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William Blake
Illustrations of the Book of Job

1823-25, 1874

$36,000
$45,00020% Off

About

William Blake. Illustrations of The Book of Job. Large folio. A complete set of the 1874 edition of 100 pulled from the original plates and published by John Linnell, printed by Holdgate Brothers on India paper mounted on heavy unwatermarked wove paper in 1874 (large folio, sheet size 19 3/4 x 13 1/2.), In 1919 the copperplates went to the British Museum Print Room. Each engraving is housed in a 22 x 16-inch archival mat. The matted engravings are housed in 2 solander boxes, each measuring 23 1/2 x 17 1/2 x 3 inches. Blake's Illustrations of the Book of Job were first commissioned and paid for in 1826 by John Linnell, when 215 proof sets and 100 sets "on drawing paper" were issued. According to Linnell's son, the plates were then put away for the best part of fifty years, before 100 fresh prints were struck; "my father considered the plates at the last [1874] were as good as they ever were, for the work being cut by a graver, and not etched, it is durable - and is not worn by the printing as is the case with an etching" (Bentley p.523). The India paper set is the best printing of these famous plates which comprise Blake's major single achievement as a printmaker after the illuminated books. Illustrations of the Book of Job was Blake's last completed prophetic book: the text, a series of biblical quotations, is above and below each image. "It was produced while Blake was still working on Jerusalem, his most obscure book; yet the illustrations are Blake's most lucid; and they are the supreme example of his reading the Bible in its spiritual sense" (S. Foster Damon, A Blake Dictionary, p. 217).

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