“Calling Card” (sometimes called a bookplate) for George Cumberland.

Sheet 10.2 x 12.8 cm., image and plate mark as per Essick (3.1 x 7.8 cm., and 3.3 x 8.1 cm. respectively). Printed in pale brown on a small 8vo sheet. Delicately printed, with three tiny ink spots within the margins, in very fine condition. Blake’s last engraving, executed for one of his closest friends. The images invoke one of Blake’s greatest themes—the relationships between time and eternity. Opinions vary on the purpose of this plate but it should be noted that at the time (1827) it was not uncommon to paste a calling card into a book as proof of ownership. However, no book once owned by Cumberland has been located with his card pasted in. It has also been suggested that the name of Cumberland in the center was executed by a writing engraver and Blake added his borders later. 39 examples of this print are known to Essick, not including examples now untraced (all but three on laid paper printed later, and three on card), but it is quite rare in commerce. Essick, The Separate Plates of William Blake, XXI. Bindman, Complete Graphic Works of Blake, 654. (Item Id: 108280)

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