|Wikimedia Commons |
Day of Judgment
Watercolor by Blake
|Wikimedia Commons |
Day of Judgment
Engraving by Sciavonetti
The watercolors which Blake designed to illustrate The Grave were not engraved by him for publication. The commission to execute the engravings went to Sciavonetti whose style was more commercial. Blake's nineteen watercolors were lost and not relocated until 2001. We now have the opportunity to compare the original designs with the published engravings.
Blake's illustrations for Robert Blair's The Grave include one named the Day of Judgment which bears similarity to Blake's images of the Last Judgment which appear in previous posts.
The author of the comments for Blake's designs in The Grave is unknown but thought to be one of Blake's close associates. The description of The Last Judgment on Page 37 is detailed:
"XIL THE LAST JUDGMENT. Christ coming to judgment in the clouds of heaven, with the "Thrones set, and the Books opened." On his knees lies the Book of Life. The Recording Angels kneel on each side of his throne, and the Elders are also seated on each side of Him to judge the world. Surrounding the throne are the blessed, entering into their joy ; and arising from these, on each hand, are two clouds of figures: one with the insignia of Baptism; the other with the insignia of the Lord's Supper, inclosing a glorification of angels, with harps. Beneath, on the right hand of Christ, are the blessed, rising in the air to judgment ; on the left hand are the cursed : Some are precipitating them- selves from the face of Him that sitteth on the Throne (among them is Satan, wound round with the Serpent), others are pleading their own right- eousness, and others, beneath, fleeing with banners and spears among the rocks, crying to the "rocks to cover them." Beneath these are represented the harlot's mystery, and the dragon, who flee before the face of the Judge. In the centre, standing on the midst of the earth, is the angel with the last trumpet. On each side of him is an angel : that on the left is drawing his sword on the wicked ; that on the right is sheathing his sword on the just, who are rising in various groups, with joy and affection, family by family. The angel with the trumpet, and his accompanying ministers of judg- ment, are surrounded by a column of flame, which spreads itself in various directions over the earth, from which the dead are bursting forth, some in terror, some in joy. On the opening cloud, on each hand of Christ, are two figures, supporting the books of remembrance : that over the just is beheld with humiliation ; that over the wicked with arro- gance. A sea of fire issues from beneath the throne of Christ, destructive to the wicked, but salutary to the righteous. Before the sea of Fire the clouds are rolled back, and the heavens are rolled together as a scroll."Among the lines of Robert Blair's poetry which are illustrated are these:
The Grave, Robert Blair, Pages 28, 29 "But know that thou must render up the dead And with high interest too ! they are not thine ; But only in thy keeping for a season, Till the great promis'd day of restitution. When loud diffusive sound from brazen trump Of strong-lung'd cherub shall alarm thy captives. And rouse the long, long sleepers into life. Daylight, and liberty. — Then must thy doors fly open, and reveal The minds that lay long forming under ground. In their dark cells immur'd ; but now full ripe, And pure as silver from the crucible. ... Heaven's portals wide expand to let him in ; Nor are his friends shut out : as a great prince Not for himself alone procures admission, But for his train ; it was his royal will, That where he is there should his followers be."
Jerusalem, Plate 98, (E 258) "Such is the Cry from all the Earth from the Living Creatures of the Earth And from the great City of Golgonooza in the Shadowy Generation And from the Thirty-two Nations of the Earth among the Living Creatures Plate 99 All Human Forms identified even Tree Metal Earth & Stone. all Human Forms identified, living going forth & returning wearied Into the Planetary lives of Years Months Days & Hours reposing And then Awaking into his Bosom in the Life of Immortality."