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William Blake Digital Materials from the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection

William Blake, 1757-1827, English poet and artist, b. London.

Perhaps the most original visionary of the nineteenth century was William Blake, artist, engraver, poet and philosopher. He is now considered the most important English  artist of the nineteenth century

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Autograph letters, signed. 1800-27

Rosenwald 1793
[Autograph letters, signed.] [ 1800-1827]. 1 v. and 2 folders. 26-29 cm
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Four Letters
-To George Cumberland, dated Lambeth, July 2, 1800.
-To James Blake, dated Felpham, Jan. 30, 1803.
-To William Hayley, dated Sept. 28, 1804.
-To John Linnell, undated (Feb. 1827).

Also see: Rare Book of the Month: A Man Driven by "Amazing Grace"

There is No Natural Religion

Rosenwald 1796
There is no natural religion.
[London, W. Blake, ca. 1790] 21 plates. 14 cm.
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The copy contains only 11 plates on 11 leaves; title pag inlaid. No perfect copy is known. Printed in gray-black or green from plates containing both text and illustrations. Hand colored.

Songs of Innocence

Rosenwald 1797
Songs of innocence. The author & printer W. Blake. [London] 1789. 31 plates. 19 cm.
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Printed in brown on 17 leaves, from plates containing both text and illustrations. Hand colored.

The Book of Thel

Rosenwald 1798
The book of Thel. The author and printer Willm. Blake. [London] 1789. 8 plates. 31 cm.
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Printed in green on eight leaves, from plates containing both text and illustrations. Hand colored.

Another Issues: The Book of Thel

Rosenwald 1798A
Another Issue: The book of Thel. The author and printer Willm. Blake.[London] 1789.8 plates. 31 cm.
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Printed in light brown on eight leaves, ca. 1794, (watermark on paper dated 1794). Hand colored.

Another Issue: The Book of Thel

Rosenwald 1798b
Another Issue, The book of Thel. The author and printer Willm. Blake. [London] 1789. 8 plates. 31 cm.
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Printed in orange on eight leaves, ca. 1815, (watermarks on paper dated 1815). Hand colored. Leaves numbered in manuscript.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Rosenwald 1799
The marriage of Heaven and Hell. [London, ca. 1794] 27 plates. 40 cm.
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Printed in green on 27 leaves from plates containing both text and illustrations. Hand colored. Leaves numbered in manuscript.

Manuscript Index to the Songs of innocence and of experience..., n.d.

Rosenwald 1800
Manuscript index to the Songs of innocence and of experience in the autograph of William Blake. Also a number of trial proofs of plates for the songs. [n.d.] 1 v. 32 cm.
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Manuscript title page, followed by two leaves of manuscript index, inserted. The proofs of nine plates on eight leaves, are inlaid.

Illustration from William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1794).

Rosenwald 1801
Songs of innocence and of experience, shewing the two contrary states of the human soul. [London, W. Blake, 1794] 54 plates. col. ill. 19 cm.
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Printed in brown, orange, or green on 30 leaves, from plates containing both text and illustrations. Hand colored. Songs of Innocence, with special title page dated1789, printed from plates of the 1789 edition; Songs of experience also has special title page.

Illustration from William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1826).

Rosenwald 1801A
Another Issue: Songs of innocence and of experience, shewing the two contrary states of the human soul. [London, W. Blake, 1794] 54 plates. col. ill. 19 cm.
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Inscription on flyleaf, "This copy I received from Blake himself and coloured by his own hand..." H.C. Robinson. March 11th, 1863. Portrait of Blake mounted on another flyleaf.

Visions of the Daughters of Albion

Rosenwald 1803
Visions of the daughters of Albion: the eye sees more than the heart knows. [London] : Printed by William Blake, 1793 [i.e. ca. 1810?] 11 leaves : col. ill.; 39 cm.
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Printed in green on six leaves from plates containing both text and illustrations. Hand colored.

America, a Prophecy

Rosenwald 1804
America, a prophecy. Lambeth, Printed by William Blake, 1793 [i.e. 1794?] 18 plates. ill. 39 cm.
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Printed in green on 10 leaves, from plates containing both text and illustrations. Uncolored, except for some gray wash on the title page.

Three cancelled plates from "america, a prophecy"

Rosenwald 1805
Three cancelled plates from "America, a prophecy." Three unique plates with pencil corrections by Blake, bound in with six other plates from America, a prophecy. [London] Printed by W. Blake, 1793. [1] l., 9 plates. 32 cm.
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Manuscript title page. Printed in blue, brown, or green on six leaves, from plates containing both text and illustrations. Includes plates 1-2, 9-10, and two copies of plate 13 of America.

Europe, a prophecy

Rosenwald 1806
Europe, a prophecy. Lambeth: Printed by Will. Blake, 1794. 18 p. : col. ill. ; 38 cm.
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Printed in green, blue, or brown on 10 leaves, from plates containing both text and illustrations. Hand colored. Leaves numbered in manuscript: 1-17. Plate iii lacking. Two additional impressions of the final plate are bound with a Rosenwald copy of Blake's Jerusalem, entry 1811a.

One of two prophetic works (the other being America a Prophecy (1793). The poem contains 265 lines and numerous illuminations drawn by the author himself. One of the most notable illustrations is the frontispiece, which is titled The Ancient of Days and shows the character Urizen separating light from darkness. It is based on another famous image from John Milton's Paradise Lost that depicts God using a golden compass to circumscribe the universe.

Rosenwald 1807
The book of Urizen. First book of Urizen. Lambeth: Printed by W. Blake, 1794 [i.e. 1815?] [28] leaves of plates: col. ill. ; 29 cm.
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Title originally: The first book of Urizen. Watermarks on paper dated 1815. Printed in yellow-brown on 27 leaves, from plates containing both text and illustrations. Hand colored. Leaves numbered in manuscript. Lacks one plate found in only two copies.

Urizen, seems to have been intended as the first of a trilogy, but no later books appeared. In the copy shown here, Blake, already aware that no further volumes would be produced, removed the word “first” from the title (and in this instance from other places in the book as well). Seven copies of the book are known, plus some scattered plates, probably proofs or rejected impressions rather than a broken‑up additional copy. The Rosenwald copy is exceptional –magnificently painted in bright water‑colors with added gold.

 

The song of Los

Rosenwald 1808
The song of Los. Lambeth, Printed by W. Blake, 1795.8 p.; 33 cm.
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Printed in green on eight leaves, from plates containing both text and illustrations. Hand colored.

The book of Ahania

Rosenwald 1809
The book of Ahania. Lambeth, Printed by W. Blake, 1795. 6 plates. 30 cm.
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Printed in dark brown on six leaves, from ordinary etched plates. Illustrated title page and tailpiece hand colored. Frontispiece wanting; hand-colored frontispiece from another copy accompanies book.

Milton, a poem in 12 [i.e. 2] books

Rosenwald 1810
Milton, a poem in 12 [i.e. 2] books. The author & printer W. Blake. [London] 1804 [i.e. 1815?] 50 plates. 29 cm.
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Watermarks on paper dated 1815. Printed in orange on 50 leaves, from plates containing both text and illustrations. Hand colored. Leaves numbered 1-50 in manuscript. Without the plate containing the preface, but with an extra plate (no. 5) not included in other known copies. With this is bound the author's The book of Thel. [London] 789.

One of Blake’s later books that encapsulates for viewers the power and originality of Blake’s relief engravings. His mature style depicts the struggles of human nature in its deepest psychological and spiritual sense and gives Milton’s poem a  meaning unfathomable by most readers of his day. This work, along with his illustrations for Dante’s epic, demonstrate the seriousness with which Blake tackled the great themes of mankind. Salvation and free will were  subjects that dominated much of his work in the later part of his career.

Jerusalem, the emanation of the giant Albion

Rosenwald 1811
Jerusalem, the emanation of the giant Albion. [London] Printed by W. Blake, 1804 [i.e. 1832?] 100 plates 31 cm.
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Dates in watermarks, 1831 and 1832. Printed in brown on 100 leaves, from plates containing both text and illustrations. Uncolored.

Another Issue: Jerusalem, the emanation of the giant Albion

Rosenwald 1811a
Another Issue: Jerusalem, the emanation of the giant Albion.[London] Printed by W. Blake, 1804 [i.e. 1832?] 100 plates 31 cm.
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Contains only eight plates on eight leaves, i.e. 9, 19, 20, 38 (in duplicate), 48, 50, 58, 78. Printed in black, green, or brown. Plate 9 and one of plates 38 hand colored. Two copies of plate 17 from the author's Europe, bound in. Binder's title: Eleven plates from Jerusalem.

The Ghosts of Abel: a revelation in the visions of Jehovah

Rosenwald 1812
The ghost of Abel: a revelation in the visions of Jehovah / seen by William Blake. [18--] [2] p. ; 33 x 21 cm.
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Caption title. Printed in black on two leaves, from plates containing both text and illustrations. Uncolored.

For children: the gates of Paradise

Rosenwald 1813
For children: The gates of Paradise. Lambeth, W. Burke, 1793. [1] l., 17 plates. 14 cm.
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Engraved on 18 leaves (including title page). Title page and two leaves from the author's For the sexes: The gates of Paradise [ca 1800?] inserted. Provenance: Frederick Tatham, Frederick Locker (with his bookplate), W. A. White.

Another issue; For children, [18--].

Rosenwald 1813a
For children: The gates of Paradise. Lambeth, W. Burke, 1793. [1] l., 17 plates. 14 cm. LCCN: 49034231
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Without imprint on title page and plates. Provenance: P.A. Hanrott, William Beckford, B.B. MacGeorge, W.E. Moss.

For the Sexes: The gates of Paradise

Rosenwald 1814
For the sexes: The gates of Paradise. [London, ca. 1810?] [4] l., 17 plates (in portfolio) 41 cm.
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Engraved throughout, on one side of leaves only. The plates are the same as in Blake's For children: The gates of Paradise, with alterations, and with additions to the legends. The imprints of the plates, dated 1793, are unchanged.

Wash drawings for illustrations of Mary Wollstonecraft's Original stories

Rosenwald 1818
[Wash drawings for illustrations of Mary Wollstonecraft's Original stories from real life]. [n.p.] [ca. 1791] 10 drawings, 11.3-13.3 cm. (hinged on cardboards 28 x 21 cm.)
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Contains six of the illustrations. The other four are not used.

The complaint, and the consolation; or, Night thoughts.

Rosenwald 1819a
Young, Edward, 1683-1765. The complaint, and the consolation; or, Night thoughts. London, R. Noble for R. Edwards, 1797. viii, 95 p. illus. 42 cm.
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Illustrations hand colored, possibly by Blake himself. Label of William E. Moss.

The Complain, and the consolation

Rosenwald 1819b
Young, Edward, 1683-1765. The complaint, and the consolation; or, Night thoughts. London, R. Noble for R. Edwards, 1797. viii, 95 p. illus. 42 cm.
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Illustrations hand colored, by Mrs. Blake (?). Bookplates of Samuel Boddington and Herschel V. Jones.

Design to a series of ballads written by William Hayley

Rosenwald 1820
Hayley, William, 1745-1820. [Designs to a series of ballads written by William Hayley and founded on anecdotes relating to animals, drawn, engr. and pub. by William Blake. With the ballads annexed]. [Chichester, Printed by J. Seagrave, 1802]
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Issued in four parts, with covers bearing the title: A series of ballads. Rosenwald copy in original covers, without general title page. Only four of 15 projected parts were published. Contents: no. 1 The elephant. no 2. The eagle. no. 3 The lion. no. 4 The dog. Engraved portrait of William Hayley and his autograph manuscript of The dog laid in.

Also see: Rare Book of the Month: A Man Driven by "Amazing Grace"

Sketch for William Hayley's ballad the eagle

Rosenwald 1821
[Sketch for William Hayley's ballad The eagle]. [n.p.] [ca. 1802?] 2 sheets pieced together, hinged on cardbord, pencil, 38 x51 cm.
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On verso, two more sketches, one in pencil, one in ink.

Portrait of William Cowper after George Romney

Rosenwald 1823
[Portrait of William Cowper after George Romney. India ink and wash drawing, inscribed: William Cowper Esq. Given by the poet; to his friend Hayley.] n.p., [ca. 1802?] ink and wash drawing, 28 x 21 cm. (hinged on cardboard 51 x 38 cm.)
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The original plate engraved by Blake for the frontispiece of W. Hayley's Life and posthumous writings of William Cowper (Chichester, 1803-04). Accompanied by a folder (38 cm). containing three different engravings of Cowper's portrait, on of them with lettering: W. Blake sculp. 1802.

Also see: Rare Book of the Month: A Man Driven by "Amazing Grace"

The prologue and characters of Chaucer's pilgrims

Rosenwald 1824
Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400. The prologue and characters of Chaucer's pilgrims, selected from his Canterbury tales; intended to illustrate a particular design of William Blake, wich is engr. by himself, and may be seen at Mr. Colnaghi's, Cockspur Street ... Canterium tale. Selections [London, Harris] 1812. iv, 61 p. illus. 19 cm.
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The original reading is copied from the edition of Thomas Speight, printed anno 1687; and the translation from Mr. Ogle's edition, 1741.

The Grave, A Poem

Rosenwald 1827
Blair, Robert, 1699-1746. The Grave, a poem.London, R. Ackermann, 1813.
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Added title page, engraved. A large number of Blake's illustrations for the London, 1797 edition of Edward Young's The complaint, and the consolation; or, Night thoughts, have been inserted.

 

Six alternative versions of a monument / Flaxman

Rosenwald 1836
Flaxman, John, 1755-1826. [Six alternative versions of a monument / Flaxman]. ca. 1799] 6 drawings (1 sheet): pencil; sheet 20 x 24 cm.
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Plates engraved by William Blake after Flaxman. Suggests the erection of a colossal statue of Britannia on Greenwich Hill.

Portraits engraved by William Blake and J. Chapman. ca. 1790-1825

Rosenwald 1839
[Portraits engraved by William Blake and J. Chapman. ca. 1790-1825] 5 plates, mounted on cardboards 47 x 37 cm. Edmund Pitts, Esq. ad viv. del. J. Earle. Guliels. Blake sculp. [ca. 1790].
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-Edmund Pitts, Esq. ad viv. del. J. Earle. Guliels, Blake sculp. [ca. 1790?].
-Rev. John Caspar Lavater. Blake sculpt. London, Pubd. by J. Johnson, May 1, 1800; from a drawing in his possesion, taken in 1787.
-Revd. Robert Hawker. Painted by I. Ponsford. Engraved by W. Blake. London, A. A. Paris, 1st May 1820. (Mounted label inscripted to C. Tatham and signed by Catherine Blake).
-Wilson Lowry. Drawn from life by J. Linnell, & engraved by J. Linnell, & W. Blake. London, Hurst, Robinson, & Co., Jan. 1, 1825.

A woman with snaky locks, draped in a veil, the ends held in her upraised hands

Rosenwald 1840a
[A woman with snaky locks, draped in a veil, the ends held in her upraised hands. Flower-forms on either side.] [ca 1793?] pencil drawing, 14.6 x 11.5 cm.
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On verso, pencil drawing of a winged creature, with caption: Father & Mother, I return/ From flames of fire, tired & pure / & white. These are possibly rejected sketches for The gates of Paradise. Provenance: William Augustus White.

A figure stretched along the ground, another with arms raised in astonishment

Rosenwald 1840b
[A figure stretched along the ground, another with arms raised in astonishment]. [n. p., n. d.] pencil drawing, 11. 3 x 11 cm.
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On verso, a drawing of the same subject in pen-and-ink and wash and pencil. Provenance: William Augustus White.

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