Blake in the Marketplace, 1999
The lackluster market of 1998 gave way to a more exciting year of discoveries in the 1999 marketplace. The first newsworthy artifact emerged in January. For many years, there have been only six traced complete copies of the 1802 Designs to a Series of Ballads, authored by William Hayley and illustrated with 14 plates designed and engraved by Blake. A fugitive copy, first recorded in the Gosford auction catalogue of 1884 and last described in a Rosenbach catalogue of late 1944, turned up in an American private collection in December 1998. The anonymous owner placed the book on consignment with Ursus Books of New York. After complex negotiations undertaken on my behalf by John Windle, the San Francisco book dealer who specializes in Blake and his circle, I acquired the volume late in January 1999. See Appendix 2 for a listing of the seven complete copies of the 1802 Ballads I have been able to trace—plus one tantalizing copy still untraced.
Windle continues to be the world’s major dealer in all things Blakean. In March, he acquired a large number of Blake prints from at least four sources. Most are book illustrations detached from their volumes, but the group includes “The Man Sweeping the Interpreter’s Parlour.” He continued to acquire books throughout the summer and early fall and placed on his website (www.johnwindle.com) an online catalogue, offering 237 lots (some with multiple copies), in late November. This catalogue 31 will be published in printed form early in 2000. All materials in the online catalogue relevant to this sales review are listed below. Windle intends to issue catalogues devoted exclusively to Blake and his circle at intervals of about 18 months.
In the last sales review (Blake 32 : 93), I mentioned the death of Betsey Cushing Whitney, March 1998, her ownership of an impression of The Good and Evil Angels Struggling for Possession of a Child (Butlin #324), and the possibility of discovering in her collection Visions of the Daughters of Albion copy N and The Book of Urizen copy E. The executors of Mrs. Whitney’s estate have decided not to sell The Good and Evil Angels in the foreseeable future. A thorough search of her library failed to find Visions, but Urizen did turn up, was found to contain only 24 pls., and was offered at auction by Sotheby’s New York on 23 April (see illus. A-G at the end of this sales review). Readers of this journal have already learned much about this sale from Elizabeth B. Bentley’s “Urizen in New York City,” Blake 33 (1999): 27-30. I hope that what follows will supplement her lively account.
Urizen copy E, not seen by scholars for many decades, attracted a large cohort of Blakeans (including E. B. Bentley, G. E. Bentley, Jr., Morris Eaves, Joseph Viscomi, John Windle, and your reporter) to view the volume on the day before the sale. We were all motivated by the fear that this would be our only opportunity to study a copy of Urizen soon to disappear into an anonymous private collection. The party reassembled the next day to witness what we hoped would be a spirited contest between two or more angels (devils?) struggling for possession of a treasure. We were not disappointed. Six bidders soon raced through the low estimate of $500,000; four stayed the course as the bidding passed $1 million. Two dropped out in the neighborhood of $1.5 million. The battle between the remaining contenders, both delivering their bids via telephone, was swift; neither flinched until one suddenly dropped out when the other had the winning bid at $2.3 million. With the buyer’s premium added, the total came to $2,532,500. This was of course a record for a work by Blake, surpassing the $1.32 million the same collector paid in 1989 for Songs of Innocence and of Experience copy D. I believe that the Urizen sale also established the second highest price ever achieved at auction for a printed book in English, exceeded only by the £4.6 million paid by J. Paul Getty, Jr., in 1998 for Caxton’s c. 1476 edition of The Canterbury Tales. The purchaser of Urizen was the American private collector who, over the last 20 years, has created an outstanding collection of Blake’s illuminated books, including copies of Songs of Innocence, The Book of Thel, America, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, and Jerusalem. I have not been able to determine the identity of the “underbidder” (the person with the bid immediately prior to the winning bid), but imagine what it must be like to bid $2.2 million for a book of 24 pages and not get it.
The day before the sale, the assembled Blakeans joined forces and spent some two hours going through the Whitney Urizen, thanks to Kimball E. Higgs, Assistant Vice President of Sotheby’s Book Department. Joe Viscomi acted as unofficial ringmaster of the show, explaining, as only he can, the minute particulars of color printing. The sequence of plates is unique: 1, 3, 5, 9, 2, 6, 14, 7, 10, 8, 11, 22, 13, 15, 18, 17, 19, 12, 20, 21, 23, 26-28 (Bentley numbers, used throughout this discussion). Thus, the rediscovery of copy E does not change the fact that no two copies of Urizen have the same plates in the same order. The mobility of full-page illustrations is hardly surprising; the placement or absence of text plates needs more consideration.
Rather than beginning with the title page and “Preludium” (pl. 2), as in all other copies, copy E opens with the title page followed by pl. 3, headed “Chap: I” at the top of its left column of text and “Chap: II” half-way down the right column. As in copies D, F, G, and J (H and I are fragments), the absence of pl. 4, a continuation of chapter II and the beginning of chapter III, creates a textual juncture between the first line of chapter II verse 3 on pl. 3 (“Shrill the trumpet: & begin page 101 | ↑ back to top myriads of Eternity,”) and what, in copies A-C, is the sixth line of chapter III verse 2 on pl. 5 (“In living creations appear’d”). Verse 3 of chapter II thereby assembled reads as follows:
3. Shrill the trumpet: & myriads of Eternity,
In living creations appear’d
In the flames of eternal fury.
With pl. 4 in place, “seven deadly sins of the soul” appear in “living creations”; but it makes equal sense (within a work questioning “sense” in several senses) to embody the “myriads of Eternity.” This rearrangement, well within the range of (dis) junctions and (dis) continuities established elsewhere in the poem, accords with the disruptions of spatio-temporal assumptions central to the thematics, and enacted by the various structures, of Urizen.
After the full-page design on pl. 9 (illus. C), the text of chapter II on pls. 5 (illus. B) and 6 is interrupted by the “Preludium” of pl. 2. While the absence of pl. 4 gains authority because of its absence in five other copies, the placement of the “Preludium” is unique and difficult to attribute to Blake. Yet, this would not be the first time that an English author displaced what is usually thought of as prefatory material to a position later in a book—consider Laurence Sterne’s publication of his “Author’s Preface” in the midst of the third volume of Tristram Shandy.
The positioning of pl. 10 between pls. 7 and 8 is also unique to copy E. Both pls. 8 and 10 bear the chapter heading “IV” and begin with verse “1,” a repetition etched into those respective plates. This, coupled with the absent chapter III heading on excluded pl. 4, offered the opportunity to change one or the other “IV” to “III”—which is exactly what we find on pl. 10. That this revision on the impression in copy E was executed by Blake is strongly suggested by the careful over-writing of the roman numeral to change “IV” to “III” in the same color as the printing ink used for pl. 10, possibly even in the same ink applied with a stylus or pointed brush. Blake had an option here, for it would have taken no more work to convert the chapter heading of pl. 8 to “III” than the conversion of the heading on pl. 10 he chose to execute. He selected the alternative sequence (7, 8, 10, ignoring pl. 9 since it is a full-page design) in all other copies containing all three of these pls. (J lacks pl. 8, and thus has the same leap from 7 to 10 found in E). But the sequence in copy E (7, 10, 8) works equally well as the “normal” arrangement (7, 8, 10) in terms of textual continuities. We end in copy E with the lengthened chapter II—“Till Los rouze’d his fires, affrighted/At the formless unmeasurable death”—and begin with the newly-indicated chapter III: “Ages on ages roll’d over him!” In the normal sequence the “him” is Urizen (since pl. 8 ends with “And these were the changes of Urizen”); here the “him” is either Los or the “formless unmeasurable death”—arguably Urizen once again. These alternative collations and their consequent shifts in pronoun reference strengthen critical perspectives emphasizing the conjunctions (even interminglings) between Urizen and Los rather than their opposition.
The ending, unique to copy E, of the newly assembled chapter III (“And a first Age passed over,/And a state of dismal woe.” on pl. 10) leads to the beginning of chapter IV (“Los smitten with astonishment/Frightend at the hurtling bones” on pl. 8). The final lines on pl. 8 verse 6 of chapter IV (“And these were the changes of Urizen”) carries us on to the conveniently numbered verse 7 on pl. 11 (“From the caverns of his jointed Spine”) as the first of Urizen’s “changes.” This rearrangement hardly transgresses any standard of continuity established by other copies of the poem.
The absence of pl. 25, present in all other copies, concludes the anomalies. Pl. 23, ending with the first line of chapter VIII verse 5, moves textually to pl. 28, beginning with a chapter “IX” heading but also signaling that this is not the first plate of the chapter: the text on pl. 28 begins with three lines that conclude verse 4 from pl. 25, with a verse numbered “5” following. Even without comparison to another copy, the verse numbering indicates that copy E lacks the first three verses, and at least one line of the fourth verse, at the beginning of chapter IX. The verbal (as distinct from numerical) disruption is less noticeable, with “For he saw that life liv’d upon death” (arguably a complete sentence, or at least an independent clause with some sense of conclusion) followed by “They lived a period of years/Then left a noisom body/To the jaws of devouring darkness.” With pl. 25 in place, “They” refers to “the Inhabitants of those Cities” in the first line of chapter IX; in copy E, the pronoun finds its most probable referent in the “sons & daughters” of Urizen, line 24 on pl. 23. Since these “sons” reappear in verse 7 on pl. 28 in a context suggesting that they are the urban inhabitants mentioned suggesting on pl. 25, the shift in pronoun reference occasioned by the absence of pl. 25 appears to have little consequence. Mix and match as you please in a textual universe that encourages free play because, like eternity before Urizen’s self-separation, it lacks differentiation. Or should my simile refer to the chaos his fall creates and which he, Los, and Blake’s readers try to organize?
The most significant design variant appears in pl. 9. In the copy E impression (illus. C), the shape to the right of, and presumably slightly behind, the human figure looks like a grazing horse, complete with an eye and slight indications of a nose. The presence of one of “the beasts of the field” hints that this portrayal of Urizen, bent low to the earth, is indebted to the description of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:32-33. This same area right of Urizen appears as follows in other copies: A, B, and the separate impression in a private American collection (Butlin #279), a bifurcated, rock-like form; C, head-like, but more triangular than in E, with a slight suggestion of a dark eye(?) and nose or mouth; D, dark rocks; F, triangular rock form, very slightly head-like; begin page 102 | ↑ back to top G and J, rocks (copies H and I do not contain pl. 9). In copy E, the “eye” and “nose” are created by spots of color printing a bit denser than surrounding passages; there is no evidence of work with brush or pen on the impression to create these features. Thus, the horse-like image may be an accidental product of color printing rather than the result of an intentional act. Such circumstances raise basic issues about accident, agency, and intention in Blake’s illuminated books. Blake chose to employ color printing; at that general level, human will is clearly indicated. But he may have merely allowed the medium to produce the “horse” effect in this instance: after-the-fact acceptance (assuming that he noticed the horse at all) rather than before-the-fact agency. Such circumstances disconcert basic assumptions about the relationship between artifact and artist—as does the work of Jackson Pollock and other “action” artists of the post World War II period. It may be no accident that, during both Blake’s and Pollock’s times, the purposeful incorporation of the accidental within artistic production occurred when the ability to control events seemed far beyond the capabilities of individuals, or even communities. That period in the late eighteenth-century also saw Hume’s questioning of all cause/effect relationships and Kant’s attempts to answer Hume by resituating the metaphysics of causality on epistemological grounds. Blake’s deployment of his media has wide-ranging ideological and philosophical implications when viewed from an interstitial perspective prompted by his own writings on the arts.
Viscomi’s tour through copy E, visually assisted with transparencies of other copies printed with it in 1794, slowly unveiled some unsettling possibilities. Copy E was printed with copies A, C, D, F, and J; these provide a standard of comparison useful for spotting any unusual features in the Whitney copy. Pl. 1, the title page (illus. A), showed clear evidence of lead-pigment decay, white turning to splotches of black, on the figure’s knees, beard, left side of his face, and the book beneath his feet. The fact that this white-lead decay, also found on several other plates, does not appear in any of the other five copies produced in the 1794 printing is disturbing because of Blake’s production method, per-plate rather than per-volume, with batches of plates printed and colored before collation into individual copies of the book. Even if Blake had used the pigment subject to decay sparingly, and only on one or two impressions of any one plate, the chances of all impressions bearing the lead pigment finding their way into a single copy, rather than being randomly distributed throughout all copies from the same printing, is very slight. The same logic produced the same suspicions when we came upon a tomato-red pigment on pls. 9 (illus. C) and 21 not found in any other copy of the book. Evidence grew that either Blake or someone else had touched up the coloring of copy E after the initial per-plate coloring and after collation.
Pls. 7 and 21 offered another type of evidence of fiddling. The figures on these plates are densely colored in flesh tones in a way that obscures the underlying articulation of the musculature and any color printing (if present). Pl. 21 also shows dark staining on the verso due to the medium percolating through from the recto—a problem more commonly produced by oil paint than by Blake’s glue- or gum-based colors. While some of the plates in copy E are magnificent, showing all the power and subtlety of Blake’s best color printing and hand coloring, the figure’s face on pl. 7 is a caricature. Although heavily colored, both face and body are flattened, suggesting a colorist unresponsive to the underlying image or the expressiveness of the figure.
Pl. 21 introduced the final piece of disturbing evidence. Copy E is interleaved with tissue, probably added when the volume was placed in its present binding c. 1841 (see the thorough bibliographic description in the article by G. E. Bentley, Jr., also in this issue). Even if the tissue had been introduced at an earlier date, we can be confident that Blake and his wife Catherine did not include this sort of interleaving in the illuminated books printed in the 1790s. These details are significant because we found that a small piece of the tissue guard had stuck to the upper left surface of pl. 21, leaving behind a hole in the tissue. The medium must have been wet when the tissue was already in place. The spot where the tissue adhered was colored in the questionable red tone.
The weight of evidence summarized here indicates that Urizen copy E may have been touched up by someone other than Blake. I suspect that the motivation for such efforts may not have been to repair damage to the impressions, but rather an attempt to “finish” what, to a Victorian sensibility, may have looked like an unfinished print, with less coloring on the figures than in the background (a style also found, for example, in pl. 7 of copy B). Our inspection at Sotheby’s was hardly definitive, but what we found suggests that further investigations, including chemical analysis of the suspicious pigments, should be undertaken.
After the spectacular sale of Urizen copy E, the June auctioning of Blake’s water color, Churchyard Spectres Frightening a Schoolboy, at the bargain(?) price of £26,450 seems almost too trivial to mention. I am told that 6 bidders were still active at £20,000; the estimate was only £5000-7000. See illus. 1 and my disagreements with Christie’s cataloguer (and with Butlin) set forth in the accompanying caption.
Another June auction brought forth a previously unknown colored copy of Blake’s Night Thoughts engravings—see the listing below for basic sales and bibliographic details. This discovery raises once again the many questions surrounding the coloring of the volume. No colored copy of the engravings consistently follows the water colors, even though the publisher, Richard Edwards, owned the colored drawings and could have instructed a colorist, or team of colorists, to base their work on Blake’s originals. Alternatively, did Blake and/or his wife Catherine tint one copy of the engravings as a model for copyists to follow? A definitive answer has yet to emerge, although it would seem an unnecessary expense (at least of the Blakes’ time) to color a set of the begin page 103 | ↑ back to top engravings when the original water colors were readily at hand. The new copy, now in my collection, was certainly not colored by Blake and offers no new evidence concerning that issue. Setting aside the matter of Blake’s participation, we must next consider the distinction, important for any book with hand-colored illustrations, between the “edition” coloring of multiple copies, executed on behalf of a publisher or bookseller and intended for sale to the public, and “one-off” coloring of a single copy executed by (or on behalf of) its owner. The former may fairly be considered part of the production of the book; the latter is not.
Edition coloring of the Night Thoughts is implied, although not explicitly addressed, by the division of recorded copies into “Type I” and “Type II” coloring schemes in John E. Grant, Edward J. Rose, Michael J. Tolley, eds., David V. Erdman, coordinating ed., William Blake’s Designs for Edward Young’s Night Thoughts (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1980) 1:52-72 (hereafter cited as “Grant”). Such a division roughly parallels the distinctly different coloring schemes found in the first edition (1796) and the two later editions (1806, 1813) of J. G. Stedman’s Narrative, of a Five Years’ Expedition, Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, another book with engravings by Blake (albeit not designed by him) and co-published by James Edwards, brother of the publisher of Night Thoughts. Grant’s basic touchstone for distinguishing the coloring types is the tinting of the giant figure of Death on the first plate, a fly-title to Night the First. Death’s gown is white (i.e., uncolored except for gray shading in folds and shadowed areas) in Type I and green in Type II. Certainly the 19 previously recorded Type I copies are a sufficient number to indicate an edition coloring. Grant records only 4 Type II copies, but even that number suggests edition coloring. Unfortunately, this simple two-type scheme is immediately complicated by a single copy, designated as Type III on the basis of the gray coloring of Death’s gown. Grant (60) rightly suggests that the Type III copy may be one-off, or even a “forgery,” but might it simply be part of the Type I coloring session, the result of the colorist extending gray shading over the entire gown? Careful study of the gray-Death copy could give us an answer, but we should also step back from these details and consider our own analytical procedures. Might the whole approach to the issue, implicit in Grant and in my previous question, be fundamentally flawed? Variations among copies comprising both the Type I and Type II categories (as distinct from the defining differences between the two types) indicate that the colorists did not follow a rigid scheme of where the colors should be placed. In these circumstances, as with Blake’s edition coloring of his illuminated books, a coloring “type” or session must be defined by the palette, based on the assumption that the colorist or colorists did not mix up a new batch of tints for each print, and stylistic features that constitute the “signature” of any artist’s work. (It should also be kept in mind that edition coloring was generally executed on unbound sheets, and thus the unit of production was the individual print, not a collated copy of the book). This palette, or determinable range of finite colors, coupled with the way the tints are applied, are far better indications of edition coloring than the specific color of a singular motif (e.g., Death’s gown) or even of a number of motifs. The basic division between Type I and Type II coloring should also be questioned. Does the distinction register different colorists (or teams of colorists) working at roughly the same time, or (as Grant believes) two coloring sessions at different times? The colored copies of the same plate reproduced by Grant to exemplify the differences between Type I and Type II also show significant similarities. The representative examples of the fly-title to Night the Third even seem to share the same palette.
The newly discovered copy further enriches an already heady brew. Death’s gown is light brown. None of the other colors of specific motifs, described by Grant (54) for both Type I and Type II copies, is repeated in the new copy. However, as I’ve suggested above, I do not think that the placement of colors is of major significance for defining colorists or coloring sessions. The volume would also appear to be the product of at least three coloring sessions by at least three different colorists. Roughly the first half of the volume is distinguished by vibrant washes in rose-pink, purple, and aquamarine, the last used for the background sky in many plates. The handling of the colors is sensitive to the underlying engraved image. The thin washes do not obscure hatching and crosshatching patterns. As in several Type I copies I have seen, the colorist has underscored these engraved indications of modeling and shadow by coloring them with a slightly darker shade of the color used elsewhere on the motif. This technique is most evident in the treatment of clothing, unclothed bodies, and faces. The fly-title to Night the Third is particularly striking in this respect. The colorist has added a purple gown to the woman; she appears to be partly draped but mostly nude in uncolored copies. The costume is defined through transparent washes and darker, serpentine folds that suggest rapid upward movement. These additions, not indicated by the underlying engraving, lend further drama to the composition.
There are many parallels in palette and style between the first colorist of the new copy and the Type I copy in the Huntington Library; the two examples of page 19 are almost identical. Given these similarities with the Huntington copy, I would also classify the first coloring style found in the new copy as Type I. Indeed, I am even tempted to claim that the two sets of prints were colored by the same person. The hues accord with colors found in the decorative arts of England as early as the 1770s—see for example many soft-paste porcelain pieces of that period, such a Worcester plate in the Fitzwilliam Museum rather shockingly painted in bright green, pink, and purple. As this comparison implies, I think that the decorative arts, more responsive begin page 104 | ↑ back to top to fashion than nature, provide a better standard for the approximate dating of the commercial coloring of prints than the “fine” arts of painting and water color.
The second coloring scheme emerges on page 46 and dominates the second half of the volume. The palette is in a much lower key, with a dull medium blue rather than aquamarine for skies. The colors look faded, although it is difficult to imagine how actual fading from exposure to light could have occurred so evenly on so many pages in a bound book. The application of broad, flat washes shows far less responsiveness to underlying engraved patterns than the first coloring style. Facial details, nicely tinted in the Type I coloring, are rarely touched. There is some use of darker hues to underscore folds in costumes and other shaded areas, but this work is far less noticeable and less successful than what we find in the first coloring style. The second style does not accord with Type II coloring and shows so little character that it is very difficult to date. However, there are sufficient similarities between the tonal range used by this second colorist and the Type I coloring of plates in Night Four (see the Huntington, National Gallery of Victoria, and Muhlenberg College copies) to suggest that he/she/they saw a Type I copy and were influenced by it, or perhaps were instructed to follow its example.
The third coloring style appears only on pages 63 and 70. Both have the aquamarine skies of the Type I colorist, but the figures have been overpainted in much deeper tones more thickly applied. On page 63, a bit of the heavy purple on the figure’s gown, just inside the lower left margin, has been offset onto the facing page—strong evidence that the book was already bound when the color was applied. This final coloring style, characteristic of the later Victorian period (c. 1880-90?), is almost certainly one-off and not part of any edition coloring. The multiple coloring of this new copy should alert us to the possibility of similar layers in other copies.
Grant (53) cites Martin Butlin as the authority for dating Type I coloring to “about 1797” and Type II to “about 1805.” It seems reasonable to assume that at least one of the major coloring styles was part of the book’s publication in 1797. The provenances of several Type I copies—e.g., those once owned by Thomas Butts (now in an anonymous collection), Samuel Boddington (now Library of Congress), Sir John Soane (now Soane Museum), Third Earl Spencer (now John Rylands Library) and Rebekah Bliss (sold 1826, now Princeton)—suggest a reasonably early date of coloring, although not necessarily before 1805. Type II is taken as a later style because it is “similar in effect to the coloured copies of Hayley’s Triumphs of Temper (1803, owned by Mr. George Goyder) and Ballads (1805, owned by the late S. Foster Damon) of about 1805” (Grant 53). But both these volumes provide poor standards of coloring. Each is a one-off copy rather than the product of edition coloring and may have been executed at any time after publication. Further, as Grant points out (92n84), “in fact the character of the colour in the Goyder and Damon pages [meaning “prings”?] is not particularly close to that of Type II Night Thoughts.” The matter is further complicated by W. E. Moss’s conjecture that his Type II copy (now Library of Congress) was first owned by the book’s publisher (see Grant 70), a provenance that strongly suggests a 1797 date of coloring since Edwards went out of business shortly after the publication of Night Thoughts.
A better way of at least guessing at the date of a second coloring session is prompted by the 1833 watermark in the “Explanation” leaf of an uncolored copy sold CL, 7 Dec. 1988, #120. One reasonable explanation for this oddity is that some bookseller had a remainder stock of the 1797 Night Thoughts but lacked a sufficient number of “Explanation” leaves and had it reprinted, line for line, in the same typeface. If there was a reissue of the book in 1833 or a bit later, then this would have also been the most logical time for another commercial, “edition” coloring session. The new copy, with its two major coloring styles, hints at the possibility that some of the remainder sheets available c. 1833 had already been colored c. 1797 and that the second, far less elegant tinting style was added, hastily and cheaply, to a sufficient number of uncolored impressions to produce completely colored copies. This theory implies that Type II coloring was not executed c. 1833 but probably at some earlier time, perhaps even in 1797 along with Type I copies. Such a redating is also hinted at by the stylistic similarities between Types I and II and Moss’s conjectural provenance for his Type II copy. But several other scenarios are possible, including a one-off status and a very late date for the second style of coloring in the new copy. Clearly, a great deal more expertise, insight, and hard work needs to be expended on the colored Night Thoughts engravings before we are to get this can of worms under control.
Blake is beginning to appear regularly in the Internet auction market. Most of the material is editions and criticism not covered by this sales review, but original prints have appeared occasionally—see for example Josephus, The Wit’s Magazine, and Flaxman’s Hesiod below. The general level of accuracy in the auction blurbs is abysmal: caveat emptor. My coverage of these online auctions is far from comprehensive.
Although not on the market, the discovery of an unrecorded impression of Blake’s rare separate print, “Albion rose,” deserves mention here. The print reportedly has some lines by Blake written on the verso. For a bit more information, see under The Separate Plates of William Blake in Appendix 1.
In my 1998 sales review, I speculated that David Thompson recently purchased several works by Blake, including his Pilgrim’s Progress water colors and the Larger Blake-Varley Sketchbook. This is completely false; I have no clear evidence begin page 105 | ↑ back to top that Thompson owns any works by Blake, although rumors persist on the London art market. The Bunyan illustrations and the sketchbook are owned by a British private collector, Alan Parker.
In 1993, the Scolar Press (London) published a two-volume study and catalogue of The Heath Family Engravers 1779-1878, written by one of their direct descendants, John Heath. The handlist of books containing plates executed by James and Charles Heath was based in part on the collection formed by the author. In July 1999, the Huntington Library received a nicely printed and paper-bound handlist of John Heath’s collection, now grown to about 1400 volumes, and an accompanying letter indicating that the books were available for en bloc purchase. The Huntington declined, but presumably Mr. Heath has offered his collection elsewhere. Many of the books contain illustrations based on Stothard’s designs; a few contain plates engraved by Blake as well as the Heaths. At this time (January 2000), I have no knowledge of a sale.
The year of all sales and catalogues in the following lists is 1999 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 1999 sales will be covered in the 2000 review. I am grateful for help in compiling this review to Elizabeth B. Bentley, G. E. Bentley, Jr., Sidney Berger, Nancy Bialler (Sotheby’s New York), John Bidwell (Princeton University Library), William Cole, Warren Dennis, Georgia Eaves, Morris Eaves, Clark Evans (Library of Congress), Alexander Gourlay, Lee Hendrix, Kimball E. Higgs (Sotheby’s New York), Thomas V. Lange, Tim Linnell, Nicholas Lott, Bryan Maggs, Saree Makdisi, Jane Munro, Max Reed, Alesandra Schmidt (Watkinson Library), James Stanger, Michael Thompson, Joseph Viscomi, and John Windle. 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|
The First Book of Urizen, copy E. 24 relief etchings, color printed on rectos only, leaves 29.6 × 23.8 cm. bound in olive morocco by Clarke & Bedford, all edges gilt, green cloth slipcase. SNY, 23 April, #535, pls. 1, 9, 12, 18, 22, 26, and spine of slipcase illus. color ($2,532,500 on an estimate of $500,000-700,000). See illus. A-G at the end of this sales review and the discussion in the introductory essay, above.
Songs of Innocence and of Experience, plate a (the tailpiece). The A. E. Newton/Joseph Holland separate impression (1 of 4 known, the others in copies B, C, and D of the combined Songs), image 6.3 × 5.2 cm., sheet of wove paper 10.4 × 8.5 cm. CNY, 4 May, #1, illus. color ($20,700 on an estimate of $20,000-30,0000). Returned by the purchaser to Christie’s; by July in the possession of Justin Schiller. On 30 June 1999 Joseph Viscomi and I inspected the print; we both came to the conclusion that it was posthumous. The salient features are the ink color (a red terra cotta used by Tatham but not by Blake), the flat and even texture of the ink, the heavy printing pressure, and the slightly greater size of the image compared to a lifetime impression.
Drawings and Paintings
Churchyard Spectres Frightening a Schoolboy. Pencil, pen, and water color, 17.9 × 11.6 cm. (mistakenly recorded as “8.1 × 11.5 cm.” in the cat.). Butlin #342. CL, 8 June, #123, illus. color (£26,450 on an exceedingly cautious estimate of £5000-7000 to B. Marks acting for J. Windle acting for R. Essick). See illus. 1.
Separate Plates and Plates in Series
“Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims.” SNY, 29 April, #5, 5th st. on “thin wove paper” (i.e., the wove paper used for the begin page 106-108 | ↑ back to top
Dante engravings. Heritage Book Shop, Feb. cat., #18, complete set, India paper mounted on wove, probably the 1892 printing, original title label, morocco folding case ($45,000). This set has been available from Heritage for several years.
Job engravings. BBA, 10 Dec. 1998, #82, title pl. only on wove paper, foxed, with 15 unrelated pls. not by Blake (Christopher Histead, £115). Drouot-Richelieu auction, Paris, 17 Feb., #11, complete “Proof” issue on laid India, no information on condition (140,000 francs—about $24,000). Bromer Booksellers, march cat. 105, #113, complete set, 1826 printing on Whatman paper after removal of the “Proof” inscription, tipped onto stubs and bound in 19th-century calf, edges rubricated ($36,000). John Windle, May cat. 30, #98, complete “Proof” issue on laid India, leaves trimmed, light marginal foxing, early cloth rebacked ($38,750); same copy and price, Nov. online cat. 31, #56. CE, 17 June, #230, 1874 printing, apparently loose in slipcase, “minor foxing on margins,” no mention of paper type (presumably laid India) or sheet size ($9220 on a ludicrously low estimate of $800-1200). Larkhall Fine Art, June online cat., pl. numbered 15 only, 1st printing on Whatman paper after removal of the “proof” inscription, slight foxing mostly in margins, illus. (£1500). Roger Genser, Sept. Pasadena Book and Print Fair, title page only, 1826 printing on Whatman paper ($775); pl. numbered 6 only, 1826 printing on Whatman paper ($1600). Heritage Book Shop, Nov. online cat., 1826 printing on Whatman paper, complete, late 19th-century morocco ($45,000). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #57, complete 1874 printing on laid India, some marginal foxing, ink number lower right on all but the title pl., loose in new cloth box ($28,750).begin page 109 | ↑ back to top
“The Man Sweeping the Interpreter’s Parlour.” Essick impression 2L acquired Feb. by John Windle, San Francisco; Nov. online cat. 31, #16 (price on inquiry). Previously offered SL, 11 Dec. 1998, #111 (not sold; estimate £30,000-40,000).
“Winged Figure Flying through Clouds,” after Stothard, a book illus. known only in separate impressions. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #26 ($3750).
“Zephyrus and Flora,” Blake after Stothard, 1784. Campbell Fine Art, April private offer, 1st st. printed in sanguine, laid paper with an unreadable watermark composed of letters, trimmed within the platemark to 23.5 × 24.8 cm. with the imprint trimmed off, minor soiling and staining (acquired by R. Essick). The only other 1st st. impressions I have been able to locate are both in the Keynes Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum.
Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake, Including Prints Extracted from Such Books
Allen, History of England, 1798. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #1, pls. only ($950 the set of 4). eBay online auction, July/Aug., modern half leather (not sold on a reserve of $1200).
Allen, Roman History, 1798. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 32, #2, pls. only ($950 the set of 4).
Ariosto, Orlando Furioso. John Price, Jan. cat. of “Poetry,” #3, 1785 ed., 5 vols., pls. foxed or browned, contemporary calf slightly worn (£300). James Cummins, June cat. 68, #8, 1799 ed., 5 vols., pls. foxed, later calf worn ($600). Robert Frew, Aug. private offer, 1785 ed. extra-illustrated, 5 vols., contemporary vellum in the style of Edwards of Halifax with hand-painted illus. on each upper cover (£3,500—a price based on the handsome binding, not the presence of a single Blake pl.). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #3, pl. only, 2nd st. ($200).
Bell, ed., The Poets of Great Britain Complete from Chaucer to Churchill, 1777-82. Swann, 10 Dec. 1998, #100, complete in 109 vols., no mention of Blake’s pl. (frequently not present), contemporary calf worn (not sold; estimate $2500-3500).
Bible, Royal Universal Family, 1780-81. eBay online auction, Nov., 2 vols., contemporary calf very worn, covers loose ($212.50).
Blair, Grave. Phillip Pirages, Feb. Pasadena Book Fair, 1808 quarto, foxed, bookplate of Pamela Lister, quarter morocco ($3000); same copy and price, June cat. 43, #86. Argosy Book Store, March online cat., 1813 quarto, half morocco worn ($1500). Maggs, April cat. 1267, #51, 1870 issue of the pls. only, apparently loose, some foxing, no description of any binding or portfolio, from the library of John and Myfanwy Piper[e] (£350). eBay online auction, April, pl. 8 only, 1813 imprint, slight marginal soiling ($105). SL, 13 May, #122, 1813 “folio” (but probably the quarto), pls. colored, some of the coloring “contemporary” but much of it “post-1840,” pls. washed and bleached, slightly browned, some marginal spotting, later morocco rebacked, morocco box, a Muir facsimile of “The Ancient of Days” illus. although there is no mention of any such inserted pl. in the cat. description (£3680). CE, 17 June, #227, 1813 quarto, later half morocco by Riviere, slightly worn ($1265). Robert Frew, Aug. private offer, 1808 quarto, contemporary half calf slightly worn ($1360); same copy?, Nov. online cat. (£850). eBay online auction, Oct., “1813” quarto, illus. showing the blind-stamped cloth binding that indicates the 1870 ed. (starting bid $999; withdrawn); same copy now advertised as the 1870 ed., eBay online auction, Nov. (starting bid $699; not sold). James Cummins, Nov. online cat., 1813 quarto, half morocco ($900). Robert Clark, Nov. online cat.,  ed., original cloth rebacked, worn (£450). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #32, pls. only for the 1808 folio issue, “Of the Designs” from the quarto issue tipped in, possibly issued as a “pls. only” portfolio, some spotting and soiling, contemporary half calf ($3750); #33, 1808 quarto, slight foxing, with the signature of the early purchaser W. Walker (see his letter to Hayley of 31 Aug. 1808 making reference to one of the Grave designs, BR 199), later in the William Bateson collection, early boards with modern half calf ($1750).
Boydell, Graphic Illustrations of . . . Shakspeare, c. 1803. Bernard Shapero, Nov. online cat., 19th-century half morocco, ex-library copy with “unobtrusive Stamp at foot of title, other stamps and usual markings” ($1600).
Brown, Elements of Medicine, 1795. Rönnells Antikvariat, Stockholm, March online cat., 2 vols., contemporary half calf, spine of vol. 1 defective at top (about $185, reduced to $150 when ordered by R. Essick because of the damaged binding). The first copy I have seen on the market in at least 20 years.
Bryant, New System,. . .of Ancient Mythology, 1774-76. Sevin Seydi, May cat., #284, 1st ed., 3 vols., contemporary calf worn, 1 cover detached (£400). I have not been able to confirm the claim made in this cat. that “a few copies of vol. 1 are dated 1773.”
Cumberland, Outlines from the Antients, 1829. Marlborough Rare Books, Nov. online cat., large-paper issue, pls. on laid India, “occasional spotting,” contemporary calf rebacked (£2500).begin page 110 | ↑ back to top
Cumberland, Thoughts on Outline, 1796. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #5, pl. 2 only ($350). Quaritch, Nov. cat. 1267, #16, presentation inscription from the author, uncut in early 19th-century half calf (£1200).
Darwin, Botanic Garden. Pacific Book Auction, 25 Feb., #37, 1791 ed. of Part 1, 1790 ed. of Part 2, binding not described but damaged (no price record). BBA, 8 July, #101, 1799 ed., 2 vols., foxed and browned, contemporary calf very worn, with Darwin, Zoonomia, 1796, vol. 1 (of 2) only, foxed, contemporary calf very worn (not sold; estimate £100-150). Nudelman Rare Books, Nov. online cat., 1791 eds. of both parts, foxed, covers detached ($325). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #6, pl. 1 only ($750); #7, pl. 6 only ($950). Darwin, Poetical Works, 1806. Bow Windows Bookshop, Jan. cat. 153, #21, 3 vols., some gatherings misbound, foxed, uncut in modern boards (£200).
Enfield, The Speaker, 1781. BBA, 10 June, #89, with Enfield, Exercises in Elocution, 1780 (see under Stothard, below), both in later calf (Barrie Marks for J. Windle for R. Essick, £322). The only copy of the 1781 ed. I have seen on the market in many years.
Euler, Elements of Algebra, 1797. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #8, pl. only ($275).
Flaxman, Hesiod designs, 1817. eBay online auction, April, foxed, (original?) boards very worn, 3 pls. illus. ($207.50); same copy?, B&B Smith (a book dealer), Amazon. com auction, May, 3 pls. illus. (starting bid $950; not sold); same copy, eBay online auction, Dec. (starting bid $650; not sold). Second Life Books, Nov. online cat., foxed, new binding ($650).
Flaxman, Iliad designs. Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop, 1805 ed., Oct. online cat., bound with Flaxman, Aeschylus designs, 1795, three-quarter leather slightly worn ($2000—an exceptionally high price). BBA, 16 Sept., #276, 1870 ed., with Flaxman’s Odyssey designs, 1870, foxed and browned, original cloth-backed boards very worn (C. White, £5 on an estimate of £60-80).
Fuseli, Lectures on Painting, 1801. Ximenes Rare Books, April cat. 99-2, #53, bound with the 1820 ed. containing additional lectures, contemporary half calf (£400). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #9, pl. only ($500).
Gay, Fables. McLean Arts & Books, March online cat., “cloth boards,” number of vols. and ed. not indicated ($700). J. N. Bartfield, April private offer, 1793 ed., 2 vols., quarter morocco ($950). Swann, 22 April, #70, apparently 1793 ed., 2 vols., scattered foxing, later half calf ($488). John Windle, May cat. 30, #94, 1793 ed., 2 vols., in 1, morocco worn ($875). eBay online auction, June, 1793 ed., 2 vols., “rebound,” title page to vol. 1 illus., no mention of Blake (not sold). Robert Clark, Aug. cat. 53, #194, 1793 ed., 2 vols., slight foxing, contemporary calf rebacked (£265). eBay online auctions, Sept., 1793 ed., vol. 1 only, contemporary calf ($202.50); 1793 ed., 2 vols., light foxing, 19th-century half calf worn, covers detached ($305). Boston Book Co., Nov. online cat., 1793 ed., 2 vols., calf worn, covers detached ($600). David Holmes Autographs, Nov. online cat., 1793 ed., 2 vols. in 1, browning and offsetting, calf rebacked ($450). Abbey Antiquarian Books, Nov. online cat., 1811 ed., 2 vols., full calf worn, covers detached (£360). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #39, 1793 ed., 2 vols., full morocco by Lloyd, Wallis, and Lloyd ($2000); #40, 1793 ed., 2 vols. in 1, morocco slightly worn ($675).
Gough, Sepulchral Monuments, 1786. Cheffins, Grain & Comins auction, Cambridge, 28 Oct., #98, pl. 10, “Portrait of Queen Philippa,” only, proof before letters, pencil inscriptions possibly by Gough (£440 on an estimate of £200-300). The reproduction of this impression in Raymond Lister, Infernal Methods: A Study of William Blake’s Art Techniques (London: Bell and Sons, 1975) pl. 1, suggests that there may be some shading lacking in the image.
Hamilton, The English School, 1831-32. Boston Book Co., Nov. online cat., 4 vols., slight foxing, full morocco ($325).
Hayley, Ballads, 1805. Simon Finch, Feb. San Francisco Book Fair, uncut in original boards amateurishly rebacked, letter about this copy by Geoffrey Keynes inserted (£1500). CE, 17 June, #225, lacking pl. 1, uncut in original boards rebacked ($322). Cheffins, Grain & Comins auction, Cambridge, 28 Oct., #99, pl. 5, “The Horse,” only (no price information; estimate £80-120). Described as a “proof before completion” by the auction house, a “proof before signature . . . in the collection of Mr. Raymond Lister” in Bentley (571), and a proof lacking signature and considerable shading on the figures in Roger R. Easson and Robert N. Essick, William Blake : Book Illustrator, vol. 1 (Normal, Illinois: American Blake Foundation, 1972) 43. Nicolas Lott, the astute print dealer, informs me that this is in fact a lightly inked impression, showing fragments of the signature and evidence of having been removed from a copy of the book. The reproduction of this impression in Raymond Lister, Infernal Methods: A Study of William Blake’s Art Techniques (London: Bell and Sons, 1975) pl. 9, tends to confirm Lott’s assessment. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #11, pls. 1-3, 5 only, all final st. ($2000 the lot); #49, all pls. in 1st st., original boards newly rebacked ($3750).
Hayley, Designs to a Series of Ballads, 1802. Ursus Books, Jan. private offer, complete with all 4 ballads (acquired by R. Essick through J. Windle). See Appendix 2 for further information on this and other complete copies. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #10, pl. 1 only ($8500); #47, front matter begin page 111 | ↑ back to top and Ballad the First only (hence, containing pls. 1-5 of 14), the Monckton Milnes, Earl of Crewe, W. E. Moss copy, half morocco with the wheat-sheaf emblem of the Earl of Crewe on the upper cover, some offsetting of the pls. (price on inquiry).
Hayley, Essay on Sculpture, 1800. Ken Spelman, Nov. online cat., “2 plates engraved by Blake” (hence, missing 1 pl.?), uncut in recent half calf (£395).
Hayley, Life of Cowper, 1803-04. Robert Clark, Feb. cat. 52, #257, 1st ed., 3 vols., scattered foxing, contemporary calf rebacked (£220). Quaritch, Aug. private offer, 1st ed., pl. 4 in 2nd st., 3 vols., quarter calf (£900). Robert Clark, Aug. cat. 53, #285, 1st ed., 4 vols. in 3, with the supplement of 1806 bound in vol. 3, scattered foxing, contemporary calf rebacked (£285). Heritage Book Shop, Sept. online cat., apparently 1st ed., 3 vols., contemporary calf ($500). Argosy Book Store, Nov. online cat., apparently 1st ed., 3 vols., lacking pl. 6, contemporary half calf very worn ($400). Second Life Books, Nov. online cat., 1st ed., 3 vols., light foxing, contemporary calf rebacked ($650). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #12, pls. 1-2 only ($200 the pair); #13, pl. 4 only, 2nd st. ($350).
Hayley, Life of Romney, 1809. John Windle, May cat. 30, #96, some foxing, contemporary half calf worn ($450); same copy and price, Nov. online cat. 31, #50. CE, 17 June, #228, “old boards,” with 3 unrelated vols. by Gilpin ($633). Heritage Book Shop, Sept. online cat., fine contemporary morocco ($1350). William Reese, Nov. online cat., three-quarter morocco rubbed ($400). Royoung Bookseller, Nov. online cat., scattered foxing, some pl. inscriptions trimmed, later half calf ($625). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #14, pl. only ($450).
Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 1803. Phillip Pirages, Feb. Pasadena Book Fair, large-paper issue, modern quarter calf ($1500); same copy and price, Nov. cat. 44, #386. John Wm. Martin, April online cat., apparently small-paper issue, contemporary calf ($375). Ursus Books, June cat. 13, #10, small-paper issue, modern quarter calf ($750). Phillip Pirages, Nov. cat. 44, #387, small-paper issue, contemporary calf ($750). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #48, 2 copies of the small-paper issue, calf rebacked ($475 each).
Hogarth, The Beggar’s Opera by Hogarth and Blake, 1965. De Simone Company, Feb. cat. 48, extra-illus. with another impression of Blake’s pl. after Hogarth crudely hand colored, cloth box ($1150). Previously offered July 1998 cat. 46, #10 ($1250).
Hogarth, Works. SNY, 29 April, #81, “1822” title page but possibly the Quaritch reprinting of c. 1880, 153 pls. on 116 sheets, presumably including Blake’s engraving of the “Beggar’s Opera,” margins foxed, half morocco worn, upper cover detached ($1725). Harrington Bros., May private offer, 1790 Boydell issue, Blake’s pl. in the 2nd published st., slight mildew damage, heavy crease through center of the Blake pl., contemporary calf rebacked ($8000; acquired by the actor Michael Lerner [you may remember him as the studio boss in Barton Fink]). Swann, 13 May, #6, Blake’s pl. only, 4th or later st., illus. (not sold; estimate $700-1000). CE, 17 June, #94, 1822 ed. (or possibly the Quaritch reprint of c. 1880), 116 leaves of pls., contemporary half calf worn ($1035).
Hunter, Historical Journal, 1793. James Fenning, Jan. cat. 160, #198, octavo issue, recent quarter calf (£850). Charles Traylen, April cat. 128, #681, quarto issue, contemporary calf, joints repaired (£3300). Quaritch, Aug. private offer, quarto issue, engraved title page untrimmed, contemporary quarter calf (£6000). James Cummins, Nov. online cat., quarto issue, contemporary calf rebacked ($4250). Reads Rare Book Shop, quarto issue, “untrimmed,” slight foxing, contemporary calf rebacked ($3189).
Josephus, Works. Blake’s 3 pls. removed from the book, ed. and sts. not recorded, eBay online auction, Feb., ($263.50, $203.50, $130.09 respectively). CE, 17 June, #232, printed by “J. Cooke” (and thus Bentley’s A, B, or C issue), browned and stained, modern calf ($69). BBA, 22 July, #24, printed by J. Cooke, some tears and repairs, contemporary calf worn, upper cover detached (Manor House Books, £74).
Lavater, Aphorisms. Quaritch, March cat. 1259, #120, 1788 ed., half calf repaired (£600). Sevin Seydi, May cat., #478, 1794 ed., pl. in 2nd st. (some copies have the 3rd st.), pl. a little foxed, lacking half title, uncut in early (but not publisher’s) marble boards (a bargain at £100). CE, 17 June, #233, 1788 ed., contemporary calf; with Enfield, The Speaker, 1785, contemporary calf; Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 1803, contemporary calf; and A. and J. Taylor, City Scenes, 1818 (containing Blake’s “Holy Thursday” from Songs of Innocence), contemporary quarter morocco ($748). E. M. Lawson, July cat. 291, #22, 1788 ed., contemporary calf (£420). Alex and Emily Fotheringham, Sept. cat. 14, #64, 1794 ed., half calf worn (£160). Heritage Book Shop, Sept. online cat., 1788 ed., contemporary morocco ($650). Robert Clark, Nov. online cat., 1788 ed., foxed, contemporary calf rebacked, worn (£165). James Cummins, Nov. online cat., 1794 ed., some browning, disbound ($150). Henry Sotheran, Nov. online cat., 1789 ed., later calf ($322). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #60, 1794 ed., full calf ($495).
Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy. John Windle, March private offer, pl. 2 only ($200); pl. 2 only, a worn impression printed on thin (India?) paper mounted on a backing sheet begin page 112 | ↑ back to top ($250); Nov. online cat. 31, #15, pl. 2 only ($300). Argosy Book Store, April private offer, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 4, contemporary morocco ($2000). BBA, 24 June, #412, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, foxed, contemporary russia worn, 2 vols. rebacked, other covers detached (not sold; estimate £400-600). Bernard Shapero, Aug. private offer, “1792” ed., 3 vols. in 5, contemporary morocco (£1250). Marlborough Rare Books, Aug. private offer, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, very fine contemporary morocco (£1500). BBA, 16 Sept., #220, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, foxed, contemporary russia, 2 vols. rebacked, others with covers detached, worn (J & S Wilbraham, £322). Thomas Goldwasser, Nov. online cat., 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, uncut in three-quarter morocco worn, covers detached ($1250).
Malkin, Father’s Memoirs, 1806. Taylor Bowie, Feb. San Francisco Book Fair, contemporary calf, presentation inscription from Malkin to Mrs. Hayton (sold to John Windle); same copy, Windle Nov. online cat. 31, #65 ($975). E. M. Lawson, March cat. 290, #59, uncut in original boards, original paper label (£550). CE, 17 June, #226, slight staining to pls., uncut in original boards worn ($460).
Novelist’s Magazine. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #17, pls. only as follows: vol. 8 pl. 2, 2nd st.; vol. 9 pl. 1, 1st st.; vol. 10 pls. 1-3, 1st sts. ($375 the lot); #18, pls. only as follows: vol. 8 pls. 1-2, 1st sts.; vol. 9 pls. 1-3, 1st sts. ($375 the lot). Liber Redux, Nov. online cat., 1782 ed., vol. 8 (Don Quixote) only, old boards detached ($300).
Rees, The Cyclopaedia, 1820. Swann, 25 March, #107, 5 pls. vols. only, foxed and browned, modern buckram ($805). Storey’s Ltd., Aug. private offer, 39 vols. of text and 6 vols. of pls., contemporary quarter calf, fine condition (£4000). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #19, Blake’s 7 pls. only ($950 the set).
Remember Me!, 1825. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #20, title page and Blake’s pl. only ($6500).
Ritson, Select Collection of English Songs, 1783. Second Life Books, Sept. online cat., 3 vols., contemporary calf very worn, “covers separate” ($350). Kenneth Karmiole, Nov. online cat., 3 vols., later morocco over marbled boards, rubbed ($750). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #21, pls. 1, 4, 6-8 only ($300 the lot).
Salzmann, Elements of Morality. Quaritch, March cat. 1259, #139, 1791 ed., 3 vols., modern calf, 1 pl. illus. (£4000). Heritage Book Shop, Nov. online cat., 1792 ed., 3 vols., 1 pl. partly hand colored, later quarter calf ($6500).
Scott, Poetical Works, 1782. Sevin Seydi, May cat., #603, contemporary calf, rebacked and worn (£325). eBay online auction, Aug., calf worn ($255). eBay online auction, mid-Nov., some browning, contemporary calf worn (not sold); same copy, late Nov. ($168.05). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #22, pls. 1 and 3 only ($175 the pair).
Shakespeare, Dramatic Works, 1802. Swann, 10 Dec. 1998, #116, 9 vols., pls. foxed and some torn, contemporary morocco very worn, “sold is” (not sold; estimate $1000-1500). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #23, pl. only ($475).
Shakespeare, The Plays, 1805. Boston Book Co., Nov. online cat., 9 vol. issue, occasional foxing, contemporary calf worn ($250).
Stedman, Narrative. Gert Jan Bestebreurtze, Nov. 1998 cat. 99, #209, 1806 ed., 2 vols., pls. hand colored, later vellum (14,500 Dutch Guilders—about $7000). CE, 16 Dec., #216, 1796 ed., 2 vols., 1 unspecified pl. missing, 6 pls. laid down or repaired, modern half calf ($1380). Any Amount of Books, Feb. cat. 22, #49, pls. 3, 5, 9, 13 only, extracted (£220 the lot); same group, March online cat. (£160). BBA, 4 March, #50, 1806 ed., 2 vols., some tears, foxed, half calf worn, 1 cover detached (not sold; estimate £400-600). The Book Chest, Nov. online cat., 1813 ed., 2 vols., modern three-quarter calf ($3000). Atlas Books, Nov. online cat., 1796 ed., 2 vols., some spotting, later quarter calf worn (£1400). Second Life Books, Nov. online cat., 1796 ed., apparently 2 vols., contemporary calf rebacked ($3500). Chapel Hill Rare Books, Nov. online cat., 1806 ed., 2 vols., all but 1 pl. hand colored, 1 pl. (not by Blake) missing, contemporary calf worn, some repairs ($3500). Harrington Antiquarian Books, Nov. online cat., 1796 ed., 2 vols., slight foxing to pls., uncut in quarter calf little worn (£2930). G. R. Minkoff, Nov. cat. 99-C, #32, 1796 ed., 2 vols., full calf ($3500).
Stuart and Revett, Antiquities of Athens, 1762-1816. CE, 17 Nov., #272, 4 vols., some browning, half morocco worn ($10,925).
Virgil, Pastorals, 1821. John Windle, March private offer, Blake’s 17 wood engravings extracted from the book ($13,750). Sims Reed, Aug. online cat., 2 vols., original sheep, with the 1814 issue of the pls. only (before Blake’s contributions), modern morocco (£10,000). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #24, 2 wood engravings not further identified ($1250 each); #103, vol. 1 only, original sheep ($17,500).
Virgil wood engravings, 1977 printing of the 17 blocks. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #106, original cloth folder ($6500).
Whitaker, The Seraph, Bentley issue C (c. 1825-28). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #25, pl. only ($125).begin page 113 | ↑ back to top
Wit’s Magazine, 1784. eBay online auction, Nov., all issues uncut in original boards, printed label on spine, the frontispiece printed from the 2nd and more highly finished of two pls. (Bentley’s pl. 2), front cover detached, browned, water damage at end, title page and all 5 Blake pls. illus. (no bids on a reserve of $ 1700); same copy, eBay online auction, early Dec., illus. as above (no bids on a reserve of $ 1299).
A note on bindings and issues: The Wit’s Magazine was originally issued in monthly parts, stitched in printed wrappers, from Jan. 1784 through May 1785. There would be no reason for a purchaser of the monthly numbers to bind them together in paper-covered boards, as in the copy above, and print a spine label, since such a binding was used only as a cheap, temporary covering by booksellers-publishers. Thus I suspect that remainder copies of the magazine were bound into single vols., in boards, for sale as such by its publisher, Harrison and Co., after monthly publication had ceased. This practice would also explain why one encounters complete, one-vol. copies of all issues far more frequently than the individual monthly issues.
Wollstonecraft, Marie et Caroline, trans. Lallemand from Original Stories, Paris, . Ximenes Rare Books, Oct. private offer, with the half-title, uncut in original blue paper wrappers, printed spine label slightly rubbed (acquired by R. Essick). For the presence in this work of anonymous re-engravings of 5 of Blake’s 6 published illus. for Wollstonecraft’s Original Stories, see G.E. Bentley, Jr., “Marie Vollstonecraft Godwin and William Blake in France: The First Foreign Engravings after Blake’s Designs,” Australian Journal of French Studies 26 (1989): 125-47; and Bentley, Blake Books Supplement (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1995) 265-69, listing only 2 copies, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (lower margin of each pl. defaced with the library’s collection mark), and the University of Indiana (lacking pl. 5).
Wollstonecraft, Original Stories, 1791. Ken Leach, Jan. cat. 99-1, #244, sts. of pls. not recorded, “spine cracked, front cover loose and frontis loose” ($2500). C. R. Johnson, Feb. cat. 42, #57, sts. of pls. not recorded, pls. “inoffensively heightened in old watercolour,” contemporary sheep rebacked (£1800). CE, 17 June, #222, sts. of pls. not recorded, some browning throughout, contemporary calf worn ($2530). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #109, pls. in 1st st., contemporary calf ($6750).
Young, Night Thoughts, 1797, colored copy. Warner’s auction, Leicester, 23 June, no lot number (or at least none discoverable), with the “Explanation” leaf, fly-title to Night the Second in the 2nd st., leaves trimmed to 41.4 × 32.8 cm. (untrimmed copies are approx. 42.5 × 33 cm.), each folio of 2 leaves mounted on a stub and bound (c. 1890?) in quarter calf over brown cloth, printed title page evenly time- and dust-stained (as though left unbound, and hence unprotected, for many years), printed title page and final leaf pasted to backing sheets, slight mildew damage (now cleaned) to 2 leaves (£12,000—exclusive of fees—to Sims Reed for stock); Sims Reed, Aug. private offer (acquired by R. Essick). This copy not previously recorded. I have not been able to find any information about the book’s prior ownership; Max Reed of Sims Reed believes that the volume may have been owned (but only for a few months?) by the auctioneer. See the introductory essay, above, for a discussion of the book’s coloring.
Young, Night Thoughts, 1797, uncolored copies. John Windle, May cat. 30, #95, no mention of the explanation leaf but present, signed on the title page by Caroline Bowles Southey, uncut at the fore- and lower-edges, minor soiling, early marbled boards, later calf backstrip, upper cover detached, title page to the 4th Night (“The Christian Triumph”) illus. ($22,500). SL, 13 May, #123, with the explanation leaf, soiled and browned, modern half calf with new endpapers, fly-title to Night the First illus. (£2760). Andrew Cumming, June London Book Fair, with the explanation leaf, uncut, later 19th-century morocco elaborately gilt ($17,000). Heritage Book Shop, Sept. online cat., with the explanation leaf, later half morocco ($10,000); same copy and price, Dec. cat. 207, #37, pl. 26 illus. Phillip Pirages, Nov. cat. 44, #57, with the explanation leaf, leaves slightly trimmed, “contemporary” morocco elaborately gilt, explanation leaf creased and darkened, bookplate of Greville MacDonald and pencil signature of George Goyder dated 1937, 2 pls. illus. ($19,500). SL, 18 Nov., #74, lacking the explanation leaf, contemporary morocco, some leaves coming loose, pl. 1 illus. (£3680). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #112, 2 pls. in proof st. before imprints, with the explanation leaf, top edge gilt, others uncut, full morocco ($8750).
T. Percy, ed., Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, 1765. Quaritch, Oct. cat. 1266, #75, 3 vols., contemporary calf, joints strengthened (£1000). A copy in the Wellesley College Library is inscribed “Mary Ann Linnell [John Linnell’s wife] / The gift of Mr W-Blake” (Bentley 691).
A. Ghisi, Pitture dipinte nella volta della Capella Sistina nel Vaticano, [1773 issue?]. CL, 9 Dec. 1998, #55, 1 pl. illus. (not sold; estimate £2400-3000). Very probably the basis for Blake’s pen and wash drawings of 7 of these designs by Michelangelo (Butlin #167-70).
Lamentation, a pencil drawing attributed to Blake. 16 × 24 cm., inscribed “W. Blake” lower left in pencil. Sloan’s auction, Miami, 27 March, #440 (no price information). Having seen only a very poor reproduction, I suspect that this drawing is not by Blake.begin page 114 | ↑ back to top
J. Egerton, Egerton’s Theatrical Remembrancer, 1788. Quaritch, March cat. 1259, #97, contemporary calf (£300). Lists “W. Blake. ‘King Edward the Third.’ . . .Printed in a Pamphlet, called, ‘Poetical Sketches.’”
C. H. Tatham, Etchings, Representing the Best Examples of Ancient Ornamental Architecture, 1799. The Bookpress, Nov. online cat., modern half sheep ($2500). Blake appears in the list of subscribers.
“William Blake (follower of).” Portrait of Blake Rising from the Flames of a Fire. Pen and ink, “circa 1800,” 23 × 16.5 cm. Swann, 4 Feb., #172, illus. (not sold). A very awkward image, clearly cut from a larger composition. Probably not a portrait of Blake, probably much later than “circa 1800,” and probably not by any known Blake “follower.”
W. Falconer, The Shipwreck, 1804. Thomas Thorp, May cat. 500, #56, large-paper copy, fine contemporary morocco (£400); #57, another large-paper copy, not quite so fine contemporary morocco (£280). Blake very probably received a copy of this work from William Hayley in May 1804—see Bentley 687.
S. Richardson, Correspondence, ed. Barbauld, 1804. James Jaffe, March online cat., 6 vols., slight foxing, contemporary half calf ($750). In his letter to William Hayley of 16 July 1804, Blake alludes to this ed. of “Richardson” and notes his high regard for “Mrs Klopstocks Letters Vol 3.”
1. Reed, auction catalogue of his library, 1807. BBA, 21 Jan., #115, uncut in original boards worn (William Zachs, £207). Lot 6577 in this Reed auction was the copy of Blake’s Poetical Sketches now in the Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
J. Thomas, Religious Emblems, 1809. Thomas Schwarz, Nov. online cat., occasional foxing, uncut in original printed boards, later spine ($650). Blake appears in the list of subscribers.
C. Cennini, Trattato della Pittura, Rome, 1821. Quaritch, Feb. cat. 99/4, uncut and largely unopened in original wrappers, modern slipcase (£250). Blake apparently owned a copy—see Bentley #717.
J. T. Smith, Nollekens and His Times. Ursus Rare Books, May cat. 209, #88, 1828 ed., 2 vols., later half calf rebacked and worn ($300). eBay online auction, May/June, 1829 ed., 2 vols., (original?) green cloth worn (a bargain at $14.99). Ken Spelman, Nov. online cat., 1828 ed., 2 vols., contemporary half calf (£120). Vol. 2 contains an important early biography of Blake.
A. Cunningham, Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters, Sculptors and Architects, 1829-32. Henry Sotheran, Nov. online cat., 1st ed., 6 vols. in 3, recent quarter calf ($480). Vol. 2 contains an important early biography of Blake.
T. Sivright, auction cat. of his collection, Edinburgh, 1836. Quaritch, Dec. 1998 private offer, quarter calf (£350). Lot 1835 in this auction cat. is a “Volume of Drawings by Blake, Illustrative of Blair’s Grave, entitled, ‘Black Spirits and White, Blue spirits and Grey’” (£1.5s.). For discussion, see G. E. Bentley, Jr., “Thomas Sivright and the Lost Designs for Blair’s Grave,” Blake 19 (1985-86): 103-06.
J. Linnell, letter to B. Barton, 6 Aug. 1838, concerning Blake’s Job designs. See under Linnell, below.
The Pictorial Edition of the Book of Common Prayer, ed. H. Stebbing, n.d. (1841?). Harrison’s Books, Aug. private offer, publisher’s stamped calf, presentation inscription dated Dec. 1841 (£48; acquired by R. Essick). The pictorial decorations include an historiated initial (p. 192) based on pl. 2 of Blake’s illustrations to Blair’s Grave and a border design (p. 199) borrowing figures from pls. 1 and 10. The first is noted in the List of Illustrations as “Christ with the keys of Hell and Death—Blake.” The vol. also contains 8 designs based on Flaxman, 1 on stothard, and 1 on Fuseli (the last not acknowledged in the List of Illustrations). The presence of Blake’s designs was first recorded in G. E. Bentley, Jr., “Echoes of Blake’s Grave Designs in 1838,” Blake 12 (1978-79): 207-09.
G. Cumberland. A small album of 13 etchings by Cumberland, assembled in 1849 by his son, George Cumberland, Jr., for presentation to his late father’s friend, the publisher Mathew Gutch of Bristol. Quaritch, Nov. cat. 1267, #17, 1 pl. illus. (£1200; acquired by R. Essick). Previously sold BBA, 10 Dec. 1998, #90 (Quaritch, £667). The album contains the following: printed obituary of George Cumberland, dated 11 Aug. 1848, signed by “J. E.,” the signature extended in ink by George Jr. to “J. Eagles”; presentation letter from George Jr. to Gutch, dated 22 July 1849; Cumberland’s poem “To the Nightingale,” apparently a counterproof of the plate etched without reversing the lettering; etched frontispiece to Cumberland’s poem, Lewina, The Maid of Snowdon, 1793; portrait of “Iyo,” a Chinese merchant, soft-ground etching dated 1785, title inscription in reverse lettering (hence, not reversed on the copperplate); a coastal landscape, etching; etched river scene with figure, possibly intended for Cumberland’s A Poem on Landscapes, 1793; small etching of a landscape with a gateway and portcullis; small etched portrait of a bearded old man in a high fur hat, Rembrandtesque in subject and manner; small etched portrait, entitled on the facing verso of the album by George Jr., “Mr. John Highmore—from nature”; small etched begin page 115 | ↑ back to topbegin page 116 | ↑ back to top portrait, entitled on the facing verso by George Jr., “Revd. S. Breadon—from nature”; tailpiece to Lewina, etching with aquatint, the facing verso inscribed by George Jr., “Jointly with Thos Stothard R. A.”; soft-ground etched portrait, entitled on the facing verso by George Jr., “John Horne Tooke Eng by G. C.”; soft-ground etching of a house, entitled on the facing verso by George Jr., “Residence of John Horne Tooke at Wimbledon by G. C.”; small aquatint of a structure, entitled on the facing verso by George Jr., “Saxon Monument at Lord Holland’s near Ramsgate.” Geoffrey Keynes ascribes the composition of the etched poem to Blake in “‘To the Nightingale’: Perhaps an Unrecognized Poem by William Blake,” Book Collector 30 (1981): 335-45, but this attribution has not been generally accepted. 3 similar albums of Cumberland’s prints have been recorded, 1 in the Bristol City Art Gallery (14 etchings) and 2 in the Keynes Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum (14 and 26 etchings). See illus. 2.
The Imperial Dictionary of Universal Biography, ed. J. F. Waller, [1857-63]. Claude Cox, May cat. 132, #120, 3 vols., contemporary half calf worn, 1 cover loose (£45). Contains (1: 611-12) an enthusiastic entry on Blake, signed “W. T.” (identified as Walter Thornbury in the “List of Contributors”).
Songs of Innocence and Experience, with Other Poems by W. Blake, Pickering ed., 1866. Phillip Pirages, June cat. 43, #85, the 1st issue with the 5th stanza of “Mary” and lines 113-14 of “Auguries of Innocence” printed (both suppressed in the 2nd issue), 1 of 50 copies of this issue (according to a pencil note by R. H. Shepherd, editor of the vol., in the Huntington Library copy), full morocco by H. Sotheran & Co. ($950). Only the 2nd copy of this issue I have seen on the market in 30 years. Book ‘Em, Nov. online cat., original green cloth with printed spine label (most copies are in brown cloth), Richard C. Jackson’s copy with his bookplate, signature, and the following ink inscription in his hand on the recto of the front-free flyleaf: “This is a verbatim reprint of Blake’s original edition of his Songs of Innocence and Experience and the Miscellaneous Poems comprised [sic?] in what is called the Rossetti Manuscript, in the hands of the Publisher (our beloved friend) at the time of their being made more fully public than they were at the time of the printing of Gilchrist’s so called life of Blake in 1863. With respect to this last work, such was my father’s disgust at Gilchrist’s Journalistic performance, that he would not allow him to use any of his Blakean material. A rare & beautiful copy” ($225; acquired by R. Essick). For Jackson’s publications on Blake, 1901-13, see Bentley 841; for his claims about his Blake collection, see Bentley, “Richard C. Jackson, Collector of Treasures and Wishes: Walter Pater, Charles Lamb, William Blake,” forthcoming in this journal.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Camden Hotten facsimile, 1868. John Windle, May cat. 30, #99, “original quarter dark-green morocco” (actually roan?), occasional foxing ($1200); same copy and price, Nov. online cat. 31, #67.
B. Quaritch, General Catalogue of Books, 1880-97. Questor Rare Books, March cat. 22, #272, 17 vols., large-paper issue, original half roan worn (£1800). These massive tomes offer for sale several important works by Blake.
W. Muir, facsimiles of Blake’s illuminated books. CE, 16 Dec. 1998, #132, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1885, numbered 40 by Muir, and There is No Natural Religion, 1886, numbered 29 by Muir, both original wrappers worn ($1610). Robert Clark, Feb. cat. 52, #248, Songs of Innocence, 1927, numbered 14 by Muir, original wrappers (£260). BBA, 18 March, #200, Songs of Innocence, 1927, numbered 28 by Muir, original wrappers (Barrie Marks, £184). Black Sun Books, April online cat., Songs of Innocence, 1927, and Songs of Experience, 1927, both in original wrappers worn, no mention of Muir’s numbering ($2250). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #68, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, numbered 40 by Muir (see CE auction, above), original wrappers ($2000); #72, Milton, not numbered, signature of H. H. Statham, new cloth, original wrappers bound in ($2250); #96, There is No Natural Religion, numbered 29 by Muir (see CE auction, above), original wrappers ($1675).
There is No Natural Religion, Pickering facsimile, 1886. Simon Finch, March cat. of “100 Fresh Items,” #11, “190 × 140 mm” (hence, a trimmed copy of the large-paper issue), slight foxing, later morocco, original wrappers bound at end (£500). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #95, large-paper copy, slightly later full morocco ($1500). All 19th-century facsimiles of Blake’s illuminated books are becoming expensive.
L. Binyon, autograph manuscript of an unpublished essay, “William Blake Painter, Poet, Seer,” 19 pages, c. 1925. James Cummins, April private offer ($1500).
Poems from Blake’s Songs of Innocence, illus. Maurice Sendak, 1967. CNY, 9 Dec. 1998, #169, with an ink drawing signed by Sendak on the verso of the front-free endpaper facing the title page, opening showing the drawing and title page and p. 9, “The Lamb,” illus. color ($6900 on an estimate of $3000-4000). Very probably a record price for a letterpress ed. of one of Blake’s illuminated books; or, to take a different perspective, probably a record price for any 20th-century edition of Blake’s writings. John Windle, July private offer, no drawing (acquired by R. Essick).
3 refrigerator magnets, bearing (respectively) 4 lines from “The Tyger,” 8 lines from “The Sick Rose,” and the complete begin page 117 | ↑ back to top “Ah! Sunflower,” each with decorative wallpaper-like designs unrelated to Blake’s illustrations. eBay online auction, May, all 3 illus. ($15.64 the lot). The market for Blake refrigerator magnets is clearly heating up; I was outbid.
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.
A collection of prints disbound from Barry, A Series of Etchings, 1808. Caxton Antique Prints, Dublin, July private offer, lacking “King Lear” and 1 other pl., each framed (Irish £3000 the group).
Dionysus and Erigone. Oil, approx. 23 × 36 cm. Abbott and Holder, Aug. private offer, described as a “monotype” (£3000). I am unable to substantiate the dealer’s tentative claim that this is a monotype; if true, it would provide an interesting technical link between Calvert and Blake.
“The Chamber Idyll,” wood engraving. Larkhall Fine Art, June online cat., from the Carfax portfolio of 1904, illus. (£4000).
“Ideal Pastoral Life,” lithograph. Garton & Co., Sept. cat. 74, #2, from the Carfax portfolio, illus. ($8070).
[Calvert, S.], Memoir of Edward Calvert, 1893. Sims Reed, Aug. online cat., original cloth (£8500).
Achilles Receiving the News of the Death of Patroclus from Nestor’s Son, Antilochus (recto); variant with Achilles and Thetis only (verso). Pen and ink, 23 × 17.9 cm., stains on verso. Boerner, cat. for their Jan. 1999 New York exhibition, p. 18, illus. (price on application).
The Bard. Pen and gray ink over pencil, 28 × 28.5 cm. SL, 31 March, #6, illus. (not sold; estimate £2000-3000).
“Evil Spirits cast Out”: an Illustration to Emmanuel Swedenborg’s Arcana Coelestia, No. 1272. CL, 8 June, #124, illus. color (£5175).
A Florentine Wearing an Elaborate Head-Dress. Pen and gray ink, gray wash, 25 × 14 cm., signed and dated 1798. Spink-Leger, Sept. “Head and Shoulders” cat., #18, illus. color (£15,000).
Homer Invoking the Muse. Pen and gray ink, inscribed lower right “John Flaxman,” 17.5 × 25.5 cm. SL, 31 March, #26, illus. (not sold; estimate £800-1200). A variant preliminary sketch for pl. 1, engraved by Blake, in Flaxman’s 1805 ed. of his Iliad designs.
Portrait of Harriet Mathew. Pencil, 19 × 15 cm., signed, inscribed with the name of the sitter. SL, 25 Nov., #21, illus. (£2760).
Autograph letter signed to William Hayley, 28 Aug. 1786. Quaritch, Nov. cat. 1267, #23 (£750).
Aeschylus designs. Heritage Book Shop, Oct. online cat., 1795 ed., (original?) wrappers ($350). See also Flaxman, Iliad designs, under Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake, above.
Dante designs. Tamerlane Books, Oct. online cat., 1867 ed., contemporary cloth ($90). Heritage Book Shop, Oct. online cat., engraved by Reveil, Paris, n.d., light foxing, three-quarter morocco worn ($450).
Flaxman, Anatomical Studies, 1833. Robert Clark, Feb. cat. 52, #281, publisher’s later cloth (£200). James Fenning, Aug. cat. 165, #108, light foxing, original cloth rebacked (£300). B & L Rootenberg, Oct. online cat., contemporary cloth ($450). Marlborough Rare Books, Oct. online cat., frontispiece foxed, original cloth rebacked (£480).
Flaxman, Eight Illustrations of the Lord’s Prayer, 1835. Marlborough Rare Books, Oct. online cat., original wrappers (£320).
Flaxman, Lectures on Sculpture. Robert Clark, Oct. online cat., 1829 ed., some foxing of pls., 20th-century boards (£165). Gage Postal Books, 1865 ed., Oct. online cat., “covers worn, binding split” (£5).
Hesiod designs. Heritage Book Shop, Oct. online cat., engraved by Reveil, Paris, n.d., light foxing, three-quarter morocco worn ($300). See also Flaxman, Hesiod designs, under Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake, above.
Iliad designs. Heritage Book Shop, Oct. online cat., 1796 ed., original wrappers ($400). Quaritch, Nov. cat. 1267, Flaxman’s Umrisse zu Homers Iliade,[e] Leipzig, 1804, “captions supplied to each plate in English in a neat pencilled hand,” 19th-century half morocco (£225). See also Flaxman, Iliad begin page 118 | ↑ back to top designs, under Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake, above.
Odyssey designs, Paris ed., c. 1820, with lithographic pls. Robert Frew, Oct. online cat., contemporary half calf (£450).
Martha Hess. Pencil, 11.9 × 8.5 cm., a preliminary drawing for a pl. in Lavater’s Essays on Physiognomy. Spink-Leger, Sept. “Head and Shoulders” cat., #20, illus. color (£18,000). Previously sold CL, 24 Nov. 1998, #56 (£8050).
A Seated Nude (recto and verso). Pen and brown ink, 21.9 × 17.3 cm., dated to c. 1795. CNY, 28 Jan., #107, “inspired by the Ignudi of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo,” recto illus. ($18,400).
Portrait of Fuseli. Maggs, Aug. private offer, water color, approx. 45 × 29.5 cm. (not priced). Based on the 1831 portrait by H. G. Harlow, but with a book added to the sitter’s right hand and a figure of Death in the background above his head copied from Fuseli’s “The Vision of the Lazar House,” published as a print by M. Haughton in 1813. E. Scriven’s engraving of the Harlow portrait was published in Library of the Fine Arts in 1832; another engraving (signed “Hinchliff”) of the same portrait appears as the frontispiece in Lectures on Painting, by the Royal Academicians, ed. R. N. Wornum (1848).
“The Weird Sisters,” mezzotint by J. R. Smith after Fuseli, 1785. SL, 29 June, #146, illus., with “Tempest,” stipple engraving by Simon after Fuseli for Boydell’s Shakespeare (not sold; estimate £2000-3000).
Bell’s British Theatre, 1791-96. CSK, 23 April, #107, 35 vols., contemporary morocco (£1725).
Bible, published Macklin, 1800. Heritage Book Shop, July cat. 205, #29, 6 vols., contemporary morocco ($8500).
Boothby, Sorrows, Sacred to the Memory of Penelope, 1796. John Windle, Feb. private offer, some foxing and staining, uncut in original boards rebacked, original spine laid down, printed title label on front cover, Fuseli’s pl. in the 1st published st., inscribed on the recto of the front-free endpaper in ink, “from the author for H. Fuseli,” and in pencil, “Susan North” (a friend of Fuseli’s in whose house he died), modern cloth slipcase ($5500). D & E Lake, Oct. cat. 113, #263, some foxing and browning, uncut in later boards ($280).
Boydell, A Collection of Prints. . .Illustrating the Dramatic Works of Shakspeare, 1803. BBA, 10 Dec. 1998, #2, 2 vols., 89 pls., contemporary roan-backed boards very worn (Walpole, £3220). CSK, 11 Dec. 1998, #268, 2 frontispieces and 89 pls., some spotting, contemporary calf worn (£2645).
British Classics, published Sharpe, 1803-12. Heritage Book Shop, July cat. 205, #44, with Drake, Essays, 27 vols. in all, large-paper issue, some pls. foxed, full morocco by Hering ($1500). The British Classics contains 2 pls. after Fuseli for the Tatler and Spectator (1804).
Homer, Iliad and Odyssey, trans. Pope, 1803-04. J. N. Bartfield, April private offer, 12 vols., contemporary morocco ($1750).
Lavater, Aphorisms, Dublin, 1790. Ken Spelman, May cat. 41, #195, contemporary quarter calf (£95). This Dublin ed., with Fuseli’s frontispiece engraved by Maguire, is much rarer than the 1788, 1789, and 1794 London eds. with the same design engraved by Blake. Tony Fothergill of Ken Spelman Rare Books reported to this disappointed collector that he had many orders.
Pope, Poetical Works, 1804. Heritage Book Shop, July cat. 205, #531, uniformly bound in 11 vols., three-quarter morocco, with Homer, Iliad and Odyssey, trans. Pope, 1803-04 ($2500).
Shakespeare, Plays and Poems, ed. Valpy, 1832-34. Bauman Rare Books, April private offer, 15 vols., three-quarter morocco ($1750).
Face of Mr. Upton. Black chalk, 12.7 × 7.6 cm. Abbott and Holder, June online cat. 326, #51 (£40). Not seen, but probably related to Linnell’s oil portrait of Upton, engraved by Linnell and Blake in 1818-19.
Figures Resting in a Wooded Landscape. Oil, 30 × 43 cm., signed and dated 1868. SL, 17 Feb., #142, illus. (£2990).
The Ford. Oil, 38 × 46 cm., signed. SL, 24 Nov., #88, the oil sketch for the painting exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1872 (£2300).
Mr. Paul, An American Preacher of the Gospel. Pencil, 5.1 × 7.6 cm. Abbott and Holder, June online cat. 326, #52 (£65).
Mrs. Selby Lowndes. Pencil, 12.7 × 10.2 cm., dated 1820. Abbott and Holder, June online cat. 326, #53 (£60).
Portrait of a Child. Pencil, signed “J Linnell.” Abbott and Holder, Aug. private offer (£110).begin page 119 | ↑ back to top
Portrait of John Linnell, a photographic carte de visite by Maull & Polyblank, London, of the artist in his studio, c. 1870? eBay online auction, Oct., illus. ($50 to Tim Linnell, the artist’s great-great-great grandson).
Profiles of Men and Dogs. Pencil, sheet approx. 5 × 10 cm. Abbott and Holder, Aug. private offer (£65). These physiognomic profiles, apparently sketched to study the relationships among human and canine features, recall Blake’s Visionary Heads.
The River Lea, Hertfordshire. Water color, 30 × 43 cm., signed and datable to 1814. SL, 17 Feb., #411 (£460).
Autograph letter signed to Bernard Barton, 6 Aug. 1838, 3 pp. SNY, 22 June, #397, with a letter by William Holman Hunt unrelated to either Blake or Linnell (not sold; estimate $1200-1800). According to the auction cat., the letter is about sending to Barton “the fifth impression[?] of William Blake’s Book of Job.” This is the letter printed in part, with one ellipsis and no date other than the year, in Geoffrey Keynes, Blake Studies, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1971) 184-85.
“Labour,” Cousen after Linnell from The Art Journal, 1863. eBay online auction, Oct., illus. ($21.50).
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, 38 mezzotints by Linnell, c. 1830-31. Phillips auction, London, 29 Nov., #53a, hand colored (by the Linnell family?), quarter leather album (£450).
“Mountain Shepherd,” Cousen after Linnell from The Art Journal, 1872. eBay online auction, Oct., illus. ($25).
“Sheep at Noon,” etching by Linnell after his own design, 1818. Phillips auction, London, 29 Nov., #53, on laid India, minor staining (£380).
MORTIMER, JOHN HAMILTON
Set of 11 etchings by or after Mortimer. Swann, 11 Nov., #79, “Revengeful Monsters” illus. ($632).
“Shylock,” etching. BBA, 20 May, #51, trimmed just outside the border, “minor defects” (Steve Burak, £46).
The Bay of Naples. Water color, 19.7 × 42 cm., datable to 1838. Agnew’s, March 126th Annual Exhibition of English Watercolours and Drawings, #86, illus. color (price on application).
The Bay of Naples. Water color, 42 × 58.2 cm., datable to 1838. Agnew’s, March 126th Annual Exhibition of English Watercolours and Drawings, #87, illus. color (price on application).
Figures Resting on a Bank above a River at Sunset. Brown wash and body color, 16.8 × 26.7 cm., datable to c. 1859. CL, 8 June, #126, illus. color (£19,550 on an estimate of £3000-5000).
Landscape with Cottage Roof. Water color, 15.3 × 26 cm., datable to the 1840s on stylistic grounds, chalk sketch of the sun and clouds on verso. Agnew’s, May offer on their website, illus. color (price on application).
Mount Siabod from Dyn-Y-Coed, with Figures in the Foreground. Water color, 37.5 × 47.6 cm., datable to 1835-36. CL, 8 June, #128, illus. color (not sold; estimate £10,000-15,000).
Collection of 29 unpublished letters from Palmer to Richard and Samuel Redgrave, some dealing with problems of etching and printing. Bonham’s, London auction, 23 Feb., # 72 (Larkhall Gallery, £14,000).
Etchings, a complete group including touched proofs. Fine Art Society/C. G. Boerner, April “Samuel Palmer” cat., all illus.: #1, “Willow,” 1st st. on laid India ($4000); #2, “Skylark,” 2nd st. on laid India, signed in pencil ($5000); #3, “Herdsman’s Cottage,” 1st st. on laid India, “touched in pencil” ($7500); #4, “Christmas,” 3rd st., inscribed and dated 1873 ($16,500); #5, “The Vine,” 1st st. inscribed “Trial Proof” ($4000); #6, “Sleeping Shepherd,” 3rd st. ($8250); #7, “Rising Moon,” 4th st., inscribed “Proof in progress” ($16,000); #8, “Weary Ploughman,” 4th st., touched proof with pencil annotations ($25,000); #9, “Early Ploughman,” 6th st., touched proof ($18,000); #10, “Morning of Life,” 6th st., inscribed “Private Proof” ($6750); #11, “Bellman,” 5th st., pencil signature ($25,000); #12, “Lonely Tower,” 5th st., inscribed “Trial proof” ($20,000); #13, “Opening the Fold,” 3rd st., inscribed “Remarque Proof” ($12,500); #14, “Homeward Star,” 4th st., 1926 printing ($2000); #15, “Cypress Grove,” 2nd st. ($1250); #16, “Sepulchre,” 2nd st. ($1250); #17, “Moeris and Galatea,” 4th st., 1924 printing ($2500). I believe that these are all record asking prices.
“Bellman,” etching. CL, 9 Dec. 1998, #277, 7th st., 1926 printing, illus. ($1265).
“Christmas,” etching. Swann, 11 Nov., #223, 2nd st., pencil signature, illus. ($2530).
“Cypress Grove,” etching. Swann, 11 Nov., #224, 1st st., illus. ($1725).begin page 120 | ↑ back to top
“Early Ploughman,” etching. Larkhall Fine Art, June online cat., 7th st., touched proof, pencil signature, illus. (£6500). Swann, 3 Nov., #98, 8th st., “well-inked impression,” illus. ($1092); 11 Nov., #223A, 8th st., trimmed to platemark, illus. ($747). John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #237, 4th st., “fine impression” ($1250).
“Herdsman’s Cottage,” etching. Swann, 3 Nov., #99, 2nd st., with “The Willow,” 3rd st., and “Early Ploughman,” 9th st., “Herdsman’s Cottage” illus. (not sold; estimate $1200-1800).
“Lonely Tower,” etching. Larkhall Fine Art, June online cat., 6th st., 1879 printing, pencil signature, some foxing, illus. (£4750).
“Morning of Life,” etching. Swann, 13 May, #189, 7th st., illus., with “Herdsman’s Cottage,” 2nd st., and “Rising Moon,” 9th st. ($1495).
“Opening the Fold,” etching. Larkhall Fine Art, June online cat., 10th st., “almost certainly printed by F. L. Griggs shortly before the final edition . . . published in 1926,” illus. (£750).
“Sleeping Shepherd,” etching. Swann, 13 May, #188, 5th st., verso stained, illus. ($977).
Adams, Sacred Allegories, Philadelphia, 1858. J. N. Bartfield, April private offer, contemporary calf ($325). The presence of Palmer’s illus., 1st published in a London ed. of 1856, in this 1858 ed. has not been previously noted.
Milton, Shorter Poems, 1889. G. David, Aug. private offer, small-paper issue, original cloth (£150); another copy, presentation inscription from the actor Michael Redgrave to the artist Keith Vaughan (£250). BBA, 30 Sept., #220, apparently the small-paper issue, original cloth very worn (W. M. Archdale, £80).
A. H. Palmer, Life and Letters of S. Palmer, 1892. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #234, original cloth slightly worn ($750).
S. Palmer, An English Version of the Eclogues of Virgil. BBA, 10 June, #101, 1883 small-paper issue, original cloth (Thomas Thorp, £437). Marlborough Rare Books, Sept. cat. 179, #175, 1884 large-paper issue, original vellum soiled (£700).
Rogers, Pleasures of Memory, . John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #233, original cloth ($285).
Songs and Ballads of Shakespeare Illustrated by the Etching Club, 1853. John Windle, Nov. online cat. 31, #232, large-paper issue, presumably with Palmer’s “The Vine or Plumpy Bacchus,” 5th st. ($800).
Bindweed at Shoreham. Water color, 18.1 × 12.1 cm., inscribed in pencil, “Shoreham. 1827.GR.” Agnew’s, March 126th Annual Exhibition of English Watercolours and Drawings, #80, illus. color (price on application). Previously sold as A Convolvulus at Shoreham, with 2 drawings by Richmond of apples, SL, 8 April 1998, #99 (£6900 on an estimate of £1500-2000).
A Damned Soul Hanging from a Gothic Building. Water color, 6.4 × 7.3 cm. CL, 9 Nov., #37, illus. color (£3910). Previously sold SL, 18 Nov. 1976, #178 (£370); offered by Garton & Co., Feb. 1997 cat. 67, #4 ($8000); sold Cheffins, Grain & Comins auction, Oxford, March 1998 (£2012). I believe that the figure is not “hanging,” but leaning over to turn the handle of a large screw or drilling device. The small horns on his head indicate he is a devil; his actions may be part of some hellish torture. This small but intriguing drawing appears to have been cut from a larger composition.
Portrait of a Man. Red chalk, 22.2 × 16.2 cm. Spink-Leger, Sept. “Head and Shoulders” cat., #35, illus. color (£950).
Profile Portrait of Frederick Tatham, with Other Studies. Pen and brown ink, 10.2 × 8.9 cm., inscribed in brown ink, “March - 1829 - Paris,” and in pencil, “a recollection of Fredk. Tatham.” Agnew’s, March 126th Annual Exhibition of English Watercolours and Drawings, #81, illus. color (price on application; acquired by R. Essick). See illus. 3.
Study for “The Eve of Separation.” Pencil, 11.8 × 10.2 cm., pencil, pen, brown ink, initialed and dated 1830, laid down on a sheet bearing drawings by Richmond of a leg and a hand. CL, 9 Nov., #36, illus. (£1725).
Study of a Female Head for Milton’s Comus. Black and red chalks, 20.2 × 16.2 cm. Spink-Leger, Sept. “Head and Shoulders” cat., #34, illus. color (£2600).
Study of a Figure in Contemplation. Pen and brown ink, 23 × 15.7 cm. Spink-Leger, Sept. “Head and Shoulders” cat., #36, illus. color (£1400).
Sketchbook of 150 pp., 9.9 × 19.1 cm., with 28 pencil sketches and 15 ink sketches. Quaritch, Nov. cat. 1267, #71, 1 p. illus. (£2850).
Figures Mourning a Dying Woman. Pen and brown ink and gray wash, 17.5 × 24 cm. SL, 16 Sept., #244, illus. color (£4025 on a modest estimate of £600-800). See the next entry for a companion drawing.begin page 121 | ↑ back to top
Figures Surrounding a Woman on a Bed with a Baby. Pen and brown ink and gray wash, 17.5 × 24 cm. SL, 16 Sept., #245, illus. color (£4370 on an estimate of £600-800). A companion drawing to the previous entry.
Jason and the Argonauts. 2 water colors, 23 × 19 cm. and 19.5 × 14.5 cm. SL, 16 Sept., #321 (not sold; estimate £300-500).
Mother and Child. Pen and brown wash, 15.5 × 11.5 cm. SL, 15 July, #7, illus. (£7130 on an estimate of £1000-1500).
Satan and Death. Pencil, 14 × 23.4 cm., study of a crowned male on verso. CL, 8 June, #113A (£517).
A Study of Two Women: A Sketch for The Milner Sisters. Pencil and brown wash, 28.7 × 23.5 cm. Spink-Leger, Sept. “Head and Shoulders” cat., #40, illus. color (£30,000). Possibly a record asking price for a drawing by Romney.
Two Studies for The Warren Family. Pencil, each 15.2 × 12 cm. Spink-Leger, Sept. “Head and Shoulders” cat., #39a-b, illus. color (£1200 and £1400).
“The Shepherd,” etching/engraving. Larkhall Fine Art, June online cat., printed on laid India, rust stain in lower blank area, illus. (price on request).
2 drawings, They Carv’d at Ye Meal in Gloves of Steel and The Company Was Struck, pen and gray wash, 2.5 × 4.9 cm. and 2.8 × 5.1 cm. eBay online auction, May, both illus. ($96). Possibly preliminary drawings for The Royal Engagement Pocket Atlas, but I have not been able to identify the specific work(s) illustrated.
The Angel Appearing to Christiana, an illustration to Bunyan. Sepia wash, 11.4 × 7.6 cm. Heritage Book Shop, Nov. online cat. ($1500).
The Attentive Doctor, “attributed” to Stothard. Oil, 21 × 25 cm. SL, 17 Feb., #284 (£575).
Godfrey and the Angel. Monochrome wash drawing, approx. 13.5 × 9.5 cm. Acquired July by D. Bindman, London. The preliminary drawing for the pl. engraved by A. Smith and published in Tasso, Jerusalem Delivered, trans. Hoole (1797), 1: facing p. 23.begin page 122 | ↑ back to top
Mars, Venus and Cupid. Oil, 51.5 × 48.5 cm. SL, 24 Nov., #107, illus. color (not sold; estimate £3000-5000).
May Morning—Milton. Water color, 7.4 × 6.3 cm. Swann, 4 Feb., #162, illus. ($345). The preliminary drawing for the title-page vignette, engraved by William Bromley, in The Poetical
Works of John Milton (London: John Sharpe, 1810), vol. 3. According to A. C. Coxhead, Thomas Stothard (London: Bullen, 1906) 104, the pl. first appeared in “a small edition of Milton’s Poems (1805),” but I have not been able to confirm this.
The Promenade. Oil, 50 × 40 cm. SL, 17 Feb., #280, illus. (not sold; estimate £600-800).
The Supper by the Fountain (from Boccaccio’s Decameron). Oil, 48 × 60 cm., signed. SL, 24 Nov., #116, illus. color (£2300).
Turkish Men Seated on the Sand. Water color, 11 × 15.7 cm. Heritage Book Shop, Nov. online cat. ($600).
“Amyntor & Theodora,” Tompkins after Stothard. Caxton Antique Prints, July private offer, color printed, contemporary frame (Irish £650).
“The Lost Apple,” lithograph. Larkhall Fine Art, very fine impression, “possibly a proof,” illus. (£1750).
“Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 4, Scene 1,” engraved Heath. Ian Hodgkins, Nov. online cat. (£65).
Addison and Steele, The Tatler, 1804. Thomas Goldwasser, Nov. online cat., 4 vols., contemporary morocco, 2 vols. rebacked ($750). See also British Classics under Fuseli, above.
Aesop, Fables, Stockdale ed., 1793. Abbey Antiquarian Books, Nov. online cat., calf worn (£425).
Akenside, Pleasures of Imagination. Kenneth Karmiole, Nov. online cat., 1794 ed., contemporary calf worn ($75). Argosy Book Store, Nov. online cat., 1803 ed., contemporary calf worn ($35). Edwin Glaser Rare Books, Nov. online cat., 1807 ed. published in Portland, Maine, said to have (re-engraved?) pls. after Stothard, contemporary quarter calf ($150).
Armstrong, Art of Preserving Health, 1795. Ximenes Rare Books, Nov. online cat., contemporary calf (£100).
Bell, ed., Art & Song, 1867. Ian Hodgkins, Nov. online cat., large-paper issue with pls. on laid India, full morocco (£300).
Bell, ed., Golden Leaves, 1863. Ian Hodgkins, Nov. online cat., cloth (£85). The presence of 1 pl. after Stothard has not been previously recorded.
Bijou. Oak Knoll Books, March cat. 207, #488, 1828 ed., original quarter calf ($150). Charles Agvent, Nov. online cat., 1828 ed., “original binding” ($125). Old Book Company, Nov. online cat., 1830 ed., library binding (£20).
Blane, Cynegetica, 1788. First Folio Books, Nov. online cat., later morocco ($500). James Cummins, Nov. online cat., contemporary marbled boards ($350).
Boccaccio, Decameron, Pickering ed., 1825. Grant & Shaw, June cat. 46, #15, 3 vols., large-paper issue, pls. slightly foxed, uncut in original cloth worn (£475). Tamerlane Books, Nov. online cat., proof issue of the pls. only, marginal foxing, cloth-backed boards with original wrappers bound in ($100).
Book of Gems. Kenneth Karmiole, Feb. Pasadena Book Fair, 1836-38 ed., 3 vols., publisher’s morocco gilt ($275). Ian Hodgkins, Nov. online cat., 1871 ed., publisher’s papier-mâché binding (£95).
Bray, Life of Stothard, 1851, extra-illus. copies only. BBA, 10 Dec. 1998, #86, extended to 3 vols. folio with the addition of 2 water colors (not by Stothard) and c. 500 pls. after his designs, 19th-century morocco (£1265 on an estimate of £400-600 to B. Marks acting for J. Windle acting for R. Essick). The pls. include folded impressions of the “Wellington Shield,” engraved in sections on 6 pls. (plus a title pl.) by Stothard after his own designs. Impressions of the “Shield” prints, cut out, assembled into a single image, and framed without the title pl. sold for £14,950 at CL, 1 July 1993, #202. Has the Iron Duke suddenly gone out of fashion? Brick Row Book Shop, Nov. online cat., extended to 2 vols. with 118 added pls., contemporary calf ($850).
Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress. The Book Block, Nov. 1998 cat. 42, #44, the 17 small pls. published by Seeley, 1839, mounted in a morocco album ($750). Biblion, Nov. online cat., 1796 ed., full morocco rubbed (£150). Arundel Books, Nov. online cat., 1876 ed., cloth ($50). Kerr and Reed Rare Books, Nov. online cat., 1896 ed., cloth ($22). James Cummins, Nov. online cat., 1854 ed., half morocco ($75).
Collins, Poems, 1802. Glenbower Books, Aug. Dublin Book Fair, later calf (Irish £35); another copy, contemporary calf (Irish £25).
Cowper, Poems. Blackwell’s, April cat. B126, #167, 1803 ed., 2 vols., pls. hand colored, contemporary calf (£85). John Martin Bookseller, Nov. online cat., 1800 ed., 2 vols., contemporary calf rubbed ($125).
Coxe, The Social Day, 1823. Bow Windows Bookshop, Jan. cat. 153, #27, extra-illus. with 92 engraved portraits, Stothard’s 3 pls. on laid India, later morocco (£275).begin page 123 | ↑ back to top
Cumberland, Lewina, The Maid of Snowdon, 1793. See Cumberland under Interesting Blakeana, above.
Day, History of Sanford and Merton, 1786-89. Abbey Anti-quarian Books, Nov. online cat., 3 vols., calf worn, 1 cover detached (£165).
Defoe, Robinson Crusoe. Bauman Rare Books, April private offer, 1790 ed., 2 vols., three-quarter calf ($1100). Henny’s Bookshop, Gallway, July private offer, 1820 ed., 2 vols., publisher’s roan (Irish £150). Boston Book Co., Nov. online cat., 1790 ed., 2 vols., calf rebacked ($275); 1804 ed., 2 vols., old calf very worn, 1 cover detached ($175). James Jaffe, Nov. online cat., 1820 ed., 2 vols., foxed, full calf worn ($250). J. Tuttle Maritime Books, Nov. online cat., 1790 ed., 2 vols., contemporary half calf rebacked ($425). John Windle, Nov. online cat., 1790 ed., 2 vols., some foxing to pls., old calf crudely rebacked ($175). John Price, Nov. online cat., 1804 ed., 2 vols., contemporary roan (£100). Dailey Rare Books, Nov. online cat., 1790 ed., 2 vols., pls. foxed, contemporary calf rebacked ($450). Kenneth Hince Books, Nov. online cat., 1790 ed., 2 vols., contemporary calf repaired ($223).
Enfield, Exercises in Elocution, 1780. BBA, 10 June, #89, with Enfield, The Speaker, 1781, both in later calf (Barrie Marks, £322). The 4 unsigned pls. in Exercises, dated 1782 in their imprints, are individually attributed to Stothard in A. C. Coxhead, Thomas Stothard, R.A. (London: Bullen, 1906) 169. Coxhead, however, does not record the book for which they were executed (facing-page numbers on the pls. coordinate text and illustration; thus, we can be certain that the pls. are indeed for the Exercises and not later additions). Coxhead does not indicate his reasons for the attribution, but I suspect that the pls., removed from the vol., are in the Balmanno Collection in the British Museum, Coxhead’s chief resource for his work on Stothard. Stylistic features also link the pls. to Stothard. The Speaker contains 2 pls. after Stothard, 1 engraved by Blake (see above under books with engravings by and after Blake).
Falconer, Shipwreck, 1811. The Book Chest, Sept. online cat., repaired tears, contemporary calf worn ($25).
Forget Me Not, 1828. Charles Cox, Jan. cat. 37, #1, original printed boards (£28).
Gessner, Works, 1802. John Price, April cat., #35, 3 vols., modern half calf, 1 pl. illus. (£250).
Giles, The Refuge, 1801. John Price, Nov. online cat., contemporary calf (£75). The presence of a frontispiece by Neagle after Stothard has not been previously recorded.
Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield, 1792. James Cummins, Nov. online cat., later half morocco ($150).
Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 1788. Dailey Rare Books, Nov. online cat., contemporary calf ($150).
Hazlitt, ed., Select Poets of Great Britain, 1825. Maggs, Nov. online cat., contemporary half calf rubbed (£140). The presence of a frontispiece engraved by Shury based on 7 portraits by Stothard has not been previously recorded.
Horace, Works, Pickering ed., 1824. Claude Cox, March cat. 131, #183, original cloth (£40). First Folio Books, Nov. online cat., large-paper issue, full morocco slightly worn ($400). Bromer Booksellers, Nov. online cat., full morocco ($375).
Impartial Historical Narrative of those Momentous Events . . . 1816 to 1823, 1823. Heritage Book Shop, Nov. online cat., contemporary half morocco ($1500). I have not been able to locate any previous record of Stothard designs in this work.
Keepsake, 1834. Robert Clark, Feb. cat. 52, #229, original silk-covered boards rubbed (£28).
Langhorne, Fables of Flora. Krown & Spellman, Nov. online cat., 1794 ed., some pls. “with coloring,” foxed, damaged cloth ($125). Marilyn Braiterman, Nov. online cat., New York 1804 ed. said to contain wood engravings after Stothard, contemporary boards ($325). Glenn Books, Nov. online cat., London 1804 ed., apparently with the pls. first published 1794, considerable foxing, half morocco worn ($85). The presence of Stothard’s designs in these 1804 eds. has not been previously recorded.
Le Sage, Devil on Two Sticks, 1780. Book Chest, Nov. online cat., 1780, 2 vols. in 1, apparently from the Novelist’s Magazine, boards worn ($120).
Literary Souvenir. California Collectible Books, Nov. online cat., 1828 ed., worn “leather” ($60); 1831 ed., water damaged ($75); another copy of the 1831 ed., better condition, half calf ($80).
Marmontel, Bélisaire, London, 1796. Quaritch, Nov. online cat., contemporary calf (£150). Apparently a French-language ed. with the pls. by Parker after Stothard 1st published in the English-language ed. of 1794 (not previously recorded in this 1796 ed.).
Miller, Mahomet the Imposter, 1776. Krown & Spellman, Nov. online cat., disbound ($40). With a frontispiece after Stothard not previously recorded.
Milton, Paradise Lost, Sharpe ed., 1817. Kenneth Karmiole, Nov. online cat., some foxing, later cloth ($125). The engraved title after Stothard has not been previously recorded.begin page 124 | ↑ back to top
Milton, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, Comus, etc., 1823. Marlborough Rare Books, Nov. cat. 180, #233, contemporary calf rubbed (£60).
More, The Search after Happiness, Philadelphia, 1811. Argosy Book Store, Nov. online cat., original wrappers ($35). Stuart Bennett Rare Books, Nov. online cat., frontispiece after Stothard foxed, original wrappers ($150).
Pictorial History of the Bible, published Arnold, c. 1833. Mosdell and Tyson, Feb. Pasadena Book Fair, vol. 1 only (which contains all 5 Stothard pls. published in the full work), publisher’s stamped leather ($150).
Pope, Essay on Man, 1796. Stone House Books, Sept. online cat., pls. water-stained, contemporary calf worn, spine damaged ($85).
Pope, Poetical Works, Du Roveray ed., 1804. Heritage Book Shop, Nov. online cat., with The Iliad and The Odyssey translated by Pope, 1805 and 1806, 18 vols. in 9, light foxing, three-quarter morocco ($2500).
Richardson, Sir Charles Grandison, London, W. Strahan, 1781. Sevin Seydi, May cat., #589, 7 vols., “one plate by Stothard in vol. II,” contemporary calf worn (£150). The presence of a Stothard pl. in this ed. has not been recorded previously.
Ritson, ed., The Caledonian Muse, 1821. Second Life Books, Nov. cat. 128, #326, some foxing, morocco-backed boards ($150).
Ritson, ed., The English Anthology, 1793-94. Simon Finch, Nov. cat. 39, #152, 3 vols., later morocco (£280).
Rogers, Italy. Robert Frew, Jan. cat. 14, #180, 1838 ed., with Rogers, Poems, 1838, both large paper with the pls. on laid India, light spotting, publisher’s morocco (£450). Henry Pordes Books, Nov. online cat., 1852 ed., contemporary calf (£60). John Windle, Nov. online cat., 1830 ed., minor foxing, contemporary morocco ($550). D & D Galleries, Nov. online cat., 1844 ed., presentation inscription from the author, contemporary morocco ($395). Dailey Rare Books, Nov. online cat., 1830 ed., original boards ($250). Tamerlane Books, Nov. online cat., 1836 ed., foxed, full morocco ($110). Robert Clark, Nov. online cat., 1838 ed., large-paper issue, publisher’s morocco (£200). Tavistock Books, Nov. online cat., 1830 ed., some foxing, full morocco ($150).
Rogers, Pleasures of Memory. Claude Cox, Oct. cat. 134, #63, 1810 ed., original boards uncut (£25). Book Chest, Nov. online cat., 1810 ed., three-quarter calf worn ($155). John Martin Bookseller, Nov. online cat., 1810 ed., contemporary calf ($85). Buddenbrooks, Nov. online cat., 1812 ed., full morocco ($145).
Rogers, Poems. Phillip Pirages, Feb. Pasadena Book Fair, contemporary morocco ($350). J. N. Bartfield, April private offer, 1834 ed., full morocco ($495); 1851 ed., full calf ($295). James Cummins, April private offer, 1834 ed., original boards rehinged, “proof” inscription following engraver’s signature on all pls. ($250); 1852 ed., 2 vols., both inscribed “from the Author’s Collection,” from the collection of Kenneth Clark ($350). Blackwell’s, Aug. private offer, 1838 ed., with Italy, 1838, both large paper, pls. on laid India, uniformly bound in contemporary morocco (£600). Grant & Shaw, Sept. cat. 47, 1812 ed. with the wood engravings by Clennell after Stothard, contemporary calf (£60). Ian Hodgkins, Nov. online cat., 1860 ed., scattered foxing, cloth (£38). James Cummins, Nov. online cat., 1838 ed., large-paper issue, minor foxing, contemporary morocco ($250); 1834 ed., scattered foxing, original boards rehinged ($250); 1852 ed., 2 vols. (hence, with Italy?), substantial foxing, contemporary morocco ($350). Book Gallery, Nov. online cat., 1820 ed., light foxing, full calf worn ($32). John Martin Bookseller, Nov. online cat., 1814 ed., contemporary calf ($48); 1834 ed., contemporary calf ($75). Book Chest, Nov. online cat., 1816 ed., full calf, many pencil inscriptions ($65). Reads Rare Book Shop, Nov. online cat., 1814 ed., full calf ($48). Steven Temple Books, Nov. online cat., 1846 ed., half calf, presentation inscription by Rogers to his niece, Julia Towgood ($275).
Ruggle, Ignoramus, 1787. Book Chest, Nov. online cat., foxed, full calf ($350).
Scott, The Waverly Album: Containing Fifty-One Line Engravings to Illustrate the Novels and Tales of Sir Walter Scott, published Heath, n.d. (c. 1824?). Tavistock Books, Nov. online cat., foxed, cloth ($300). The presence of a pl. after Stothard has not been previously recorded.
Shakespeare, Dramatic Works [with] The Poems, Whittingham ed., 1826. Heritage Book Shop, Nov. online cat., with The Poems of Shakespeare, Pickering’s Aldine ed., 1832, 11 vols. in all, full calf ($2750). The presence of wood engravings by J. Thompson, a few based on Stothard’s designs, in the 1826 vols. has not been previously recorded.
Shakespeare, Dramatic Works, Pickering ed., 1832. Heritage Book Shop, July cat. 205, #532, 11 vols., later calf ($2750).
Shakespeare, Plays, Pickering ed., 1825. Robert Clark, Feb. cat. 52, #332, 9 vols., contemporary calf worn (£480). Heritage Book Shop, July cat. 205, #391, 9 vols., contemporary morocco ($2250); #392, another copy, but not in as good condition ($1500); #393, another copy, original cloth ($1250).
Shakespeare, Seven Ages of Man, 1799. Swann, 22 April, #137, title page and 7 pls. hand colored, half calf very worn, front begin page 125 | ↑ back to top cover loose ($161). Kenneth Karmiole, Nov. online cat., original wrappers soiled ($600).
C. Smith, Elegiac Sonnets, 1792. James Cummins, Nov. online cat., contemporary calf worn ($300).
Somerville, The Chace, 1796. Oxford Stone Rare Books, Aug. private offer, contemporary morocco (£85).
T. Townshend, Poems, 1796. Argosy Book Store, Nov. online cat., three-quarter calf ($100).
Walton, Complete Angler, Pickering ed., 1825. Bromer Booksellers, Nov. online cat., large-paper issue, full morocco ($250).
Walton, Complete Angler, 1836. J. N. Bartfield, April private offer, 2 vols., later morocco ($1450).
Warburton, Hunting Songs and Ballads, Pickering ed., 1846. Claude Cox, March cat. 131, #220, publisher’s quarter morocco (£65). The presence in this vol. of headpieces and decorative initials based on Stothard’s designs has not been previously noted.
Watts, Poetical Works, ed. Park, 1807. Mosdell Booksellers, Sept. Pasadena Book Fair, 2 vols. in 1, quarter calf worn ($60). The same 2 pls. appeared 1 year later in Park’s Works of the British Poets.
Young, Night Thoughts, 1798. J. N. Bartfield, April private offer, contemporary morocco ($550).
See also Bible, British Classics, and Pope under Fuseli, above.
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.
The Separate Plates of William Blake: A Catalogue
Pp. 24-29, “Albion rose.” William Cole, “An Unknown Fragment by William Blake,” Modern Philology 96 (1999): 485-97, reports the recent discovery of a previously unrecorded impression of “Albion rose,” second state, in a private collection, Barcelona, Spain. Wove paper, trimmed to 25.2 × 19 cm. with the inscription below the image cut off. Now framed, but formerly folded along both the horizontal and vertical axes and laid into a copy of Ezekiel Baker, Thirty-Three Years Practice and Observations with Rifle Guns, 5th ed. (London: T. Woodfall, 1813). Seven lines of text inscribed in pencil on the verso, attributed by Cole to Blake’s hand and composition. The verso inscription refers to “Baker’s Practice,” the half title of the book. Provenance: inherited c. 1995 by the present owner from his uncle, an avid hunter. I have seen neither the original print nor any reproduction of it and cannot confirm this information, all based on Cole’s article and correspondence with him.
P. 106, “The Man Sweeping the Interpreter’s Parlour,” impression 2L. Acquired Feb. 1999 by John Windle, San Francisco.
P. 139, “Zephyrus and Flora,” Blake after Stothard. For a previously unrecorded impression of the 1st st. printed in sanguine, see above under “Separate Plates and Plates in Series.”
William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations
P. 42, Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy, 1789-98, pl. 2, “Democritus.” An impression, showing some wear and printed on laid India paper, was acquired in May 1999 by Professor Saree Makdisi, University of Chicago, from the dealer John Windle. This is the only India-paper impression of any of the Lavater plates known to me. It may have been pulled as a trial impression during the c. 1818 reprinting of the book.
P. 92, The Iliad of Homer Engraved from the Compositions of John Flaxman, 1805, pl. 1. A variant preliminary sketch by Flaxman, with large decorative panels left and right containing heraldic spears and armor, was offered at Sotheby’s London, 31 March 1999, lot 26, illus. (not sold).
Appendix 2: A Census of Complete Copies of Designs to a Series of Ballads, 1802
Designs to a Series of Ballads, Written by William Hayley . . . Drawn, Engraved, and Published, by William Blake (Chichester, 1802) is one of the rarest letterpress books containing plates designed and engraved by Blake. The following census of recorded copies that include all four ballads should be considered only as a preliminary effort. For bibliographic descriptions of the book, see N. J. Barker, “Some Notes on the Bibliography of William Hayley: Part III,” Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 3 (1962): 340-46; and Roger R. Easson and Robert N. Essick, William Blake: Book Illustrator, vol. 1 (Normal: American Blake Foundation, 1972) 31-35. For locations of copies containing one, two, or three ballads in institutional collections, begin page 126 | ↑ back to top see Bentley 572 and his Blake Books Supplement (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1995) 221. What is probably the finest copy ever recorded (see H, below) remains untraced. I would much appreciate learning the present location of copy H, or any other pertinent information about it. Remarkably, there is only one traced and complete copy remaining in Britain, while 3 such copies are now within a few miles of each other in Southern California.
A. CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY, Sir Geoffrey Keynes Collection, Cambridge, England. Full crimson morocco gilt by Riviere. Provenance: Acquired by Geoffrey Keynes at an unknown time; bequeathed to the Cambridge University Library, 1984. Listed in Keynes, Bibliotheca Bibliographici: A Catalogue of the Library Formed by Geoffrey Keynes (London: Trianon P, 1964) no. 581.
B. ROBERT N. ESSICK, Altadena, California. Full green morocco by J. Wright, Frederick Locker-Lampson’s book-plate, designed by Kate Greenaway, pasted to the inside front cover, stamped “JAN 15 1945 KROWL” vertically along the inner margin of p. [i]. Inscribed in pencil by Locker-Lampson on the verso of the front free endpaper: “Sold for £14.14 to a dealer at Ld. Gosford’s sale in 1884. Swinburne gave £21 to Pearson for a much inferior copy (as regards size) in calf F L.” Another pencil inscription by Locker-Lampson appears just below: “I have now inserted a Drawing & an Engraving—both by Blake (Eagle & Weather plate) F L.” For Swinburne’s copy, see D, below. Provenance: Archibald Brabazon Sparrow Acheson, 4th Earl of Gosford; sold from his collection, Puttick and Simpson, London, 22 April 1884, #438, in the present binding (£12 to the dealer John Pearson); Locker-Lampson by 1886, as recorded in The Rowfant Library: A Catalogue of the Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Drawings and Pictures, Collected by Frederick Locker-Lampson (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1886) 139-40; probably E. D. Church, who acquired the Rowfant Library en bloc; possibly Dodd Mead & Co., which dispersed major parts of the Church collection not acquired by Henry Huntington; the dealer A. S. W. Rosenbach, who offered the vol. in his sale cat.  of 1936, #44, with an impression of Blake’s pl. 4 (“The Weather-house”) from Hayley’s Life of Cowper (1803-04) and Blake’s preliminary drawing for “The Eagle” (pl. 6 of the Ballads), both inserted in this copy by Locker-Lampson according to his undated pencil note quoted above ($975); the inserted works removed and the drawing sold to Lessing J. Rosenwald by 1939 (now Library of Congress—see Butlin #361); Rosenbach cat.  of 1939, #39, the volume only without the inserted materials ($85); Rosenbach cat.  of 1944, #46, the volume only without the inserted materials ($185); apparently a collector named “Krowl” by Jan. 1945 (see stamp noted above); an anonymous American collector; on consignment with Ursus Books, New York, Jan. 1999; acquired late Jan. 1999 by Essick (John Windle, the San Francisco book dealer, acting as agent). The 2nd and 3rd Rosenbach cats. (above) state that this copy was from the William A. White collection. There are at least three reasons to reject this claim. The 1st Rosenbach cat. (1936) refers to the White copy as though it were distinct from the one offered for sale. Rosenbach’s own records of the White Blake collection, written c. 1927-29, indicate that the White copy was in “wrappers” and housed in a “slip case” (typescript in the Rosenbach Library, Philadelphia), whereas this copy (B) was bound in its present full green morocco without the original wrappers no later than 1884. Finally, copy E (below) is clearly the White copy, for it bears his pencil signature, and there is no evidence that he ever owned more than 1 copy.
C. THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY, San Marino, California. Full blue levant morocco, elaborate gilt decorations, art-nouveau style, by Riviere. Original front blue wrappers for Ballads 2-4 bound at the end. Provenance: Frank T. Sabin; Frederick R. Halsey by May 1903; acquired with the Halsey collection by Henry E. Huntington, Dec. 1915. A coded dealer’s note in pencil on the recto of the back free endpaper suggests that the book was placed in its present binding c. 1903.
D. THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY, San Marino, California. Full tan calf by Francis Bedford. “Swinburne’s copy” inscribed in pencil on the verso of the front free endpaper. Provenance: Acquired by A. C. Swinburne for £21 from the dealer John Pearson at an unknown time, according to an undated pencil note about this copy by Frederick Locker-Lampson on the verso of the front free endpaper in copy B (see also the inscription in copy F, below); the dealer George D. Smith; acquired at an unknown time by Henry E. Huntington and catalogued by the Huntington Library Oct. 1928.
E. THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection, Washington, D.C. In parts, original blue wrappers, lacking the general title page, housed in a half green morocco slipcase. Ink signature of “J. Parker” (probably James Parker, Blake’s fellow-apprentice in the 1770s and print-publishing partner in the 1780s) and pencil signature of William A. White dated 30 Dec. 1895, both on the inside front wrapper of the first ballad. Provenance: Parker (died 1805); White by 1895; the dealer A. S. W. Rosenbach c. 1927-29; Lessing J. Rosenwald by 1929, given by him to the Library of Congress in 1943 but retained at his Alverthorpe Gallery, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania; moved to Washington after Rosenwald’s death in 1979. G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Records (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1969) 116n1, suggests that this copy may have been one of those distributed by John Flaxman.begin page 127 | ↑ back to top
F. PRINCETON UNIVERSITY LIBRARY, Princeton, New Jersey. Full crimson morocco gilt by Riviere, with the book-plates of M. C. D. Borden, Herschel V. Jones, and A. Edward Newton, and a Princeton University Library gift bookplate bearing the name of Grace Lansing Lambert. Inscribed in pencil on the front flyleaf, probably by the dealer John Pearson (see copy D, above), “Perhaps the rarest of Blake’s works. The only other copy we have ever seen we sold to Mr. Swinburne 20 years ago.” Provenance: Pearson; Borden, sold from his collection, The American Art Association, New York, 17 Feb. 1913, #89 ($200 to the dealer George D. Smith, probably acting for Henry E. Huntington); Huntington, sold as a duplicate from his collection, Anderson Galleries, New York, 10 Dec. 1917, #400 ($180); Jones, sold from his library at Anderson Galleries, New York, 2 Dec. 1918, #188 ($370); Newton, sold from his library at Parke-Bernet, New York, 17 April 1941, #140 ($110); Henry S. Borneman, sold from his library at Parke-Bernet, New York, 1 Nov. 1955, #235 ($110); Lambert, who gave the volume to Princeton c. 1960. Mrs. Lambert’s gift of the volume is noted in Charles Ryskamp, “A Blake Collection for Princeton,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 21 (1960): 172-75.
G. THE WATKINSON LIBRARY, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. Full black morocco gilt, dark blue endpapers. Provenance: Given to Trinity College Library by Allan R. Brown in 1940, earlier history not known.
H. UNTRACED. In parts, original blue wrappers, housed in a green morocco case by 1924 (according to the 1924 and 1937 auction cats., below). Provenance: Acquired by Bernard Buchanan Macgeorge, apparently between 1892 and 1906 (see Macgeorge collection cats. noted below); sold from his collection at Sotheby’s London, 1 July 1924, #120 (£80); W. E. Moss, sold from his collection at Sotheby’s London, 2 March 1937, #222 (£410 to the London dealer Maggs Bros.). Bryan Maggs tells me that his family’s firm has no records concerning this purchase other than symbols written in their copy of the Moss sale cat. which suggest (to his practiced eye) that the book was acquired for stock, perhaps with the hope of selling it to Martin Bodmer, who placed several substantial bids with Maggs for the Moss auction. The Director of the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana in Geneva has informed me that the library has no record of the work. The volume is not listed in the Macgeorge collection cat. of 1892, but it is described in Catalogue of the Library of Bernard B. Macgeorge (Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons, 1906) 15.begin page 128 | ↑ back to top begin page 129 | ↑ back to top begin page 130 | ↑ back to top begin page 131 | ↑ back to top begin page 132 | ↑ back to top begin page 133 | ↑ back to top begin page 134 | ↑ back to top