Publication Announcement – 17 pen and ink drawings and 50 past issues of Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly (1990-2000, 2010)

By Andrea H. Everett

Charon, Copy from the Antique

The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of seventeen pen and ink drawings by Blake. Ranging chronologically from his apprenticeship as an engraver to the final decade of his life, this group offers a comprehensive overview of his work in the medium. Most were created when Blake was learning his craft as an artist and reveal his exploration of various themes and genres. His apprentice drawings for James Basire (The Body of Edward I and Countess Aveline) show his early engagement with medieval art. Another group (two drawings titled Figures from a Greek Vase and Charon) is clearly based on classical art or mythology, responses to which were central to British art and design in the second half of the eighteenth century. The cluster of related sketches on two leaves, each titled Four Composition Sketches, is the earliest extant example of Blake’s attempt to construct a pictorial narrative through a series of images. In these, he began to develop his own version of the sublime, an aesthetic more fully represented by the texts and designs in the illuminated books of the 1790s. Several works from the 1780s show the influence of neoclassicism and take their …read more