1802. Chichester. Printed by J. Seagrave, and sold by him and P. Humphry (et al.) for W. Blake, 1802.
Frontispiece, 250 x 174 (sheet), 175 x 160 (platemark) mm, printed in black on wove paper. Recently cleaned, trimmed close to the right plate mark but not touching it, other margins wide.
§ Frontispiece to the first edition of the rarest letterpress publication containing engravings by Blake. The frontispiece, Adam and the Beasts, is one of Blake’s most alluring images. The illustrations were drawn, engraved, printed, and published by Blake himself. The work was a financial disaster, and unfortunately Blake had borne most of the publication costs. He was eventually reduced to reusing unsewn sheets of the 1802 Ballads for sketch paper. Geoffrey Keynes, writing in 1921, states: “This edition of the ballads is now extremely rare...”
Bentley, Blake Books, 466. Easson and Essick, William Blake Book Illustrator, vol. 1, VI. Bindman, Complete Graphic Works of Blake, 385-398. Essick, “A Census of Complete Copies of Designs to a Series of Ballads, 1802,” Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, spring 2000. Item #107341