Monday, August 29, 2011


Images from the British Museum

The Small Book of Designs was produced by Blake for Ozias Humphery in 1794. In an 1809 letter to Dawson Turner, Blake writes:

Letters, Number 67, (E 771)
"Those I Printed for Mr Humphry are a selection from the
different Books of such as could be Printed without the Writing
tho to the Loss of some of the best things For they when Printed
perfect accompany Poetical Personifications & Acts without which
Poems they never could have been Executed"

Page 5
Plate 14
Marriage of Heaven & Hell

"A Flaming Sword/Revolving every way"

Marriage of Heaven & Hell , PLATE 14, (E 39)
"The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire
at the end of six thousand years is true. as I have heard from Hell.
For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to
leave his guard at the tree of life, and when he does, the whole
creation will be consumed, and appear infinite. and holy whereas
it now appears finite & corrupt."

For more on this image read Consumed in Fire.

Plate 6
Plate 20
Marriage of Heaven & Hell

"O revolving serpent/O the ocean of Time & Space"

Marriage of Heaven & Hell , Plate 20, (E 42)
"So the Angel said: thy phantasy has imposed upon me & thou
oughtest to be ashamed.
I answerd: we impose on one another, & it is but lost time
to converse with you whose works are only Analytics."

For more on this image read True Friendship.

Page 7
Plate 23
Book of Urizen

"Fearless tho in pain/I travel on"

Book of Urizen, Plate 21, 23,(E 81)
"1. Urizen explor'd his dens
Mountain, moor, & wilderness,
With a globe of fire lighting his journey
A fearful journey, annoy'd
By cruel enormities: forms
2. And his world teemd vast enormities
Frightning; faithless; fawning
Portions of life; similitudes
Of a foot, or a hand, or a head
Or a heart, or an eye, they swam mischevous
Dread terrors! delighting in blood

3. Most Urizen sicken'd to see
His eternal creations appear
Sons & daughters of sorrow on mountains
Weeping! wailing! first Thiriel appear'd
Astonish'd at his own existence
Like a man from a cloud born, & Utha
From the waters emerging, laments!
Grodna rent the deep earth howling
Amaz'd! his heavens immense cracks
Like the ground parch'd with heat; then Fuzon
Flam'd out! first begotten, last born.
All his eternal sons in like manner
His daughters from green herbs & cattle
From monsters, & worms of the pit.

4. He in darkness clos'd, view'd all his race,
And his soul sicken'd! he curs'd
Both sons & daughters; for he saw
That no flesh nor spirit could keep
His iron laws one moment."

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