Item #126062 William Blake’s Designs for Edward Young’s Night Thoughts. A Complete Edition. David V. Rose Erdman, John E., Edward J. Grant, Michael J. Tolley.

William Blake’s Designs for Edward Young’s Night Thoughts. A Complete Edition.

2005. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980.

2 volumes large folio, 548 pages full-colour facsimile & accompanying 362 pages commentary; as new in blue cloth, dust-jackets. In a blue cloth box, worn. A complete facsimile of all 537 watercolors from the original edition in the British Museum. As new.

§ William Blake was commissioned in 1795 to illustrate Night Thoughts for a major new edition of the poem to be published by Richard Edwards. Blake began by making a series of 537 watercolor illustrations from which he planned to engrave about 200 for publication. The first volume - with forty-three engravings by Blake - was published in 1797, but it was a commercial failure and the expensive publishing venture was abandoned. In 2005 The Folio Society published in two volumes a fine edition facsimile accompanied by a commentary by Robyn Hamlyn. This is the first time the entire series has been published in full-color facsimile and it is a superb production. It is unlikely ever to be repeated.

Due to the fact that the principal evidence of Blake's work on these illustrations was the comparatively short series of engravings, art history has been slow to recognize the significance of the project within Blake's oeuvre. In 1980, the Oxford University Press began publication of a projected five-volume scholarly edition of Blake's Night Thoughts, edited by J. E. Grant et al.; two volumes have so far appeared. Bentley, Blake Books postscript 2000, page 7, noted that the planned volumes of
commentary were still in preparation. The commentary seems to have been abandoned. Item #126062

Price: $1,500.00