Blake in the Marketplace, 1997
Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
1997 may have fallen just short of being an annus mirabilis for the Blake marketplace, but it can fairly lay claim to being an annus revelatio. The first month brought forth the first discovery: a previously-unrecorded impression, in a previously-unknown early state, of one of Blake’s original separate plates, “Lucifer and the Pope in Hell.” Further, this newly-discovered impression (see illus. 10 and compare to illus. 11 and 12) is a “touched” proof—that is, it bears pencil additions by Blake indicating further work to be considered for execution on the copperplate. As far as I can determine, this is the only extant touched proof of any of Blake’s separate plates. Such proofs help us understand Blake’s working methods and give us a brief glimpse of the printmaker thinking with his hands and eyes as he sketches with a pencil over a trial impression in an early state. Along with “Albion rose” and “The Accusers of Theft Adultery Murder,” “Lucifer and the Pope in Hell” is one of Blake’s rarest separate plates. All three are products of the first half of the 1790s and express Blake’s radical political views of that period. Any comprehensive account of these views must consider their pictorial, and not just their textual, expression.
Patrick Noon, formerly the Curator of Drawings and Prints at the Yale Center for British Art, recognized some time ago that an unattributed drawing in the Center’s collection was a work by Blake. This discovery was not announced until the publication of Noon’s catalogue for the Blake exhibition at the Center, 2 April through 6 July 1997. See illus. 8 and its caption for the drawing and information about it.
John Windle, the San Francisco book dealer who specializes in Blake and his circle, was as usual in London in June to exhibit at one, and attend all, of the annual book fairs. He also paid a visit to Christie’s, where he found a rather ordinary copy of the Job engravings. Tucked within this volume was something extraordinary—a copy of plates 25-27 of Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, accompanied by a handwritten note by the collector Frank Rinder. A brief glance at Bentley’s Blake Books proved to Windle that he had rediscovered copy M of The Marriage, untraced since its sale at the great Linnell auction of 1918. Christie’s offered copy M for sale on 26 November. Bidding was surprisingly muted and Windle, acting for the Bentley collection of Toronto, had to battle only against the reserve (the price below which the auction house will not sell a specific lot). Thus, with a bid of just £9,000 (£10,350 with the buyer’s premium), Windle acquired the prize. See illus. 4 and its caption for details about copy M.
One further plate from an illuminated book changed hands in 1997. Europe plate 1, sometimes titled “The Ancient of Days” or “God Creating the Universe,” is probably Blake’s best-known design and arguably among the most famous images in the English-speaking world. The impression formerly owned by the artist and printer Leonard Baskin has now migrated into my collection (illus. 1). It is the first original print of “The Ancient of Days” to appear on the market since 1970, when Paul Mellon purchased the version in brown ink, now in the Yale Center for British Art, from the New Haven book dealer C. A. Stonehill. For reproductions and some new information (or at least speculations) about “The Ancient of Days,” see illus. 1-3 and their captions.
Early in August, a woman of some years walked into the London, Bond Street, shop of Marlborough Rare Books. She carried a shopping bag containing three volumes: a late nineteenth-century edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress; an album of magazine and newspaper clippings about Shakespeare, mostly dating from the 1920s; and George Cumberland’s copy of Blake’s 1809 Descriptive Catalogue, last recorded by Cumberland in his journal in November 1809 and the only traced example remaining in private hands. These books had been acquired by the woman’s late father many years ago. I have no information about the destiny of the first two works; after some complex but friendly negotiations, with Michael Brand of Marlborough and John Windle acting as intermediaries, the Descriptive Catalogue made its way into my collection. The printed text is richly supplemented, with unique annotations by Blake, a flyleaf note by Cumberland (“They say Blake was mad: If so Shakespeare & Milton were so too....”), and two letters by John Linnell. See the entry below under “First Editions of Blake’s Writings” and illus. 5-7 and their captions for more information on this slender but intriguing pamphlet.
The Tate Gallery has long been the possessor and exhibitor of 10 of Blake’s 12 large color prints, designed and first executed in 1795. The missing designs were Naomi Entreating Ruth and Orpah (impressions are in the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum) and Satan Exulting over Eve (Getty Museum and collection of the artist John Craxton). The Craxton impression of Satan Exulting was acquired by the Tate early in 1997. This purchase, assisted by several charitable institutions and private individuals, was made as a most fitting tribute to Martin Butlin, begin page 109 | ↑ back to top formerly the Keeper of the British Collection at the Tate and, as all readers of this journal will know, one of the great Blake scholars of this century. On arrival at the Tate, the print was almost invisible because of one or more coats of dark brown varnish. There may also be some rather clumsy restorations under the varnish, particularly on Satan’s face. The Gallery’s conservation department hopes to improve the print’s appearance by the time you are reading this.
The first Blake drawing to appear at auction in 1997 did exceedingly well. His light and sketchy (a dealer would say “delicate and sensitive”) preliminary drawing of the Last Judgment (Butlin #643) was offered by Christie’s London on 8 April with an estimate of £4000-6000. Even though the fullpage illustration in the auction catalogue rendered the image almost invisible, spirited bidding by agents acting for two collectors drove the winning bid to £10,500. With the addition of auction-house fees, agents fees, value-added tax on the former, and a strong pound, the final cost approached $20,000. This I believe is a record price for one of Blake’s documentary drawings with little visual impact. Perhaps the subject alone, so important to Blake, stimulated the market. I have not yet been able to discover the identity of the new owner. My best guess—and it is no more than that—is that the successful bidder was the same British private collector who acquired Blake’s illustrations to Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in 1996.
On 13 November, Sotheby’s London offered, in one lot and in one frame, two of Blake’s preliminary drawings for his 1821 Virgil wood engravings (illus. 9). Although not a completely unanticipated discovery like the early state of “Lucifer and the Pope in Hell,” these wash drawings must surely count as an important rediscovery. They were last recorded in the now legendary 1939 Blake exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the catalogue of which names “Dr. Frederick T. Murphy” as their owner. Sotheby’s estimate of £8000-12,000 for the pair was ludicrously low, particularly since the New York branch of the same firm sold a single Virgil drawing for $79,750 in 1992 (Butlin #769.19, now in the collection of Maurice Sendak). The print-dealer Nicholas Lott (formerly of Connecticut, now of Bath, England) was a witness to the drama and reports that the bidding was “a real battle,” with considerable telephone activity, contestants jumping in and out of the fray, and a suspense-generating pace with increments of only £1000. The drawings were finally knocked down to Lott, acting for me, at £64,000 (£71,900 with the buyer’s premium added). Over the last 15 years, several of the Virgil drawings have changed ownership; for a complete accounting of their present whereabouts and other information on the Virgil designs, see Appendix 2, below.
The Virgil drawings were sold in the morning of the 13th; in the afternoon, Sotheby’s offered a large (739 lots) collection of late eighteenth-century British etchings, engravings, and mezzotints in many genres, from historical to landscape to caricature. All had been in the same family since their original purchase at or near the time of publication. The group included a stunning collection of separate prints after Fuseli (11 prints in seven lots), with three printed in colors. The sale also placed on offer a rare copy engraving by Blake (“Venus Dissuades Adonis from Hunting” after Richard Cosway) and prints after John Hamilton Mortimer and James Barry (prints by both artists gathered into just one lot each). All lots bore surprisingly high estimates; all are recorded below under the name of their designers. A selection of significant works by Blake’s circle and followers are reproduced here as illus. 13-17.
Perhaps the most exciting revelations of 1997 came late in the year: the rediscovery of “The Ancient of Days” copy D (see illus. 3) and the discovery of a previously unknown letter of 1 Sept. 1800 from Blake to George Cumberland, three pages long and concluding with seven lines of verse. An article about the letter, with of course reproductions and a transcription, is now in preparation by Morton Paley and myself for publication in the next issue of this journal.
It is remarkable, as the twentieth century slouches to a close, that Blakean treasures of the sort recorded here are still coming to light. It gives the collector, curator, and materialist scholar hope for the next millennium. We are already seeing Blake reduced to 1 and 0, pixels per square inch (the modern equivalent of stipple engraving—of which Blake was both a master and a severe critic), and other Newtonian and discontinuous quantifications of the ideology of a line continuous in its minutest subdivisions (see Blake’s letter to Cumberland, 12 April 1827, E 783); but the retardataire romanticists and children among us will continue to worship the Benjaminesque “aura” of what they privilege as the original, the autographic. Photography has yet to destroy the market for paintings; the internet has yet to supersede the pieces of ink-spattered paper you are holding in your hands (or those that Blake held in his). “Progress” in this arena is supplementary, not supplantive. Just follow the money.
Sadly, I must again record the death of a fellow Blake collector. George Armin Goyder, associated for many years with the Blake Trust and other Blakean activities in Britain, died early in 1997. As I recorded in my 1995 sales review (Blake 29 : 111), two of the Blake tempera paintings from the Goyder collection, Christ the Mediator and The Flight into Egypt (Butlin #429, 404), are on long-term loan to the Tate Gallery; both were on public exhibit when I visited the Tate in late March and early April 1997. George was a dedicated Christian, long active in the Church of England. His religious faith and his love of Blake were intimately connected. Most appropriately, a memorial service was held on 2 April 1997 in St. James’s Church, Piccadilly—the church in which Blake was baptized. Celebrations of George’s life and achievements were presented by several of his business associates and friends, including Martin begin page 110-112 | ↑ back to topbegin page 113 | ↑ back to top begin page 114 | ↑ back to top Butlin. A considerable number of George’s books were offered at auction by Christie’s on 26 November in the same sale in which The Marriage of Heaven and Hell copy M was offered. The Blake lots within the scope of this review are listed, with the Goyder provenances noted, in the appropriate sections below.
The year of all sales and catalogues in the following lists is 1997 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 buyer’s surcharge in Britain is not included. Late 1997 sales will be covered in the 1998 review. I am grateful for help in compiling this review to Elizabeth B. Bentley, G. E. Bentley, Jr., Sidney Berger, Michael Brand of Marlborough Rare Books, Michael Campbell, Detlef Dörrbecker, Harriet Drummond of Christie’s, John E. Grant, Robin Hamlyn of the Tate Gallery, Donald Heald, Thomas V. Lange of the Huntington Library (my source for many dealer catalogues recorded here), Nicholas Lott, Edward Mendelson, Patrick Noon (formerly of the Yale Center for British Art and now at the Minneapolis Museum of Art), Kimberly Orlijan, Kelly Pask of the Hood Museum of Art, Joseph Viscomi, Robert Wark, David Weinglass, John Windle, Henry Wemyss of Sotheby’s, and Andrew Wyld of Agnew’s. Once again, Patricia Neill’s editorial assistance and John Sullivan’s electronic imaging have been invaluable.
|BBA||Bloomsbury Book Auctions, London|
|Bentley||G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Books (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1977). Plate numbers and copy designations for Blake’s illuminated books follow Bentley.|
|BR||G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Records (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1969).|
|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)|
|CE||Christie’s East, New York|
|CNY||Christie’s, New York|
|CSK||Christie’s, South Kensington|
|Essick||Robert N. Essick, The Separate Plates of William Blake: A Catalogue (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1983).|
|illus.||the item or part thereof is reproduced in the catalogue|
|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|
Europe, pl. 1 (“The Ancient of Days”), from copy c. Relief and white-line etching, 2nd st., etched and printed in blue in 1794, image 23.4 × 16.8 cm., sheet of wove paper 24.4 × 17.7 cm. Acquired May by the dealer John Windle from Leonard Baskin through his son, the book dealer Josiah (“Josy”) Baskin; acquired in the same month by R. Essick. See illus. 1-3.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy M (pls. 25-27, “A Song of Liberty,” only). Relief etchings, 1790, printed in dark brown ink, pl. 25 in the 1st st., all but part of the heading of the “Chorus” on pl. 27 not printed. CL, 26 Nov., #166, pls. 25-26 (the inner opening) illus. color (£10,350 on an estimate of £10,000-15,000 to J. Windle acting for the Bentley collection, Toronto). See illus. 4 and the 2 illus. accompanying Bentley’s “William Blake and His Circle,” also appearing in this issue.
Manuscripts and Letters
Autograph letter signed but not dated from Blake to George Cumberland, postmark 1 Sept. 1800. 3 pages, concluding with 7 lines of verse. Previously unrecorded. Acquired late Nov. by R. Essick, with information provided by Morton Paley and the assistance of John Windle, from a British private collector. Reproduction, transcription, and essay forthcoming in the next issue of this journal.
First Editions of Blake’s Writings First Published in Letterpress in Blake’s Lifetime
Descriptive Catalogue, 1809. Marlborough Rare Books, Aug. private offer, lacking the “Index” leaf, wove paper with an “1807” watermark on leaves E1, F1, and G1, “AP” watermark on leaves E3 and F3, with the address added by Blake in pen and ink on the title page (see illus. 5), further additions by Blake in pen and ink on pp. iv, 33, and 64 (the first 2 revisions unique to this copy; see illus. 6), George Cumberland’s copy with his signature in pencil at the top of the title page, numerous passages side-lined in pencil, “No 3” (probably a reference to the picture so numbered in the cat.) in pencil at the foot of p. 51, “No 1-” in pencil at the foot of p. 53, “No 2” in pencil at the foot of p. 54, “bounding form” repeated from the printed text in pencil at the foot of p. 64 (all these pencil inscriptions probably, and the last almost certainly, by Cumberland), a few passages sidelined in ink and “permanent” on p. 6 underlined in ink with “W L” (a reference to “white lead,” referred to in the begin page 115 | ↑ back to top same printed sentence?) written in ink by an as-yet-unidentified hand above “permanent,” note by Cumberland (signed “GC” and dated “1842”(?)—see illus. 7 and its caption) in ink on the recto of the back free endpaper, autograph letter signed by John Linnell to “Dear Sir” (very probably Cumberland) dated 18 March 1833 pasted to inside front cover, autograph letter by Linnell to “Mr Cumberland” (very probably George Cumberland, Jr.) dated 9 Jan. 1876 pasted to recto of front free endpaper, clipping of a printed letter by “Dora Greenwell” from a journal of newspaper (letter dated 27 Dec. 1875, titled “Vivisection,” and concluded with 26 lines from Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence”) pasted to the inside back cover, pen and ink letter to “Dear Sir” (probably George Cumberland, Jr.) signed by Greenwell and dated 25 Jan. (no year, but almost certainly 1876 since it implies that the recipient had read the printed letter on vivisection) pasted to verso of back free endpaper, gray boards with fine pebble-grain blue cloth spine of c. 1830, 3 stab-holes from an earlier binding near the inner margin of all leaves, uncut, leaves 19 × 11 cm. (acquired Aug. by R. Essick). For further information, see the brief discussion in the introductory essay (above) and illus. 5-7 and their captions.
Drawings and Paintings
Satan Exulting over Eve. Planographic color print, 1795. 43.2 × 53.4 cm. Butlin #291. Acquired March by the Tate Gallery, London, from John Craxton. See comments on this acquisition in the introductory essay, above.
Study for a Destroying Deity. Pencil, 45 × 61 cm., datable on stylistic grounds to c. 1820-25. Acquired by the Yale Center for British Art in 1977 and recently attributed to Blake by Patrick Noon. See illus. 8.
Study for the Last Judgment. Pencil, 36.8 × 26.3 cm. Inscribed lower right by Frederick Tatham, “William Blake/for his Last Judgment/[slight deleted] Frederick Tatham,” further inscription on the verso making reference to 2 other Blake drawings. Butlin #643. CL, 8 April, #17, illus. (£12,075 on an estimate of £4000-6000). The purchaser has not responded to my inquiry, kindly passed on by Harriet Drummond of Christie’s London. See the introductory essay to this sales review for an irresponsible speculation about the identity of the new owner.
Thenot and Colinet Converse Seated Beneath Two Trees and For Him Our Yearly Wakes and Feasts We Hold, 2 preliminary drawings for the 1821 Virgil wood engravings. Pencil, pen, and gray wash, 3.5 × 9.5 cm. and 3.7 × 9.5 cm. Butlin #769.2, 769.13. SL, 13 Nov., #56, illus. color (£71,900 to N. Lott for R. Essick on an estimate of £8000-12,000). See illus. 9 and Appendix 2.
Separate Plates and Plates in Series
A modern bound folio vol. containing engravings by Blake pasted to rectos only of its leaves, including both separate pls. and pls. removed from books, Adam Mills, Nov. cat. 42, #237, modern quarter morocco portfolio, some leaves blank, others with evidence of the removal of prints, “full listing [of contents] available on request” (£1500; acquired by J. Windle for stock). Courtesy of Windle, I inspected this vol. early in Jan. 1998 and found the following prints: “Rev. John Caspar Lavater” trimmed to the image, tears in corners (Essick impression 3N); Wit’s Magazine, pl. 4; Darwin, Botanic Garden, pl. 1; Hayley, Life of Cowper, pls. 1-2 (1st sts.); Muir facsimile of Little Tom the Sailor, laid paper, folds reinforced on verso; Blair, The Grave,  folio with 1813 imprints, pls. 3, 5, 6; “Mrs Q,” Blake after Villiers, minor foxing (Essick impression 2H); Rees, Cyclopaedia, pls. 1-3B, 4-7; “Christ Trampling on Satan,” Butts after Blake, heavy wove paper, fine impression with full margins (impression not in Essick); Shakespeare, Plays, both pls. after Fuseli, worn (and thus probably from the 9-vol. issue); Novelist’s Magazine, pl. 2 for Don Quixote, 2nd st., pls. 1-3 for Sir Charles Grandison, 1st sts., pl. 1 for Sentimental Journey, 1st st.
“Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims.” CNY, 13 May, #203, 5th st. but “with faint traces of the drypoint inscriptions” of the 4th st., laid India (and thus probably a Colnaghi impression), scattered foxing, pale staining in margins, illus. ($2070). Swann, 22 May, #118, 5th st. on laid India (and thus very probably a Colnaghi impression), small margins ($7762 to the dealer J. Windle for stock).
Dante engravings. Donald Heald, Feb. San Francisco Book Fair, complete set, printing uncertain but probably c. 1892, the Moncure Biddle and Garden Inc. copy, full green morocco folding case ($50,000). Both Heald and I have seen several sets (including the next below) in the same style of morocco folding case, probably made c. 1880-1910. Perhaps such cases were supplied by the Linnell family to customers who bought sets of the Dante pls. directly from them. Heritage Book Shop, March cat. for the New York Book Fair, #18, complete set, printing uncertain but probably c. 1892, with the printed label, full green morocco folding case, Philip Hofer’s copy with his bookplate ($45,000). Pls. 1, 2, 5-6 only, the 1st on laid India, the other 3 find and early impressions directly on laid paper, acquired 1st half of 1997 by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, by bequest from Adolph Weil, Jr., who acquired the prints from the London dealer William Weston, who had acquired them (plus pls. 3 and 7 on laid paper) at CL, 29 June 1989, #13, pl. 2 illus. (£24,200 to Weston). CL, 26 June, #18, complete set on laid India, probably the 1892 printing, a few foxmarks, loose in modern begin page 116 | ↑ back to top
Job engravings. Maggs, June private offer, first printing after removal of “Proof” inscriptions (although a few fragments remain on some pls.), on J Whatman 1825 and J Whatman Turkey Mill 1825 paper trimmed to 29.5 × 25 cm., 19th-century quarter morocco over cloth, Job label recently pasted by Maggs to the inside front cover, pencil inscription on the front free endpaper (“John & Myfanwy [the artist John Piper and his wife, Myfanwy Evans] with love from K [according to Maggs, the art historian Kenneth Clark, later Lord Clark] Christmas 1945”), with fragments of erased pencil inscriptions between the lower borders of the images and the lower platemarks on some pls., apparently written (and then partly erased?) by Piper, probably used by Piper when he was designing costumes and sets for a production of the Job ballet first presented in 1948 (acquired by J. Windle for R. Essick). SL, 24 June, complete set, 1st printing after removal of “Proof” inscriptions, apparently on Whatman paper, “wide margins,” slight foxing, framed, pl. 3 illus. (£6325). CL, 26 June, #19, title and 19 of 21 pls. only (lacking pls. inscribed 6 and 9), on J Whatman 1825 paper, first printing after removal of “Proof” inscriptions, “wide margins,” some foxing in margins, loose in an album, pls. 3 and 14 illus. (not sold; estimate £12,000-15,000); #20, complete set on laid India, 1874 printing, “wide margins,” a few foxmarks, apparently loose, pls. 2 and 16 illus. (not sold; estimate £5500-6500). Simon Finch, July cat. 31, #19, complete set, published “Proof” issue on India laid on J Whatman Turkey Mill 1825 backing paper, trimmed slightly to 38.4 × 26.8 cm., interleaved with tissue guards, “original drab paper wrappers and spine laid down and bound in at the end,” original printed label (unpriced) on a front endpaper, “Linnell’s autograph advertisement for the work” (see Note below) laid down on a front endpaper, half morocco (£26,000); same copy and price, Nov. cat. 32, #18, pl. 8 illus. Sims Reed, Oct. cat., #367, complete set, published “Proof” issue on India laid on wove (watermarks, if any, not recorded), apparently begin page 117 | ↑ back to top loose (or at least the dealer makes no mention of a binding), title page (showing considerable foxing) and pl. 13 illus. (£28,500); same copy and price, Dec. cat., #60. CL, 26 Nov., #168, “Proof” issue on “French” paper, some light spotting, some repaired holes in margins, “original red paper boards with variant original title label pasted on upper cover, . . .in its original box as described by Linnell[?],” pl. 6 illus. (£16,100). CL, 9 Dec., #2, 20 (of 22 pls.) only, including the title plate, on J Whatman 1825 paper, first printing after removal of “Proof” inscriptions, “wide margins,” some slight staining, housed in a album, pls. 3 and 14 illus. (not sold; estimate £8000-12,000).
A Note on Linnell’s Job Advertisement. The copy of the Job “Proof” issue offered by the London dealer Simon Finch, as listed above, is said in Finch’s cat. 31 to include a manuscript “Advertisement” for the engravings written (but not signed) by John Linnell. According to the Finch cat., this Advertisement reads as follows: “Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job. Consisting of 22 Plates engraved by himself upon Copper from his own Designs. Price to subscribers [£]3.3[s.] Proof on India paper [£]5.5[s.] Subscriptions [£]1. received by the Author Wm. Blake. 3 Fountain Court, Strand or Mr. J. Linnell 6. Cirencester Place Fitzroy Square. These Plates are engraved entirely by Mr Blake with the graver only (that is without the aid of aqua fortis).” The final, important sentence about the method of executing the plates repeats a statement found in a “note” by Linnell among the Ivimy papers (see BR 234n1). My own study of the Job engravings over the last 32 years confirms Linnell’s claim, except that Blake used preliminary drypoint sketching in both the central and border designs of the Job engravings.
“Lucifer and the Pope in Hell.” Intaglio etching/engraving, c. 1794. A touched proof of a previously-unrecorded 1st st., acquired Jan. by R. Essick from a private American collector. Formerly folded down the middle and bound in an extra-illus. copy of Alexander Gilchrist, Life of William Blake (1863). Not previously recorded. See illus. 10-12 and their captions.
“Revd. Robert Hawker,” Blake after Ponsford. Nicholas Lott, April private offer, trimmed inside the platemark (price on application). Perhaps the same impression offered CL, 13 May 1986, #53, illus. (not sold).
“Rev. John Caspar Lavater,” Blake after an unknown artist. Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, bridge of nose badly rubbed, cut close (£75).
“Venus Dissuades Adonis from Hunting,” Blake after R. Cosway, 1787. SL, Nov. 13, #704, the only traced impression of the 1st st. with the imprint, not recorded in Essick, illus. (£690 to the dealer Nicholas Lott for stock).
Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake, Including Prints Extracted From Such Books
Ariosto, Orlando Furioso. A & Y Cumming, Feb. cat. 3, #2, 1799 ed., 5 vols., no mention of Blake’s pl., contemporary morocco rubbed (£300). The Book Shop (Covina, California), Feb. San Francisco Book Fair, 1799 ed., 5 vols., Blake’s pl. water-stained in the margins, contemporary calf worn ($300). Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #141, 1799 ed., 5 vols., contemporary calf, hinges just holding (£200); same copy, Nov. cat. 42, #4 (£165). Ursus Rare Books, Sept. cat. 195, #2, 1791 ed., 2 vols., later half calf ($575).
Blair, The Grave. D & D Galleries, Feb. private offer, 1808 quarto, uncut in original boards rebacked with cloth, cover begin page 118 | ↑ back to top label worn, some foxing ($2000). Nudelman Books, Feb. San Francisco Book Fair, 1808 quarto, later quarter calf ($2750); same copy and price, wrongly described as a “small folio,” Sept. cat. 21, #31. Ken Spelman, April cat. 35, #123,  folio, recent half cloth, marbled boards (£120). Chapel Hill Rare Books, April cat. 112, #33, 1808 quarto, some foxing, William Bateson’s copy with his pencil signature, contemporary mottled boards rebacked with calf ($2000). SL, 22 May, #86, 1808 quarto, contemporary half calf worn (£517); #87, 1808 quarto, spotted and soiled, uncut in later cloth worn (£230). SL, 31 Oct., #151, 1813 quarto, “original cloth” (and thus actually the  folio?), binding worn with joints split; with Grierson, ed., Blake’s Designs for Gray’s Poems, 1922 (£322). Adam Mills, Nov. cat. 42, #28, 1813 folio, mixture (as usual for this issue) of 1808 folio and quarto sts. of the pls., frontispiece portrait on laid India, some spotting, modern quarter morocco (£500). Robert Clark, Nov. cat. 49, #255, 1808 quarto, some pls. slightly foxed, lacking the prospectus for Stothard’s “Canterbury Pilgrims” print, half morocco (£850). CL, 26 Nov., #103, 1808 quarto, verso of dedication leaf with a 29-line note in pencil signed by the artist David Scott, autograph 14-line poem by William Bell Scott, “On Seeing again after many years William Blake’s Designs for ‘The Grave,’” pasted in at end, quarter morocco, from the collection of George Goyder; with the 5 pls. from Hayley, Ballads (1805), 1st sts., mounted in a paper-covered album (£977 to Elizabeth B. Bentley for the Bentley collection, Toronto). W. B. Scott’s poem on Blake’s Grave designs was published in George Goyder, “An Unpublished [sic?] Poem about Blake by William Bell Scott,” Blake Newsletter 10 (1977): 125. A slightly different version was published 85 years earlier as a “sonnet” in Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott, ed. W. Minto (London: Osgood, McIlvaine & Co., and New York: Harper & Brothers, 1892) 1:23-24. SL, 22 Oct., #69, the 12 pls. and the frontispiece portrait of Blake only, “later reprints[?],” stained and foxed (not sold; estimate £400-500).
Bryant, New System, 1774-76. Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #137, 1st ed., 3 vols., contemporary calf rebacked (£455). Kenneth Karmiole, Nov. cat. 10, #52, 1st ed., 3 vols., calf rebacked ($600).
Bürger, Leonora, 1796. Ursus Books, March private offer, modern morocco, inscription at foot of pl. 1, “alter’d” from Young’s Night Thoughts, partly trimmed off (price on request).
Cumberland, Outlines from the Antients, 1829. Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #147, large-paper issue with the pls. on laid India, some spotting, the Duke of Bedford’s copy, contemporary calf (£1750); same copy, Nov. cat. 42, #73 (£1450).
Cumberland, Thoughts on Outline, 1796. Phillip Pirages, April cat. 39, inscribed “from the author” on leaf before title, original boards uncut and unopened, new paper spine, some wear, 1 (spotted) pl. illus. ($1900). There seems to be no market for this copy; it has appeared in numerous Pirages’ cats. over the last 3 years.
Darwin, Botanic Garden. Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #139, 1791, 1st ed. of Part 1, 2nd ed. of Part 2, contemporary calf rebacked (£450); same copy, Nov. cat. 42, #82 (£375). Waterfield’s, Sept. cat. 169, #44, 1799 octavo ed., 2 vols., modern quarter calf (£175). Ken Spelman, Nov. cat. 36, #52, 1799 ed., apparently in 2 vols., contemporary calf (£450).
Darwin, Poetical Works, 1806. Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, “Fertilization of Egypt” only, Blake after Fuseli, stained (not priced).
Flaxman, Hesiod designs, 1817. Powell’s Books, Oct. Internet cat., a late reprinting with imprints worn off or removed, foxed, boards recovered in heavy paper, original cover label (an impression of the half-title) reattached ($125).
Flaxman, Iliad designs, 1805. Robert Clark, Feb. cat. 46, #257, minor foxing, original boards rebacked with cover label worn (£175). Waterfield’s, Sept. cat. 169, #70, bound with Flaxman’s Odyssey designs (1805), some marginal tears and waterstaining, light spotting throughout, 20th-century half roan (£185). CSK, 26 Sept., #160, bound with Flaxman’s Odyssey designs (1805), marginal staining to 1 pl., contemporary half roan (£218.50).
Fuseli, Lectures, 1801. Maggs, April private offer, contemporary calf (price on inquiry).
Gay, Fables. BBA, 23 Jan., #74, 1793 ed., 2 vols., foxed, contemporary calf worn (Zacks, £138). Robert Clark, Feb. cat. 46, #204,  ed., 2 vols. in 1, minor soiling, recent half calf (£185). A & Y Cumming, Feb. cat. 3, #28, 1793 ed., 2 vols. in 1, contemporary russia rebacked (£480). Maggs, April private offer, 1793 ed., 2 vols., later calf (£465). The Bohemian Bookworm, April private offer,  ed., 2 vols., text and pls. very spotted, covers detached and spines crudely replaced with cloth, a truly miserable copy (£95). Heritage Bookshop, “Spring Catalog 1997,” #942, 1793 ed., 2 vols., lacking 1 pl. but including all 12 by Blake, some light foxing, modern quarter morocco ($750). Simon Finch, Aug. cat. 31, #21, 1793 ed., 2 vols., contemporary calf slightly worn (£625); same copy and price, Nov. cat. 32, #59. CE, 15 Oct., #198, 1793 ed., 2 vols., later half calf worn (not sold; estimate $500-700). BBA, 23 Oct., #158,  ed., 2 vols., some foxing and soiling, contemporary calf worn (Ex Libris, £80).begin page 119 | ↑ back to top
Hayley, Ballads, 1805. Adam Mills, Nov. cat. 42, #114, original boards rebacked with paper, “original spine label retained,” no mention of sts. of the pls., 36 pp. publisher’s cat. bound in (£375). See also under Blair, The Grave, above.
Hayley, Essay on Sculpture, 1800. Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #142, with the errata slip, the Gordon Castle copy, contemporary half calf (£300).
Hayley, Life, and Posthumous Writings, of Cowper, 1803-04. Franklin Gilliam, Feb. San Francisco Book Fair, 1st ed., 3 vols., Blake’s pl. 4 in the rare 1st st., the supplement of 1806 bound in vol. 3, contemporary calf worn, hinges weak (in spite of the external condition, a bargain at $250). Blackwell’s, Feb. cat. B119, #313, 1st ed., frontispiece to vol. 1 laid down, some contemporary marginalia in ink, with 2 other vols. related to Cowper, 1 to Burns, and 1 to Bloomfield, 5 vols. in all (£800). Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, pl. 3 only, portrait of Cowper after Lawrence, 1st st. (£95). Adam Mills, June cat. 41, #20, 1st ed. with the Supplement of 1806, “folio” (almost certainly the usual quarto; I’ve never seen a folio printing), 4 vols., vols. 1-3 lacking half-titles, some spotting, modern quarter calf (£375). Bernard Shapero, Aug. cat., #95, 1st ed., “two volumes” (thus lacking 1 vol., or 3 vols. bound in 2?), contemporary calf (£225). Heritage Book Shop, Sept. private offer, 1st ed., 3 vols., pl. 4 in the 2nd st., contemporary calf ($500). Sims Reed, Dec. cat., #59, apparently 1st ed., 3 vols., contemporary half calf (£450).
Hayley, Life of Romney, 1809. Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #145, contemporary half calf, joints cracking (£400); same copy, Nov. cat. 42, #115 (£350).
Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 1803. Quaritch, Jan. private offer, large-paper issue, contemporary calf (£1200). Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #143, large-paper issue, contemporary calf rebacked (£600). Ken Spelman, April cat. 35, #122, apparently small-paper issue, contemporary calf rebacked, pl. 5 illus. (£140). Lawson, Aug. cat. 285, #67, apparently small-paper issue, fine and decorative mid-19th-century calf (£245). Phillip Pirages, Oct. cat. 40, #153, large-paper issue, “plates. . .moderately foxed,” modern half calf, pl. 4 illus. ($1500). CL, 26 Nov., #101, large-paper issue, inscribed “From the Author” on the half-title, pls. hand colored “apparently by Blake” (Bentley 579), contemporary half roan rebacked, from the collection of George Goyder, pl. 5 illus. (£4024 on an estimate of £1000-1500 to the dealer Barry Marks). John Windle, the San Francisco book dealer who specializes in Blake, inspected the colored copy noted above. He found the coloring opaque, crude in places, and unsympathetic to the underlying engraved image. In his opinion, the coloring is definitely not by Blake. Elizabeth B. Bentley also studied the book; she found the coloring a little more attractive than did Windle, but came to the same conclusion about attribution. The price suggests that Marks has a different opinion.
Hoare, Inquiry, 1806. Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #144, contemporary marbled boards rebacked in calf (£450); same copy, Nov. cat. 42, #124 (£400).begin page 120 | ↑ back to top
The date concluding this note looks suspiciously like “1849” at first glance. Such a date is disturbingly problematic, given the strong evidence that Cumberland died on 8 August 1848 (according to information supplied by G. E. Bentley, Jr., based on a printed obituary of Cumberland). However, as Kimberly Orlijan has pointed out to me, the concluding numeral looks like Cumberland’s “2,” as written elsewhere in the volume, but with only a slight suggestion of the horizontal base. Thus, my best guess is that the date is 1842.
This copy of A Descriptive Catalogue also contains two letters from John Linnell, the earlier pasted to the inside front cover and the later pasted to the recto of the front free endpaper. Transcriptions follow:
March 18th 1833
Dear Sir [almost certainly George Cumberland]
Having just returned from the country I find your very beautiful figure on my mantle shelf and feel much indebted to you for it.
As to Mr Blake’s works I do not think any person ever possessed a complete set - not even Blake himself[.] what has become of his plates I know not - as Mrs. Blake left all she had not sold to a person [Frederick Tatham] who has since then been a Bankrupt or something like it and I suppose has disposed of what he had -
I have some of his best Drawings and the Job which I shall be happy to shew to your friends.
I am Dr Sir
According to Alexander Gilchrist, Life of William Blake (London and Cambridge: Macmillan, 1863) 1: 126, “The gentleman [Tatham] from whom they [the 10 copperplates for Songs of Innocence and of Experience electrotyped by Gilchrist] were obtained had once the entire series in his possession; but all save these ten were stolen by an ungrateful black he had befriended, who sold them to a smith as old metal.” Tatham (1805-78) is very probably the source for this story of a theft that may have included many copperplates for the illuminated books besides those for the Songs. Linnell’s letter, quoted above, suggests that Tatham himself sold the plates for financial reasons. Linnell, however, did not think kindly of Tatham and, as this letter makes clear, only “suppose[s]” that Tatham sold the plates.
Redstone wood Red Hill Surrey
Jan 9 - /76
Dear Mr Cumberland [almost certainly George Cumberland,Jr.]
As you were the first to introduce me to Blake you are entitled to any information respecting him, but all I have to say about him at present is that the Burlington Art Club are going to exhibit some of his works[.]
I am very unwell just now though very thankful looking to the Author & finisher of our Faith - not looking to clergy or prayer books made by them but the best prayer book - The Book of Psalms in Hebrew & greek[.] Congletons translation I recommend to you because there is the proper Jehovah in its place & not Lord instead which word Lord is also in its place & so there is sense and not confusion. (James & Hawkins 70 Welbeck St. W. London
I am yours truly
John Linnell Seni
In his “Autobiography,” Linnell notes that he first visited Blake “in company with the younger Mr Cumberland”—see BR 257.begin page 121 | ↑ back to top
Hogarth, Works. Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, Blake’s pl. only, a good impression of the 2nd or 3rd published st., framed (£380). Simon Finch, April cat. “Architecture,” #14, undated Baldwin and Cradock ed., 115 pls., scattered foxing, contemporary half morocco worn ($2500); same copy, June cat. 30, #41 (£1500). SL, 10 April, #502, undated Baldwin and Cradock ed., 149 pls. on 113 leaves, dampstained and mildewed throughout, many leaves loose, contemporary calf worn, covers detached (£414); 11 April, #826, undated Baldwin and Cradock ed., 115 pls., some marginal tears and spotting, contemporary half morocco worn (£977). BBA, 22 May, #119, Blake’s pl. only on laid paper (and thus the 2nd proof st. or the 1st or 2nd published sts.?), horizontal crease, rubbed and spotted, with “Paul before Felix” after Hogarth and an engraved portrait of Nelson (not sold; estimate £120-180). SL, 12 June, #338, undated Baldwin and Cradock ed., 132 pls. on 92 leaves only, no mention of Blake’s pl. (£1127); #339, undated Baldwin and Cradock ed., 115 pls., slightly spotted, contemporary half morocco rubbed and soiled (not sold; estimate £1000-1500). SL, 22 Oct., #4, Blake’s pl. disbound, st. not recorded, trimmed within the platemark, damaged at margins, with 10 other pls. after Hogarth (not sold; estimate £400-600). SL, 27 Nov., #227, undated Baldwin and Cradock ed., 115 leaves of pls., contemporary morocco worn (£920).
Hogarth and Blake, The Beggar’s Opera, 1965 portfolio. De Simon Co., May cat. 42, #3, extra-illustrated with a 19th-century impression of Blake’s pl. hand colored, original cloth box ($2250). Same copy offered Adam Mills, Dec. 1996 cat. 39, #170 (£650).
Hunter, Historical Journal, quarto issue, 1793. Quaritch, Jan. cat. 1233, #59, contemporary half russia rebacked, pink boards, rubbed (£6000); same copy, Feb. San Francisco Book Fair ($9500). Reg & Philip Remington, Feb. San Francisco Book Fair, large margins, contemporary calf ($7500). Lawson, Aug. cat. 285, #46, imprint on engraved title cropped (as usual), contemporary half calf rebacked, original spine retained (£1750).
Josephus, Works. CE, 9 April, #146, probably Bentley D or E issue, overall light browning, later half calf, with another vol. unrelated to Blake ($552).
Lavater, Aphorisms. Quaritch, Jan. private offer, 1788 ed., 1st st. of the pl., lacking the half-title, some spotting, half calf repaired (£600); same copy and price, Nov. cat. 1243, #135. Roe and More Rare Books, April private offer, 1794 ed., 2nd st. of the pl. rubbed at top, later quarter calf (£60). Robert Clark, Nov. cat. 49, #176, 1788 ed., minor foxing, “End of vol 1” partly scraped off the title page, contemporary calf rebacked, old spine retained (£165).
Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy. Robert Few, Jan. cat. 9, #93, 1810 ed., 3 vols., lacking the half-titles to the 2nd parts of vols. 2 and 3, some minor spotting, contemporary russia (£1500); #94, 1810 ed., 3 vols. in 5, some minor spotting, contemporary russia rebacked (£850). John Windle, Feb. cat. 27, #38, “1789-1792” (but actually 1789-98) ed., 3 vols. in 5, with a proof of 1 pl. (not by Blake), slight foxing or darkening, contemporary half morocco worn, joints repaired, Blake’s pl. 2 illus. ($4000). Bernard Shapero, Feb. San Francisco Book Fair, “1792” (i.e., c. 1818?) ed., 3 vols. in 5, vol. 1 lacking the Contents leaf, contemporary morocco richly gilt (£1250). SL, 11 April, #833, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, contemporary calf worn, some covers detached or missing, with Lodge, Portraits of Illustrious Personages of Great Britain, 1821-34 (£230); #914, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, some browning, contemporary morocco (£690). Marlborough Rare Books, May cat. 171, #293, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, contemporary morocco (£1500). Auctiones AG/Moirandant Company AG auction, Basil, 4 Dec., 1792 (i.e., 1818?) ed., 3 vols. in 5, contemporary morocco richly gilt (no price information; estimate DM2400).
Malkin, Father’s Memoirs, 1806. Simon Finch, Aug. cat. 31, #20, pls. slightly foxed and browned, inscribed “For Dr Pett / With the Author’s Compliments,” later morocco “rubbed in places” (£950). Maggs, Sept. cat. 1235, #30, uncut in original boards, later cloth spine (£350). CL, 26 Nov., #104, “original cloth-backed boards” (but the boards were originally backed with paper, not cloth), worn, morocco slip-case; with Hoare, Inquiry, 1806, original boards worn, Salzmann, Elements of Morality, 1792, 3 vols., “imperfect,” Enfield, Speaker, 1805 (which does not contain Blake’s pl.), Lavater, Aphorisms, 1788, Montgomery, ed., The Chimney-Sweeper’s Friend, 1825, and Macdonald, A Book of Strife, 1880 (any connection to Blake?); all from the collection of George Goyder (£1840 on an estimate of £700-1000).
Novelist’s Magazine, vol. 10, Sir Charles Grandison. Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, pl. 3 only, Blake after Stothard (£20).
Salzmann, Elements of Morality, 1799. BBA, 21 Aug., #128, 3 vols., 51 pls., some crudely hand colored, contemporary calf very worn, some covers detached; with Helme, History of England (1804), and 10 other children’s books unrelated to Blake (Canterbury Bookshop, £805 on an estimate of £60-80).
Scott, Poetical Works, 1782. Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #138, contemporary half calf rebacked (£360).
Stedman, Narrative. Bernard Shapero, April private offer, 1806 ed., 2 vols., pls. spotted, contemporary calf rebacked (£1525). Chapel Hill Rare Books, April cat. 112, #34, 1806 ed., 2 vols., large-paper issue, pls. hand colored, lacking 1 begin page 122 | ↑ back to top
Stuart and Revett, Antiquities of Athens, 1762-1816. SL, 19 May, #254, 4 vols., lacking 1 pl. in vol. 2, some foxing and dampstaining, later russia rebacked, 1 (non-Blake) pl. illus. (£7475). SL, 26 June, #318, 4 vols., some foxing and dampstaining, half calf worn (£6900).
Varley, Zodiacal Physiognomy, 1828. Adam Mills, June cat. 41, #22, lacking “Plates 5 & 6” (apparently corresponding to Bentley’s pls. 2-3) and “2pp astrological tables,” all provided “in modern facsimile” (i.e., xeroxes?), later half calf (£245). A rather steep price for a copy which would appear to lack 2 out of the 3 pls. by Blake.
Virgil, Pastorals, 1821. A & Y Cumming, Feb. cat. 3, #8, vol. 1 only, scattered foxing to text and pls., original sheep with some worm damage (£9000). Garton & Co., Feb. cat. 67, #2, the 17 wood engravings designed and engraved by Blake removed from the 1821 book, on 5 sheets, 3 cuts illus. ($9200). Sims Reed, Oct. cat., #363, 2 vols., original sheep begin page 123 | ↑ back to top with blind tooling on covers (not present in most copies I’ve seen), gilt spine (£12,500); same copy and price, Dec. cat., #69. Quaritch, Nov. private offer, vol. 1 only, original sheep, from the collection of the artist John Piper (£12,500). CL, 26 Nov., #102, 2 vols., later calf, from the collection of George Goyder, pl. 27 (oddly, the engraving of “Epicurus” rather than a page of the famous wood engravings) illus. (£5175 on an estimate of £2000-3000).
Whitaker, The Seraph, c. 1825-28? Adam Mills, June cat. 41, #21, 2 vols., Jones & Co. issue, contemporary half calf (£300).
Wit’s Magazine, 1784. Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, 3 pls. only: Pl. 1, “The Temple of Mirth,” 1st st., trimmed to image (£30); pl. 3, “Tythe in Kind” (£45); pl. 5, “The Blind Beggar’s Hats,” trimmed to image (£35).
Wollstonecraft, Original Stories, 1791. John Windle, Jan. private offer, 3rd sts. of all pls., modern binding (price on application). This is the only copy of the 1791 ed. I can recall seeing with the 3rd sts., which usually appear in the 1796 ed. Heritage Book Shop, Sept. private offer, most pls. in the rare 1st sts., paper throughout evenly browned, full morocco by Riviere, all edges gilt ($4500). John Hart, Sept. cat. 43, #31, pl. 4 (and probably all other pls.) in 2nd st., repaired tear in pl. 1, “contemporary-style full sheep,” pl. 4 illus. (£1250).
Young, Night Thoughts, 1797, uncolored copies. John Windle, Jan. private offer, with the Explanation leaf, fly-title to Night the Second in the 2nd st., uncut, early (original?) marbled boards, spine worn away, internally very clean with only minor offsets from the pls. (price on inquiry). A & Y Cumming, Feb. cat. 3, #7, with the Explanation leaf (marginal tears repaired), margins “slightly shaved,” contemporary morocco (£10,000). Buddenbrooks, Feb. San Francisco Book Fair, with the Explanation leaf, some pls. trimmed, a very clean copy, later full calf ($9000). SL, 22 May, #88, lacking Explanation leaf, some offsetting of the pls., a few tears, contemporary half calf worn, pl. 5 illus. (£2530). Heritage Book Shop, Oct. cat. for the Boston Book Fair, #11, with the Explanation leaf, fly-title to Night the Second in the 2nd st., slightly trimmed to approx. 42.5 × 32.5 cm., very minor spotting, modern quarter calf ($10,000). Sims Reed, Oct. cat., #371, no mention of the Explanation leaf (and thus not present?), no mention of trimming or leaf size, half calf, pls. 24 and 31 illus. (£6000); Dec. cat., #71, uncut in original blue boards “cloth backed” (cloth not original?), blue endpapers, no mention of the Explanation leaf (£12,000). CL, 26 Nov., #167, with the Explanation leaf, fly-title to Night the Second in the uncommon 1st st., trimmed to approx. 41.2 × 30.7 cm., some offsetting, contemporary half morocco (£4025).
J. Boehme, Works, the so-called “Law’s edition,” 1764-81. SL, 10 April, #200, 4 vols., spotted, no indication of the condition of the illus. with their many and delicate hinged overlays (often torn or missing), lacking half-title and errata leaf in vol. 4, contemporary russia worn, covers detached (£2990—for what I suspect is not a good copy—on an estimate of £300-500). The ed. of Boehme known to Blake and perhaps owned by him—see his comment to Henry Crabb Robinson on the beauty of the “figures” (i.e., the illus.) in “Law’s transl.n” (BR 313).
T. Macklin, Poetic Description of Choice & Valuable Prints, 1794. Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #13, with a presentation inscription from Thomas Bewick to his daughter dated 1799, original glazed green wrappers respined with modern paper, corners repaired (£200). A rare sale cat. offering 4 of Blake’s separate copy engravings after Stothard, Meheux, and Watteau (2).
The Poetry of Various Glees, 1798. Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #140, original calf rebacked (£155). The frontispiece is signed by William Staden Blake of Exchange Alley, an engraver who was in the past confused with the eponymous hero (patriarchal hegemonist?) of this journal. For another W. S. Blake pl., see illus. 13.
C. H. Tatham, Etchings, Representing the Best Examples of Ancient Architecture, 1799. Simon Finch, Nov. cat. 32, #157, contemporary calf slightly worn (£1850). “Mr. William Blake” appears in the list of subscribers (see Bentley 697-98).
W. S. Blake, engraver of Exchange Alley. 2 engravings, c. 1800-10?, for letterheads or insurance forms of the Albion Insurance Company, not previously recorded. Both after designs by Richard Corbould (1757-1831). Image 11.5 × 19.1 cm., signed “W. Blake sc.”; image 11 × 18.9 cm., signed “Blake sc ‘Change Alley” (see illus. 13). Questor Rare Books, April private offer, included in an album of 20 insurance company engravings, with a duplicate of the pl. signed “W. Blake sc.” (acquired by R. Essick). Duplicate pl. and the non-“Blake” pls. in the portfolio given to the Huntington Library.
W. Falconer, The Shipwreck, 1804. Howes, April cat. 274, #72, contemporary russia worn (£85). In a letter of 4 May 1804, Blake thanks Hayley for a copy of this ed. (Bentley 687).
A. Hay, History of Chichester, 1804. Marlborough Rare Books, Nov. cat. 173, #171, contemporary calf worn (£130). Blake probably owned a copy—see Bentley 687-88.begin page 124 | ↑ back to top
J. Hassell, Memoirs of the Life of George Morland, 1806. Robert Clark, Nov. cat. 49, #291, some pls. foxed and soiled, half calf worn (£200). Contains references to Blake’s 2 pls. after Morland, “The Idle Laundress” and “Industrious Cottager,” companion prints of 1788.
I. Reed, sale cat. of his collection, King and Lochee, 1807. BBA, 24 April, #397, contemporary russia worn, covers detached (Maggs, £149). Lot 6577 is Blake’s Poetical Sketches, sold for 6s.6d.
Anon., Letters from an Irish Student in England to His Father in Ireland, 1809. Ximenes Rare Books, Sept. private offer, 2 vols. in 1, 19th-century quarter calf worn and chipped (£265). “As you have heard so much of Mr. Fuzeli, I fear you would suspect that I have negligently passed over his works, were I to omit mentioning him here. If such an apprehension did not operate, I should certainly scarcely think he merited notice in this letter. He has modestly asserted, I am told, that he paints for posterity. I sincerely hope he will afford them more gratification than he does his contemporaries. He has a great admirer and defender, I believe the only one, in a Mr. W. Blake, a miserable engraver, and one of the most eccentric men of the age. This man has hailed him as the modern Michael Angelo” (2:139).
J. Thomas, Religious Emblems, 1809. Alex Fotheringham, Jan. cat. 29, #135, uncut in printed boards, new spine (£190). Blake is listed among the subscribers to this emblem book authored by the man who commissioned some of Blake’s water-color illustrations to Milton’s poetry.begin page 125 | ↑ back to top
Anon., Travels in South America, Dublin: John Jones, 1824. W. & V. Dailey, April private offer, contemporary calf rebacked ($100; acquired by R. Essick). This vol. contains crude, unsigned and untitled wood engravings of Blake’s pls. 4 (“The Mecoo & Kishee Kishee Monkeys,” reversed) and 5 (“The Skinning of the Aboma Snake, shot by Cap. Stedman”) first published in J. G. Stedman, Narrative, of a Five Years’ Expedition, against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796). The wood engravings face pp. 162 and 166 in the 1824 vol. As the “Preface,” p. , in the Travels explains, its text, intended for “young Readers,” is based on “the most authentic and recent accounts of Travellers” to South America, but these have been transformed into a narrative about “a fictitious personage.” Accordingly, the facing page texts describe the monkeys and the snake as seen by a character named “Philips” rather than Stedman.
J. T. Smith, Nollekens and His Times, 1828. Stuart Bennett, Oct. cat. 27, #177, 1st ed., 2 vols., later 19th-century calf ($275). Ken Spelman, Nov. cat. 36, #90, 1st ed., 2 vols., later half morocco (£160). Vol. 2 contains an important, early biography of Blake.
A. and J. Taylor, City Scenes, 1828. Stuart Bennett, March cat. 26, #230, original boards rebacked, original roan spine retained ($250). Adam Mills, March cat. 40, #146, some foxing, quarter morocco rebacked (£325); same copy, Nov. cat. 42, #221 (£275). Contains Blake’s “Holy Thursday” from Songs of Innocence with an engraved illus. unrelated to Blake’s design.
A. Cunningham, Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters, Sculptors and Architects. Clearwater Books, Sept. cat. 72, #90, 6 vols., described as a mixed set of the 1st ed. (1829-33) and 2 vols. of the 2nd ed. (1830-38), but dated “1829-1846” in this cat., half calf rubbed (£265). Vol. 2 contains an important early life of Blake.
R. Heber, sale cat. of his collection, Evans and Sotheby, 1834-36. BBA, April 24, #372, parts 1-11 (of 13) only, some prices and buyers’ names inscribed, modern cloth (Laywood, £276). Lot 99 is Blake’s Poetical Sketches, sold for 2s.
R. Southey, The Doctor, 1834-47. Simon Finch, Aug. cat. 31, #437, 1st ed., 7 vols., contemporary half calf worn (£750). References to Blake in chapters 181 and 214 are “important for the suggestion that William Owen was the source of Blake’s knowledge of Welsh history and literature” (Bentley 918).
Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Pickering ed., 1839. Quaritch, Jan. private offer, 1st issue with “The Little Vagabond,” publisher’s cloth binding that varies from all other copies I have seen, the blind-stamped cartouche on both covers smaller and differently configured, “Blake’s Poems.” stamped in gilt on the spine rather than on the front cover, rebacked with the original spine retained, recto of front free endpaper signed by the editor, J. J. Garth Wilkinson, and dated 16 July 1839 (the week after the printed date of the Preface, p. xxi), with a further presentation inscription on the title page, “From J. J. G. & E. A. Wilkinson as a token of affectionate remembrance to Miss Walsh, London, 1844,” extra-illus. with water colors of the title pages to Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, these illus. perhaps (but by no means certainly) by the William Muir circle of facsimilists (acquired by R. Essick through J. Windle). This copy, with its variant binding and inscribed date by Wilkinson, makes it nearly certain that the issue with “The Little Vagabond” is indeed the 1st issue—as often contended by dealers, but not previously supported by bibliographic or documentary evidence. Lame Duck Books, Oct. cat. 33, #45, 2nd issue lacking “The Little Vagabond,” apparently original cloth rebacked ($2500). Adam Mills, Nov. cat. 42, #238, 1st issue with “The Little Vagabond,” original cloth rebacked with the original backstrip retained, lightly spotted (£750).
“Follower of William Blake,” Triumph over Evil, oil, 142.3 × 49.3 cm. CSK, 11 Sept., #247, illus. color (£1840 on an estimate of £1000-1500). A youthful, Victorian Christ and two warrior angels rise above several Michelangesque devils and a female (Milton’s Sin?) with the body of a serpent. A nicely Blakean subject, but clearly not Blake’s own work. But one shouldn’t quibble; somebody got an impressive slab of paint and canvas, 4½ feet tall, for under £2000.
A. Raimbach, Memoirs and Recollections, 1843. Ken Spelman, Nov. cat. 36, #108, original cloth repaired (£95). Contains a passing reference to “the insane genius Blake.”
W. Upcott, sale cat. of his library, Evans, 1846. BBA, 24 April, #411, prices and buyers’ names inscribed, letters (including some from Dawson Turner) inserted concerning the sale and its preparation, contemporary half vellum (Quaritch, £1725 on an estimate of £200-300); #412, large-paper issue lacking the portrait, original cloth very worn (Laywood, £276); 11 Sept., #283, large-paper issue, original cloth rebacked (Laywood, £253). The sale included copies of Songs of Experience, America, Europe, and (in 1 lot) “Four Drawings, by Blake.”
J. Smetham, Piping Down the Valleys, oil, c. 1860? CL, 6 June, #33, 11.5 × 30.6 cm., illus. color (£2530). A painting illustrating the “Introduction” to Songs of Innocence. A smaller water color of the same subject (and the same image?) was offered by Anthony Reed, spring 1983 cat., #37 (not priced). Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, J. C. Hotten facsimile, 1868. Adam Mills, June cat. 41, #23, “the first Blake facsimile,” foxed as usual, quarto morocco worn (£400).begin page 126 | ↑ back to top begin page 127 | ↑ back to top
Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 2 March 1885 auction cat. of letters from the collection of the Rev. Canon Hodgson, including Blake’s letters of 27 Nov. 1805 to William Hayley (now untraced) and 11 Dec. 1805 to the same (in recent years Keynes collection, now apparently untraced), and 18 letters by John Flaxman to Hayley mentioning Blake or projects with which Blake was involved. Questor Rare Books, April private offer, bound with 4 other Sotheby’s cats. (acquired by R. Essick). Flaxman’s letters to Hayley are quoted from the originals in BR with only 2 exceptions: 31 July 1801 (with “a postscript to Wm. Blake,” according to this auction cat.), and 18 Feb. 1802 (“sends him [Hayley] designs for Cowper’s monument”—i.e., for pl. 6 in Hayley’s Life of Cowper, engraved by Blake).
W. Muir facsimiles of Blake’s illuminated books. Heritage Book Shop, Sept. private offer, Songs of Innocence, 1884, original wrappers, not numbered but clearly an early copy because the front cover is inscribed “With J. Pearson’s Co[mpliments]” (all but first 2 letters of the final word rubbed off), with Songs of Experience, 1885, original wrappers, not numbered but inscribed by Muir “for the [London] Times,” with the 1st issue of Pearson’s “Proposal” for the Muir facsimiles (only the 2nd copy known to me), with a letter by Muir to the London Times dated “28 Nov. 85” puffing his work and noting that Quaritch rather than Pearson had become the distributor, new quarter morocco folding case ($2750). Swann, 20 Nov., 3 lots as follows, all in full sheep with the original wrappers bound in, Muir’s copy numbers not recorded: #31, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell ($862); #32, Milton ($1092); #33, There is No Natural Religion ($862).
Blake, There is No Natural Religion, Pickering facsimile, 1886. Adam Mills, June cat. 41, #24, loose as issued in original wrappers, slip-case (£500). Chapel Hill Rare Books, Dec. cat. 115, #30, full morocco by Riviere & Sons, original blue front wrapper bound in ($500).
Annie French (1873-1965), There’s little Tom Dacre, a water color based on “The Chimney Sweeper” in Songs of Innocence. 27 × 42.5 cm., signed, dated 1920 on the back. SL, 30 Oct., #232, illus. color (not sold; estimate £2000-3000). The image is not related to Blake’s own illustrations to the poem.
Poems from Blake’s Songs of Innocence, illus. Maurice Sendak, London, . CNY, 21 April, #65, 1 of 275 copies, presentation inscription from Sendak to Mary Jarrell (wife of the novelist Randall Jarrell), original pictorial wrappers ($4370 on an estimate of $2000-3000). Surely a record price for a copy of Blake’s poems illus. by someone other than the author.
“A collection of 27 works by or about Blake published by the Trianon Press for the William Blake Trust, formed by George Goyder, a founder member of the Trust, with several annotated by him.” CL, 26 Nov., #106, title page to the Trianon Press facsimile of Jerusalem copy E illus. (£4370 to Sims Reed).begin page 128 | ↑ back to top
“A collection of approximately 92 volumes of books, and 98 volumes of catalogues and pamphlets, being George Goyder’s [Blake] reference library.” CL, 26 Nov., #108 (£2760 to J. Windle for stock).
A wooden chest on attached legs with hinged domed top and tray insert, claw-and-ball feet, white paint and gilt, decorated with reproductions of 18th-century prints of putti and (on the top) lines 5-16 from Blake’s “A Cradle Song” (Songs of Innocence). Chest 50.8 cm. wide, 48.3 cm. high (including legs), 33.7 cm. deep. May Private offer from “Feast,” a faux-antique and curio shop in Pasadena, CA ($600). The ultimate acquisition for the collector of modern Blakeana? Not as ugly as one might suspect, but even I could resist.
Enameled porcelain bonbonnière, a tiger couchant on the lid, with the first quatrain of Blake’s “The Tyger” inscribed on the inside of the lid. Halcyon Days, fall cat., #GW015, illus. color (£125).
Blake’s Circle and Followers
Works are listed under artists’ names in the following order: 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.
“Jupiter and Juno on Mount Ida,” etching, 1777. SL, 22 Oct., #2, 2nd st., minor defects, with a group of 19 engravings after Turner (£632).
Barry, Series of Etchings, 1808. Robert Frew, Aug. cat. 11, #5, minor spotting, contemporary marbled boards rebacked (£3000).
“A Grecian Harvest Home,” 1792. SL, 13 Nov., #717, with 7 other prints by or after Barry, “Grecian Harvest Home” illus. (£1955).
Bacchus and Ariadne. Oil on paper, 28 × 37.5 cm. SL, 10 July, #90, illus. color (not sold; estimate £3000-4000). A late work showing no influence by Blake or Palmer.
Iasius, the Old Arcadian, Teaching the Mysteries of Demeter. Oil on board, 16 × 26.7 cm. CL, 11 Nov., #51, illus. color (£4025). Another late work.
“The Flood,” lithograph. Garton & Co., Sept. cat. 68, #4, fine impression from the 1829 printing retained by the Calvert family until c. 1920, illus. ($5600).
Council of Jupiter, Minerva and Mercury, for Homer’s Odyssey, engraved by Piroli in 1793. Pencil, gray ink, 21.5 × 28.5 cm. SL, 13 Nov., #34 (£598).
The Crucifixion. Pen and gray ink, gray wash, 48.4 × 35.2 cm. Agnew’s, Feb. cat. of English water colors and drawings, #15, illus. (price on application).
Oedipus and Antigone. Gray ink and gray wash, 10 × 7 cm., inscribed “Oedipus Coloneus / Act 1: Sc: 1.” SL, 13 Nov., #36, illus. (£1035).
Study of St. John the Evangelist Holding a Chalice. Brown wash over pencil, 73.5 × 38.5 cm. SL, 13 Nov., #33, illus. (not sold; estimate £4000-6000).
A Young Man with a Child on His Shoulders. Black and gray ink, gray wash, 16.5 × 9.5 cm. SL, 13 Nov., #35, illus. (not sold; estimate £1000-1500). The design—a front view of a young man carrying a child on his shoulders—inevitably reminds the dedicated Blakean of the frontispiece to Songs of Experience.begin page 129 | ↑ back to top
A pair of George IV silver wine coolers, produced c. 1820 by Philip Rundell, with chasing designed by Flaxman c. 1811. Each 8028 grams, 27 cm. high. CL, 5 March auction of “Fine Silver and Objects of Vertu,” #109, both containers illus. in color showing the 2 designs (£78,500 on an estimate of £40,000-60,000). See illus. 14.
Dante designs, 1807. Robert Clark, Nov. cat. 49, #284, some foxing, title pages creased, original cloth with printed paper labels, dampstained (£125).
Eight Illustrations of the Lord’s Prayer, lithographs, 1835. BBA, 19 June, #33, original printed wrappers worn and soiled (Marlborough Rare Books, £80).
Flaxman, Anatomical Studies, 1833. Marlborough Rare Books, May cat. 171, #50, frontispiece portrait of Flaxman foxed, original cloth rebacked, label retained (£480).
Odyssey designs, 1793. Waterfield’s, Sept. cat. 169, #68, some marginal staining, early 20th-century calf worn (£140). See also Flaxman under Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake, above.
Callipyga: Mrs. Fuseli, with Her Skirts Lifting Standing Before a Dressing Table with Phallic Supports. Pen and brown ink, 16 × 9.5 cm. SL, 13 Nov., #59, illus. color (£17,250). See illus. 15.
St. John’s Vision of the Seven Candlesticks. Oil, 132 × 101 cm., datable to 1796 (when painted for Macklin’s Bible). SL, 12 Nov., #120, illus. color—showing some pigment decay, scratches in the surface of the paint, and a vertical rip in the canvas (£137,900 on an estimate of £60,000-80,000). Fuseli painted this work for Thomas Macklin’s Bible Gallery. It was engraved by James Thomson and published, with an imprint date of 14 Jan. 1797, in Macklin’s 1800 ed. of the Bible. Blake illustrated the same passage from Revelation for The Royal Universal Family Bible (pl. imprint dated 23 Feb. 1782).
“Ariadne and Theseus,” mezzotint by J. R. Smith after Fuseli, 1788. SL, 13 Nov., #635, illus., with a 2nd impression, colored (£1725 on an estimate of £800-1000).
“Boreas and Orytheia,” etching. CSK, 22 May, #328, sold as a work by “Henry Fuseli,” “signed by the artist in pencil bottom left,” foxed, illus. (£161). Neither David Weinglass nor I believes that this print is by or after Fuseli; the supposed signature is not Fuseli’s. Although Weinglass informed Christie’s of his opinion in January 1997, the auction house sold the print as a work by Fuseli without any indication (such as “attributed to”) of doubt.
“The Death of Oedipus,” mezzotint by William Ward after Fuseli, 1785. SL, 13 Nov., #636, with “Lady Macbeth Walking in her Sleep,” mezzotint by J. R. Smith, 1784, tears in margins, rubbed; with “Lear Awakens to Find Cordelia beside his Bed,” Mezzotint by J. R. Smith, 1784, rubbed; with “Ezzelin Musing over the Body of his Wife Meduna, Slain by him for her Infidelity During his Absence on the Crusades,” mezzotint by J. R. Smith, 1781, repairs on verso, “Death of Oedipus” illus. (£1840).
“The Nightmare,” stipple engraving by Thomas Burke after Fuseli, 1783. SL, 13 Nov., #633, illus. (£1092 on an estimate of £500-600).
“Prince Arthur’s Vision,” Peltro W. Tomkins after Fuseli, 1788. Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, surface dirt, tears and stains in margins (£160).
“Queen Catherine’s Dream,” stipple engraving by Francesco Bartolozzi after Fuseli, 1788. SL, 13 Nov., #639, color printed; with “Prince Arthur’s Vision,” Peltro W. Tomkins after Fuseli, 1788, color printed, slight foxing and creasing in margins; both illus. color (not sold; estimate £3000-4000).
“Tempest,” engraving by Jean Pierre Simon[e] after Fuseli for Boydell’s Shakespeare, 1797. SL, Nov. 13, #634, color printed with hand coloring, minor damage in margins, illus. (£862).
“Theseus Receiving the Thread from Ariadne,” mezzotint by J. R. Smith after Fuseli, 1788. SL, 13 Nov., #635, some begin page 130 | ↑ back to top
“The Weird Sisters,” mezzotint by J. R. Smith after Fuseli, 1785. SL, 13 Nov., #638, some foxing and creases in margins, illus. (£4255).
“William Tell’s Leap from the Boat,” engraved by Carl Gottlieb after Fuseli, 1788-90. SL, 13 Nov., #637, some creases, illus. (not sold; estimate £1000-1500).
Bonnycastle, Introduction to Astronomy, 1787. BBA, 9 Jan., #338, browned and foxed, contemporary calf worn, upper cover detached (Rogers Turner, £115); 23 Oct., #56, modern calf rebacked with cloth (Bob Mcnaught, £109).
Boydell, Collection of Prints. . .Illustrating. . .Shakespeare, 1803. BBA, 22 May, #109, 30 pls. from vol. 1 only but including at least 1 after Fuseli, disbound (Cherrington, £575). Phillip Pirages, Oct. cat. 40, #168, 96 pls., 2 vols., 19th-century half morocco, 2 pls. (1 after Fuseli) illus. ($5000).
Cowper, Poems, 1806. Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, “A Dressing Room” only, Rhodes after Fuseli (£20).
Darwin, Poetical Works, 1806. Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, “Eros and Dione” only, Dadley after Fuseli (£25).
Fuseli, Lectures on Painting, 1820. Ken Spelman, April cat. 35, #69, contemporary calf rebacked, title-page vignette after Fuseli illus. (£280). Fine Art Catalogues, Oct. cat. 108, #35, some pages wrinkled, calf, title-page vignette after Fuseli illus. (£195).
Gray, Poems, 1800. BBA, 23 Oct., #167, some foxing, half calf, with 5 other vols. of Gray’s poems (Derek Wise, £109).
Knowles, Life and Writings of Fuseli, 1831. Robert Clark, Nov. cat. 49, #287, original cloth faded (£250).begin page 131 | ↑ back to top
Lavater, Physiognomy, 1789-98. Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, group of 8 pls. after Fuseli cut from the vols. (£20-30 each).
Milton, Paradise Lost, Du Roveray ed., 1802. Waterfield’s, Sept. cat. 169, #113, 2 vols., apparently small paper, contemporary calf very worn (£60).
Milton, Paradise Lost, J. Johnson ed., 1808, with the 1802 pls. Roe and Moore Rare Books, April private offer, later calf (£120). Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, 2 pls. only after Fuseli on large sheets (£45 and £50 each).
Pope, Poetical Works, 1804. Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, “Isaiah’s Vision of the Messiah” only, Shipster after Fuseli (£20).
Pope, Rape of the Lock, 1798. Grovesnor Print Shop, March private offer, “The Cave of Spleen” only, Holloway after Fuseli (£25).
Young, Catalogue of Pictures. . .in the Possession of Sir John Fleming Leicester, 1821. BBA, 24 April, #450, contemporary half roan (Quaritch, £149).
A folio of 4 drawings and water colors, each signed and dated 1811, 1813, 1814, 1848. 3 water colors, 1 pen and black ink, the largest 31.5 × 43.5 cm. SL, 13 Nov., #83, drawing of 1813 illus. (£6900 on an estimate of £2000-3000).begin page 132 | ↑ back to top
Balaam and the Angel. Oil, 47 × 68.5 cm., signed and dated 1859. SL, 9 July, #100, illus. color (£3220).
Finchley Common. Pencil, black and white chalk on blue-gray paper, 23.5 × 33.7 cm., signed and dated “1805. . .?” CL, 11 Nov., #56 (£5750 on an estimate of £1000-1500).
Portrait of Captain Edmund Buchan Craigie. Oil, 29.8 × 22.9 cm., signed and dated 1824. CL, 14 Nov., #45, illus. color (£6900 on an estimate of £2500-3500).
Portrait of G. W. Wood. Oil, 48.2 × 38.7 cm., signed and dated 1835. CSK, 13 March, #32, illus. color (£2760).
Portrait of R. J. Thornton, M.D. Pencil, 23 × 18 cm., signed “J. Linnell / J. L. Jany 29.th 1826.” SL, 13 Nov., #55 (£805). Thornton commissioned Blake to execute his wood engravings illustrating a school edition of Virgil’s Pastorals.
Woodcutters in Windsor Forest. Oil, 21 × 26 cm., signed, datable to 1820. SL, 9 July, #89, illus. color (£4140).
Letter to H. Mogford, 27 Dec. 1854. Ian Hodgkins, May cat. 93, #275, concerning the delivery of some paintings (£38).
Letter to W. Holmes, Feb. 1855. Ian Hodgkins, May cat. 93, #276, outlining Linnell’s terms for a painting (£45).
MORTIMER, JOHN HAMILTON
“Nebuchadnezzar Recovering His Reason,” etching, 44.4 × 35.3 cm., Blyth after Mortimer, 1781. Campbell Fine Art, March private offer, very fine impression printed in brown, crease in lower right corner (£1600—probably a record price for any print after Mortimer). SL, 13 Nov., #716, with a large group of other prints after Mortimer, “Nebuchadnezzar” illus. (£690). The design may have influenced Blake’s 1795 color print of “Nebuchadnezzar.” Mortimer’s pen and ink drawing, 40.7 × 36 cm. and the reverse of the etching, was bequeathed to the British Museum by Richard Payne Knight in 1824.
Backways near Tintagel, Cornwall. Water color, 18.5 × 26.7 cm., signed, dated to 1848. Agnew’s, Feb. cat. of English water colors and drawings, #91, illus. (price on application).
The Bay of Naples. Water color with touches of gold, 19.7 × 42 cm. Agnew’s, Feb. cat. of English water colors and drawings, #92, illus. (price on application).begin page 133 | ↑ back to top
The End of the Day: A Recollection of Italy. Water color, 14.6 × 21.3 cm., signed, datable to c. 1871. Spink-Leger, May cat. of water colors and drawings, #60, illus. color (£80,000).
The Evening Star, attributed to Palmer. Mixed media on panel, 22.5 × 27.5 cm. SL, 9 April, #81, illus. color (£21,850 on an estimate £10,000-15,000). See illus. 16 and compare to illus. 17.
Eventide. Water color, 19.7 × 42.2 cm., datable to c. 1858, signed. CL, 7 Nov., #32, illus. color (£37,800).
Harvesting. Water color, 38.2 × 51.4 cm., signed, dated to c. 1851. Agnew’s, Feb. cat. of English water colors and drawings, #88, illus. color (price on application).
Landscape—Twilight. Oil and tempera on panel, 26.5 × 38 cm., datable to 1835. SL, 12 Nov., #102, illus. color (not sold; estimate of £300,000-400,000). See illus. 17.
Morning: The Early Ploughman. Water color, 24.5 × 17.5 cm., signed, squared for transfer, repair near center of image, datable to c. 1863. Artemus Group, New York, April private offer (price on inquiry). Previously sold SL, 14 July 1994, #157 (£31,050).
The Ruins of the Amphitheatre at Pompeii, 1838. Water color, 33 × 49.5 cm. Agnew’s, Feb. cat. of English water colors and drawings, #90, illus. (price on application).
“Herdsman’s Cottage,” etching. SL, 20 March, #76, “published state” (not sold; estimate £200-400). Swann, 22 May, #204, 2nd st., with “The Willow,” etching, 1st st., “Herdsman’s Cottage” illus. ($1092). SL, 22 Oct., #87, “published state” (same impression as that offered by SL on 20 March, above?), with “The Weary Ploughman,” 7th st. (not sold; estimate £700-900).
“Weary Ploughman,” etching. SL, 20 March, #77, 7th st. on laid India (not sold; estimate £1000-1500).
A. H. Palmer, Life and Letters of S. Palmer, 1892. CSK, 26 Sept., #241, large-paper issue, 1 pl. detached, occasional spotting, original roan worn with spine missing (not sold; estimate £150-250). Ken Spelman, Nov. cat. 36, #232, small-paper issue, original cloth (£280).
Virgil, Eclogues, 1883. Phillip Pirages, Oct. cat. 40, #459, small-paper issue, original green cloth worn ($1250). Sims Reed, Oct. cat., #804, small-paper issue, original green cloth, head of spine repaired (£750).
The Blessed Valley. Water color, 33 × 21.5 cm., inscribed “G R. Paris 1829.” Spink-Leger, Nov. private offer (£28,000). For a color illus., see Raymond Lister, George Richmond: A Critical Biography (London: Garton, 1981) pl. X.
Contemplation. Oil, 30 × 35.5 cm. SL, 9 April, #113, illus. color (£6325).
A Damned Soul Hanging from a Gothic Building. Pen, ink, and water color on the verso of a letter signed and dated 1823, 7 × 6.3 cm. Garton & Co., Feb. cat. 67, #4, illus. ($8000).
First Study for The Eve of Separation. Pen, ink, pencil, annotated in pencil with title and dated 1830, 11.5 × 11.2 cm. Garton & Co., Feb. cat. 67, #5, illus. ($12,500).
Study of a Man’s Arm. Pencil, 11 × 25 cm., signed and dated 1827. SL, 13 Nov., #91 (£828).
Two Studies of Hagar in the Wilderness. Pencil, pen and brown ink on one sheet 33.6 × 21.2 cm., each signed with initials and dated 1829. CL, 11 Nov., #52, illus. (£3220).
Letter to Lord Teignmouth,[e] 9 Nov. 1838. Ian Hodgkins, May cat. 93, #392, concerning financial complexities (£150).
“The Shepherd,” engraving. CL, 9 Dec., #114, 2nd st. on laid India, slight foxing and staining, with “The Fatal Bellman, engraving, final st. on laid India, signed with initials and with a presentation inscription, apparently by Richmond, dated April 1883, “The Shepherd” illus. (£9775 on an estimate of £1000-1500).
A folio of 10 drawings, including subjects from Milton and the life of John Howard. 9 pencil, 1 pencil and brown ink, various sizes. SL, 10 July, #76 (£1840).
A group of 5 drawings, including subjects from Milton. “Three” (4?) pen and brown ink, 1 pencil, various sizes. SL, 10 July, #78 (£943).
Classical Studies. 4 in 1 frame, gray wash over pencil, 20 × 16 cm. and 3 circular, approx. 13 cm. diameter. SL, 10 April, #4, rectangular drawing illus. (£862).
Fall of the Rebel Angels. Pencil, 22.5 × 13.5 cm. SL, 10 July, #16, illus. (£2070).
Figures Mourning a Dying Woman. Pen and brown ink, gray wash, 17.5 × 24 cm. SL, 10 April, #3 (not sold; estimate £1000-1500).
Figures Surrounding a Woman on a Bed with a Baby. Pen and brown ink, gray wash, 17.5 × 24 cm. SL, 10 April, #2, illus. (not sold; estimate £1000-1500).
Jason and the Argonauts. 2, pen and gray ink, water color, 1 in a painted oval, 23 × 19 cm. and 19.5 × 14.5 cm. (not sold; estimate £500-700).
A Design for Engraved Tickets to a York Festival Concert. Pen and ink, water color, 10.5 × 13 cm. Agnew’s, Feb. cat. of English water colors and drawings, #16, illus. (price on application).
Design for the Wellington Shield: The Victory at Assaye. Pen and brown ink, brown wash, 15 × 28 cm. SL, 10 July, #25, illus. color (£8280 on an estimate of £4000-6000).
Neptune in His Chariot. Water color, 14 × 17.5 cm., signed. CL, 8 April, #19 (£345).
Portrait of Thomas Stothard in his Studio, unattributed. Oil, 91.1 × 71.1 cm., dated to c. 1820. CSK, 11 Sept., #28, illus. color (£3220 on an estimate of £1500-2000).
Aesop, Fables, 1793. Simon Finch, Aug. cat. 31, #22, 2 vols., some foxing, contemporary calf rebacked (£750); same copy and price, Nov. cat. 32, #2. Heritage Book Shop, Sept. private offer, 2 vols., engraved title page to vol. 1 very worn, rubbed, other pls. good, contemporary calf, modern box ($1500). Patrick King, Dec. cat. 31, #23, “large paper copy,” contemporary calf (£650).
Akenside, Pleasures of Imagination, 1803. Maurice Dodd Booksellers, May cat. 22, #1, apparently with the 4 pls. after Stothard dated 1794, contemporary calf rubbed (£50).
Bunyan, Selected Works, 1865. Robert Frew, April cat. 10, #70, with “20 tinted lithographed illustrations” after Stothard, contemporary morocco (£75).
Burns, Works. Howes, April cat. 274, #30, 1813 ed., 4 vols. (£65). Dirk Cable, Oct. private offer, 1820 ed., 4 vols., some pls. foxed, contemporary calf ($300).
Catullus, Tibullus, et Propertius, 1824. Howes, April cat. 274, #815, original cloth (£55).
Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Pickering ed., 1822. Adam Mills, Nov. cat. 42, #58, 5 vols., with the small Worthington pl. of Stothard’s panorama of the pilgrims, half calf slightly worn (£350).
Cowper, Poems, 1798. Robert Clark, Nov. cat. 49, #187, 2 vols., pls. darkened, contemporary half calf worn (£48).begin page 135 | ↑ back to top
Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 1801. Phillip Pirages, Oct. cat. 40, #366, one gathering browned, contemporary calf ($125).
Horace, Odes, 1826. Claude Cox, July cat. 121, #193, original cloth (£40).
Johnson, Rasselas, 1796. Deighton Bell, Nov. cat. 274, #229, full morocco (£120).
Literary Souvenir, 1832. John Hart, May cat. 42, #134, original green morocco (£45). BBA, 23 Oct., #219, with The Literary Souvenir for 1828 and 1831 and The Keepsake for 1829, various contemporary bindings, with 11 other vols. of annuals not containing pls. after Stothard (Deighton Bell, £161).
Milton, Paradise Lost, Pickering ed., typographic title page dated 1828, engraved title page dated 1835. Claude Cox, Nov. cat. 123, #170, original cloth spotted (£45); another copy, Nov. private offer, original cloth not spotted, spine label (£65). The frontispiece, a steel engraving by Augustus Fox after Stothard, has not been previously recorded.
Rogers, Italy. Robert Clark, Feb. cat. 46, #319, 1838 quarto issue, pls. on India paper, minor foxing, publisher’s morocco (£150); #320, another copy, octavo issue, some foxing, presentation inscription from Rogers, original cloth worn (£85); same copy of the 1838 quarto issue?, July cat. 48, #574 (£200). Howes, April cat. 274, #843, 1836 ed., contemporary morocco, with Rogers, Poems, 1834 (£150). Bernard Shapero, April private offers, 1830 ed., contemporary calf (£75), 1854 ed., contemporary calf (£125); Aug. cat., #249, same copy of the 1854 ed. (£125). Ursus Rare Books, Sept. cat. 195, #152, 1830 ed., 19th-century morocco ($325).
Rogers, Pleasures of Memory, 1810. Ken Spelman, April cat. 35, #127, “appears to be a large-paper copy,” contemporary calf worn, joints cracked (£35).
Rogers, Poems. John Price, April private offer, 1834 ed., contemporary calf (£40). Robert Frew, Aug. cat. 11, #152, 1834 ed., “2 vols.” (and thus with the 1830 Italy?), contemporary half morocco (£60). Waterfield’s, Sept. cat. 169, #145, 1830 ed., some spotting, extra-illus. with 84 pls. (none by Stothard) and extended to 2 vols., contemporary morocco (£200).
Rogers, Poetical Works, 1856, with the wood engravings by Clennell after Stothard. Bernard Shapero, April private offer, quarter morocco (£85).
Shakespeare, A New Edition of Shakespeare’s Plays, pub. Heath and Robinson, 1802-04. Ian Hodgkins, May cat. 93, pls. only after Stothard as follows: #438, Midsummer Night’s Dream, full-page pl. (£65); #439, Taming of the Shrew, full-page pl. (£50); #440, Tempest, full-page pl. (£65).
Sterne, Works. Howes, April cat. 274, #186, 1808 ed., 10 vols., recently rebound (£120). Blackwell’s, July cat. B120, #335, 1798 ed., 10 vols., some water staining, contemporary calf (£275).
Thomson, Seasons, 1793. BBA, 24 July, #172, browned, end-papers damp-stained, contemporary morocco worn (Archdale, £63). Heritage Book Shop, Sept. private offer, full calf (($200).
Young, Works, 1802. Howes, April cat. 274, #213, 3 vols., contemporary calf worn (£75).
VON HOLST, THEODOR
A Man and a Woman Holding the Legs of a Naked Man (recto); A Man with a Sword Abducting a Woman (verso). Pencil and black chalk, 28.5 × 28.5 cm., verso signed. SL, 10 July, #77, recto illus. (not sold; estimate £2000-3000).
Studies of a Women and Child (recto); A Woman on a Balcony Being Attacked by a Bat (verso). Pen and brown ink over pencil, sheet 27 × 21.5 cm. SL, 10 July, #73, both sides illus. (not sold; estimate £1500-2000).
Study of a Faceless Man with a Dart. Pen and gray ink, water color, 16 × 17 cm., signed. SL, 10 July, #74, illus. color (£2070).
Study of a Man with a Shield and Sword and a Pointing Man. Pen and brown ink, pencil, 18.5 × 15.5 cm., signed and dated 1844. SL, 10 July, #75 (not sold; estimate £400-600).
In “Blake in the Marketplace, 1994,” Blake 28 (1995):12-21 (captions to illus. 1-2), I claimed that the recto/verso impressions of Europe pls. 11 and 17 in my collection were from copy c of that illuminated book. This is not true, as G. E. Bentley, Jr., has pointed out in Blake Books Supplement (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1995) 69n56, 104n119. Unfortunately, the provenance of this leaf cannot be traced prior to 1964. I am grateful to my friend and fellow seeker of minute particulars, Jerry Bentley, for this correction.
Appendix 1: 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.begin page 136 | ↑ back to top
The Separate Plates of William Blake: A Catalogue
Pp. 41-43, “Lucifer and the Pope in Hell.” For the discovery of a previously-unknown first state, see illus. 10-12 and their captions. This discovery means that impression 1A (intaglio, British Museum) should be changed to 2A (indicating its status as a second state). I previously speculated that color-printed impression 1B (Huntington Library) was trimmed on a plate-mark of 19.9 × 27.4 cm.; the discovery of the new impression (which should be designated 1A) reveals that the plate-mark is very probably 22 × 27.9 cm. The underlying intaglio state of color-printed impression 1B is difficult to determine, but it may be in the newly-discovered first state or in some other state earlier than the second (British Museum).
P. 145, “Venus Dissuades Adonis from Hunting,” after Cosway, 1787. During the writing of the catalogue, I was unable to locate an impression of the first state that included the imprint. An impression with the imprint was sold at Sotheby’s London, 13 Nov. 1997, lot 704, illus. This impression, now in the stock of the print dealer Nicholas Lott, confirms the first-state signatures, title, inscribed verses, and imprint (the last quoted from Keynes, Engravings by Blake: The Separate Plates 69) recorded in the catalogue.
William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations
Pp. 38-39, The Wit’s Magazine, pl. 5, “May-Day in London.” The preliminary drawing by Samuel Collings is reported as being in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, “although the curator has not yet been able to track it down” (Separate Plates 39). The drawing has apparently been found; at the very least, it is reproduced in Marcia Pointon, “Quakerism and Visual Culture 1650-1800,” Art History 20 (1997): 425, pl. 48 (pen and gray wash, no size given). I am grateful to John E. Grant for pointing out this reproduction to me.
Pp. 61-64, Gay, Fables (1793). In my descriptions of each of Blake’s 12 plates, I compare his renditions of the designs by William Kent, John Wootton, and Henry Gravelot to those engraved by various hands and printed in the first eds. of the first (1727) and second (1738) series of fables. The first-series pls. of 1727 have a horizontal major axis; those for the second series of 1738 have a vertical major axis. Following Geoffrey Keynes, “Blake’s Engravings for Gay’s Fables,” The Book Collector 21 (1972): 59-64, I indicate that these sets of plates served as the models for Blake’s. But this may be an invalid assumption. For the fifth ed. of the first series of Fables (London: J. and R. Tonson and J. Watts, 1737), all the original designs were re-engraved by Gerard Van Der Gucht (c. 1695-1776, not to be confused with his brother John, 1697-1776, who engraved pls. for the first eds.). In the 1757 ed. of both series (London: C. Hitch and L. Hawes, et al.), the G. Van Der Gucht pls. for the first series are repeated, with new plates signed by the same engraver now appearing in the second series as well. These re-engravings for both series may have served as Blake’s models. This possibility is increased by the fact that G. Van Der Gucht’s pls. illustrating Fables I, XII, and XVI in the second series reverse right and left, in comparison to the pls. for these fables in the 1738 ed., and alter the format of the original 1738 pls. to a horizontal major axis. These same changes in both direction and axis appear in the 3 corresponding pls. that Blake engraved for the second series (pls. 10-12 in Bentley). The 1762 and 1767 eds. of both series contain unsigned re-engravings of the original designs. Because of their vertical format, it is improbable that Blake used this later set of pls. as his model.
Pp. 89-90, Hayley, Life of Cowper, pl. 6, “A Sketch of the Monument Erected . . . In Memory of William Cowper Esq,” Blake after Flaxman. In addition to the record of Flaxman’s later delivery of preliminary drawings for this pl. to Hayley, the sculptor apparently sent his first recorded drawing of the monument with a letter of 18 Feb. 1802—see Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 2 March 1885 auction cat., letters from the collection of the Rev. Canon Hodgson, lot 63 (Flaxman “sends him [Hayley] designs for Cowper’s monument” according to the auction cat., original letter untraced). This is probably the same drawing which Hayley in turn sent to Lady Hesketh on 21 Feb. 1802 (now Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts).
Appendix 2: Current Ownership of the Preliminary Drawings for, and Proofs and Relief Etchings of, Blake’s Wood Engravings Illustrating Thornton’s Virgil.
Over the last 15 years, several of the Virgil drawings, one impression of the pre-publication proofs of the wood engravings, and the unique relief-etching of four images have changed hands. The following lists record the present (Jan. 1998) ownership of each of these works.
Drawings. Numbers and titles are those assigned to each drawing in Butlin #769.
1. Thenot Remonstrates with Colinet. Keynes Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England.
2. Thenot and Colinet Converse Seated beneath Two Trees. Robert N. Essick, Altadena, California.
3. Colinet and Thenot, with Shepherds’ Crooks, Leaning against Trees. Arthur Vershbow, Boston, Massachusetts.
4. Unused Designs: Colinet and Thenot Stand Together Conversing, Their Sheep Behind. Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.
5. Thenot, with Colinet Swaying his Arms in Sorrow. Untraced since 1924.
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6. The Blighted Corn. Keynes Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England.
7. “Nor Fox, Nor Wolf, Nor Rat among Our Sheep.” Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
8. Sabrina’s Silvery Flood. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
9. Colinet Passing a Milestone. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
10. “A Rolling Stone Is Ever Bare of Moss.” Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.
11. Colinet Resting by a Stream by Night. Untraced since 1927.
12. Colinet with his Shepherd’s Pipe. Untraced since 1924.
13. “For Him Our Yearly Wakes and Feasts We Hold.” Robert N. Essick, Altadena, California.
14. First Comparison, Birds Flying over a Cornfield. Untraced since 1939.
15. Second Comparison, “The Briny Ocean Turns to Pastures Dry.” Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.
16. Third Comparison, a Winding River. Untraced since 1927.
17. Thenot and Colinet Leading Their Flocks Home Together at Sunset. Untraced since 1927.
18. Thenot and Colinet at Supper. Untraced since 1924.
19. “With Songs the Jovial Hinds Return from Plow.” Maurice Sendak, Connecticut.
20. “And Unyok’d Heifers, Loitering Homewards, Low.” Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey.
Relief etching of cuts 2-5 (corresponding to Butlin’s drawings 1-3, 5): Robert N. Essick, Altadena, California.
Proofs of the wood engravings before the block was cut down, cuts 2-5 (corresponding to Butlin’s drawings 1-3, 5): British Museum, Dept. of Prints and Drawings, London; Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Rosenwald Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Maurice Sendak, Connecticut.
Proofs of the wood engravings before the block was cut down, cuts 6-9 (corresponding to Butlin’s drawings 6-9): British Museum, Dept. of Prints and Drawings, London; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York; Rosenwald Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington.