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Book/Printed Material The book of Urizen

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About this Item


  • The book of Urizen


  • The poet and artist William Blake was born in London in 1757. He was apprenticed to an engraver and studied drawing at the Royal Academy. In 1783 he published his first book of poetry, Poetical Sketches. Blake was a religious mystic who eschewed the traditional teaching of the Christian churches to invent his own doctrines and symbols, which he drew from classical and Celtic mythology and many other sources. This printing of The Book of Urizen from the Rosenwald Collection at the Library of Congress introduces a figure, Urizen, whom for Blake represented morality and legality. Most of Blake's books were not published in the traditional sense but printed for special commissions by private collectors or London booksellers. As a consequence, they are extremely rare. Blake died in 1827, in poverty and relative obscurity, but by the mid-20th century he had become, in the words of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "one of the cultural icons of the English-speaking world." World Digital Library.


  • Blake, William, 1757-1827
  • Blake, William, 1757-1827, printer
  • Crewe, Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, Marquis of, 1858-1945, former owner
  • White, William Augustus, 1843-1927, former owner
  • Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection (Library of Congress)

Created / Published

  • Lambeth : Printed by W. Blake, 1794 [i.e. 1815?]


  • -  Great Britain--England--London--Lambeth


  • -  Originally published under title: The first book of Urizen.
  • -  Printed in yellow-brown on 27 plates containing both text and hand-colored illustrations.
  • -  Watermarks on paper dated 1815.
  • -  Library of Congress. Lessing J. Rosenwald collection, 1807
  • -  Keynes, G.L. Bibliography of W. Blake (New York, 1921), 42F
  • -  Keynes & Wolf, William Blake's illuminated books, copy G
  • -  Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.
  • -  LC copy has plates numbered in manuscript.
  • -  LC copy from the libraries of the Earl of Crewe (sold 1903) and W.A. White.
  • -  LAC knj 2019-12-17 update (1 card)
  • -  LAC ddw 2022-04-11 update (1 card)


  • [28] leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 29 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • PR4144 .F5 1815

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 49034226

Online Format

  • online text
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright or any other restrictions in the documents in this collection. However, some of the content may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) and/or by the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations. Additionally, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by privacy and/or publicity rights. The determination of the status of an item ultimately rests with the person desiring to reproduce or use the item.

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Credit Line: Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Blake, William, William Blake, Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes Crewe, William Augustus White, and Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection. The book of Urizen. [Lambeth: Printed by W. Blake, i.e. 1815?, 1815] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Blake, W., Blake, W., Crewe, R. O. A. C., White, W. A. & Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection. (1815) The book of Urizen. [Lambeth: Printed by W. Blake, i.e. 1815?] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Blake, William, et al. The book of Urizen. [Lambeth: Printed by W. Blake, i.e. 1815?, 1815] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.