1793. London: John Stockdale, 1793.
2 vols., royal 8vo, xi, 225; vii, 187, (1, advertisement) pp. Engraved title to each part, frontispiece to vol. I, and 70 plates including 12 by Blake. Full contemporary calf rebacked, a bit scuffed and untidy but quite sound, internally good despite the usual browning and offsetting.
§ First edition with Blake’s plates. The plates in this famous edition are free adaptations from the designs of Kent, Wootton, and Gravelot, who illustrated the earlier printings of Gay's Fables. William Blake completely redesigned, and redrew, the 12 images for which he is responsible, and is listed among the subscribers to the edition, as are the other engravers who worked on this project. Blake engraved the plates opposite pp. 1, 29, 59, 73, 99, 109, 125, 133 and 181 in volume one; and those opposite pp. 1, 105 and 145 in volume two. The first issue is easily identified because it uses the long “s” throughout and the second does not. Bentley, Blake Books, 460A. Essick, William Blake’s Commercial Book Illustrations, XXVI. Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England, 1. Note that in the list of subscribers there is a "Mr. Blake". Very few books are known to have been subscribed to by Blake. Item #122911