Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Early in 2010 the Tate gallery announced that it was purchasing a set of Blake prints which had long been lost. The group of eight prints was in the possession of Blake when he died and was inherited by his wife Catherine. An inscription on the back of one of the pictures indicates that they were given by Catherine to Frederick Tatum with whom Catherine lived after William's death. They did not surface again into public view until the were found in a secondhand railway timetable purchased in a used book sale in 1978. The owner offered them for sale as a set to the Tate Gallery which purchased them for 441000 pounds.

The group of eight includes six images from the Book of Urizen, one from the Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and one from The Book of Thel. The images are etchings from plates produced for the earlier works. They are finished with pen and ink, watercolor and tempera to be viewed as individual works of art. Text was left off of the engravings. Have a look for yourself courtesy of the BBC.

Keri Davies has studied the pictures since they were first shown at the Tate in 2007 and suggests that they were a part of Copy B of the Small Book of Designs. He provides the captions which appear on the newly discovered set which are absent in the set called Copy A. The pictures go on exhibit at the Tate this month and will be included in an exhibit at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Art, Moscow in November 2011.

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