London: Macmillan, 1863. 2 vols, 8vo, [i-v], vi-xv, -389; [i-v], vi-vii, [1-3] 4-268 pp. In addition to the portrait frontispiece in vol. 1, the folding frontispiece of the Canterbury Pilgrims in vol. 2, and numerous illustrations from Job and Songs, this is an extra-illustrated copy with 34 bound, tipped-in or loosely inserted engravings from The Grave, Triumphs of Temper, Aphorisms on Man, Life and Posthumous Writings of William Cowper, Botanic Garden and Gay’s Fables. 19th-century full tan-colored calf rebacked (surely to accommodate the extra-illustrations), triple gilt fillet borders on covers, fleurons at corners, gilt backstrip with red-colored morocco labels, gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. The front flyleaf in vol. I with a chip at the upper-right corner. Occasional spotting or foxing. See below for complete list of extra material. Very good. First edition. This copy is unusual and desirable for the extra material from many of Blake’s most famous commercial engravings, as follows:
Volume I: Originally bound in opposite pp. 1 but now detached, ‘Guillermo Blake’ T Phillips Pinx t, L Schiavonetti V.A. Sculpt. Frontispiece from the very rare Meditaciones Poeticas, 1826, folded three times, 8-1/2 x 13-1/2 inches; and 11 additional engravings from the same edition are bound in after the text, all folded in order of original appearance and fairly tightly cropped; and a single engraving from The Triumphs of Temper: Flaxman/ Blake, Canto I Verse 29, 1803, Cadell and Davies.
Volume II: After pp. 268 we find the cropped title page from the quarto issue of The Grave, 8-6/8 x 13 inches. After the text in vol. 2, resumption of grangerized material from the1803 Triumphs of Temper continues, as follows: Canto II Verse 471; Canto III Verse 201; Canto VI Verse 294; Canto V Verse 43; and Canto IV Verse 328. The frontispiece from Lavater’s Aphorisms on Man showing William Cowper looking up measuring 8 x 9-1/2 inches. Four engravings from Life and Posthumous Writings Cowper: A View of St Edmunds Chapel; William Cowper Author of The Task; William Cowper Carmine Nobilem; and Mrs Cowper. From the 1799 J. Johnson 8vo edition of Darwin’s Botanic Garden: The Fertilization of Egypt, London Dec 1st 1791, St Pauls Church Yard. 9 engravings from Gay’s Fables, Vol I, 1793: The Goat without a Beard; The Shepherd and the Philosopher; The Pin and the Needle; The Tame Stage; The Miser and Plutus; The Persian the Sun and the Cloud; The Butterfly and the Snail; The Setting Dog and the Patridge; and The Owl and the Farmer.
Also of interest are the prints (found in all copies) - three from electrotypes of the Virgil prints and 17 from electrotypes of the Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Gilchrist was Blake’s first full-scale biographer and the only biographer who actually met Blake. The work was unfinished when he died and largely completed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti who wrote the final chapter from Gilchrist’s notes, with help from his brother William Michael, and also Swinburne whose own book on Blake was the result of his researches when reviewing Gilchrist’s book. Bentley, Blake Books, 1680A. Item #104898