begin page 69 | back to top


From Sotheby’s Catalogue / of / Valuable Printed Books / and / a Few Manuscripts / from the renowned Library / Formerly at Britwell Court / Burnam, Bucks / The Property of the Trustees of the Late S. R. Christie-Miller, Esq.:

First Day 16 Monday, 29th March, 1971

35 Blake (William) The First Book of Urizen, 25 plates on 25 unwatermarked begin page 70 | back to top leaves (of 28—without plates 7, 8 and 16), PRINTED IN BRILLIANT COLOURS with thick opaque pigments and finished in places with watercolour washes, the text printed in sepia (first 2 plates) and green, brown morocco gilt, g.e., by Francis Bedford, the Gaisford copy (sale in our rooms 23 April 1890, lot 191) 4to (303 mm by 240 mm) Lambeth, printed by Will. Blake, 1794

*⁎*Copy C in Keynes & Wolf’s census (William Blake’s Illuminated Books, New York, 1953), where seven copies (and two fragments) are recorded: of these only two are complete, this being the only other copy which contains plate 4 (“Muster around the bleak desarts . . . ”).

The word “First” appears in the title, Preludium, and in the colophon; the lines “The web is a female in embrio . . . ” (plate 25) and “All the seven deadly sins of the soul” (plate 4) are not erased.

Bound in after the title-page is another impression of plate 2 (Preludium), with the words “Preludium to the first book of” painted out, and with a painted border surrounding the figures added by Blake, who has also delicately heightened the figures with pen and brush; this plate is on different paper and is inlaid to size.

[See Colour Plate]

The colour plate referred to is a handsome full-page reproduction of the picture of the crouching Urizen which is plate 4 in the Trianon Press facsimile (of the Rosenwald copy).

Our thanks to Professor James Hart, Director of the Bancroft Library, for bringing this item to our attention.

Print Edition

  • Publisher
  • Department of English, University of New Mexico
  • Albuquerque, NM, USA
    • Executive Editor
    • Morton D. Paley
    • Managing Editor
    • Morris Eaves
    • Associate Editor
    • Donald D. Ault
    • Michael Phillips

    Digital Edition

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