Reed, reveals that gentleman as a bookbuyer with interests far outside his own profession of theater history. He was in fact a kind of bookstall omnivore. It is therefore not surprising that, as a friend of William Hayley and George Romney, Reed left two works by William Blake among the possessions to be auctioned after his death.

In their Blake Bibliography, Professors Bentley and Nurmi list one of these, but inaccurately (see item 431). “Blake’s Poetical Sketches— 1783” appears in the auction catalogue but as lot 6577 and on page 302, not as the bibliographers note. According to the priced catalogue in the Harvard College Library, the Poetical Sketches sold for six shillings sixpence, a respectable price for the sale, on the thirtieth day of the auction, December 5, 1807.

A second Blake item, not listed in Bentley and Nurmi, was sold nine days later among the prints and manuscripts. Lot 8936 (on page 404 of the catalogue) contained an unspecified number of prints including “Designs to a Series of Ballads, by Hayley, engraved by Blake, 2 No. 1802”—clearly Bentley and Nurmi number 375. This reference is the fifth known type-printed allusion to Blake during 1807 (see A Blake Bibliography, p. xvii). The entire lot, with the now very rare “Designs,” brought eleven shillings sixpence.

Print Edition

  • Publisher
  • Department of English, University of California
  • Berkeley, CA, USA
    • Editor
    • Morton D. Paley
    • Associate Editors
    • Donald D. Ault
    • Andrew Griffin
    • Editorial Assistant
    • Patricia Pelfrey

    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.