Life and Posthumous Writings of William Cowper... By William Hayley.

Life and Posthumous Writings of William Cowper... By William Hayley.
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Chichester: J. Seagrave, 1803-04. 4 vols. in 3, 4to, (8, table of contents), [1]-413, (2); (6), [iii]-xii, introductory letter, [1]-424; (4), [i-iii], iv-xxxi, [1]-416, (1); (2, ads), [1]-122, (22) pp. With 5 plates and an engraving in the text, one designed and engraved by Blake, 4 engraved by Blake after other artists, and 1 engraved by Caroline Watson. Contemporary mottled calf with gilt borders on both covers. Backstrips and labels chipped, covers rubbed with minor loss of calf, hinges considerably worn yet sound. Armorial bookplate of Mrs Gosling in all three vols. 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 Id: 105166)

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