1803. Chicheste: J. Seagrave, for J. Johnson, 1803.
3 vols, first edition, with volume 3 dated 1804 as required. 4to, (2), xii, (8), 413; (4), 424; (6), xxxi, 416 pp, with the 5 Blake plates after others. A very attractive set in old quarter calf with original red leather labels, gilt titles and marble paper boards; the set is very clean throughout with crisp plates and just a touch of spotting to the original gray endpapers, and minor age wear to spines and labels, and to the corners of boards.
§ First edition, and second state of the “Weatherhouse” plate, the only illustration in the book designed and engraved by Blake, of which only a few examples are known in the first state. This plate, here present in a very good impression with the imprint quite clear, is almost always in the second state; three or four copies are known in the first state. The other 5 plates are engraved by Blake after designs by others. 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. Bentley, BB, 468 A. Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations, XLIV. Note that the entry in Easson and Essick (IV) is totally superseded by Essick’s new research in the Commercial Book Illustrations. Item #108748