1803. Chichester: J. Seagrave, 1803-04.
3 vols., 4to, (10, table of contents), [iii]-xiii, -413; (8), -424; (2), [1-iii], iv-xxxi, 416, (4), (6), -122, (24) pp. With 5 plates and an engraving in the text, one designed and engraved by Blake, the others engraved by Blake after other artists. Original polished brown half calf, marbled paper over boards. Backstrips of each volume with two black morocco labels lettered in gilt. Hinges and joints of vol. III just starting. Some spotting and foxing along edges of text blocks and within the text itself, sometimes within the image. Minor rubbing and wear at extremities. Armorial bookplate of the Corbollis family on front pastedown of each volume. Excellent, original copies in fantastic overall condition.
§ Second edition, final state of the “Weatherhouse” plate designed by Blake. Hayley’s position as the most respectable and considerable literary figure who had known Cowper made him the inevitable choice to write the definitive work. Blake was living with his wife at Felpham and she helped him make and print the engravings for their old friend and patron Hayley, however “the plates for vols i-ii are much more clearly and darkly printed in the second edition (so indicated on the title pages) than the first. Perhaps many of the lines were cut more deeply when the plates were converted in their second states, but more careful inking and printing could account for the considerable tonal differences. One hesitates to blame Mrs. Blake for the poor impressions of the first states, but that may indeed be the case” (Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations, 86). Bentley, Blake Books, 468 A. Easson & Essick I, VII. Item #105032