Narrative, of a Five Years Expedition, against the revolted Negroes of Surinam
London: J. Johnson, 1813. 2 vols. in one, 4to, [vol. I] xviii, 423, (4, index, list of plates); frontispiece, engraved title-page, 40 plates including 2 folding maps; [vol. II] iv, 419, (5, index and list of plates) pp.; with a frontispiece, engraved title-page and 39 plates. Very early marbled boards, rebacked in brown calf gilt saving the original label, marbled edges, a very good set with sufficient margins for every plate to retain the full imprint and number. The frontispiece to vol. 2 is plate 76, the Celebrated Graman Quacy. Second edition revised and enlarged. Although the original plates are here being printed for the third time, there is little sign of wear and the impressions are clean and clear. Sixteen of the plates were engraved by Blake after Stedmans drawings, thirteen being signed and three attributed by Essick and others. Blake may also have engraved more of the botanical plates. This book had a substantial impact on Blake, who refers specifically to one of the illustrations that he engraved (that of a slave branded with his owners initials, ironically those of Stedman himself) in his Visions of the Daughters of Albion: Stampt with my signet are the swarthy children of the sun. As Forum noted in their catalogue 105 item 265: Most impressive however, and very modern, are [Stedmans] vivid descriptions of the brutal treatment of the negroes, and his enlightened reflections upon the moral perversions of the slave-owners, leading him to pronounce the strongest possible indictment against slavery ever raised
His observations gave rise to a storm of protest in liberal Europe
his unexpurgated version was only recently published. It is well worth noting that the influence on Blakes own work of some of Stedmans descriptions is striking, especially the red tyger... the eyes prominent and sparkling like stars and the tyger-cat... with eyes emitting flashes like lightning. Blakes famous poem The Tyger was composed in 1793 right when he was reading and working with Stedmans text.Abbey, Travel, 719. Bentley 499C. Essick, William Blakes Commercial Book Illustrations, XXXIII. Kress Library 16679. Ray, Illustrator and the Book in England, 2.
(Item Id: 106965)