Little Tom the Sailor.

Printed for & sold by the Widow Spicer of Folkstone for the Benefit of her Orphans. [n.d. c. 1886] 55.9 x 22.9 cm., single sheet folded twice, horizontal stain along one fold, with some traces of mounting tape on the vertical margin, very good. The paper is laid, with no watermark. The very fine William Muir facsimile, often mistaken in the past for the original. The poem was composed by William Hayley. Originally etched in relief and white line by Blake on four plates, printed in black ink, uncolored; copies are also known hand colored or printed in brown ink. This is one of Blake’s rarest works; it is also amongst the rarest of Muir’s facsimiles; some were issued in The Hobby Horse and some separately - this is one of the Hobby Horse issues. They can be distinguished they were either cut into two pieces to fit in the magazine, always with slight loss of text at the cut, or folded twice as here. Bentley, BB, 470B or D. Bindman, Complete Graphic Works of Blake, 384. See also Keynes, Blake Studies, 2nd ed. (Item Id: 109163)

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