William Blake's Watercolour Inventions in Illustrations of The Grave; Blake, William and Robert Blair

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The William Blake Trust 2009 (Binding: Hardcover / Jacket: No Jacket) The William Blake Trust, 2009. Folio, 95pp. Original quarter-maroon calf with black moiré silk-covered boards, with gilt lettered maroon-morocco label to top board, backstrip likewise stamped in gilt; portfolio in full maroon calf containing 19 watercolors reproduced in facsimile, mounted within framing lines on heavy beige paper, black moiré silk-covered double slipcase; illustrated throughout with color reproductions of watercolor drawings, as well as engravings. As new. De luxe edition, limited to 36 copies. The entire edition is out of print. This is number 34. In 1805 the engraver-turned-publisherRobert Cromek paid Blake one guinea each for twenty watercolour designs for his proposed edition of The Grave with the understanding that Blake would receive a further ten guineas each for engraving them. Insteadm, Blake's trial engraving was rejected and, to add insult to injury, his 'inventions' were assigned for engraving to Louis Schiavonetti, the fashionable engraver of the day. His highly skilled but conventional renderings of twelve of the designs were, for almost 200 years, the only substantial record of Blake's contribution to the project. In 1836 the original watercolour designs passed through an Edingburgh sale room where they fetched far less even than Cromek had paid for therm. Thereafter, they completely disappeared and were thought lost. In fact, 19 of the original 20 drawings were preserved intact in a handsome leather portfolio, custom made to contain them and lettered simply designs for Blair's Grave. In 2001 the portfolio and its contents came to light in a Glasgow bookshop from where they were bought by another bookseller for a sum ludicrously below their true value. Once the find was made public it was evident that the drawings were the 'lost' watercolour designs and thus an unprecedented and major addition to the Blake canon...Eventually, in the face of much protest, the portfolio and the 19 designs were offered for sale inDustjacket edgeworn, with a few tears at spine. Very Good In-store inventory.
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