Blake in the Marketplace, 2000
All in all, the first year of the new millennium (or the final year of the old, depending on one’s calendrical orientation) was a disappointing one for Blake collectors. A ray of hope, only to be dimmed within four days, emerged on 24 January. Alexander Gourlay alerted me to the appearance of a Blake drawing or print on the eBay online auction site. I will quote the description of this object in full, in part to give a sense of the quality of such descriptions on the internet: “William Blake Drawing, ‘Book of Job.’ William Blake Drawing/Print Purchased by Henry Melling, Esq in 1829. John Quinn, Esq purchased in 1935. Passed onto Albert and Victoria Museum, South Kensington. On loan to Liverpool Museum 1951 and 1952.” There was no indication of medium or size and no illustration, but the required starting bid of $40,000 caught my attention. I soon found that this work is described by Butlin under his #163, an early drawing related to the large Job engraving of 1793. Butlin there states that the Melling/Quinn work was last recorded in a Sotheby’s auction on 18 Nov. 1953, lot 122 (£45 to “Meadows,” apparently a dealer) and might “just possibly” be the same as the Job drawing (Butlin #163). Butlin then warns that the Melling/Quinn drawing, “now untraced, was unlikely, to judge by other works attributed to Blake from the Quinn collection, to have been genuine.” At the time Butlin wrote his catalogue, the genuine Job drawing was also untraced, but it turned up in London in 1989—see Martin Butlin, “Six Early Drawings by William Blake and a Reattribution,” Blake 23 (1989): 107-12, illus. 7-8 (now private American collection). This rediscovery made it even less likely that the Melling/Quinn drawing was by Blake. But hope is rarely stilled in the hearts of collectors. I contracted the seller on eBay, who turned out be a wife and husband who inherited the work from her grandmother. They lived in the San Francisco area where, as luck would have it, I was planning a visit on 28 January. We made arrangements to meet at the airport.
The owners arrived with cheerful greetings and a framed water color, the image approx. 13 × 19.5 cm. I knew on first sight that the work was not Blake’s, but studied and mused for a few minutes to ease into an assessment. Years ago, an owner of some prints from Songs of Innocence and of Experience had to be restrained from physically attacking me when I suggested that his treasures might be posthumous impressions. At least I was in a public place this time. The water color pictured a white horse running at breakneck speed over a field, with the vague outlines of lightning in the sky and a red sunset in the distance. An inscription on the mat indicated that the image was based on the description of a fierce horse in Job 39:19-25. As I slowly told the owners, the water color was far too loose in the handling of both outlines and washes to be by Blake. If I had to come up with an attribution, I would say “School of James Ward.” Frowns soon followed; the man took a quite understandable “who the hell are you to ruin my day?” attitude; the woman was more subdued and accepting. We parted on reasonably good terms, all parties sadder but perhaps a bit wiser. At least one more loose end in the pseudo-Blake cannon had been tied down. The drawing received no bids during its few days on eBay and was withdrawn.
In mid-January I learned that Swann Galleries of New York was planning to sell an unrecorded Blake drawing of the Crucifixion in their 3 February auction. The catalogue arrived a few days before the sale. Anticipation turned to bewilderment as I gazed upon a color reproduction of what was indeed a picture of the Crucifixion, but one that looked more like a dog’s breakfast than a Blake. Why do people continue to attribute to Blake loosely constructed and miserably executed daubs of paint offering excellent examples of the blots and blurs Blake criticized in his writings on the arts? Perhaps the astute members of Swann’s Prints and Drawings Department, Todd Weyman, Sybil Rodgers, and Nigel Freeman, had some other “William Blake” in mind. Someone paid $4600 for the work, which would be a bargain for a Blake, but a high price for twaddle.
In mid-March I was contacted by a collector who wanted my opinion of a painting he had acquired at a yard sale. He had taken his version of “Satan, Sin, and Death” to the popular TV program, “Antiques Roadshow,” where it had been attributed (he told me) to Blake by “an appraiser from Cristy’s [sic].” The digital images attached to his email message revealed what one might charitably call a primitive bit of nineteenth-century folk art featuring stick figures and murky coloring. Has Blake become the attribution-of-last-resort for any really ugly drawing or painting of a religious subject?
Late March brought forth the exciting news that a manuscript dealer in Britain had (as I was told third hand) “a four page letter by Blake describing his painting.” With enthusiasm unchained, I leapt at the conclusion that this meant “painting technique.” Such a topic would make the letter unrecorded and a discovery of great scholarly value. Alas, the manuscript turned out to be one of the three known versions of Blake’s description of his Last Judgment painting, a well-known document that had appeared on the market twice before in recent years.
The San Francisco auction house, Butterfield’s, offered in September a copy of Hayley’s Ballads, 1805, with the plates hand colored. Fortunately, the book was exhibited in Los Angeles before the sale, and thus I was able to inspect it. I immediately thought that the coloring was very attractive, but unlikely to be by Blake. I should have looked more carefully. begin page 101 |begin page 102 | John Windle acquired the book, and I was able to study it more carefully in November. The tints and their handling are similar to what we can observe in the hand-colored impression of “Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims” in the Keynes Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum. The coloring of the sky in several of the Ballads plates is particularly striking, and reminiscent of the autumnal tones in an impression of “Little Tom the Sailor” (American private collection) almost certainly colored by Blake. In the fifth and final Ballads plate, “The Horse,” the noble creature is basically uncolored, and thus looks as white as he does in Blake’s tempera of the design (Butlin #366). Under low-power magnification, I could see that the horse did bear some slight tinting in gray, here and there on his neck and flank. This delicate work, lending subtle modeling rather than color, is hardly typical of commercial hand coloring. It now seems to me that there is a good chance that the coloring of this copy is by Blake or Mrs. Blake. If only I had come to this conclusion on first sight. Windle has also discovered circumstantial evidence that this may be the copy once in the collection of S. Foster Damon and described in Bentley 571, as “coloured . . . by Blake” in the “opinion of the owner and Sir Geoffrey Keynes.”
The most exciting Blake sale (or, rather, attempted sale) of the year came to my attention in the fall. A London dealer applied for a license to export God Blessing the Seventh Day (Butlin #434; see illus. 1) for sale in the United States. This work, formerly in the W. Graham Robertson and George Goyder collections and since 1962 in a British private collection, is the finest Blake painting or water color still in private hands. Unlike so many of Blake’s biblical pictures, God Blessing is in excellent, unfaded condition, the colors still luminous. The Export Reviewing Committee refused the license on 10 October, thereby allowing a British buyer to acquire the work by matching the sale price of £650,000 within three months, with an option for a three-month extension. If no such buyer comes forward, then the license will almost certainly be granted. An article about the export ban by Dalya Alberge appeared in the 25 October online version of the London Times. According to Alberge, Tate Britain tried to borrow the water color for its Blake exhibition, 9 Nov. 2000 to 11 Feb. 2001, but was turned down. It would not be in the dealer’s own interests to display the work where it might attract financial support for efforts to keep it in Britain. Like several other Blake enthusiasts, I hope that a British institution, such as the Tate, will be able to raise the funds to acquire, preserve, and occasionally exhibit God Blessing the Seventh Day.
John Windle’s cat. 31, handsomely printed by the Stinehour Press and devoted exclusively to Blake and his circle, appeared in January. Since the online version was available in November 1999, I reported all relevant items in the last sales review. They are not repeated here. I have, however, listed several new items from Windle’s stock, including a book that might have been owned by Blake (see illus. 2 and its caption) and some nineteenth-century facsimiles of Blake’s illuminated books that are now commanding high prices—see the entries under “Interesting Blakeana,” below. The paucity of originals on the market, and their extraordinary prices when they do appear, have been a stimulus to collecting early facsimiles.
Beginning with my 1990 sales review, published in the spring 1991 issue of this journal, I have been appending revisions to two catalogues I authored, The Separate Plates of William Blake (1983) and William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations (1991). I am now adding, as an on-going member of the group, substantive revisions to Roger R. Easson and Robert N. Essick, William Blake: Book Illustrator, vol. 1, Plates Designed and Engraved by Blake (Normal, Illinois: The American Blake Foundation, 1972). Only information on Blake’s prints themselves, not the bibliographic information on the volumes in which they appear, will be supplemented. See Appendix 1, below, for more information.
The slow accretion of catalogues of Blake’s prints has led to some confusion about what genres are covered in which volumes. Volume 1 of Easson and Essick, as the subtitle indicates, is devoted exclusively to commercially produced letterpress books containing plates designed and engraved by Blake. Volume 2 of Easson and Essick, published in 1979, covers books containing plates engraved by Blake after designs by other artists and books with plates engraved by other craftsmen after designs by Blake. That volume conduded its chronological survey in 1796; the projected but never published volume 3 of Easson and Essick was intended to follow the same two categories from 1797 to the end of Blake’s career. William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations does not consider the materials in Easson and Essick volume 1. It substantially replaces Easson and Essick volume 2, and fulfills the role intended for volume 3, but only in the single category of plates engraved by Blake after designs by other artists. Further, Easson and Essick volume 2 contains a great deal of bibliographic information (supplied by Easson), and even some information about and reproductions of Blake’s possible apprentice engravings, not covered in Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations.
Readers with the patience to follow the twists and turns of the previous paragraph will realize that one genre has been left unattended—books with plates designed by Blake but engraved by another craftsman. Only one title falling into that genre appears in Easson and Essick volume 2; works published after 1796 have never been reproduced and catalogued in the manner established by Easson and Essick or Blake’s Commercial Books Illustrations. Thankfully, the list of titles of this sort is not long, and thus I have added, as Appendix 2 to this sales review, a somewhat makeshift and abbreviated (but I hope useful) handlist of letterpress books containing plates designed but not engraved by Blake. See Appendix 2 for further caveats and directives.begin page 103 |
The year of all sales and catalogues in the following lists is 2000 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 2000 sales will be covered in the 2001 review. The coverage of online catalogues is selective and excludes sites (e.g., Alibris) which do not list dealers’ names. I am grateful for help in compiling this review to David Bindman, Richard Godfrey, Alexander Gourlay, Donald Heald, Jenijoy La Belle, Tim Linnell, Edward Maggs, and John Windle. Once again, John Sullivan’s electronic imaging and Patricia Neill’s careful editing 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|
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., posthumously printed on a sheet of wove paper 10.4 × 8.5 cm. CNY, 4 May 1999, # 1, illus. color ($20,700 to the print dealer Robin Garton on an estimate of $20,000-30,000). Returned by Garton to Christie’s in the same month; by July 1999 returned by Christie’s to the vendor, Justin Schiller. Returned by Schiller to the dealer John Windle (from whom Schiller had acquired the print in 1995) by Feb. 2000; sold by Windle in the same month to an American private collector.
Drawings and Paintings
God Blessing the Seventh Day. Water color, 42 × 35.5 cm., datable to c. 1805. Butlin #434. British export license for sale to the United States denied 10 Oct. See illus. 1 and comments in the introductory essay.
Letter of 18 Jan. 1808 to Ozias Humphry, 4 pp. describing Blake’s Last Judgment design. Roy Davids, March cat. for “The Artist as a Portrait” exhibition and sale (3-14 April) at the Fine Art Society, London, #10, 1st and last pp. illus. (£40,000). Previously sold SNY, 14 Dec. 1988, #58 ($26,400 to the dealer John Wilson for stock); SL, 14 Dec. 1992, #16, p. 1 illus. (£19,800 to a private collector or possibly a consortium of dealers).
Separate Plates and Plates in Series
“Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims.” Butterfield & Butterfield auction, San Francisco, 20 April, #1084, 5th st., said to be a “Sessler printing on wove paper” but actually on laid India (according to John Windle) and thus almost certainly a Colnaghi impression, marginal tears and some paper loss outside the image, paper evenly stained brown (not sold; estimate $2000-3000). eBay online auction, late June, 5th st., no information on paper type or printing, framed to image top and both sides, illus. showing staining and wrinkling ($2000). Mallams auction, Cheltenham, England, 6 Oct., #461, 5th st. on thin, hard laid paper, considerable ink tone printed from the surface of the plate, showing the scratched letter inscriptions of the title and the inadvertent scratches in the image that indicate an early impression of this st. (pre-Colnaghi or a Colnaghi first printing?), framed (£4485 to J. Windle for stock on an estimate of £2500-3000). eBay online auction, early Oct., 5th st. on laid India and thus almost certainly a Colnaghi impression, good condition (withdrawn by the vendor, who wanted to do more research before attempting to sell the print); same impression, eBay online auction, mid-Oct., illus. ($4300 to J. Windle for stock). SL, 6 Dec., #7, “second state” (actually the 3rd st.), Essick impression 3W from the collection of Johan Stray, Oslo, on wove paper, marginal tears, foxing and light staining, “other defects,” illus. (£5760).
“Christ Trampling on Satan,” Blake and Thomas Butts, Jr., after Blake. Donald Heald, May private offer, 3 impressions, begin page 104 | 2 on wove paper without watermark, 1 more darkly printed on wove paper with a “J Whatman 1886” watermark, 2 with inscriptions by E. J. Shaw, who acquired the copperplate in 1903 and very probably had these impressions pulled (prices on application).
Dante engravings. Lame Duck Books, Dec. 1999 cat. 46, #24, complete set, probably the 1892 printing, printed label laid in, loose in morocco portfolio ($35,000).
“The Fall of Rosamond,” Blake after Stothard. eBay online auction, March-April, 2nd st., printed in black on laid paper, trimmed to a rectangle, 31.2 × 29.5 cm., cutting slightly into the border at the top and on both sides and cutting off the imprint and all but a fragment of the inscribed verses, surface dirt and some staining, illus. with the sides of the image cut off by the narrow width of the scanner (a great bargain at $49.99 to Alexander Gourlay). The above description is based on the illus. and information supplied by Gourlay; the vendor gave no online description.
Job engravings. Sims Reed, May cat. of “Prints and Drawings,” #117, complete “Proof” issue on laid India, “loose as issued and in paper wrapper from the Linnell sale,” morocco-backed folder, “minimal foxing” (£24,000). Swann, 11 May, #207, pl. numbered 1 only, laid India from the 1874 printing, illus. ($1955). CL, 12 July, #552, complete set with label, laid India from the 1874 printing, scattered light foxing, loose in morocco portfolio, pls. numbered 7 and 9 illus. (£12,337). R. E. Lewis, Sept. private offer, pl. numbered 17 only, from the “Proof” issue on laid India ($3500). C. & J. Goodfriend, Nov. online cat., pl. numbered 20 only, said to be from the 1874 printing but “on cream wove paper” (1874 pulls are on laid India), full margins slightly yellowed ($1500).
“Mrs Q,” Blake after Villiers. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #7, only recorded impression printed in black ink, with “Windsor Castle,” the companion print by G. Maile, both illus. (£1800).
Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake, Including Prints Extracted from Such Books
Allen, New and Improved History of England, 1798. Zita Books, Jan. online cat., no description of binding other than “spine repaired” ($825).
Ariosto, Orlando Furioso. Zita Books, Jan. online cat., 1785 ed., 5 vols., contemporary calf worn, covers loose ($225). BBA, 7 Sept., #220, 1783 ed., 5 vols., contemporary quarter calf worn (Hilary Corke, £149). Jeffrey Thomas, Sept. private offer, 1783 ed., 5 vols., contemporary calf ($750). Adam Mills, Nov. online cat., 1799 ed., 5 vols., contemporary calf (£210).
Blair, The Grave. eBay online auction, Dec. 1999, 1813 quarto, some foxing, later quarter morocco (not sold on a reserve of $500). Swann, 16 Dec. 1999, #244, dated in the cat. “1813” and described as a “4to,” apparently the pls. only, no description of binding or portfolio, possibly the 1870 issue of the pls., dated “1813,” loose in a cloth portfolio ($747). CSK, 17 Dec. 1999, #270, 1808 quarto, light spotting on pls., later morocco by Zaehnsdorf, pl. 5 illus., with the 1877 John Pearson facsimile of Jerusalem, misattributed in the auction cat. to Andrew Chatto, similarly bound, original wrappers bound in (£1610). Maggs, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, 1808 quarto, with a slip of paper (probably cut from an earlier binding of this copy) mounted on the verso of the front-free endpaper and inscribed in ink “Mr. Cromek begs Mr. Bromley’s [probably the engraver William Bromley, 1769-1842] acceptance of this Book. July 20. 1808,” from the collection of Douglas Cleverdon, contemporary half calf ($5775—probably a record asking price for the 1808 quarto issue); same copy, March cat. 1286, #39, pl. 1 (the engraved title page) illus. (£3500); same copy and price, June cat. 1288, #39. John Windle, March private offer, 1808 quarto, some foxing, imprint on engraved title page trimmed into, half calf ($1750). Adrian Harrington Books, March online cat., 1813 “folio” (but probably the quarto), later morocco (£475). Sims Reed, March online cat., 1813 quarto, modern cloth (£375); same copy and price, May cat. of “Prints and Drawings,” #108. G. R. Kane, March online cat., undated (c. 1879?) New York ed. published by James Miller, water stained throughout, original cloth worn ($140). Semper Books, March online cat., 1813, “folio size” (probably meaning the quarto issue), three-quarter morocco very worn ($1000). Argosy Books, March online cat., 1813 quarto, half morocco worn ($1500). Robert Clark, April cat. 55, #275  folio, original cloth rebacked (£450). CL, 12 July, #551, 1808 quarto, slight browning and foxing, late 19th-century calf (£881). Robert Frew, Aug. private offer, 1808 quarto, contemporary calf (£850). Jeffrey Thomas, Sept. private offer, 1808 quarto, original boards rebacked in roan, upper cover label ($1500). eBay Great Collections online auction, Sept., #199, pl. 3 only, st. not indicated, illus. (not sold). Butterfield’s auction, 26 Sept., #9046,  folio wrongly described in the cat. as the 1813 quarto, modern half morocco ($2000—rather overpriced for the 1870 issue in a horrid modern binding). G. R. Minkoff, Oct. cat. 2000-A, #23, 1808 “Proof” issue, frontispiece portrait on laid India, described as a quarto (but must be a folio if all the other information is correct), “moderate” foxing on the engraved title page, “slight” foxing on other pls., “contemporary leather-backed boards” worn ($5000); #24, 1808 quarto, “moderate” foxing on the engraved title page, “slight” foxing on other pls., “leather-backed marbled boards” worn ($1500). Phillip Pirages, Oct. cat. 45, #456, 1808 quarto, “the plates less afflicted by foxing than is normally the case,” half morocco, bookplate of Pamela Lister, 2 pls. illus. ($3000). eBay online auction, Oct., 1813 quarto, modern half morocco, begin page 105 | binding illus. (no bids on a required starting bid of $2250). eBay online auction, Dec., pl. 9, “The Soul Exploring the Recesses of the Grave,” only, 1808 impression, illus. ($179.49). James Cummins, Dec. online cat., 1813 quarto, later half morocco ($900).
Boydell, Graphic Illustrations of . . . Shakspeare, c. 1803. Bernard Shapero, June online cat., 100 pls., later half morocco worn ($1500).
Bürger, Leonora, 1796. Ursus Rare Books, Dec. cat. 225, #8, H. Buxton Forman’s copy with his bookplate, later calf rebacked, pl. 1 illus. ($5500).
Cumberland, An Attempt to Describe Hafod, 1796. Quaritch, June cat. 1278, #44, contemporary calf rebacked (£1250); same copy?, Marlborough Rare Books, Oct. cat. 183, #104 (£1800).
Cumberland, Outlines from the Antients, 1829. Bryan Matthews, April online cat., small-paper issue, contemporary half morocco worn ($500). Marlborough Rare Books, May cat. 182, #42, large-paper issue, pls. on laid India, contemporary calf rebacked (£2500). Howes Bookshop, Oct. cat. 289, #58, some foxing, “orig. grey-green cloth” (£275).
Cumberland, Thoughts on Outline, 1796. Quaritch, June cat. 1278, #45, uncut, inscribed “with the Author’s com pts.,” some marginal spotting, early 19th-century calf repaired, pl. 2 illus. (£1200).
Darwin, Botanic Garden. Royoung Booksellers, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, 1st ed. of Part 1, 3rd ed. of Part 2, contemporary calf ($775). David Vine, Aug. private offer, 1799 ed., 2 vols., pls. slightly foxed, contemporary calf worn (£125).
Enfield, The Speaker, 1785. James Cummins, May online cat., contemporary calf rebacked, worn ($750).
Flaxman, Classical Compositions, 1870. Sims Reed, May cat. of “Prints and Drawings,” #114, morocco worn (£650). Contains the Hesiod and Iliad designs engraved by Blake, apparently printed from the original pls.
Flaxman, Hesiod designs, 1817. Second Life Books, April online cat., foxed and with some stains, rebound in quarter morocco ($650); same copy and price, Oct. cat. 131, #104.
Flaxman, Iliad designs, 1805. Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop, Dec. online cat., bound with Flaxman’s Aeschylus designs, 1795, three-quarter leather ($1800).
Fuseli, Lectures on Painting, 1801. Zita Books, Jan. online cat., bound with the 1820 ed. of the Lectures, contemporary calf rehinged ($485).
Gay, Fables. Zita Books, Jan. online cat., apparently the 1793 issue, 2 vols., contemporary morocco ($1000). John Windle, March private offer, c. 1811 issue, 2 vols., modern calf ($575). James Jaffe/Lame Duck Books, March cat., #34, 1793 issue, 2 vols., later morocco, pl. 1 illus. ($3000). Marlborough Rare Books, May cat. 182, #79, 1793 issue, 2 vols., contemporary calf rebacked (£950). R. G. Minkoff, Oct. cat. 2000-A, #25, 1793 issue, 2 vols., full calf ($1500). Hartfield Books, Oct. cat. 58, #54, 1793 issue, 2 vols., later three-quarter morocco ($1850). Phillip Pirages, Oct. cat. 45, #64, 1793 issue, 2 vols., full calf, spines illus. ($1100). eBay online auction, Dec., pl. 7 only, illus. ($75).
Gough, Sepulchral Monuments, 1786-96. BBA, 25 May, #489, 2 vols. in 4, lacking vol. 2, part 2, stained and spotted, contemporary calf very worn, some covers loose (not sold; estimate £150-200).
Hayley, Ballads, 1805. John Windle, March private offer, 2nd sts. of pls. 1-3 (pls. 4-5 exist in only 1 st.), leaves washed, inscribed on the half-title in ink, “Miss E M Cumberland” (very pale because of the washing), similarly inscribed on the “Preface” page, “Eliza Martha Cumberland / The gift of Geo. Cumberland / Culver Street / Bristol,” modern calf by Bayntun, edges trimmed and gilt ($4750). Elizabeth Martha Cumberland was the daughter of Blake’s friend George Cumberland, whose Bristol residence was on Culver Street. Simon Finch, June cat. 43, #12, title page restored, uncut in original boards rebacked, original printed spine label preserved, with the bookplate of Pamela and Raymond Lister, inserted letter from Geoffrey Keynes to Raymond Lister, 10 July 1963, concerning this copy, previously offered Adam Mills, Nov. 1997 cat. 42, #114, for £375 (£700—an appreciation of 20% per annum). eBay online auction, June, lacking pl. 1, original boards rebacked ($310). Butterfield’s auction, Los Angeles, 26 Sept., #9047, the pls. hand colored, pencil inscription attributing the coloring to Blake, half calf ($1200 to J. Windle for stock); sold in Nov. by Windle to Maurice Sendak. See comments on this colored copy in the introductory essay, above. R. Hollett & Son, Dec. online cat., lacking half-title, contemporary calf (£500).
Hayley, Essay on Sculpture, 1800. BBA, 23 March, #239, “2 plates engraved by William Blake” (but actually 3, including the frontispiece), some foxing, modern quarter morocco (Marlborough, £149); same copy, Marlborough Rare Books, Oct. cat. 183, #180 (£290). Ken Spelman, Oct. cat. 43, #33, “large uncut copy,” recent half calf (£360). Heritage Book Shop, Dec. online cat., some spotting, quarter calf ($600).
Hayley, Life of Cowper, 1803-04. Jeffrey Thomas Books, Feb. online cat., 4 vols., including the supplement, apparently begin page 106 | 1st ed., vols. 1-3 full calf, supplement in original boards uncut, worn, inscribed “From the Author” ($1250). John Windle, March private offer, 2nd ed., 3 vols., Cowper, Illustrated by a Series of Views (1803) bound at end of 3rd vol., calf rebacked ($375). Deighton Bell, April cat. 281, #70, apparently 1st ed., 3 vols., “with 4 plates” (thus some missing, or only overlooked?), some foxing, contemporary calf, some vols. rebacked (£350). Heritage Book Shop, Dec. online cat., 1st ed., 3 vols., contemporary calf ($500). McDermott Books, Dec. online cat., 2nd ed., 3 vols., full calf very worn, front boards of vols. 1 and 2 detached, “Blake engravings good to very good” ($550).
Hayley, Life of Romney, 1809. Royoung Booksellers, March online cat., later half calf ($625). Adam Mills, Nov. online cat., contemporary calf (£375). William Reese, Dec. cat. 199, #69, some foxing, three-quarter morocco ($400). Heritage Book Shop, Dec. online cat., contemporary calf ($1350).
Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 12th ed., 1803, all apparently the small-paper issue. Ursus Books, Dec. 1999 “Miscellany 18,” #10, “minor spotting,” recent half calf ($750). Semper Books, March online cat., new calf ($300). E. M. Lawson, Sept. cat. 296, #90, later calf (£325). Phillip Pirages, Oct. cat. 45, #457, contemporary calf worn, spine illus. ($750). Jarndyce, Dec. cat. 140, #115, few spots, later calf (£750). Webster’s Books, Dec. cat. of “British Illustrators,” #36, full morocco by F. Bedford, pl. 3 illus. ($575). James Cummins, Dec. online cat., contemporary calf worn ($475). Simon Gough, Dec. online cat., contemporary calf worn ($374).
Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, the rare 13th ed., 1807. Alex Alec-Smith Books, Dec. online cat., foxed, full calf ($52.43).
Hoare, Inquiry, 1806. Adam Mills, Feb. online cat., contemporary boards, modern calf spine (£400); same copy and price, May cat. 49, #207, Blake’s pl. illus.
Hogarth, The Beggar’s Opera by Hogarth and Blake, 1965. Ewolfs online auction, early Oct., no mention of the original impression from Blake’s pl. but present, cover of portfolio illus. ($260 to J. Windle for stock).
Hogarth, Works. BBA, 9 Dec. 1999, #95, 1st undated Baldwin and Cradock issue printed by Woodfall, 156 pls. on 119 leaves, some spotting, contemporary half morocco worn (Lewis Glucksman, £1150). D & E Lake, March cat. 114, #105, same issue as previous entry, 118 leaves of pls., contemporary half morocco worn ($3200). eBay online auction, May, Blake’s pl. and its companion, “the Indian Emperour,” Dodd after Hogarth, only, st. of Blake’s pl. not identifiable, worn impressions, said to be from an “1822” ed. but more probably the c. 1880 Quaritch reissue dated “1822” on the title page, illus. ($150). Swann, 25 May, #164, “1822” ed. (but possibly the Quaritch reissue of c. 1880), marginal tears and staining, half morocco very worn, covers loose ($2070). BBA, 1 June, #108, 1st undated Baldwin and Cradock issue printed by Woodfall, “115” pls. (probably meaning 115 leaves of plates), some light browning, contemporary half morocco very worn, covers detached (£977.50). CE, 12 Oct., #91, “1822” ed. but possibly the c. 1880 Quaritch reissue, contemporary half morocco worn ($1410). BBA, 7 Dec., #212, “1822” ed. but possibly the c. 1880 Quaritch reissue, 2 vols., 156 pls. on 119 leaves, marginal spotting, contemporary half calf rebacked, rubbed (£1725); #213, undated Baldwin and Cradock issue, 113 leaves of pls. (thus some lacking), contemporary half morocco very worn, with “part of another set” sold as a collection (£1610).
Hunter, Historical Journal, 1793. eBay online auction, Aug., Blake’s pl. only, framed, illus. (reserve not met; highest bid $152.50). BBA, 19 Oct., #41, quarto issue, some foxing and soiling, contemporary calf rebacked, worn (C. Burden, £2185). Berkelouw, Dec. online cat., quarto issue, some foxing, calf-backed boards ($2460); quarto issue, “one of the few large paper superfine, wove royal copies,” full calf ($5535). Antiquariat Koch, Dec. online cat., quarto issue, no information on binding ($4576). R & D Emerson, Dec. online cat., no indication of issue (probably quarto) or description of binding ($3500).
Josephus, Works. eBay online auction, March, printed by J. Cooke, Bentley’s “C” issue, later calf very worn (no bids; required starting bid $1000); same copy?, eBay online auction, May (reserve not met; highest bid $375). eBay online auction, May, pls. only offered individually, illus. (pl. 1, $76.99; pl. 2, not sold ; pl. 3, $46); same impression of pl. 2, eBay online auction, May-June, illus. (not sold). eBay online auction, early Oct., Blake’s 3 pls. only, illus. (reserve not met; top bid $286).
Kimpton, History of the Holy Bible, c. 1781. eBay online auction, Dec. 1999, some tears and staining to first few leaves, pls. fairly clean, modern quarter calf ($362.77). Robert Clark, Nov. cat. 57, #238, scattered foxing, 3 pls. missing but with the 3 by Blake, contemporary calf very worn, spine “largely defective” and front cover loose (£350). Only the 3rd and 4th copies I have seen on the market in 25 years.
Lavater, Aphorisms. Wilsey Rare Books, Feb. online cat., 1788 ed., rebacked, worn ($700); same copy, Dec. cat. 37, #18 ($600). Heritage Book Shop, Feb. online cat., 1788 ed., contemporary morocco ($650). Robert Clark, Feb. online cat., 1788 ed., contemporary calf rebacked, worn ($263.32). Henry Sotheran, Feb. online cat., 1789 ed., later calf ($322). James Cummins, Feb. online cat., 1794 ed., browned, disbound ($150). Alex Fotheringham, May cat. 49, #88, 1794 ed., half calf worn (£160). John Price, Nov. cat., #90, begin page 107 | 1789 ed., bound with Rochefoucauld,[e] Maxims and Moral Reflections, 1791, contemporary calf, spine defective (£150).
Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy. Ursus Books, Dec. 1999 cat. 214, #51, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, contemporary russia rebacked ($4750). Thomas Goldwasser, Feb. online cat., 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, uncut in three-quarter calf very worn, some covers detached ($1250). Truepenny Books, Feb. online cat., “1792” ed., 3 vols. in 5, lacking 4 (unspecified) pls., contemporary morocco ($2950). Peter Harrington, Feb. online cat., 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, full calf (£2100). Unsworths Booksellers, Feb. online cat., 1810 ed., 3 vols. in 5, contemporary calf rebacked, worn ($1196.93). Bernard Shapero, Feb. online cat., “1792” ed., 3 vols. in 5, contemporary morocco worn ($2000). Francis Edwards, Feb. online cat., 1810 ed., 3 vols. in 5, slight internal damage, contemporary calf rebacked, worn ($2010). Krown & Spellman, Feb. online cat., “1792” ed., 3 vols. in 5, later russia worn ($1300). Middle Earth Rare Books, Feb. online cat., 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, contemporary calf ($995). Abbey Antiquarian Books, Feb. online cat., 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, later half calf worn ($2558). eBay online auction, March, 1789-98 ed., 3 vols. in 5, some spotting and browning, contemporary calf worn, some covers detached (not sold on a reserve of $1350); same copy, eBay online auction, April (again not sold). eBay online auction, June, 1810 ed., 3 vols. in 5, some foxing, contemporary calf worn, some covers detached ($984).
Malkin, A Father’s Memoirs of His Child, 1806. John Windle, March private offer, the frontispiece trimmed to the image and inlaid into another sheet, early morocco richly gilt ($1275). Maggs, April online cat., from the collections of Ruthven Todd and Douglas Cleverdon with the latter’s bookplate, contemporary half calf worn (£600); same copy and price, June cat. 1288, #43.
Mora, Meditaciones Poeticas, 1826. Bibliopolis, Feb. online cat., trimmed to 32.3 × 23.7 cm., thereby cutting into the engraved title page design top and bottom, some text leaves and pls. soiled, quarter calf over marbled boards, calf cover label, worn ($1000). The only copy I have seen on the market in over 30 years of collecting Blake.
Remember Me!, 1825. Maggs Bros., Nov. online cat., publisher’s green printed boards and pictorial slipcase, “spine separated at front joint” but invisibly repaired, Douglas Cleverdon’s copy with his bookplate pasted inside the modern clamshell cloth case he made for this copy (vastly underpriced at £900). The binding is no. 6 in Geoffrey Keynes, Blake Studies, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1971) 144.
Salzmann, Elements of Morality. Heritage Book Shop, cat. for the April New York Book Fair, #130, 1792 ed., 3 vols., modern quarter calf ($6500); same copy and price, but now with 3 illus., cat. for the June London Book Fair, #151. Jarndyce, Dec. cat. 140, #839, 1791 ed., 3 vols., some browning and tears, contemporary calf repaired, 1 pl. illus. (£3500).
Scott, Poetical Works, 1782. Powell’s Books, April online cat., “leather, rebacked,” worn ($500). eBay online auction, April, some foxing, contemporary calf worn, front cover loose ($300).
Shakespeare, Plays, 1805. Boston Book Company, Jan. online cat., 9 vol. issue, minor browning and foxing, contemporary calf worn, 1 cover detached ($250).
Stedman, Narrative. The Book Chest, April online cat., 1813 ed., 2 vols., pls. hand colored, minor soiling, modern three-quarter calf ($3000). CGT Co., April online cat., 1813 ed., 2 vols., modern quarter leather ($3210). North Star Rare Books & Manuscripts, April online cat., 1796 ed., 2 vols., full calf worn ($3500). A. Parker’s Books, April online cat., 1813 ed., 2 vols., some foxing, uncut in modern morocco worn ($1750). Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #8, pl. 10 only, “mild discolouration,” illus. (£225); #9, pl. 8 only, illus. (£275). Heritage Book Shop, Sept. cat. for the Oct. Boston Book Fair, #130, 1806 ed., 2 vols., “large paper,” pls. hand colored, contemporary calf rehinged ($9500). Bart’s Books, Oct. private offer, 1796 ed., vol. 1 only, pls. water-stained, contemporary calf very worn ($150).
Stuart and Revett, Antiquities of Athens, 1762-1816. CE, 12 Oct., #161, 4 vols., contemporary calf, 1 pl. by Basire illus. ($25,850 on an estimate of $6000-8000).
Virgil, Pastorals, 1821. CNY, 10 Dec. 1999, #110, 2 vols., light browning and minor spotting, presentation inscription by George Palmer, Surveyor Accountant of St. Paul’s School, “to [name deleted] as a reward for diligence and as an encouragement to future exertions,” dated 6 May 1822, contemporary green calf, front cover gilt-stamped with the bust of John Colet, Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral and founder of St. Paul’s School in 1509, uncut ($18,400 on an estimate of $3000-4000 to the London dealer Simon Finch); Finch, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair ($21,000—a surprisingly modest mark-up); acquired by Justin Schiller no later than August 2000. A copy in my collection, very similarly bound but with differences in the gilt stamping on the spines (see below) and with the edges of the leaves trimmed and marbled, contains the following presentation inscription on the recto of the front fly-leaf of vol. 1: “This Book is presented to Henry Couchman by the High Master of St. Paul’s School in acknowledgement of his having been pronounced by the Examiners of S. Ps. Schl. upon an equality with the boy, to whom the prize of his class was adjudged. May - 1826 [last digit unclear].” The gilt-stamped title (“Thornton’s Pastorals of Virgil”) and “Pocket Edition” on the spines of begin page 108 | this binding are identical to those found on copies in the publisher’s original sheep. In the Finch/Schiller copy, the same words are differently placed and the accompanying decorations are more elaborate. These presentation bindings may have been produced by the publishers for St. Paul’s School; such copies were then used by the school as student prizes. Alternatively, the school was supplied with unbound copies in sheets; but if this was the scenario then the school used the same binder as the publisher, as indicated by the identical letter forms on the spines. The book includes R. J. Thornton’s printed dedication to “The Rev. Dr. Sleath, High Master of St. Paul’s School.” John Windle, March private offer, vol. 1 only (containing all of Blake’s wood engravings), later calf ($19,750). Maggs, April online cat., vol. 1 only, rebound in modern sheep worn (£7000). Sims Reed, May cat. of “Prints and Drawings,” #130, 2 vols., contemporary sheep, with Illustrations of the School-Virgil, 1814, modern morocco (£10,000). SL, 20 Oct., #3, the 4th woodcut (Bentley pl. 8) only, Linnell printing on thin wove paper, illus. (not sold on an exceedingly ambitious estimate of £1000-1500). See also the album (first entry) under Edward Calvert, below.
Virgil, The Wood Engravings of William Blake for Thornton’s Virgil, 1977. John Windle, March private offer, original cloth box ($6500).
Whitaker, The Seraph, n.d. (c. 1818-28). Chapel Books, Dec. online cat., Bentley’s “A” issue, vol. 2 only (the vol. with the single Blake pl.), no information on binding ($217.20).
Wollstonecraft, Original Stories, 1791. CL, 12 July, #533, additional pl. (not by Blake) inserted, later calf, pl. 1 (2nd st.) and title page illus. (Windle, £1997).
Young, Night Thoughts, 1797, uncolored copies. SL, 15 Dec. 1999, #60, lacking the explanation leaf, contemporary vellum uncut, pl. 36 illus. (£4830); same copy, eBay online auction, May, 3 pls. illus. (6 bids to $6600; unlisted reserve price not met and thus not sold); same copy, eBay online auction, late May (no bids on a required minimum bid of $7000). BBA, 27 Jan., #150a, “43 engraved illustrations around letterpress text, lacking title and preliminaries [and thus presumably the “Explanation” leaf as well], many leaves loose or becoming loose, some chips and tears to edges (affecting a few illustrations), later half sheep, rubbed, spine worn and marked, hinges pulled” (Lynda Young, £1150 on an estimate of £400-600). Apparently Lynda isn’t finicky about condition—or did this copy have some special features not noted in the cat. description, quoted here in full? Maggs, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, with the plate for p. 27 repeated on the usually unillustrated p. 29 (probably just a printer’s error), lacking the “Explanation” leaf, minor spotting on some pls., fly-title to Night the Second in the 2nd st., slightly trimmed, from the collections of Ruthven Todd and Douglas Cleverdon, contemporary morocco ($18,150); same copy, March cat. 1286, #40 (£11,000); same copy and price, June cat. 1288, #40. John Windle, March private offer, lacking the “Explanation” leaf, some pls. trimmed on the margins, calf poorly rebacked ($6750). Heritage Book Shop, supplement to the cat. for the June London Book Fair, #166, “nearly uncut copy,” no mention of the “Explanation” leaf, half morocco ($10,000). William Reese, June cat. 195, #155, lacking the “Explanation” leaf, ownership signature dated 1814, some leaves trimmed, early 20th-century three-quarter calf ($6500). John Windle, Sept. private offer, fly-title to Night the Second in the 1st st., lacking the “Explanation” leaf, some pls. slightly trimmed, later full morocco ($9750). Phillip Pirages, Oct. cat. 45, #65, with the “Explanation” leaf, contemporary morocco, from the collection of George Goyder, 4 pls. illus. ($19,500). SL, 6 Dec., #10, no mention of the “Explanation” leaf, full morocco, with a copy of Blair’s Grave with Blake’s illus., ed. not noted, “some foxing,” Night Thoughts pl. 43 illus. (£4200). Ursus Rare Books, Dec. cat. 225, #9, no mention of the “Explanation” leaf, top edge gilt, others uncut, later morocco, pls. 8 and 14 illus.($22,500).
John Quincy, Pharmacopoia Officinalis & Extemporanea; or, a Complete English Dispensatory, London, 1733. John Windle, Sept. private offer, early calf (price on request). Possibly a copy owned by Blake—see illus. 2.
J. Boehme, Works, the so-called “Law edition,” 1764-81. CL, 7 June, #79, 4 vols., lacking half titles, some spotting and damp staining, tears in a few pls., contemporary calf restored (£4935). The ed. of Boehme known to Blake and perhaps owned by him—see his comment to Henry Crabb Robinson on the beauty of the “figures” (i.e., the illus.) in “Law’s transl.n” (BR 313).
J. Duché, Discourses on Various Subjects, 1779. O’Gara and Wilson, April online cat., 2 vols., contemporary morocco worn ($200). “Mr. William Blake” appears in the extensive list of “Subscribers Names,” 1:[xv], right column (see Bentley #722: “The likelihood that [this]. . . is the poet is increased by the facts that his friend William Sharp both engraved the plates for and subscribed to this work.”).
T. Hollis, Memoirs, 1780. Robert Clark, April cat. 55, #219, some foxing, contemporary morocco rubbed (£450). Blake may have assisted his master, James Basire, with the production of some of the pls., including portraits of Milton.
Egerton’s Theatrical Remembrancer, 1788. Ximenes Rare begin page 109 |
“William Blake Drawing, ‘Book of Job.’” eBay online auction, 24 Jan. to 3 Feb. (required starting bid $40,000; withdrawn). Not by Blake; see discussion in the introductory essay, above.
“W. Blake . . . Original Watercolor . . . Original Frame.” eBay online auction, June, illus. (top bid $999; reserve not met and thus not sold). This work clearly has nothing to do with Blake.
The Crucifixion. Brown and gray wash drawing, 14.3 × 11.1 cm. Swann, 3 Feb., #212, attributed, without any indication of doubt, to “William Blake” in the cat., which also offers the not overly prepossessing provenance of “ex-collection, private collection, New York,” illus. color ($4600 on an estimate of $5000-8000). Not by Blake; see discussion in the introductory essay, above.
J. T. Stedman, Reize near Surinamen, Amsterdam, 1799-1800. H. P. Kraus, Dec. 1999 cat. 212, #73, 4 vols., late 19th-century calf ($2500). Contains re-engravings of Blake’s pls. 1, 2, 4, 5, 8-10, 12, 13, and 15 first published in the London 1796 ed. of Stedman’s Narrative, of a Five Years’ Expedition, against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam.begin page 110 |
J. Thomas, Religious Emblems, 1809. Thomas F. Schwarz, Feb. online cat., uncut in original boards rebacked ($650). Blake subscribed to this book, authored by his patron for several sets of water-color illustrations to Milton’s poetry.
Life Mask of W. Blake, 1823. National Portrait Gallery, London, sales shop, July, cast in beige plaster (£95). eBay online auctions, several in Aug., cast in white plaster, back of head cut flat with a wire added so that the head can be hung on the wall, no base ($49.99). The NPG head is second generation—that is, cast from a mold made from the Deville casting in the NPG. The eBay head is almost certainly third generation—that is, cast from a mold made from one of the NPG copies. The vendor (located in California) on eBay would end the auction as soon as anyone bid the minimum price, and then almost immediately offer another example, thereby converting an online auction site into a retail outlet. I suspect that the vendor may also be the producer of these heads. Another vendor, located in Australia, also offered casts of Blake’s life mask on eBay in the fall.
Hayley, Memoirs, 1823. Adam Mills, Nov. online cat., 2 vols., later half calf (£350). Contains several important references to Blake.
G. Cumberland, Essay on the Utility of Collecting the Best Works of the Ancient Engravers of the Italian School, 1827. Quaritch, June cat. 1278, #46, publisher’s green cloth rebacked (£250). Ken Spelman, Oct. cat. 43, #59, some foxing, original boards rebacked (£220). Cumberland showed the manuscript of this book to Blake in Nov. 1823 (BR 279).
J. T. Smith, Nollekens and His Times, 1828. William H. Allen, Jan. online cat., 2 vols., original boards very worn, 1 spine replaced with tape ($60). The Bookpress, March cat. 125, 2 vols., later half calf ($325). Vol. 2 contains an important early life of Blake.
A. and J. Taylor, City Scenes, 1828. Adam Mills, May cat. 49, #52, light foxing, contemporary boards rebacked, uncut (£275). Contains Blake’s “Holy Thursday” from Songs of Innocence.
Allan Cunningham, Lives of . . . British Painters, Sculptors and Architects, 1830. eBay online auction, March, vol. 2 (of 6) only, apparently 1st ed., foxed, later quarter calf very worn, front cover reattached with tape ($25). Vol. 2 contains an important early biography of Blake.
Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Pickering ed., 1839. John Windle, March private offer, first issue with “The Little Vagabond,” original cloth, hinges repaired ($6750). The first letterpress ed. of Blake’s Songs.
Nightingale Valley, ed. “Giraldus” [William Allingham], 1860. BBA, 16 Dec. 1999, #144, full morocco (£57.50). Includes the “Introduction” to Songs of Innocence and “The Tyger.” The latter exhibits the following substantive variants: line 6, “Burnt the ardour of thine eyes?”; line 12, “What dread hand form’d thy dread feet?” (as in Blake’s manuscript revision in copy P of Songs of Innocence and of Experience); line 15, “Did God smile his work to see?” The ownership of copy P is not known for the mid-nineteenth century period; the revisions in lines 6 and 15 are probably just Allingham’s “improvements.”
J. J. G. Wilkinson, The Human Body and its Connexion with Man, 2nd ed., 1860. John Turton, Dec. 1999 online cat., original cloth (£20). Reprints “The Divine Image” from Songs of Innocence, pp. 295-96. Bentley 940 lists only the 1st ed. (1851) with the poem on p. 376.
Gilchrist, Life of Blake, copies with extra-illus. or significant provenances only. Donald Heald, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, #10 in the handlist for the fair, 1863 ed., 2 vols., with 72 added pls. (mostly portraits, but 26 pls. by Blake), near contemporary calf ($4950). Contains the following pls. engraved by Blake: Allen, History of England, all 4 pls.; Darwin, Botanic Garden, pl. 1; Hayley, Triumphs of Temper, 4 of 6 pls.; Hunter, Historical Journal, pl. 1; Lavater, Essays on Physiognomy, pl. 2; Salzmann, Elements of Morality, 14 pls.; Wit’s Magazine, pl. 6. CL, 12 July, #553, 1907 ed. by W. Graham Robertson, 1 vol. extended to 3 with the addition of 266 images, including engraved portraits (none of Blake) and reproductions of Blake’s illuminated books and Job and Grave designs (£4700 on an estimate of £1500-2000). John Windle inspected these vols. and tells me that the inserted Blake images are well-known reproductions from the late 19th and 20th centuries. The extraordinary price suggests that the anonymous purchaser may have thought otherwise. BBA, 29 July, #31, 1863 ed., 2 vols., George Richmond’s copy with his signature dated 1863 “and a note in his hand on half-title regarding a portrait (perhaps that by John Linnell, a photograph of which is tipped in beneath inscription), . . . a few newspaper cuttings and ephemeral pieces tipped in or loosely inserted,” some spotting, original cloth rubbed, vol. 1 rebacked (T. F. S. Scott, £736).
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Camden Hotten facsimile, 1868. John Windle, March private offer, original quarter roan, some foxing as usual ($1200).
W. Muir, facsimiles of Blake’s illuminated books. James Cummins, Dec. 1999 cat. 70, #25, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1885, numbered 15 by Muir, bound with The First Book of Urizen, 1888, numbered 13 by Muir, full morocco, original wrappers bound in ($5000); #26, Milton, 1886, numbered 10 by Muir, full morocco, original wrappers bound in ($4000); #27, Songs of Innocence, 1884, numbered begin page 111 | 7 by Muir, bound with Songs of Experience, 1885, numbered 2 by Muir, full morocco, original wrappers bound in ($5500); #28, Visions of the Daughters of Albion, 1884, Muir’s number not recorded, full morocco, apparently lacking the original wrappers ($2750). John Windle, March private offer, a large group as follows: America, 1887, colored issue numbered 34 by Muir, original wrappers ($4500); The Book of Thel, 1885, numbered 38 by Muir, full morocco, original wrappers bound in ($2500); another copy, 1920 issue, numbered 16 by Muir, original wrappers ($2250); another copy, 1920 issue, numbered 21 by Muir, original wrappers ($2250); Europe, 1887, colored issue, numbered 8 by Muir, original wrappers worn, leaves loose ($3500); The Gates of Paradise, 1888, numbered 26 by Muir, original wrappers, a very clean copy ($2500); The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1885, numbered 31 by Muir, full calf, original wrappers bound in ($2000); another copy, numbered 45 by Muir, Blake’s manuscript index to the Songs of Innocence and of Experience bound in, original wrappers, bookplate of T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) and a brief pencil note in his hand ($2950); Milton, 1886, numbered 25 by Muir, vellum over boards ($2500); another copy, not numbered, “Muir’s own copy” according to an inserted description by Quaritch, manuscript corrections (by Muir?) on several leaves, original wrappers, leaves loose in binding ($3500); The Song of Los, 1890, numbered 18 by Muir, original wrappers ($5500); Songs of Experience, 1927 issue, numbered 25 by Muir, original wrappers ($1500); Songs of Innocence [and] Songs of Experience, 1884 and 1885, Innocence numbered 47 by Muir, Experience lacking wrappers and thus no copy number, vellum over boards ($5500); another copy, Innocence numbered 30 by Muir, Experience numbered 13, vellum over boards, original wrappers bound in ($5500); There is No Natural Religion, 1886, numbered 40 by Muir, original wrappers slightly worn and chipped ($1675); Visions of the Daughters of Albion, 1885, issue on Hodgkinson wove paper, numbered 39 by Muir, full morocco, original wrappers bound in ($2500). Black Sun Books, April online cat., Songs of Innocence, 1927, and Songs of Experience, 1927, original wrappers, spine of Experience “taped (as issued)” (?), Muir’s copy numbers not recorded ($2250). BBA, 13 July, #39, There is No Natural Religion, numbered 28 by Muir, original wrappers worn (Veronica Watts, £299). eBay online auction, Nov., The Book of Thel, numbered 30 by Muir, full leather with the original wrappers bound in, illus. (no bids in response to a required minimum bid of $1000). Many of the above prices are records.
There is No Natural Religion, Pickering facsimile, 1886. John Windle, March private offer, large-paper issue, half calf, original wrappers bound in ($1500).
Poems from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence, illus. Maurice Sendak, 1967. eBay online auction, Sept., presentation inscription from Sendak to the playwright William Archibald, sold with a Sendak Christmas card sent to Archibald, original wrappers, slight wear to outer edge ($5,151.51). Reportedly the rarest of Sendak’s books, and certainly the most expensive 20th-century typographic ed. of Blake’s poetry.
Blake Newsletter and Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, June 1967 to fall 1996. Adam Mills, Oct. private offer, vol. 1, no. 1 through vol. 10, no. 4 of the Blake Newsletter (complete), followed by Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 1 through vol. 30, no. 2, uniformly bound in 20 vols., sturdy black buckram, gilt spines, most vols. with the bookplate of Raymond and Pamela Lister (a bargain at £300).
Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Manchester Etching Workshop facsimile, 1983. John Windle, March private offer, both the colored and uncolored issues (but with 2 colored plates in the latter), 2 vols., full morocco and wrappers, original cloth boxes ($9500).
Bronzed plaque, 14.6 × 22.9 cm., inscribed “Imagination is evidence of the DIVINE.” Isabella (a new-age style home and garden retailer), July cat. “2000 Volume 3,” #1890, claiming that the inscription is a “lovely quote by [i.e., from?] William Blake,” illus. color ($44). A minor problem: Blake did not write the inscribed sentence.
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.
“Jonah,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #2, the rare 1st st., illus. (price on request).
“William Pitt, Earl of Chatham,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #3, recto/verso impressions, 1st st. and final st., both illus. (£8500).
An album of prints and drawings by Edward Calvert, Blake, and 2 unknown artists. The collection includes Blake’s 17 wood engravings for Thornton’s Virgil, printed (possibly by Calvert) after the 1821 ed. of the book; Calvert’s 11 wood engravings and intaglio engravings, some in early states and including a previously unrecorded 2nd st. of “Woman’s Head Looking Upwards”; “The Bacchante” by Welby Sherman after Calvert; a drawing by Calvert of “The Head and Shoulders of a Classical Female Figure”; 9 drawings, begin page 112 | one of which is signed “A. C. Ionides” [i.e., Johnson?] and others initialed (“A. C. I.”) on the mounting sheets, all imitative of Calvert’s style and some based loosely on his prints, 3 dated 1829 on the backing sheets, 1 dated 1830; and a group of 7 very small wood engravings in the style of Blake, Calvert, and Palmer, perhaps executed by an unknown member of the Shoreham group of “Ancients.” SL, 6 Dec., #6, 9 illus. (£32,700). See illus. 3.
Calvert, The Early Engravings, Carfax & Co., 1904. BBA, 7 Dec., some spotting in margins, loose as issued in original printed folder, “The Bride” illus. (£10,350 on an estimate of £3000-4000). Includes original impressions of Calvert’s 2 lithographs, whereas S. Calvert’s Memoir (see below) contains only reproductions of the lithographs. Only the second complete copy of this portfolio I’ve seen on the market in 25 years.
“The Brook,” wood engraving. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #10, “unique proof impression overworked with gum arabic and areas of gentle mauve tint,” illus. (£950).
“The Return Home,” wood engraving. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #11, “pre-publication impression” showing the upper portions of the lettering of the 1st st., illus. (£425).
S. Calvert, Memoir of Edward Calvert, 1893. BBA, 27 July, #30, with the engravings, original cloth rubbed, “The Bride” illus. (Jeff Villet, £5750).
A Monument at Leeds. Pencil, 22.9 × 15.2 cm. Abbott and Holder, Aug. online cat. 334, #58 (£250).
Flaxman, portrait of, engraved by Woodman after Jackson for Knight’s Portrait Gallery, 1833. Richard Watkins, March online cat. (£8); same portrait engraved by Edwards, 1830, March private offer (£6). K Books, Aug. online cat. (£25).
Aeschylus, Tragedies (in Greek), Andrew Foulis, 1795. Oak Knoll Books/Heritage Book Shop, Aug. cat. “The Typographic Book,” #41, extra-illus. with Flaxman’s 31 Aeschylus pls., contemporary calf rebacked, 1 pl. illus. ($2800). CNY, 14 Dec., #2, extra-illus. with the 31 Aeschylus pls., some soiling and foxing, contemporary calf ($2115).
Dante designs. Tamerlane Books, Feb. online cat., 1867 issue, contemporary cloth ($90). Hellmut Schumann Rare Books, Feb. online cat., lithographs by Feillet, Paris, 1843, foxed, contemporary half roan ($458.25). Heritage Book Shop, Feb. online cat., Reveil ed., Paris, n.d., “light foxing,” half morocco worn ($450). Andrew Christenson, Feb. online cat., Creuzbauer ed., Carlsruhe, “ca 1833-35,” heavily foxed, 3 pls. hand colored, “leatherbound” ($51).
Flaxman, Anatomical Studies, 1833. eBay online auction, June, edges of prints stained, original cloth darkened (not sold; required opening bid £120). Kemp Booksellers, Dec. online cat., pls. stained along bottom edge, original cloth (£240).
Flaxman, Eight Illustrations of the Lord’s Prayer, 1835. Marlborough Rare Books, Oct. cat. 183, #142, original wrappers (£320).
Flaxman, Lectures on Sculpture. Robert Clark, Feb. online cat., 1829 ed., foxed, modern boards (£165). Zita Books, Feb. online cat., 1838 ed., no description of binding ($275). Artigraphics, Dec. online cat., 1838 ed., rebacked boards very worn ($90). J. Palmer Books, Dec. online cat., 1838 ed., full calf rebacked ($125). Pageant Books, Dec. online cat., 1838 ed., “rebound” ($175).
Flaxman, Works, engraved Reveil, Paris, 1835. Caliban Bookshop, Dec. online cat., 2 vols., foxed, contemporary half calf worn ($300).
Hesiod designs, Reveil ed., Paris, n.d. Heritage Book Shop, Feb. online cat., some foxing, half morocco ($300).
Iliad designs. Helmut Schumann Rare Books, Feb. online cat., Dufresne ed., Paris, n.d., with the Odyssey designs, later half cloth ($458.25). Quaritch, March cat. 1275, #37, Leipzig 1804 ed., bound with the Odyssey designs, Leipzig 1807, and the Aeschylus designs, Leipzig, 1802, contemporary boards (£575). Robert Frew, July private offer, 34 pls., with the Odyssey, 28 pls., both sets lithographed by Feillet and Laqueson, Paris, n.d. (dated to c. 1820 by Frew), 2 vols., quarter calf (£450). Not listed (because lithographs, and thus not “engravings”?) in G. E. Bentley, Jr., The Early Engravings of Flaxman’s Classical Designs (New York: New York Public Library, 1964). Marlborough Rare Books, Oct. cat. 183, #143, Leipzig ed. of 1804, engraved Schnorr, “34 + 28 engraved plates” (and thus bound with the Odyssey, 28 pls. by Schnorr, 1807?), original boards (£250).
Milton, Latin and Italian Poems, trans. Cowper, 1808. Ravenstree Co., Oct. cat. 58, #20, some foxing, uncut in later quarter morocco worn ($595); #21, another copy, contemporary morocco recently rebacked ($750).
Odyssey designs. James Burnquest, Sept. private offer, 1793 1st ed., 1st issue, later wrappers ($3200—a record asking price for any set of engravings after Flaxman).
David and Goliath. Pen and gray wash, 31.7 × 22.2 cm., on paper watermarked 1794, inscribed in a later hand “W B 1779.” CL, 8 June, #92, illus. color (£10,575).begin page 113 |
Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus and the Ghost. Grisaille oil, 72.5 × 93.25 cm. CL, 14 June, #7, illus. color (not sold; estimate £100,000-150,000). The design closely resembles the engraving by Robert Thew published in Boydell’s Collection of Prints . . . Illustrating . . . Shakspeare (1803). I wonder if the failure of this impressive painting to find a purchaser resulted from a suspicion that it might be a skilled copy after the print rather than a work by Fuseli. No provenance information is offered in the cat.; the much larger painting of the subject exhibited by Boydell was last recorded in 1839.
Study for The Wife of Bath’s Tale, from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Pencil, pen and brown ink, 32.4 × 22.2 cm. CL, 8 June, #94, illus. (not sold; estimate £5000-7000).
Study of One of the Quirinal Dioscuri. Pen and brown ink, 15.9 × 13.4 cm., datable to c. 1775-78. CL, 8 June, #84, illus. color (£4935).
Two Lovers, One Playing a Cithern, with a Second Girl Seated at the Keyboard on the Left. Pencil, 28 × 20.4 cm., inscribed “K. July 30.  14.” CL, 28 Nov., #35, illus. (£43,475 on an estimate of £8000-12,000). An amazingly high price for this drawing.
Fuseli, portrait of, engraved by Siever after Haughton, 1820. Richard Watkins, March private offer (£10); same impression and price, May cat. 41, #70.
“King Henry IV, Act IV,” Laney after Fuseli for Boydell’s Graphic Illustrations of the Dramatic Works of Shakspeare, 1803. eBay online auction, Sept., illus. (no bids on a required starting bid of $75).
“Midsummer Nights Dream, Act IV, Scene I,” Simon after Fuseli for Boydell’s Graphic Illustrations of the Dramatic Works of Shakspeare, 1803. BBA, 9 Dec. 1999, #39, light spotting, slight crease (Donald Tumasonis, £207).begin page 114 |
“The Weird Sisters,” mezzotint by Smith after Fuseli, 1785. SL, 9 Dec. 1999, #85, with “The Tem pest,” Simon after Fuseli for Boydell’s Graphic Illustrations of the Dramatic Works of Shakspeare, 1803, some staining on “Tem pest,” both framed (not sold; estimate £1600-1800).
Bell’s British Theatre, 1797. Robert Frew, Feb. Los Angeles Book Fair, 34 vols., contemporary calf ($2475).
Bible, pub. Macklin, 1800. Heritage Book Shop, Jan. online cat., 6 vols., contemporary morocco ($8500). Simon Finch, June cat. 43, #11, 6 vols., very fine contemporary morocco (£12,000—a record asking price, perhaps justified by the binding).
Bodmer, Die Noachide, 1765. Daniel Thierstein, May online cat., contemporary calf ($1611).
Bonnycastle, Introduction to Astronomy. Steven Temple, Feb. online cat., 1787 ed., calf rebacked, worn ($350). Thomas Rare Books, Feb. online cat., 1787 ed., missing one pl., soiled, later quarter leather ($119.69). Robert Downie, Feb. online cat., 1811 ed., contemporary calf worn ($340).
Boothby, Sorrows, Sacred to the Memory of Penelope, 1796. BBA, 13 Jan., with the frontispiece after Fuseli but lacking the pl. after Reynolds, foxed, 1 pl. water-stained, uncut in “old cloth-backed boards” worn (Maxwell Scott, £28—not a bad price just for the Fuseli pl.). John Windle, Sept. private offer, frontispiece after Fuseli in 1st st., uncut in original boards rebacked, front cover label ($5500).
Boydell, Collection of Prints . . . Illustrating . . . Shakspeare, 1803. SL, 24 Feb., #71, 2 vols., 2 portraits and 96 pls., contemporary morocco worn (£4485).
British Classics, pub. Sharpe, 1803-10. Heritage Book Shop, Dec. 1999 online cat., 18 vols. in 17, fine contemporary morocco ($1750). See also the next entry below.
British Poets, pub. Sharpe. The Bookpress, April cat. 126, #229, pls. only, with British Classics, pub. Sharpe, pls. only, dated by the dealer “1816-24” (on the basis of imprints on the pls.?), mounted in 4 vols., 96 pls. from the poetry, 100 pls. from the prose Classics, full morocco ($1800).
Fuseli, Lectures on Painting. Duncan Allsop, Feb. online cat., 1820 ed., some foxing, “lib[rary] binding” ($119.69). John Price, spring cat., #37, 1830 ed., contemporary half roan worn, frontispiece portrait of Fuseli illus. (£350). See also Fuseli, Lectures, under Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake, above.
Milton, Paradise Lost. Ravenstree Co., Oct. cat. 184, #58, 1802 ed., 2 vols., contemporary calf ($950); #60, 1808 ed., contemporary morocco very worn ($385).
Sotheby, Oberon, 1805. John Price, Dec. 1999 cat., #79, 2 vols., contemporary russia, 1 pl. illus. (£500).
Young, Catalogue of the . . . Collection of Pictures of . . . Angerstein, 1823. R. G. Watkins, May cat. 41, #4, marginal foxing, uncut in original half leather worn (£225).
16 drawings and water colors, c. 1805 to c. 1814, ranging in size from 7 × 1 cm. to 25 × 37 cm. Spink-Leger, March cat. Feeling through the Eye: The “New” Landscape in Britain 1800-1830, #43-58, all illus. color (from £450 to £32,000 each).
8 drawings. Pencil and charcoal, 3 with pastel, 5 signed, variously dated 1814, 1825, and 1848, largest 36.8 × 55.9 cm. Waddington’s auction, Toronto, 7 Dec., #1641 (no price information; estimate $2000-3000 Canadian).
6 landscape studies, attributed to John Linnell but some probably by his son, James T. Linnell. Pastels, approx. 29.5 × 49.5 cm. Waddington’s auction, Toronto, 7 Dec., #1598 (no price information; estimate $1000-1500 Canadian).
6 landscape studies. Water colors, some with pastel, 2 signed, largest 45 × 58 cm. Waddington’s auction, Toronto, 7 Dec., #1640 (no price information; estimate $2000-3000 Canadian).
A Cottage in a Wooded Landscape. Water color on blue paper, 19.7 × 25.8 cm., datable to 1806. Agnew’s, 127th Annual Exhibition of English Watercolours, Drawings, and Small Oil Paintings, March, #26, illus. color (price on application).
Dovedale, Derbyshire. Pencil and chalk, signed and dated 1814. CL, 8 June, #123, with an unidentified coastal scene, pencil and chalk, signed and dated 1811, and a harbor wall, pencil and chalk, signed and dated 1806, all on blue or gray paper, 19 × 28 cm. “and smaller,” coastal scene illus. (not sold; estimate £3000-5000).
Felling an Oak, Woodcutters in a Clearing. Oil, 21.8 × 26.7 cm., datable to the mid- or late-1820s. Spink-Leger, Nov. cat. of “Small Pictures,” #18, illus. color (£9500).
The Gleaners Return. Oil, 33.5 × 45.5 cm., signed and dated 1856. SL, 30 Nov., #152, illus. color (£6000).
Kensington Gravel Pits. Oil, 14 × 22.9 cm. Spink-Leger, Nov. cat. of “Small Pictures,” #19, illus. color (£28,000).
Male Model Pulling on a Rope. Academic study in chalk on gray paper, 50.8 × 29.2 cm. Abbott and Holder, Nov. online cat. 336, #84 (£250).begin page 115 |
Milking. Oil, 20.5 × 13.9 cm., signed and dated 1828. Spink-Leger, Nov. cat. of “Small Pictures,” #17, illus. color (£24,000).
The Orchard. Oil, 24 × 44 cm. SL, 30 Nov., #151, illus. color (£8400).
A Park, Evening Light. Water color, 15.2 × 22.8 cm., signed, datable to c. 1812-14. Agnew’s, 127th Annual Exhibition of English Watercolours, Drawings, and Small Oil Paintings, March, #27, illus. color (price on application).
Pike Pool, Dovedale. Oil, 54.5 × 66 cm., signed and dated 1815. Dreweatt Neate auction, Newbury, 11 Oct., #101 (£6325).
Portrait of Miss Jane Puxley. 2 versions, oils, each 91.5 × 71 cm., both signed and dated 1826. Phillips auction, Bury St. Edmunds, 7 Dec., #433 (no price information; estimate £3000-4000 the pair).
Portrait of Sir Augustus Wall Callcott. Oil, 33.5 × 26 cm., signed and dated 1832. SL, 30 Nov., #118, illus. color (£15,450).
Portrait of Thomas Secker, after Reynolds. Oil, 28.6 × 23.5 cm. CSK, 9 Nov., #25 (£587).
Rev. George Pritchard. Oil, 33 × 24.5 cm., Sotheby’s online auction, late July, illus. ($1000).
Road with Sheep, Shepherd, and Windmill. Oil, 12.3 × 19.3 cm., signed. eBay online auction, April, framed and glazed, illus. color (reserve not met; high bid $860).
The Shepherdess. Oil, 71 × 91.5 cm., signed. SL, 30 Nov., #484, illus. color (not sold; estimate £3000-5000).
A Shepherd with His Flock. Oil, 46.3 × 60.9 cm., signed and dated “186-.” CSK, 9 Nov., #183, illus. color (£1057).
A Surrey Chalkpit. Oil, 71.1 × 99.7 cm., signed and dated 1866. eBay Great Collections online auction, June, framed, illus. color (no bids on a required starting bid of $31,000).
View of a Willow Tree by a Pond. Water color, 43 × 50 cm., datable to c. 1820. Sotheby’s Amazon online auction, June, framed, illus. (no bids on a required starting bid of $1600).
View of a Willow Tree by a Pond, an earlier and looser version of the previous entry. Water color, approx. 15.3 × 22.9 cm. Phillips auction, Bath, 21 July, #73 (£200 to a private British collector).
Waterfront Scene. Pencil, 20 × 12.5 cm. eBay online auction, Sept., framed, illus. (£50 to a private British collector).
“Dove Dale,” lithograph. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #43, “signed presentation proof” to J. R. Taylor, illus. (£420).
“The Journey to Emmaus,” line etching/engraving with mezzotint. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #44, repaired tear in lower margin just entering the image, illus. (£2500).
“Sheep at Noon,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #42, laid India, illus. (£850).
MORTIMER, JOHN HAMILTON
Bacchic Figure with Girl, A Classical Army Re-Embarking with Prisoners, and Scene from the Siege of Troy. 3 pen and ink drawings, the 1st oval, 14.5 × 26 cm., 16.5 × 13.5 cm., and 18.5 × 28.5 cm. SL, 22 March, #110, Bacchic Figure with Girl illus. color (not sold; estimate £1200-1800).
“The Fishermen,” etching by Blyth after Mortimer. SL, 20 Oct., #6, proof before letters inscribed “first proof,” illus. (not sold on an optimistic estimate of £1500-2000).
“Salvator Rosa,” etching. eBay online auction, March, paper watermarked 1821, marginal tears, illus. (no bids on a required starting bid of $299); same impression, April (not sold).
Shakespeare character heads, etchings, including Bardolph, Beatrice, Cassandra, Falstaff, and Shylock. BBA, 9 Dec. 1999, early impressions on laid paper, little dusty (Campbell Fine Art, £368); #51, a group of 8 heads, including Bardolph, Cassandra, Ophelia, York, and 4 undescribed, with 1 banditti subject, Haynes after Mortimer, “various defects” (Mario Cotto, £230). Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, 4 heads, all illus., as follows: #52, “Bardolph,” “early proof impression printed in brown ink, before the borderline” (£1000); #53 “Shylock,” “rare lifetime impression” (£350); #54, “Falstaff,” “rare lifetime impression,” (£350); #55 “Richard, IId,” 1809 printing (£155).
The Brothers, Guided by the Attendant Spirit, Discover the Palace and Bowers of Comus. Water color, signed, datable to 1856, 53.6 × 74.9 cm., Donald Heald, “fall 2000” cat., #170, with a copy of Milton, Shorter Poems (1889), large-paper issue, original vellum ($475,000).
Crossing the Bridge. Water color, 40 × 51 cm., signed and datable to 1845-46. SL, 30 Nov., #29, illus. color (not sold; estimate £70,000-90,000).
Evening: A Cottager Returning Home Greeted by His Children. Water color heightened with body color, 19 × 41 cm., datable to c. 1848. SL, 22 March, #202, illus. color (not begin page 116 | sold; estimate £20,000-30,000). Previously sold CL, 9 Nov. 1993, #64 (£29,900).
Landscape, Twilight. Oil, 23 × 28 cm., signed, datable to the Shoreham period. CL, 30 Nov., #5, illus. color (£256,750).
Oak Tree and Beech, Lullingstone Park. Water color, 29.2 × 46.6 cm., signed, datable to 1828. CL, 8 June, #111, illus. color (£751,750 on an estimate of £150,000-200,000). Almost certainly a world record for a water color by any of the artists surveyed in this sales review.
Oxen Ploughing at Dawn. Water color and body color, 24.8 × 17.8 cm., signed, datable to c. 1863. CL, 8 June, #112, illus. color (not sold; estimate £40,000-60,000).
The Street of the Tombs, Pompeii. Water color, 34.3 × 41.9 cm., datable to 1838. Mallams auction, Cheltenham, #460, illus. (not sold; estimate of £20,000-30,000).
Letters by Palmer to Richard Redgrave and his family, 105 in all, Jan. 1859 to July 1880, “entirely unpublished.” SL, 24 Feb., 2 letters illus. (£27,600). The cat. indicates that at least 2 letters refer to Blake, including a discussion of his The Spiritual Form of Pitt Guiding Behemoth “which Palmer lends to the Academy.” The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1871, titled in the catalogue, #285, as “Rt. Hon. William Pitt” (Butlin #651).
Letter by Palmer to George Richmond, April 1858, 4 pp. BBA, 23 Nov., #74, signature illus. (£506).
Letter by Palmer to John Preston Wright, 15 Feb. 1865, 4 pp. Roy Davids, March cat. for “The Artist as a Portrait” exhibition and sale (3-14 April) at the Fine Art Society, London, #116, 1 p. illus. (£2250).
“Christmas,” etching. Swann, 11 May, #271, 2nd st., fine impression on laid India, illus. ($5290); same impression?, Garton & Co., Oct. cat., #1, illus. ($8400). eBay online auction, Aug., mistitled “The Shepperds [sic] Cottage” and misdated “circa 1823-1824” (actually 1850), st. not recorded but perhaps the 3rd (of 5), pencil signature, framed, illus. ($1525).
“Early Ploughman,” etching. Abbott and Holder, June online cat. 333, #300, 2nd st. (£525). Swann, 11 May, #270, 5th st., illus. ($977). Swann, 9 Nov., #364, 5th st., pencil signature, illus. ($2300); #365, 7th st., with “Herdsman’s Cottage,” 2nd st., and “The Willow,” 2nd st., “Herdsman’s Cottage” illus. ($1380).
“Herdsman’s Cottage,” etching. Abbott and Holder, June online cat. 333, #299, 2nd st. (£300); Sept. online cat. 335, #313, st. not given (£650). Swann, 9 March, #448, 2nd st., with “The Willow,” etching, 3rd st., and “The Early Ploughman,” etching, 9th st., “Herdsman’s Cottage” illus. ($850). C. & J. Goodfriend, Nov. online cat., 2nd st. ($550).
“Moeris and Galatea,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #59, 2nd st., illus. (£200).
“The Vine” or “Plumpy Bacchus,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #60, “unique signed proof impression, between Lister’s first and second states, prior to completion of the etched image,” illus. (£5500).
“Weary Ploughman,” etching. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #58, 8th st., illus. (£580).
“Willow,” etching. C. & J. Goodfriend, Nov. online cat., 2nd st. ($550).
Dickens, Pictures from Italy, 1846. Maggs, June cat. 1288, #144, original cloth bit worn, pl. 3 illus. (£425).
Milton, Shorter Poems, 1889. Allan Warren, Aug. private offer, small-paper issue, original cloth (£150).
A. H. Palmer, Life and Letters of Samuel Palmer, 1892. BBA, 25 May, #250, large-paper issue, slight foxing, original leather worn (Besley’s Books, £149). BBA, 27 July, #35, with “some [George] Richmond family annotations,” original cloth, with 15 other vols. (Sims Reed, £253). Richard Hatchwell, Aug. Malmsbury Miscellany 54, #115, original cloth, back faded (£140); same copy?, Ken Spelman, Oct. cat. 337, #337 (£195).
S. Palmer, An English Version of the Eclogues of Virgil. G. R. Minkoff, Oct. private offer, 1883 ed., large-paper issue, original vellum, presentation inscription from A. H. Palmer to P. G. Hamerton, slight spotting to endpapers ($3750). Marlborough Rare Books, Oct. cat. 183, #322, 1884 ed., “original vellum gilt”—and thus apparently the large-paper issue of the 2nd ed. (£700).
An archive of drawings and correspondence. BBA, 15 June, #83, c. 135 items, including an album of drawings, “the property of a gentleman by descent in the Richmond family to the present owner,” drawing of a group of Richmond’s acquaintances illus. (£11,500). The cat. entry does not record any Blake references in the correspondence.
Two sketchbooks, one dated 1829 and including work by Julia Tatham (who married Richmond in 1831), and a later book dated 1883, in all “approx. 100 leaves of drawings.” BBA, 7 Dec., #179, portrait sketch of Samuel Palmer illus. (£4025).begin page 117 | begin page 118 |
Landscape Study: A Copse Seen across a Meadow. Pen and brown wash, 7.2 × 20.7 cm. Agnew’s, 127th Annual Exhibition of English Watercolours, Drawings, and Small Oil Paintings, March, #75, illus. color (price on application).
Portrait of Charles Dickens. Brown ink, 16.5 × 10.5 cm., signed. BBA, 7 Dec., #180, illus. (£1725).
Study of Julia Richmond’s Hand, pen and ink, red chalk, 11.5 × 18.5 cm. BBA, 7 Dec., #181, with c. 29 other drawings, including family portraits and photographs (£1610).
A Wooded Landscape with a Cottage. Pen and sepia ink over pencil on blue paper, 17.5 × 24.2 cm. Spink-Leger, March cat. Feeling through the Eye: The “New” Landscape in Britain 1800-1830, #66, illus. color (£24,000). Very similar to Palmer’s work in the Shoreham period, and thus probably datable to c. 1826-28. I suspect that this is a record asking price for an uncolored drawing by Richmond.
Richmond, “Account between my dear friend Saml. Palmer & myself,” manuscript, 1831-35, 1 p. BBA, 23 Nov., #75, with several other Richmond documents, “Account” illus. (£115).
Richmond, “Rome Journal,” manuscript, 29 pp., 1840. BBA, 23 Nov., #76, with a large archive of Richmond papers, including correspondence and diaries, 1 p. with a drawing illus. (£3910).
Richmond, “Index Catalogue of the Works,” manuscript, 119 pp. BBA, 23 Nov., #77 (£345).
Cupid and Psyche. Oil, 126.4 × 97.8 cm., datable to c. 1775. CL, 1 Dec., #34, illus. color (not sold; estimate £40,000-60,000).
Romney, portrait of, engraved by Fry after Jackson’s drawing of Romney’s self-portrait, 1817. Richard Watkins, March private offer, printed on a large sheet, some spotting (£15).
Families Listening to a Man Declaiming. Pencil, brown wash, 7.6 × 8.9 cm. Abbott & Holder, May online cat. 332, #228 (£165).
Mars and Venus. Pencil and blue wash, 15.2 × 17.8 cm. Abbott and Holder, Sept. online cat. 335, #285 (£185).
Medieval Head. C. & J. Goodfriend, Nov. online cat., a “finished sketch” (i.e., an oxymoron?), 43 × 43 cm., from the collection of Iolo Williams ($400).
Three Emblematic Figures, possibly a design for an American banknote. Oil, 9.5 × 18.2 cm. Thomas Goldwasser, Aug. private offer ($1500).
“Coming from School,” engraving by Knight after Stothard, 1788. Amazon online auction, May, hand colored, framed and glazed, illus. color (no bids).
“The Lost Apple,” lithograph. Campbell Fine Art, spring cat. 8, #74, on original aquatint mount, illus. (£1450). R. E. Lewis, Sept. private offer, no mount, slightly cut into at top ($2400).
“Pilgrimage to Canterbury,” engraving by Schiavonetti and Heath after Stothard, 1817. eBay online auction, April, inscriptions and emblem of the lion and unicorn weakly printed, framed and glazed, illus. ($280).
Stothard, portrait of, engraved by Meyer after Jackson, 1815. Richard Watkins, March private offer, printed on a large sheet (£15).
Stothard, portrait of, standing in his studio. Artist unknown. Oil, framed to 89 × 69 cm., dated to c. 1800. Roy Davids, March cat. for “The Artist as a Portrait” exhibition and sale (3-14 April) at the Fine Art Society, London, #156, illus. color (£12,500). A large painting of an illus. Stothard designed for W. L. Bowles, Sonnets and Other Poems (1801), rests on an easel behind the figure; a free version of Titian’s Venus and Adonis hangs on the back wall of the studio. The design for Bowles would seem to be the best reason for identifying the subject as Stothard. He resembles other portraits of Stothard, but looks impossibly young for a man of 45 years. I remain skeptical.
Armstrong, Art of Preserving Health, 1796. Robert Clark, April cat. 55, #182, some browning, contemporary morocco worn (£32).
Art Journal, 1886. eBay online auction, Dec. 1999, pl. only, “The Vintage Festival,” Garner after Stothard ($14.95).
Bray, Life of Stothard, 1851, extra-illus. copies only. CL, 12 July, #557, 1 vol. extended to 2 with the addition of 13 drawings and 331 engravings, most after Stothard, late 19th-century morocco (£1057). Brick Row Book Shop, Sept. private offer, extended to 2 vols. with the addition of 118 pls., including Blake’s pls. from Ariosto and Bonnycastle (the latter in both 1st and 2nd sts.), 19th-century calf ($850).
Catullus, Tibullus et Propertius, Pickering ed., 1824. G. W. Stuart, Sept. cat. 93, #147, original cloth ($195); #147, original cloth ($185).
Cowper, Poems, 1825. Claude Cox, supplement to cat. 136, #511, 3 vols., pls. foxed, contemporary calf (£35).begin page 119 |
Defore, Robinson Crusoe. John Price, Dec. 1999 cat., #21, 1804 ed., 2 vols., contemporary roan, 1 pl. illus. (£100). eBay online auction, Dec. 1999, 1820 ed., 2 vols., contemporary quarter calf ($152.50).
Edwards, History, Civil and Commercial, of the British Colonies in the West Indies, 1794. eBay online auction, Dec. 1999, pl. only, horizontal folds, foxed, illus. ($36). Bernard Shapero, Dec. 1999 online cat., 2 vols., contemporary calf ($3600). Argosy Book Store, Dec. 1999 online cat., 3 vols., 1794, 1793, 1801, calf rebacked ($1250).
Hayley, Essay on Old Maids, 1793. BBA, 9 March, #144, 3 vols., uncut in original boards, some wear (John Windle, £126).
Hayley, Triumphs of Temper. K Books, March online cat., 1788 ed., pls. foxed, full calf (£50). Deighton Bell, April cat. 281, #110, 1788 ed., contemporary calf very worn (£50). eBay online auction, Aug., 1788 ed., some pls. lightly foxed, contemporary calf, 1 pl. illus. (no bids; required minimum bid $79.95). Phillip Pirages, Dec. online cat., 1801 ed., contemporary calf ($125).
Horace, Pickering ed., 1826. eBay online auction, March, foxed, later calf (no bids; required starting bid $25).
Hume, History of England, 1789. Harrington Antiquarian Bookseller, May online cat., 17 vols., some foxing, contemporary calf worn (£950).
The Keepsake, 1830. Ximenes Rare Books, Jan. cat. M1, #7, contemporary morocco (£75).
Richard Lobb, The Contemplative Philosopher, London: Robinson, Rivington, et al, 1800. John Price, spring cat., #64, 2 vols., contemporary calf worn, 1 pl. illus. (£400). The presence of a frontispiece in each vol., engraved by Baker after Stothard, has not been previously recorded.
Macneill, Poetical Works, 1806. John Price, Dec. 1999 cat., #43, 2 vols., original boards uncut, printed labels, spines chipped, 1 pl. illus. (£75). The presence of 6 pls. after Stothard in this ed. has not been previously noted. 5 are pls. first published in the 1801 ed., which contains 7 pls. after Stothard; the 1806 frontispiece to vol. 2, “Come under my plaidy,” appears for the first time. A. C. Coxhead, Thomas Stothard (London: Bullen, 1906) 161, mistakenly places this additional pl. in the 1801 ed. for a total of 8. Coxhead worked primarily from the Balmanno Collection (British Museum) of Stothard illustrations detached from their books and apparently did not cross-check the volumes themselves.
Rogers, Poems. eBay online auction, Dec. 1999, 1834 ed., contemporary calf, upper cover loose ($78). Christopher Edwards, March online cat., pls. only as issued in 1834, contemporary morocco (£300). D & E Lake, March cat. 114, #171, 1834 ed., light foxing, contemporary morocco ($180). Robert Frew, 1834 ed., with Italy, 1834, 2 vols. in 1, later calf (£150). Howes Bookshop, Oct. cat. 289, #117, 1834 ed., morocco “presentation binding by Hayday” (£125).
Shenstone, Poetical Works, 1789. The Antiquarian Shop, Feb. online cat., 2 vols. in 1, 4 (of 6) pls. only, three-quarter calf worn ($75).
Thomson, The Seasons, 1793. Heritage Book Shop, Jan. private offer, contemporary calf worn ($200).
Walton, The Complete Angler. eBay online auctions, Feb., 1825 Pickering ed., light foxing, original cloth (reserve of $250 not met); 1836 Pickering ed., 2 vols., large-paper issue, pls. on laid India in 2 sts., full morocco (reserve of $2500) not met); Aug., 1825 Pickering ed., contemporary half roan (top bid of $77.75 did not meet the reserve). BBA, 9 March, #104, 1836 Pickering ed., large-paper issue, extra-illus. with additional impressions of the pls., “most proofs before lettering,” some foxing, full morocco (P. Harrington, £862).
Young, Night Thoughts, 1798. Claude Cox, April cat. 137, #271, first 3 leaves repaired, contemporary calf rehinged (£45). John Windle, July private offer, tall copy, slight foxing, contemporary calf ($350).
A Man Carrying a Plaster Cast. Water color, signed and dated 1842, 42 × 30 cm. SL, 22 March, #201 (not sold; estimate £1500-2000).
Appendix 1: New Information on Blake’s Engravings
Listed below are substantive additions or corrections to Roger R. Easson and Robert N. Essick, William Blake: Book Illustrator, vol. 1, Plates Designed and Engraved by Blake (1972); 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, with the addition of “Bentley” and “Butlin” according to the List of Abbreviations at the beginning of this sales review. Newly discovered impressions of previously recorded published states of Blake’s engravings are listed only for the rarer separate plates.
William Blake: Book Illustrator, vol. 1
Note: Revisions pertain only to information about Blake’s plates, not to the bibliographic descriptions of the books.begin page 120 |
Pp. 1-7, John Herries, The Royal Universal Family Bible, 1780 & 1784. The entry on the single plate designed and engraved by Blake, probably based on earlier models, is replaced by Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations, p. 22. Blake’s preliminary drawing is catalogued in Butlin #120 verso.
P. 8, Thomas Commins, An Elegy Set to Music, 1786. The BM Department of Prints and Drawings copy is partly hand colored. A copy, also with the frontispiece hand colored, is now in the RNE collection. It is unlikely that either of these copies was colored by Blake. A sheet of recto/verso drawings of alternative designs for the plate is described and reproduced in Martin Butlin, “Two Newly identified Sketches for Thomas Commins’s An Elegy and Further Rediscovered Drawings of the 1780s,” Blake 26 (1992): 21-26. A similar recto/verso sheet of studies, including one slight pencil sketch reasonably close to the published version of the design, is described and reproduced in Butlin, “Two Newly Identified Sketches for Thomas Commins’s
Pp. 9-12, Mary Wollstonecraft, Original Stories, 1791 & 1796. The drawings for pls. 1-4, 6 are catalogued in Butlin #244. There is no extant drawing for pl. 5. Easson and Essick lists three states of pls. 1 and 2 and only two states for pls. 3-6, but a total of three states exist for all 6 plates. We now know that the “A” and “B” states of pls. 3-6 in Easson and Essick are actually the second and third states. The true first states of pls. 3-6 are described and reproduced in Blake 24 (1991): 130-31. A copy with all pls. in their first states, formerly in the collection of Sir Geoffrey Keynes, is now in the RNE collection. A copy with the pls. hand colored is in the Library of Congress. I do not believe that the somber and rather amateurish tinting is by Blake.begin page 121 |
Pp. 13-28, Edward Young, Night Thoughts, 1797. All the preliminary water color drawings are catalogued in Butlin #330. Easson and Essick could not obtain permission to describe the 24 impressions, some in pre-publication proof states, then in the collection of Philip Hofer and now in the Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. These are described, plate by plate, below. The list also includes additions to (and a few corrections of) the Easson and Essick descriptions of the Night Thoughts proofs Blake used in his Four Zoas manuscript. The water colors, the Houghton proofs, and most of the proofs in The Four Zoas (pls. 10, 28-29, 31-32, 36, and 42 are lacking) are reproduced in William Blake’s Designs for Edward Young’s Night Thoughts: A Complete Edition, ed. John E. Grant, Edward J. Rose, and Michael J. Tolley, “co-ordinating editor” David V. Erdman (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1980), 2 vols. This work also includes a catalogue of states of the plates (1: 17-35) and a census of copies of the book with the engravings hand colored. For additional hand-colored copies, see G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Books Supplement (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1995) 271-73, and Bentley’s annual checklists published in this journal.
Pl. 1, fly-title to “Night the First.” The Houghton proof lacks all the background shading and much of the shading and details on the figures. The hands of the angels at the top of the plate are extended to the right rather than turned downward, palms up, as in all later states. The thumbs on both hands of the figure top right are close to their palms and other fingers, rather than separated from the rest of the hand. The fingers of the left hand of the woman with a distaff are pictured (covered by the giant bearded figure’s leg in all later states). The bearded figure’s foot and the folds of drapery just above it are differently configured. A few lines indicate his mouth, or at least hairs of his beard around the mouth; these lines are eliminated in later states. The faces of the woman and the other small figures gathered around her are altered, in expression and shading, in later states. The engraved title has not yet been engraved but is written in pencil. Transparent brown wash covers the face, hand, and knee of the large bearded figure (see Butlin #330A.1). Another impression in the Houghton group is in the published state. The lightly inked impression in the Four Zoas manuscript, described by Easson and Essick as being in the published state, lacks a few lines in the hair of the woman holding a distaff, some hatching on the lower left folds of her gown, and on the gown of the girl immediately to the left, whose face is hidden by the outstretched arms of a boy presenting a curved object (a manuscript?) to the woman.
Pl. 2, Night Thoughts p. 1. The impression in the Houghton group is in the published state.
Pl. 3, p. 4. Grant, Rose, and Tolley, 1:18, infer a first state containing an extra branch arching above the head of the figure walking in the wood, left of the text panel. This branch is partly erased, but its location is still indicated, in both the Four Zoas proof and the published state. There is no known impression of this conjectural first state, but the reasoning that suggests its existence is plausible.
Pl. 4, p. 7. The proof used for p. 53 in the Four Zoas manuscript is in a later state than the proof used for p. 71. The later state shows additional crosshatching on the base (a table?) supporting the hourglass and other objects, on the blanket or cloak covering the lower body of the foreground figure, and on and inside the bell (lower right) held by the bearded figure. There is additional hatching on the bedding below the foreground figure’s stomach (immediately right of the end of the blanket), on the area (a pillow?) below the bell, and on the right leg above the knee of the bearded figure. The shadow cutting diagonally above the bearded figure in the published state is still lacking.
Pl. 6, p. 10. The impression in the Houghton group lacks the imprint but is otherwise as in the published state.
Pl. 7, p. 12. The proof used as p. 49 of the Four Zoas manuscript shows the ghostly image of the birds, including the largest one, left of the text panel. Either this area of the plate still lacked some finishing strokes on the birds or was poorly inked. The impression in the Houghton group is in the published state (area of the imprint trimmed off). A copy of the book I saw in June 1996, then in the possession of the London dealer Sims Reed, confirms the presence of the imprint in the published state.
Pl. 10, p. 16. In addition to the absent work noted in Easson and Essick, the figure lacks some lines in his hair in the Four Zoas proof. The impression in the Houghton group lacks only the imprint.
Pl. 11, p. , fly-title to “Night the Second.” There are two proofs in the Houghton group. The earliest shows the figures in outline with some interior modeling and only slight patches of shading. The clouds and foreground indications of earth or grass are absent. The small figure on the left, standing in the lap of the large winged figure, has female breasts. The small figure on the right has one finger of his left hand (the hand grasped by his companion) extended downward. The engraved text is absent, but the text panel bears, in pencil, a text of three lines (“TIME / DEATH / FRIENDSH”), rules below each line, and (below) a slight sketch of two figures, the one on the right holding a dart or arrow, and an hourglass (see Butlin #330A.2). The second Houghton proof lacks the engraved text. The clouds and foreground shading have been added, as well as many lines of interior modeling and shading. Additional shading on the small figure on the left enlarges and highlights the figure’s female breasts; the figure’s belly is now rounded and distended, as if pregnant. This figure now appears even more androgynous than in the first proof state. The first published state (illus. 4), present in one impression in the Houghton group and in roughly 20% of the copies of the book I have seen, slightly reduces the prominence of the breasts of the small figure on the left, mostly by eliminating a few lines of shading on the begin page 122 | upper reaches of each breast. The beard of the giant figure holding a dart has been modified in the area of the mouth, as though the hair now is slightly parted around the mouth. In the second (final) published state, this area of his beard has been returned to its appearance in the second proof state (i.e., no parting of the hair around the mouth). A good deal of hatching has been added to the design in this final state, particularly on the giant wings above the winged figures head, on the drapery or wing(?) just beneath the text panel, on the ground lower left and right, and on the cloud above the winged figure’s head. The breasts of the small figure on the left have been reduced in roundness and prominence; the belly now appears to be less distended. The drapery just left of his stomach has been eliminated. Hatching has been added to the drapery falling over and to the left of his legs. This figure now appears to be less androgynous and more masculine in body configuration; the face has also been slightly modified in expression. The pointing finger on the left hand of the small figure on the right has been eliminated. The two figures are now holding hands rather than the figure on the left grasping the wrist of the figure on the right.
Pl. 12, p. 19. The proof in the Houghton group lacks the imprint but is otherwise as in the published state.
Pl. 13, p. 23. The very early proof in the Houghton group lacks a good deal of interior modeling and most of the shading. A bird, perhaps an owl, with stylized wings sits on the top of the text panel. The infant has his back to us and the woman’s face is in profile. Another impression in the Houghton group is the lower half of the plate only, the top half having been cut away. At least this lower part of the plate is in the published state, in which the infant has been turned so that he faces up rather than inward. His arms now extend to the left as though he were reaching in that direction. The woman’s face is now seen in three-quarter view and more of her hair is revealed above her forehead. The man’s right thumb has been straightened and lengthened. The bird above the text panel has been changed into an angel with head bent over on its prominent knees, as in the water color.
Pl. 14, p. 24. The first proof state in the Houghton group lacks some of the shading on the figure holding the sickle, most of the shading on the ground below, and all of the background shading. In the next proof state, used for p. 99 of the Four Zoas manuscript, most of the shading found in the published state has been added. The big toe on the right foot of the giant figure has been slightly altered in a light pencil sketch to the right of this toe. The sketch was very probably made by Blake while proofing the Night Thoughts plates and before using this impression in The Four Zoas. The published state includes slight modifications to the toe, although it is difficult to determine if these follow the sketch. The figure leaning on the hourglass above the text panel has been modified in several ways. The figure’s lower body has been turned more toward the viewer, her(?) long hair now falls over the top left corner of the hourglass, and her leg positions have been changed. See Easson and Essick for further modification to the giant figure.
Pl. 15, p. 25. The differences among the impression in the Houghton group, the impression used for p. 127 of the Four Zoas manuscript, and the published state can be accounted for by differences in inking.
Pl. 16, p. 26. The first proof state used for p. 135 of the Four Zoas manuscript lacks the monogram. The hair of the woman holding an infant, lower left, arches higher on her head than in the published state; see Easson and Essick for further differences. The second proof state in the Houghton group retains the imprint of the earlier state. This second proof state lacks only some shading on the giant figure’s hand and fingers.
Pl. 18, p. 31. The proof in the Houghton group lacks shading on the large seated figure’s face. The faces of the small figure standing before the large figure, and the face of the small figure hovering just above the seated one, also lack a bit of shading. The figure hovering below the text panel, arms outstretched, has bare legs with a tail of drapery fluttering between them. The drapery has been extended, and covers at least the left leg, in the published state.
Pl. 19, p. 33. The proof in the Houghton group is in an earlier state than the proof used for p. 51 in the Four Zoas manuscript. The imprint has not yet been engraved. The face of the figure on the right is darkened with a stronger expression of fear. His hair is darkly cross-hatched above his forehead (lightened in both later states) and the little finger on his right hand is less tightly curled toward the palm. The cloud forms on the right have a different outline and both figures lack a good deal of shading.
Pl. 20, p. 35. The proof in the Houghton group is in an earlier state than the proof used for p. 95 in the Four Zoas manuscript. The monogram and imprint have not yet been engraved. The features of all the figures are in a rudimentary state of development and thus their expressions are slightly different. The dark background crosshatching on the right has not been executed and the figures lack a good deal of shading. In addition to the work missing in the Four Zoas proof already noted by Easson and Essick, the state lacks the crossing strokes in the crosshatched shadow just to the left of the boy standing at the knee of the seated woman on the right. The right hand of the harper above the text panel appears only in the published state.
Pl. 25, p. 46. The proof in the Houghton group lacks the imprint but is in other respects the same as the published state.
Pl. 26, p. 49. Easson and Essick state that the monogram is lacking in the proof before imprint used as p. 47 in the Four Zoas manuscript, but there do appear to be a few scratched indications of the monogram. Apparent differences in hatching patterns (e.g., on the horses’ legs) may be due to light inking.
Pl. 27, p. 54. In addition to the work lacking from the proof (The Four Zoas, p. 83) described by Easson and begin page 123 | Essick, the dress strap or neckline on the swimming woman with arms outstretched is also absent.
Pl. 31, fly-title to “The Christian Triumph.” The first proof state in the Houghton group, in comparison to the second proof state used in the Four Zoas manuscript (p. 114), lacks the monogram, many lines in the rising figure’s hair and shading on his body, and some shading on the faces of the kneeling angels. Many lines were added to the hair of the angel on the right in the second proof state.
Pl. 32, p. 70. The first proof state in the Houghton group lacks shading in the clouds upper left, the vertical lines defining the teeth of the figure holding a spear, some lines defining his right eyebrow, a few lines between the bridge of his nose and his left eye, and some shading on his neck below his ear.
Pl. 33, p. 72. The first proof state in the Houghton group lacks the mushroom-shaped form at the very top of the arch, upper left, some lines in the woman’s hair, the shading on the curled fingers of her male companion’s left hand, and considerable shading and modeling on the hands, face, and lower right leg of the man lower right. His hair lacks many of the lines found in the second proof state (The Four Zoas, p. 67). The standing man’s stomach has been redefined with softer interior modeling in this second proof state and his navel is much less prominent; it has been eliminated completely in the published state. If this is Adam, as seems likely, the removal of the navel befits his unusual nativity. The lines defining the bottom and right side of the text panel do not extend to the man’s head, lower right, in either proof state.
Pl. 34, p. 73. The impression in the Houghton group is in the published state. The proof used for p. 59 of The Four Zoas is intermediate between the other Four Zoas proofs, p. 111 of the manuscript (first proof state) and p. 115 (third proof state). The figure’s mouth in this second proof state is narrower, with the lips less full in the middle of the mouth, than in the third proof state and in the published state. There might also be some differences in the lines defining the moustache and beard close to the mouth, but these may be only the result of light inking.
Pl. 37, p. 86. The text panel in the two Four Zoas proof states is less in height, not in “width” (Easson and Essick), than in the published state. In the second proof state, Four Zoas manuscript p. 119, the outline of the foot beneath the text panel has been redrawn in pencil and then partly erased. This foot does not appear in the published state.
Pl. 39, p. 88. The proof in the Houghton group lacks the imprint but is otherwise the same as the published state.
Pl. 40, p. 90. The proof used for p. 97 of The Four Zoas is in a slightly later state than the proof used for p. 45 of the manuscript. In this second proof state, crosshatching strokes have been added to the stippled lines of shading along the lower edge of the right thigh of the seated figure. Similar crossing strokes have been added to his right upper arm.
Pl. 43, p. 95. In addition to the work absent from the proof state in the Four Zoas manuscript, p. 109, as described by
Pp. 29-30, William Hayley, Little Tom the Sailor, 1800. Copies very probably hand colored by Blake are now in the collection of Maurice Sendak and in an American private collection. The preliminary sketch for the headpiece (pl. 1) is catalogued in Butlin #359.
Pp. 31-35, William Hayley, Designs to a Series of Ballads, 1802. A census, with provenance information, of the 8 recorded copies that include the prefatory materials and all 4 ballads appears in Blake 33 (2000): 125-27.
Pl. 1. Bentley 572, states that there is a “proof before imprint” in the BM, but I have not been able to confirm this.
Pl. 3. Two pencil and pen sketches on one sheet, both showing the elephant’s head and the man held aloft, are in the Royal Academy, London (Butlin #364 recto). A pencil and pen drawing for pl. 8 appears on the verso of this sheet.begin page 124 |
Pl. 4. The Notebook sketches are Butlin #201.2(6) and 201.92.
Pl. 5. The drawing located by Easson and Essick in the collection of Mrs. Landon K. Thorne is now in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (Butlin #363). The other drawings noted by Easson and Essick are Butlin #360-62.
Pl. 8. See pl. 3, above, for a preliminary drawing not listed by Easson and Essick. The untraced drawing, once in the collection of Lord Houghton, is Butlin #365.
Pp. 36-40, William Hayley, The Life and Posthumous Writings of William Cowper, 1803 & 1804. The entry on the single plate designed and engraved by Blake is replaced by Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations 88-89 (therein called pl. 4). For a wood engraving of the design cut by Alexander Anderson, published in the New York 1803 ed. of the book, see Blake 30 (1997): 115.
Pp. 41-44, William Hayley, Ballads, 1805. For a copy with the plates hand colored, see under “Letterpress Books with Engravings by and after Blake” and the discussion in the introductory essay to the sales review, both above.
Pl. 5. The tempera painting, now on deposit at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, is catalogued in Butlin #366. The impression formerly in the collection of Raymond Lister is not a proof.
Pp. 45-47, The Prologue and Characters of Chaucer’s Pilgrims, 1812.
Pl. 1. The entry on the large separate plate in Geoffrey Keynes, Engravings by William Blake: The Separate Plates (Dublin, 1956), is replaced by Essick, The Separate Plates of William Blake (1983) 60-89. The pencil preliminary drawing for the separate plate, formerly in the Cunliffe collection (see Butlin #654), is now in the BM. The tempera painting is catalogued in Butlin #653.
Pp. 48-52, Robert John Thornton, The Pastorals of Virgil, 1821. A relief etching of pls. 2-5, executed by Blake before the preliminary drawings and the wood engravings, was discovered in 1991 and is now in the RNE collection. For reproductions and commentary, see Essick, “A Relief Etching of Blake’s Virgil Illustrations,” Blake 25 (1991-92): 117-27. The Virgil drawings are catalogued in Butlin #769. The ownership of the drawings and proofs of the wood engravings before the blocks were cut down is updated in Blake 31 (1998): 136-37; reprinted in Essick, A Troubled Paradise: William Blake’s Virgil Wood Engravings (1999). Pls. 3, 4, 6-8, 11, and 12, printed by John Linnell and hand colored, are reported in the collection of a Linnell descendant in G. Ingli James, “Blake’s Woodcuts, Plain and Coloured,” Times Literary Supplement (18 May 1973): 564; for reproductions see James, “Blake’s Woodcuts Illuminated,” Apollo 99 (1974): 194-95. The hand tinting is probably by a member or members of the Linnell family.
Pp. 53-55, Remember Me!, 1825 & 1826. A proof before the plate was cut down and in the same state as the Rosenwald proof was discovered in 1999 in the collection of a descendant of John Linnell. A proof before letters but after the plate was cut down is in the BM. The large water color of the design is catalogued in Butlin #774. It may be a composition independent of the production of the plate.
The Separate Plates of William Blake: A Catalogue
Pp. 61-62, “Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims,” impressions 2B (hand colored, Keynes Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum) and 2C (partly hand colored, Essick collection). Excellent color begin page 125 |
Pp. 134-35, “The Fall of Rosamond,” Blake after Stothard, 2nd st. For a previously unrecorded impression, see under “Separate Plates and Plates in Series,” above.
William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations
Appendix ii: False and Conjectural Attributions, pp. 121-27. In Blake 25 (1992): 167, I added the following to the list of dubious attributions: Oliver Goldsmith, The History of England, from the Earliest Times to the Death of George II, 2 vols. octavo, London: S. Rothwell, 1827. At the time of writing, I had not seen a copy of the book. James McCord has kindly supplied me with xeroxes of the plates from a copy of the book once in the collection of Greville MacDonald and bearing his distinctive “Death’s Door” bookplate. In my opinion, the rather simple and crude plates in this edition of Goldsmith’s History are not by Blake. Blake may have produced somewhat similar plates in the 1780s and early 1790s, but not in the 1820s.
Appendix 2: A Handlist of Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations Engraved by Other Craftsmen
This handlist follows the format of Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations (1991); abbreviations follow those listed at the beginning of the sales review above. Books which contain plates copied after Blake’s previously published designs are noted here, but not described in detail, if published before his death in 1827. Later engravings of Blake’s images are not listed (e.g., William J. Linton’s wood engravings of “Death’s Door” and William Bell Scott’s etchings of Blake’s drawings and paintings).
I. Gottfried Augustus Bürger, Leonora, trans. J. T. Stanley (London: William Miller, 1796). The 3 plates by “Perry” (about whom nothing is known) after Blake are catalogued and reproduced in Easson and Essick, William Blake: Book Illustrator (1979) 2: 107-08. The Dead Bad-Doers [or Ardours] (Butlin #232) may be related to the development begin page 126 | of pl. 1. The water color (Butlin #338) for pl. 3, described as untraced by Easson and Essick, is now in the collection of Arthur Vershbow, Boston. The pencil drawing for pl. 3 (now Keynes Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum) is catalogued in Butlin #339. For published reviews that criticize Blake’s designs, see BR 54-55.
II. Marie Vollstonecraft [sic] Godwin, Marie et Caroline (Paris: Dentu, 1799). The 5 unsigned plates in this French translation of Wollstonecraft’s Original Stories from Real Life were very probably based on Blake’s pls. 2-6 in the London eds. of 1791 and 1796, not on the original drawings. See G. E. Bentley, Jr., Blake Books Supplement (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1995) 265, 268-69; for discussion and reproductions, see Bentley, “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.
III. William Hayley, The Life and Posthumous Writings of William Cowper (New York: T. and J. Swords, 1803). This American edition includes a wood engraving by Alexander Anderson of the “Weather-house” and “Cowper’s Tame Hares.” This print was probably copied after the engraving by Blake, based on his own design, in the 1803-04 London edition of the work (see Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations 88-89). For a reproduction of Anderson’s wood engraving, see Blake 30 (1997): 115.
IV. Benjamin Heath Malkin, A Father’s Memoirs of His Child (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1806). One plate was designed by Blake and engraved by Robert H. Cromek.
1. Frontispiece facing the title page, 19.7 × 13.1 cm.; illus. 5-6.
Signatures: Wm. Blake invt.. [left], R.. H. Cromek sc [right]
Imprint: London Published by Longman Co. February 1st. 1806.
The design represents the death of the author’s young son, Thomas Williams Malkin, as a journey from his earthly mother to heaven with the assistance of a winged angel. The instruments on the ground, lower right, indicate Thomas’s precocious skills as a writer and artist. The medallion portrait in the center of the plate was “painted by Paye, when Thomas was not quite two years old” (Malkin xliv). Archibald G. B. Russell, The Engravings of William Blake (London: Grant Richards, 1912) 124n1, suggests that the artist was “Miss Paye,” a miniature portraitist active 1798-1807, rather than her father, the better-known artist Richard Morton Paye, apparently inactive after c. 1802. Blake originally engraved the design (including the portrait) himself, the unique impression of which is in the British Museum, Dept. of Prints and Drawings. Since the portrait is identical in both Blake’s version and Cromek’s, the same
A pencil sketch of an alternative version of Blake’s design is in the British Museum, Dept. of Prints and Drawings; see Butlin #580. Butlin #581, an untraced design showing “the Death of an Infant,” may be related to the plate. The pencil sketches of a child’s head and arms on the verso of War Unchained (Essick collection, Butlin #186) may also be related. Two of these are (coincidentally?) similar to Paye’s portrait of young Thomas, and at least one sketch looks like the child’s face and arms in Blake’s framing design.
There are two extant pre-publication proof states of the plate as engraved by Cromek. In the first, the framing figures of Blake’s design have been etched, but much work is lacking, including the horizontal background hatching and the rays of light in the top portion of the image. Impressions are in the Essick collection (illus. 5) and in the British Museum, Dept. of Prints and Drawings (reproduced in David Bindman, The Complete Graphic Works of William Blake [London: Thames and Hudson, 1978], pl. 410). The fact that the medallion portrait is also unfinished, as it is in Blake’s rendition of the plate, makes one begin page 127 |
V. Robert Blair, The Grave (London: R. H. Cromek, 1808, folio and quarto issues; London: R. Ackermann, 1813, folio and quarto issues; [London: J. C. Hotten, 1870]). Jose Joaquin de Mora, Meditaciones Poeticas (London: R. Ackermann, 1826). Bibliographic details, a catalogue of all states of the plates engraved by Luigi Schiavonetti after Blake’s designs, and reproductions of the plates and many related drawings are presented in Robert N. Essick and Morton D. Paley, Robert Blair’s The Grave Illustrated by William Blake: A Study with Facsimile (1982). Churchyard Spectres Frightening a Schoolboy, a preliminary water color for a design never engraved (Essick and Paley p. 74 and pl. 22; Butlin #342), is now in the Essick collection; for discussion and reproduction, see Blake 33 (2000): 106-08.
There are three issues of an American edition containing Blake’s illustrations: Robert Blair, The Grave (New York: A. L. Dick, 1847; New York: Stanford & Delisser, 1858; New York, James Miller, n.d. [c. 1879]). These all contain engravings by A. L. Dick of Blake’s designs (except for pl. 3, “The Meeting of a Family in Heaven”) first published in the 1808 London edition. Dick almost certainly based his plates on Schiavonetti’s published engravings, not on Blake’s original drawings.
VI. John Whitaker, The Seraph, A Collection of Sacred Music, 2 vols. (London: printed by Button, Whitaker, and Company, c. 1818-28; London: printed by Jones & Co., c. 1825-28). The engraved title page in vol. 2 was executed by “P. Jones” (about whom nothing is known) after Blake’s illustration on p. 27 of Edward Young, The Complaint, and the Consolation; or, Night Thoughts (London: R. Edwards, 1797). Jones’ engraving was almost certainly based on Blake’s published engraving, not on his water color; see illus. 7.
VII. The Pastorals of Virgil, with a Course of English Reading, Adapted for Schools . . . by Robert John Thornton (2 vols., 3rd ed., London: F. C. & J. Rivingtons, et al., 1821). Vol. 1 contains 20 wood engravings designed by Blake. Seventeen were also executed by Blake, but three were cut by an anonymous journeyman and printed together on a single leaf—see illus. 8. The accompanying texts are set in letterpress and are not part of the woodblocks themselves.
1. Uncounted page facing p. 17 in vol. 1, top image, 3.2 × 7.4 cm. Blake’s preliminary wash drawing was last recorded in the collection of Philip Hofer but has been untraced since 1939 (Butlin #769.14).
2. Uncounted page facing p. 17 in vol. 1, middle image, 3.3 × 7.4 cm. Blake’s preliminary wash drawing is in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (Butlin #769.15).
3. Uncounted page facing p. 17 in vol. 1, bottom image, 3 × 7.5 cm. Blake’s preliminary wash drawing was last recorded in the collection of Philip Mallory but has been untraced since 1927 (Butlin #769.15).
The designs are all based on phrases printed on p. 17: “thy flock to feed” and possibly “lightsome birds forget to fly” (top image), “the briny ocean” (middle image), and “every rapid river” (bottom image). Blake also is credited (Blake, del.) as having delineated the design in vol. 2, facing p. 21, engraved in wood by John Byfield (Byfield, sculp.). However, Blake’s untraced drawing was not of his own design but merely a copy of a painting by Nicolas Poussin, now in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia. The letterpress caption beneath the wood engraving reads “The Giant Polypheme, from a Famous Picture by N. Poussin.”begin page 128 |
VIII. John Varley, A Treatise on Zodiacal Physiognomy; Illustrated by Engravings of Heads and Features (London: The Author, 1828). Varley’s attempt to combine the pseudosciences of astrology and physiognomy contains six plates, five signed by John Linnell as the engraver and one unsigned. Although signed J. Varley. inv., three plates contain images based on Blake’s designs.
1. Variously bound facing p. 51 or as the third plate at the end of the pamphlet, 13.3 × 23 cm.; illus. 9.
Signatures: J. Linnell sc. [left], J. Varley. inv. [right]
Inscriptions beneath the heads: see illus. 9.
The head labeled “Cancer” (second from the lower left corner) is related to Blake’s pencil sketch now in the Essick collection (Butlin #692c). Varley’s text makes passing references to Cancer as one of the zodiacal signs, but it offers no explicit description of this head. A tracing (Butlin #751), probably by Linnell or Varley and also in the Essick collection, may have played a role in the preparation of the plate. W. M. Rossetti was the first to suggest that the profile is a modified version of Blake’s own; see Rossetti’s catalogue in Alexander Gilchrist, Life of William Blake (London: Macmillan, 1863) 2: 245, no. 57. See also Geoffrey Keynes, The Complete Portraiture of William & Catherine Blake (London: Trianon Press for the Blake Trust, 1977) 129-30, 143-44. Keynes suggests that Blake’s drawing was “instigated” by the “very mild view of Blake’s face” (144) in this plate, although any such instigation must have been based on a drawing by Varley or Linnell preliminary to the plate, not on the plate itself unless it was executed long before its publication. Butlin #692c states that, quite to the contrary, Blake’s drawing was the “original” of the plate, “reduced in scale and presumably reworked by Varley.” Another plate, almost certainly intended for a later installment of Varley’s publication that never appeared, includes a version of the “Cancer” profile much closer to Blake’s drawing; see Essick 246-47.
Bentley 625 suggests that the profile of “Gemini” (lower right corner) is “evidently after the head” Blake sketched in pencil on p. 80 (private collection, Great Britain) of the now-dispersed Smaller Blake-Varley Sketchbook (Butlin #692.80, there titled A Girl in Profile, Perhaps Corinna). A similar but larger pencil drawing was last recorded in the possession of Maggs Bros., London, in Sept. 1949, but is now untraced (Butlin #709). There are significant similarities among the drawings and the engraved profile, but the differences indicate that Linnell or Varley altered the image when executing the plate. Varley devotes pp. 50-55 of his pamphlet to “Gemini.” There are no direct references to this profile, but at least one of the physiognomic descriptions later in the volume may be relevant: “Such persons have very often a large high nose, a retreating mouth, and projecting chin” (58).
2. Variously bound as a frontispiece or as the fourth plate at the end of the pamphlet; 11 × 19.4 cm.; illus. 10 (second state).
Signatures: J. Linnell sc. [left], J. Varley. inv. [right]
Inscriptions beneath the heads: Gemini [left], Cancer [center], Ghost of a Flea. / from Blakes, vision. [right]
Second State. An additional inscription, See Page 54, has been added below the “Ghost of a Flea” (see illus. 10). In my experience, the second state is the more common of the two.
Varley’s description of Blake’s vision of the “ghost” or anthropomorphic spirit of a flea appears on pp. 54-55 of the pamphlet. Varley “felt convinced by his [Blake’s] mode of proceeding, that he had a real image before him, for he left off, and began on another part of the paper, to make a separate drawing of the mouth of the Flea, which the spirit having opened [as on this plate], he was prevented from proceeding with the first sketch, till he had closed it [as on pl. 3]” (55). This pencil drawing, with the “separate” sketch of the open mouth, was once bound as page 98 of the Smaller Blake-Varley Sketchbook. The drawing is now in Tate Britian, London (Butlin #692.98). The same sketchbook, now dispersed, also once contained a full-length sketch of the flea’s ghost (private collection, Great Britain; Butlin #692.94); Blake developed this image into a tempera painting (Tate Britain, London; Butlin #750).
The profile on the left is similar to the “Gemini” on pl. 1 (lower right corner), but rather more distant from Blake’s drawings than the version engraved on pl. 1. The center profile of a female (?) child, labeled “Cancer,” is not related to any known drawing by Blake.
3. Variously bound facing p. 54 or as the fifth plate at the end of the pamphlet; 18.5 × 11.4 cm.; illus. 11.
Signatures: J. Linnell sc. [left], J. Varley. inv. [right]
Inscriptions beneath the images: Ghost of a Flea. / from Blakes, vision. [top], Reverse of the coin of / Nebuchadnezzar; after Blake. [lower left]; Taurus. (fair class) [lower right].
Second State. An additional inscription, See Page 54, has been added below the “Ghost of a Flea” (see illus. 11). The first state is known to me only from a copy of the book in the British Museum, Dept. of Prints and Drawings, and a loose impression now in my collection.
See pl. 2 for drawings related to the ghost of a flea and Varley’s description. Although similar in some respects to the “Gemini” profiles on pls. 1 and 2, the “Taurus” on this plate is too distant from Blake’s possible “Gemini” drawings to warrant the proposal of a Blakean origin. Blake’s pencil drawing of both sides of the coin of Nebuchadnezzar has been untraced since 1939; there is, however, a tracing, probably by Linnell, in the collection of G. Ingli James (see Butlin #704). The front of the coin is pictured on the same unpublished plate bearing the “Cancer” profile—see pl. 1, above, and Essick 246-47.