Illustrations of The Book of Job. William BLAKE.
Illustrations of The Book of Job.

Illustrations of The Book of Job.

London, [J. Lahee for] William Blake [and J. Linnell] 1825 [but 1826].

Folio (424 x 315 mm.). TITLE AND TWENTY-ONE LINE-ENGRAVINGS MARKED PROOF, printed on India paper mounted as issued on wove Whatman “Atlas” paper (watermark — WHATMAN TURKEY MILL 1825).

Gilt-ruled green morocco over thick boards (Riviere, c. 1870; slightly scuffed), fleurons at the outer corners, double-rule inner frame enclosing a bloom roll, gilt-ruled spine, sewing bands with gilt red morocco onlays, thick dark blue endleaves, all edges gilt.

These narrative prints, a private commission manufactured to support the destitute poet, painter and printmaker in his final years, reveal the spirituality at the center of his inspiration. The Illustrations in turn inspired countless artistic projects, from Vaughn Williams’ ballet Job: A Masque to paintings by Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland to writings by Yeats and the Beat Generation.
     “Ranking with the supreme masterpieces of graphic art” — Ray.
     “The crowning achievement of Blake’s distinguished career” — Wright.
     “One of the most remarkable works in the later history of line-engraving” — Hind.
     “The most powerful and original work of his time…unprecedented in the history of the printed book” — Leahy.
     This is the most desirable state: one of one hundred fifty “proof” sets on India paper.
     This copy belonged to George James Howard (1843-1911), 9th Earl of Carlisle, the English landscape painter, peer, member of the Etruscan School and friend and patron of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. (Howard’s work was the subject of a 2013 exhibition at the Tullie House Museum.) He signed and dated the front flyleaf on 25 June 1873. The prints presumably passed by descent to his wife Rosalind Frances Howard, Countess of Carlisle (1868-1947, The Radical Countess and model for Shaw’s Lady Britomart), thence to their politically active daughter Lady Celia Maude Roberts (1868-1947) and to her son, the liberal MP Wilfrid H.W. Roberts (1900-91), who signed the flyleaf in 1940.
     In excellent condition, no foxing to the mounts.
¶Bindman, The Complete Graphic Works of William Blake 625-46; Bentley, Blake Books 421A; Damon, A Blake Dictionary 216-23; Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England 8; Wright, Blake’s Job: A Commentary passim; Hind, A History of Engraving & Etching 219-20; Leahy, William Blake 46-59; Ackroyd, Blake 343-7.

Item #10591

Price: $75,000.00