WILLIAM BLAKE: SOUTHEBY'S AUCTION, 02 MAY 2006

LOT 1 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 INSCRIBED TITLE-PAGE DESIGN FOR 'THE GRAVE' (THE SKELETON RE-ANIMATED) 180,000—260,000 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 744,000 USD

MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 332 by 266 mm.; 13 1/8 by 10 1/2 in.

DESCRIPTION

inscribed in pen and grayish black ink: The Grave/ a Poem/ By Robert Blair/ Illustrated with 12 Engravings/ by Louis Schiavonetti/ From the Original Inventions/ of/ William Blake/ 1806. pen and gray and black inks and watercolor over traces of pencil

PROVENANCE Mrs. Robert Cromek; Thomas Sivright, Edinburgh; his sale, Edinburgh, C.B. Tait, February 1, 1836, and sixteen following lawful days, lot 1835, �Volume of Drawings by Blake, Illustrative of Blair�s Grave, entitled �Black Spirits and White, Blue Spirits and Grey�,� for �1-5s-0d, possibly to John Stannard (1794-1882); Henry Lawrence Stannard (1934-2001); given to a relative in 1987; Caladonia Books, Glasgow, 2001; purchased from the above, Fine Books, Ikley and Bates & Hindmarsh, Leeds, by the present owner, December 2002. CATALOGUE NOTE For Blake one of the central themes of The Grave was the resurrection and liberation of the dead, and he chose this for his title-page. In the poem Blair refers to the awakening of the dead in two separate passages: But know that thou must render up the dead, And with high interest too! � When loud diffussive sound from brazen trump Of strong-lung�d cherub shall alarm thy captives, And rouse the long, long sleepers into life, Day-Light, and Liberty. ------------ (p.28) When the dread trumpet sounds, the slumb�ring dust, Not unattentive to the call, shall wake; And every joint possess it�s proper place, With a new elegance of form, unknown To it�s first state. (p. 32)

Here a surprisingly wingless angel, blowing a long, straight horn, rushes down toward a skeleton who has just pulled his shroud off and is beginning to rise. Behind the latter is what appears to be a stone bench, no doubt part of his tomb, and around him are flames and billowing clouds of smoke. The beautiful, muscular angel contrasts starkly with the boney creature who is bracing himself on his elbow and drawing up his legs, not yet possessing �a new elegance of form� or purified by the surrounding fires. The trumpeter calling the dead to life is a theme that appears in Blake�s writing and designs over a period of many years. In �A Vision of the Last Judgment� he writes �The Graves beneath are opened & the dead awake & obey the call of the Trumpet�A Skeleton begins to Animate starting into life at the Trumpets sound� (Erdman, p. 548). Blake first combined the visual image of the trumpeter and the awakening skeleton in an illustration for Young�s Night Thoughts, published in 1799. In Night the Second, Page 5 (fig. 10) the general aspects of the composition are similar to The Title-page, but the trumpeting angel is awkwardly positioned; his face is invisible and his right knee juts out toward the viewer, obscuring part of his torso. Blake revised the design for the title-page of The Four Zoas (Butlin 337 1, pl. 430), a manuscript he never published, dateable to c.1797. There he draws the angel from the back, but in essentially the same pose as in Night Thoughts. The link to the more graceful composition of The Title-page is a drawing in the Yale Center for British Art, An Angel with a Trumpet (fig. 11). Here we see the fully refined figure, the body gracefully arced and the legs extended, the head in profile so the delicate features are visible. The only real difference is that the angel in the Yale drawing faces in the same direction as his arched legs, while in the present work Blake once again revises the composition so that the figure turns his chin away from the curve, achieving a perfect balance of dynamism and elegance. This graceful form and careful depiction of the musculature show Blake at his most classical and reveal his debt to sixteenth century Italian prints. The inscription, which cites Schiavonetti as the engraver and is dated 1806, suggests that this design was made after most of the others had been finished, for as late as November 1805, Cromek had wanted Blake himself to engrave the images. However, it is also possible that Blake made the composition earlier and added the inscription only at a later date. In November 1805 Cromek�s first prospectus for the publication lists �A Characteristic Frontispiece� among the completed designs. That description, however, is so general that it could apply to other known works as well, including The Resurrection of the Dead in the British Museum (fig. 7) or A Spirit Rising from the Tomb in the Huntington Library (fig. 8). The inscription on the title-page, whenever it was added, is in Blake's own hand, and it must have been devastating for him to acknowledge Schiavonetti as the engraver for the project. We are extremely grateful to Robert N. Essick for his assistance in cataloguing this and the following eighteen lots. ___________________________________________________________________LOT 2 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 THE MEETING OF A FAMILY IN HEAVEN (A FAMILY MEETING IN HEAVEN) 280,000—360,000 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 576,000 USD

MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 234 by 133 mm.; 9 1/4 by 5 1/4 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black ink and watercolor over pencil

CATALOGUE NOTE In this watercolor, Blake depicts a joyous family reunion. The parents are embracing, as are two pairs of siblings, while a young son flanks them to the right, his hands raised in a gesture of triumphant joy. The engraving of this subject appears opposite page 9 in The Grave, but unlike most of the other illustrations, it does not carry any reference to specific lines of the poem. The text does not describe this specific event, but commentators have suggested that this composition was inspired by a few lines in Blair�s description of the reunion of body and soul after the Last Judgment: ...Nor shall the conscious soul Mistake it's partner; but, amidst the crowd Singling it's other half, into it's arms Shall rush, with all th�Impatience of a man That�s new-come home� (p. 32) Blake captures this sense of almost overwhelming happiness in the gestures of the parents and children alike. The adults hold each other tightly and the husband's hand rests on his wife�s buttocks, clasping the folds of her dress, a gesture with more of the physical than the heavenly about it. This combination of the physical and sexual with the heavenly, to which Blair's text refers, is emphasized by Blake. He even repeats the embracing couple among the figures of the saved in various depictions of the Last Judgment. In A Family in Heaven he makes his views evident by the presence of the angels, who hover above the family, their hands joined in a prayerful gesture, the tips of their long wings touching, the line of their bodies mimicking a gothic arch. A similar pair of angels appear in Christ in the Sepulchre, Guarded by Angels (fig. 5), one of the illustrations to the Bible that Blake made for Thomas Butts and now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In the London drawing, the angels are tilted further forward, their gesture more specifically prayerful as the protectors of the body of the not-yet-risen Christ. In A Family in Heaven the mood is joyous, the moment having shifted from death to resurrection, but the two drawings are clearly related in terms of their larger themes as well as this important motif. In Christ in the Sepulchre, the angels� architectural function is even clearer, since the subject is a tomb. Whether the angels are recollections of Blake�s early studies at Westminster Abbey (see lot 13) is an interesting question.1 A pencil sketch in the British Museum (Butlin 623, pl. 866) has been suggested as a preliminary design for this illustration, but if so, it is far removed from the finished work. The composition is horizontal, with the embracing parents on their knees and their two children, also embracing, interposed between them. The Meeting of a Family in Heaven is both more physical and more heavenly. 1 See Butlin, vol. I, p. 362, cat. no. 500 and Joseph Burke, �The Eidetic and the Borrowed Image: An Interpretation of Blake�s Theory and Practice of Art,� in The Visionary Hand. Essays for the Study of Willam Blake�s Art and Aesthetics, Robert N. Essick, ed., Los Angeles 1973, pp.274-77.

LOT 3 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 DEATH OF THE STRONG WICKED MAN (THE STRONG WICKED MAN DYING) 1,000,000—1,500,000 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 1,584,000 USD

MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 202 by 255 mm.; 7 15/16 by 10 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black ink and watercolor over traces of pencil

CATALOGUE NOTE In this, one of the most powerful and intense of the watercolors, Blake transforms Blair�s �strong man� into the �strong wicked man.� Schiavonetti�s etching based on this design appears opposite page 12 of the poem, part of a section in which Blair catalogues various attributes valued by mankind, -- beauty, strength and study -- that will be vitiated by death. Blair' s depiction of the strong man's death takes up more than a page, though only the last two lines of the verses below are cited in the engraving. Strength too! thou surly, and less gentle Boast Of those that laugh loud at the village ring! A fit of common sickness pulls thee down With greater ease, than e�er thou didst the stripling That rashly dar�d thee to th'unequal Fight. �What now avail The strong-built sinewy limbs, and well spread shoulders? See, how he tugs for life, and lays about him, Mad with his Pain! Eager he catches hold Of what comes next to hand, and grasps it hard, Just like a creature drowning! Hideous sight! O how his eyes stand out, and stare full ghastly! While the distemper�s rank and deadly venom Shoots like a burning arrow 'cross his bowels, And drinks his marrow up. Heard you that groan! It was his last. (p.12) The character of the dying man is only treated in passing by Blair, as he mentions his being boastful and surly, though perhaps the ghastliness of his end implies that he had led a wicked life. Blake here equates strength with evil, linking the two in the title to the design. He shows the man, his head twisted to the side, his face distorted with pain and terror, his rigid body barely touching the mat. His fingers are claws clutching the bed clothes; lying just beyond his right hand is the goblet he apparently broke and over-turned in his death agony. His soul, equally tormented and surrounded by flames, flies out the window. The two grief-stricken women add to the emotional intensity; the one, identified in 'Of the Designs' as the daughter, stands quite still, in contrast to the turmoil around her; the other, identified as the wife, her mouth open, her hands beside her face, takes on the appearance in her mournful horror. She almost climbs onto the man�s

pallet in her desperation, existing in a spatial no-man�s land, somewhere between the strong man and his fleeing soul. There is a rapid pencil drawing in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Butlin 624, recto, pl. 860) in which Blake sketches the figure of the dying man and the two grieving women. It may be his first idea for the composition for although he establishes the major elements of the group, he shows the daughter kneeling rather than standing. In the final design her erect pose is a counterbalance to the other, more dynamic figures. As befits its subject, The Strong Wicked Man is one of the most intensely colored designs in this set. Though the watercolor is applied with great subtlety, as in the other compositions, it seems to have a greater depth. The deep, nearly opaque blue surrounding the soul and the flickering red flames stand out from the dark, neutral gray of the surrounding room. The Death of the Strong Wicked Man forms a virtual trio with The Soul Hovering Over the Body (lot 7) and The Death of the Good Old Man (lot 14). All are set in a confined space with a single window and show the soul leaving the body of a dying or dead man. The Strong Wicked Man and the Good Old Man can be seen as direct opposites with the emotions, characters and even the very composition reversed. The relation of the Strong Wicked Man and the Soul Hovering is somewhat more complex. The latter is a much more peaceful scene, the body of the dying man absolutely still. But one can see the echo of the anguish of the mourning widow in the hovering soul. Her body has the same long arc, and while she is more composed, her hands are roughly in the same position, but with the palms turned outward. Although the illustrations can be seen as paired opposites, these more subtle transitions give Blake�s watercolors a thematic texture that binds them all together. ___________________________________________________________________________________ LOT 4 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 'THE GRAVE PERSONIFIED' 1,000,000—1,500,000 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 912,000 USD

___________________________________________________________________________ MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 203 by 297 mm.; 8 by 11 3/4 in.

DESCRIPTION

inscribed in pencil on the mount below: The Grave Personified -- Unfinish'd; on the verso of the mount center left: Not; and with a rough sketch of a squatting figure also on the verso of the mount. pen and black and gray inks and watercolor over traces of pencil

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES Bentley 2001, pp. 482-83, note 58; Butlin 2002, p. 72-73 and reproduced p. 73. 1 Butlin 2002, p. 73. 2 See also Butlin 2002, p. 72. CATALOGUE NOTE The discovery of this watercolor alone would have been an important event, much less finding it with its eighteen companions. Blake has described a huge winged female seated at the entrance to a cavern on a pedestal or altar flanked by flames. Huddled down behind her are two robed female figures, their heads bent over their knees and their faces hidden by their hair. They are seated at the foot of a staircase or ramp leading deeper into the cave, but the huge figure blocks our view of what is beyond. As the setting, the figure's attributes and the inscription on the mount make clear, she represents the Grave. She holds two bunches of poppies in her outstretched hands, flowers symbolic of sleep and, by extension, death. Her wings are those of a moth, a creature of the night. The patterning is suggestive of the Emperor moth, which have a similar eye-shaped design and rounded compartments, but Blake carries the design well beyond what one would see in nature. The hunched figures flanking the pedestal in their heavy robes, continue the theme of sleep and death. It has been suggested that The Grave Personified was the 'characteristic frontispiece' mentioned in Cromek's first prospectus for the publication.1 Its horizontal format, however, may indicate otherwise. The Grave Personified has a companion piece of roughly the same dimensions, A Destroying Deity: A Winged Figure Grasping Thunderbolts, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (fig. 12).2 In the latter, Blake depicts an equally large male figure seated on a similar pedestal at the entrance to a cavern, though the space is more difficult to read. There are no figures beside the altar, as in The Grave Personified, but some can be seen roughly indicated in the middle distance. The imposing figure with his bat wings and lightening bolts, replacing the moth wings and poppies, is probably the personification of death itself. In Death Pursuing the Soul Through the Avenues of Life (fig. 9), a design mentioned in Cromek's first prospectus for the publication, but in the end never engraved, Blake portrays Death in a similar fashion. He is a powerful bearded figure with the same bat wings and carries a flaming torch rather than lightening bolts. Both The Grave Personified and A Destroying Deity are clearly related to A Second Alternative Design for a TitlePage to Blair�s Grave in the Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino (fig. 8), which shows a pedestal flanked by two female figures, one with bat wings and the other with moth wings. The inscription Not on the verso of the mount is found on three other drawings from this group (lots 12, 17 and 19). It may have been added in Cromek's shop and signaled that the design was not to be engraved; or it may be from the hand of a later owner indicating that the design was not engraved. The rough sketch on the back is equally puzzling, for it describes a figure in a posture similar to the representation of the Grave, as well as many other figures that populate Blake's art.

_______________________________________________________________________ LOT 5 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 'WHILST SURFEITED UPON THY DAMASK CHEEK, THE HIGH-FED WORM IN LAZY VOLUMES ROLL'D, RIOTS UNSCAR'D' 700,000—1,000,000 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 196 by 133 mm.; 7 3/4 by 5 1/4 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black and gray inks and watercolor over pencil

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES Butlin 2002, p. 71; Bentley, 2001, pp. 482-83, note 58. CATALOGUE NOTE Like the previous lot, this composition was never engraved as an illustration. The specific subject derives from a passage by Blair on the transience of physical beauty, which will be destroyed in death. Methinks I see thee with thy head low laid; Whilst, surfeited upon thy damask cheek, The high-fed worm, in lazy volumes roll'd, Riots unscar'd. For this was all thy caution? (p.11) These lines fall within a larger section of the poem in which Blair portrays death as the great equalizer. In Blake's interpretation the young beauty seems well-aware that her charms are fleeting. She points to her cheek and to the worm on the ground while her suitor gazes into the empty grave. The radiant sunset reinforces the idea of time's swift passage.

As in The Widow Embracing Her Husband's Grave at the Yale Center for British Art (fig. 6) and A Father and Two Children Beside an Open Grave (lot 15), the setting is contemporary and conventional. The graveyard and the Gothic entrance to the church are strikingly similar to those in the Widow Embracing Her Husband's Grave, though seen from different viewpoints. The figures themselves seemed to have stepped from one illustration to another, pausing only to put on or remove their hats. Blake's treatment of the young woman is extremely refined. He delicately models her limbs with gray brush strokes and a few accents of pale blue, then adds touches of pink to her cheeks, breast, elbow and neck. Blake's handling of the young suitor, or stripling -- as Blair calls him -- is more summary, drawing his clothing with bold brush strokes and using just the pencil to indicate the details of the front of his costume. The young man himself is a figure type that Blake used throughout his career, from the early Songs of Innocence to the Job engravings.

LOT 6 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 THE REUNION OF THE SOUL & THE BODY (THE RE-UNION OF SOUL AND BODY) 900,000—1,200,000 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 1,024,000 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 237 by 175 mm.; 9 5/16 by 6 7/8 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black and gray inks and watercolor over traces of pencil

CATALOGUE NOTE The Reunion of the Soul & the Body is the last illustration in Cromek�s edition of The Grave. Although no specific passage is inscribed on the engraving, Blake takes his cue from the following lines: When the dread trumpet sounds, the slumb�ring dust, Not unattentive to the call, shall wake; And every joint possess it�s proper place, With a new elegance of form, unknown To it�s first state. Nor shall the conscious soul

Mistake it�s partner; but, amidst the crowd Singling it�s other half, into it�s arms Shall rush� (p.32) This watercolor is the counterpart to The Soul Hovering Over the Body (lot 7). But while Blake chose the quietest moment from Blair�s poem to illustrate that subject, here he illustrates the most dramatic. The soul rushes down, her hair and drapery caught by the wind, and wraps her arms around the newly resurrected body. He is half nude, with just some drapery, perhaps his shroud, clinging to his legs. He has only just risen from his grave and his exquisitely fashioned outstretched foot still touches its side. The surrounding flames are not the flames of hell, but the purifying flames of the last days. Here the reunion between the body and the soul goes beyond the spiritual and has a sexual element completely absent from the poem. This is not surprising, since Blake was not shy about describing or picturing the joys of sexuality. As in The Meeting of a Family in Heaven (lot 2), in which Blake elaborated on the sexual elements only implied by Blair, Blake uses the poem as a jumping off point from which he creates his own interpretation of life and death and the relation of the physical to the spiritual nature of mankind. Muted yellows and reds, the latter perhaps suggesting the passionate nature of the reunion, figure prominently in Blake's palette for this design. The composition is one of the most elegant in the series, as is Blake�s brush work. The flames and background are drawn in broad, loose strokes, while the delicate shading of the flesh is stippled in tiny, intense strokes of blue. LOT 7 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 THE SOUL HOVERING OVER THE BODY RELUCTANTLY PARTING WITH LIFE (THE SOUL HOVERING OVER THE BODY) 700,000—1,000,000 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 160 by 227 mm.; 6 1/2 by 8 15/16 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black and gray inks and watercolor over traces of pencil

CATALOGUE NOTE In the published edition of The Grave, this design is placed opposite a wrenching passage describing the soul leaving the body at death. Blair describes the soul as �frantic� as she �raves round the walls� and �shrieks for help.� Blake, however, has chosen to illustrate the last and quietest lines of the passage, in which the soul is reconciled to the parting. How wishfully she looks On all she�s leaving, now no longer her�s! A little longer, yet a little longer, O might she stay to wash away her stains, And fit her for her passage! (p. 16) This choice reflects Blake�s more positive outlook; for him death is a transition rather than a permanent separation. In The Soul Hovering over the Body the man has clearly died. He is laid out on a bier and his body has the same stony quality as Christ in the Sepulchre, Guarded by Angels (fig. 5) or The Counseller, King, Warrior, Mother & Child (lot 13). A preliminary sketch in the Tate (fig. 12A) is quite different in feeling. Although the soul is quite similarly conceived, even to the gesture of the hands, the body appears to be that of a living person who is just sleeping. Blake draws him naked, lying on his side, his musculature carefully delineated, on his head is a laurel wreath and under his hand a lyre. What is surprising to the present-day viewer is Blake�s depiction of the soul as a woman when the body is that of a man. That dichotomy is, however, supported by Blair�s text. More shocking to his contemporaries was the fact that he included a corporeal representation of the soul in the same composition as the body. In an anonymous review of The Grave in Scots Magazine, November 1808, the writer takes Blake to task: There is just one circumstance, which runs through many of these pieces, which we cannot quite go along with; this is the representation of the soul in a bodily form. Such an idea we think is greatly too bold; nor is there any thing in the manner which can atone for the defect in the original conception�.It would even have been tolerable had the soul been introduced by itself without its bodily companion�1 1 The review is printed in full in David Groves, �Blake, The Grave�and Edinburgh Literary Society, in Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly, vol. 24, no 1, summer 1990, p. 250. LOT 8 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 THE DESCENT OF MAN INTO THE VALE OF DEATH 700,000—1,000,000 USD

MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 234 by 135 mm.; 9 1/4 by 5 5/16 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and gray and black inks and watercolor over traces of pencil

CATALOGUE NOTE In the last third of the poem Blair offers a long catalogue of the inhabitants of the grave, dividing them by country, religion, social status, profession, age, sex, state of health, moral character, etc. Blake does not attempt to illustrate all these different types, but concentrates instead on a select group, corresponding loosely to the middle section of the passage: �here the child Of a span long, that never saw the sun, Nor press�d the nipple, strangled in life�s porch. Here is the mother with her sons and daughters; The barren wife; and long-demurring maid � Here are the prude severe, and gay coquette, The sober widow, and the young green virgin, Cropp�d like a rose before �tis fully blown, Or half it�s worth disclos�d. Strange medley here! Here garrulous old age winds up his tale; And jovial youth, of lightsome vacant heart� (p. 22) His conception is actually quite traditional but combines two related themes, the Ages of Man and the Journey of Life. These are subjects that Blake used in his poetry as well as his drawings and prints, as, for example, The Gates of Paradise. In medieval iconography the Journey of Life was often depicted as figures going up and down stairs.1 Here Blake combines that setting with the caves and caverns that appear so frequently in these designs for The Grave like The Grave Personified, Death's Door and The Soul Exploring the Recesses of the Grave (lots 4, 10 and 11). In The Descent of Man Blake sets the figures in a large, underground cavern, headed by a staircase, from which various figures move further and further down into the depths of the earth. There is no apparent order to the figures. A stooped person with a walking stick and an old man crawling down the stairs are separated from another depiction of old age, a man on crutches, by a mother holding a baby and two youthful figures who are dashing down the stairs. In a related design in the British Museum (fig. 13), Blake divides the underground cavern into various smaller caves in which he sets four death-bed scenes. These seem to echo Blair's lines 'Here friends and foes/Lie close, unmindful of their former feuds' (p. 22). In the present design, with its strong vertical format, Blake simplifies the structure, eliminating the separate rooms and emphasizing the inexorable downward journey into the grave. 1 Essick and Paley, p.62. LOT 9

WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 THE DAY OF JUDGMENT (THE LAST JUDGMENT) 1,500,000—2,000,000 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 270 by 222 mm.; 10 9/16 by 8 3/4 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and gray and black inks and watercolor over traces of pencil

CATALOGUE NOTE The subject of the Last Judgment is one that preoccupied Blake for much of his life. Apocalyptic imagery can be found throughout his work, from his Continental Prophecies of the 1790s to his conclusive illuminated epic, Jerusalem. Some of his most famous compositions, like the two versions of The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun, both from the series of over 80 watercolors he made for Thomas Butts, are based on specific events from Revelation. He depicted the last judgment at least nine different times; this illustration for The Grave is probably the earliest version.1 His watercolor illustrates, but goes well beyond Blair's brief passage: But know that though must render up the dead, And with high interest too! they are not thine; But only in thy keeping for a season, Till the great promis�d day of restitution; When loud diffusive sound from brazen trump Of strong-lung�d cherub shall alarm they captives, And rouse the long, long sleepers into life, Day-light, and liberty. � (p.28) The present design may have been based in part on a watercolor dated 1806, now at Pollok House, Glasgow (Butlin 639), already in preparation in the fall of 1805. Without such a model to work from, it is unlikely that Blake could have conceived and executed such a complex design in the short time between receiving the Grave commission from Cromek and submitting the watercolors to the publisher.

Of all the versions of this subject, the present work is simpler, bolder and more concentrated, with fewer souls being judged, so that the focus is on the central portions of the composition. As in the Glasgow watercolor, Christ is seated on a throne, an open book on his lap. But rather than adhering to strict centrality, Blake turns Christ�s head slightly, so He is looking toward the saved. Flanking Christ are recording angels; beyond them, on either side, larger angels holding open the Book of Life and the Book of Death, and below are the souls of the saved and the damned. Most striking are the colossal angels at the center of the composition, perhaps inspired by Blair. Blake has put together two different themes � the angels sounding their trumpets and the defending angels of the war in heaven � which in traditional representations of the Apocalypse are separate events.2 Here they are all in a tight grouping, two angels grasping the swords at their sides, while a �strong-lung�d cherub� blows a gigantic horn that raises up toward Christ. The only indications of his companions are the bells of two more horns also emitting flames. Blake drew on various textual and pictorial sources for his composition. Michelangelo�s Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, widely known through engravings, was the most famous depiction of the subject. But the fresco, with its active, gesturing Christ at the center, is a long way from Blake�s depiction. Although Blake may have been inspired by some of the falling damned, the overall construction, with the hieratic rings of prophets, judges and angels flanking Christ, owes far more to medieval church portals and manuscripts than to Michelangelo. But in the end, so much of Blake�s imagery is personal, a symbolic vocabulary that runs through all his works. The figure of the falling man bound by a serpent, for example, appears in The First Book of Urizen, one of his great prophetic books dealing with creation and the enslavement of spirit (fig. 14). This is one of the most intensely colored designs, as befits the subject. The strong chrome yellow encircling the throne of God is not found anywhere else in the group. It is also the design in which Blake most manipulated the colors. We can see that he delicately scraped away the surface in the blue around the throne and in the clouds to modulate the color, and how he used delicate stippling in the faces of Christ and the kneeling angels. 1 Butlin catalogues ten drawings and temperas, two of which are untraced. Cat. nos. Essick and Paley (pp. 215-16) refer to another composition that may predate the present drawing. It is a color print described in the early catalogue of Blake�s works by William Rossetti, who unfortunately was not always accurate in his identification of subject matter. 2 Paley and Essick, p. 65 suggest that angels withdrawing the swords from their sheaths comes from Ezekiel. LOT 10 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 DEATH'S DOOR 1,000,000—1,500,000 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 239 by 138 mm.; 9 3/8 by 5 7/16 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black ink and watercolor over pencil

CATALOGUE NOTE Death�s Door is an iconic image, appearing and reappearing in Blake�s work throughout his career. In what is perhaps the earliest example, from his notebook (N71), Blake depicts a bent old man going through an open door. Although the surrounding text appears to be unrelated, the small image is clearly labeled Deaths Door. Although tiny, all the major elements are there: the heavy stone door frame, the crutch, the windblown hair. This same figure reappears in For the Children: The Gates of Paradise and America, both of 1793, but it is in the design for The Grave that Blake completes the composition by adding the nude figure of the youth above.1 In doing so, he transforms the message of Blair�s poem from that of death as an ending to death as a moment of transition Tis but a night, a long moonless night; We make the grave our bed, and then are gone! (p.32) The commentator in 'Of the Designs' describes the composition as: The door opening, that seems to make utter darkness visible; age, on crutches, hurried by a tempest into it. Above is the renovated man seated in light and glory.' The 'renovated man,' the resurrected soul, radiates light; it blazes from him as star-shaped corona. If there were any doubt about the meaning of this figure, one need only look back to America plate 8 (fig. 15) in which a very similar nude man sits on an actual grave, a skull resting beyond his right hand.2 Just below the figure are Blake�s powerful verses: The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen leave their stations; The grave is burst, the spices shed, the linen wrapped up; The bones of death, the cov�ring clay, the sinews shrunk & dry�d. Reviving shake, inspiring move, breathing! awakening! Spring like redeemed captives when their bonds are burst: The fusion of the two designs into Death�s Door becomes a central image in Blake�s interpretation (or perhaps revision) of Blair�s poem. It was also the only design Blake etched himself. The white-line etching of Death�s Door (fig. 2) repeats in reverse all the elements of the watercolor apart from the flowers growing to the right of the door, replaced in the etching by a thorny vine on the left and some spiky vegetation on the right. It is generally thought that this was a sample print that Blake gave to Cromek and which horrified the publisher so much he hired Schiavonetti as his engraver. Certainly this idiosyncratic work has little in common with conventional book illustration of the period. But in comparison to Schiavonetti�s print (fig. 3), Blake�s etching is filled with power and emotion. The very use of white line against the black background lends the work a kind of shimmering radiance that accords with Blake�s idea of transformation and transcendence. The watercolor itself radiates light. Blake uses the reserve of the paper, accented with bright strokes of yellow, to create the aura around the seated figure; much of the rest of the sheet is also left uncolored. The

nude figure of the youth is accented in the very palest pink. The blue tones that dominate many of the other subjects is here confined mainly to the robes of the old man. 1There are two drawings, a pencil sketch formerly in the Shields collection but now lost, and a pencil drawing reworked by another hand, in the Carnegie Museum, that predate the watercolor for The Grave. See Essick and Paley, Op.cit.�p 219. 2The figure of the rising youth first appears in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell of 1790. LOT 11 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 THE SOUL EXPLORING THE RECESSES OF THE GRAVE 700,000—1,000,000 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 632,000 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 235 by 119 mm.; 9 1/4 by 4 11/16 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black and gray inks and watercolor over traces of pencil

CATALOGUE NOTE In this haunting image, Blake has left the confines of Blair�s poem. Unlike most of the other engravings, the illustration of The Soul Exploring the Recesses of the Grave bears no reference to any lines in the poem, and commentators have not been able to link it to a specific passage. The description in 'Of the Designs,' simply reads: The Soul, prior to the dissolution of the Body, exploring through and beyond the tomb, and there discovering the emblems of mortality and of immortality. Taken in the context of the poem as a whole, this design is clearly a pair to and in some ways a mirror image of, Death�s Door. The main actor is an extremely elegant young woman as opposed to a stooped old man. The setting in The Soul Exploring is clearly a cave, while in Death's Door it is a rough hewn but

distinctly man-made structure. Within the first is a corpse, laid out on the ground, the body surrounded by flames; in the second is an empty bier, awaiting the arrival of the old man. Above the cave in The Soul Exploring is a young man, partly clothed, his arms raised in a gesture of surprise or fear. He is bathed in the cool dim light of the moon, its crescent form visible between his legs, while in the background are distant peaks of mountains. Above the building in the second is another young man, nude this time, his body radiating light as if he were himself the sun. Given the complexity of Blake�s imagery, it is not surprising that the subject here has been interpreted by different scholars in precisely opposite ways: as a figure awakened to immortality or as man warned of death he cannot see.1 Most interpretations, however, lean toward the latter view and since Death�s Door is almost universally recognized as an image of transcendence and resurrection, The Soul Exploring the Recesses of the Grave would be one of mortality and death. As Essick and Paley note, everything here suggests obscurity and restraint -- the darkness, the tentative gestures, even the woman�s tightly coiled hair.2 The very coloring of the design reinforces this imagery. The cool tones of the sky and the wan yellow moon are eerily reflected off the body of the young man, but shed very little light and no hope. Blake�s handling of the medium in this composition is extraordinarily subtle. He modulates the color of the sky so it gradually becomes paler and thinner in the areas surrounding the young man. He also scrapes away some of the surface around the figure, perhaps also as a way or lightening the color or in order to redraw the contours of the figure itself. While the composition is dominantly blue and gray, including the flames surrounding the body, Blake adds a few touches of pink to the figure. There is a preparatory sketch for the watercolor in the British Museum (Butlin 629, pl. 862), which has all the major elements of the composition and is roughly the same size (252 by 139 mm.) 1 Helmstadter, pp. 54-56 and Essick and Paley, pp.66-67, respectively 2 Essick and Paley, p. 66-67, who knew the composition only from Schiavonetti's engraving. LOT 12 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 'THE GAMBOLS OF GHOSTS ACCORDING WITH THEIR AFFECTIONS PREVIOUS TO THE FINAL JUDGEMENT' 700,000—1,000,000 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 269 by 207 mm.; 10 5/8 by 8 1/8 in.

DESCRIPTION

traces of a pencil inscription on the mount below, largely erased, the last two words may read variously D..l... or virtuously D..l... and inscribed on the verso of the mount upper left Not pen and black and gray inks and watercolor over traces of pencil

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES Bentley 2001, pp. 482-83, note 58; Butlin 2002, p. 71 and reproduced p. 69. 1Essick and Paley, p. 49. They did not know of the existence of this watercolor when they made up their pairings.

CATALOGUE NOTE The Gambols of Ghosts is one of the watercolors that Flaxman singled out in his letter of October 18, 1805, but it was not included in Cromek�s edition of The Grave. The design appears to illustrate an early passage of the poem in which Blair evokes images of the graveyard. Well do I know thee by thy trusty yew, Cheerless, unsocial plant! That loves to dwell �Midst sculls and coffins, epitaphs and worms; Where light-heel�d ghosts and visionary shades, Beneath the wan cold moon (as fame reports) Embodied thick, perform their mystic rounds. (p. 2) A preparatory drawing for the design in the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (Butlin 636, pl. 863) has all the major elements of the composition and, before the discovery of this watercolor, was sometimes associated with Flaxman's letter. A less finished drawing in the National Gallery of Art, Washington (fig. 16) is also related to The Gambols of Ghosts and may shed some light on Blake's imagery. It is described as A Resurrection Scene but the dominanat compositional element of the arc of figures rising into the sky has much the same feeling as the watercolor for The Grave. Specific motifs are repeated as well, like the church, the moon and the ghosts emerging from the ground. The Gambols of Ghosts is itself a kind of resurrection but without a judging Christ and therefore without any of the associated hierarchical elements. Using Essick and Paley's scheme of opposite pairs,1 one could match The Gambols of Ghosts with The Final Judgement (lot 9). The title itself remains something of a mystery. Flaxman�s description appears no where in Blair's poem and the few traces of the penciled inscription on the mount do not seem to corrrespond either. The composition is suitably frenetic and complicated to embody the movements of 'light-heel�d ghosts' and goes far beyond Blair�s brief description. Blake creates two moving circles of figures perpendicular to each other -- one, which goes around the tree, is made up of dancing or running ghosts, the other, which starts at the ground and circles up and over the tree, begins with ghosts emerging from the ground and ends with one flying through the church door. Cutting through the second circle is a procession of saved souls slowly entering the church. The effect is of constant movement and turmoil that makes it difficult to distinguish the saved and the damned at first glance. Blake�s palette adds to the eeriness of the scene. The overall color scheme is gray and blue with only a few touches of red, as on the angry figure of the male ghost emerging from the ground at the left. Even 'the wan cold moon' is gray with only the slightest touch of yellow, and the highlights on the figures are truly ghostly.

LOT 13 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 THE COUNSELLER, KING, WARRIOR, MOTHER & CHILD, IN THE TOMB (THE COUNSELLOR, KING, WARRIOR, MOTHER & CHILD) 700,000—1,000,000 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 150 by 234 mm.; 5 7/8 by 9 1/4 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black ink and watercolor over pencil

CATALOGUE NOTE This watercolor does not appear to illustrate a specific verse, but speaks to the general concept of death as a leveler. In the published version of The Grave the engraving based on this design appears opposite page 11, the beginning lines of which address that concept: When self-esteem, or other�s adulation, Would cunningly persuade us we were something Above the common level of our kind, The Grave gainsays the smooth-complexion�d flatt'ry, And with blunt truth acquaints us what we are. Executed in an almost monochromatic range of grays and green, Blake�s watercolor captures the absolute stillness of the tomb. The composition is closely related to a drawing in pen and wash now in a private collection in Great Britain, which Butlin dates to c.1780-85 (fig. 17).1 However, there the five figures are clearly corpses stretched out on a battlefield, while in the watercolor they are clearly within a tomb and, in fact, look more like medieval tomb sculptures than corpses. Even the knight�s crossed legs suggest limbs modeled in stone rather than flesh. The figures are rigidly aligned, holding their identifying attributes � the counsellor�s scroll, the king�s scepter, the knight�s sword and the mother's child. The only real deviance from this hieratic approach is the mother, who is slightly off line, her head tilted to the child, and her features not quite so stony as the others�.

The inspiration for this representation dates to Blake�s early days as an apprentice to James Basire, the engraver. Basire sent him to Westminster Abbey to copy the tombs and other carvings, and Blake apparently spent many happy months making drawings. Some were later engraved and used in Richard Gough�s Sepulchral Monuments in Great Britain, Part I, of 1786. That Blake drew upon these images some twenty years later is not surprising given the subject he was illustrating and the fact that he seems never to have forgotten a motif. This depiction of the dead as if they were tomb sculptures can be found in other watercolors in this series: The Soul Hovering Over the Body (lot 7) and The Death of the Good Old Man (lot 14). In all cases the bodies are draped and the contours are barely evident. Their heads are generally on low pillows or a rolled mat. In The Counseller even the coloring is suggestive of stone. Perhaps turning the figures to stone was Blake�s way of eternalizing them as well as emphasizing the universal nature of death. 1Butlin, vol. I, pp. no. 136. LOT 14 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 THE DEATH OF THE GOOD OLD MAN (THE GOOD OLD MAN DYING) 550,000—700,000 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 202 by 258 mm.; 7 15/16 by 10 3/16 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black and gray inks and watercolor over traces of pencil

CATALOGUE NOTE The Death of the Good Old Man is another composition that Flaxman singled out in his letter of 1805. It is also one in which Blake enlarged upon but did not contradict Blair�s text: ...Sure the last end Of the good man is peace. How calm his exit! Night-dews fall not more gently to the ground, Nor weary worn-out winds expire so soft.

Behold him in the ev�ning-tide of life, A life well spent, whose early care it was His riper years should not upbraid his green: By unperceiv�d degrees he wears away; Yet like the sun seems larger at his setting! (p. 30) In contrast to the Wicked Man, the Good Man dies at peace, surrounded by the members of his family, while his soul is carried off by angels. The family members look rather like angels themselves in their prayerful posture. Their poses and the way they cluster around the old man are reminiscent of sixteenth century tomb sculptures, or Flaxman�s own designs. Here a chalice and loaf of bread, a reference to the Eucharist, rest on a table, instead of the broken wine goblet the Wicked Man clutches in his death agony. Beneath the Good Man's hand rests an open Bible, with the title The New Testament prominently visible. Everything reinforces the piety of the figure. Blake has subdued his palette, with near pastel shades replacing the bold coloring of the Strong Wicked Man. Pale blues and grays predominate, but there are subtle touches of other colors, as in the slight dabs of brown and deep red on the loaf and chalice respectively. This very restraint reveals Blake�s mastery of the watercolor medium. LOT 15 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 'A FATHER AND TWO CHILDREN BESIDE AN OPEN GRAVE AT NIGHT BY LANTERN LIGHT' 350,000—550,000 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 329,600 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 175 by 235 mm.; 6 7/8 by 9 1/4 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black and gray inks and watercolor over pencil

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES Butlin 2002, p. 71; Bentley 2001, pp. 482-83, note 58. 1Butlin, cat. no. 137, recto, p. 52 and Butlin 2002, p. 71, note 4.

CATALOGUE NOTE This design is another of the group of seven that were never engraved. Although the event is not specifically described in Blair's poem, the subject is clearly part of the general theme of loss. It mirrors but is opposite to The Widow Embracing Her Husband's Grave (fig. 6). In A Father and Two Children the missing family member is the wife and mother; in The Widow she is the only family member present. In A Father and Two Children, the scene takes place in a graveyard on a blusterly night with only the family present. In contrast, The Widow Embracing is a sunlit scene with an elegant couple in the background who respond to the widow's grief. Furthermore, the mourners in A Father and Two Children are clearly stricken but contained, while the widow knows no such restraint as she flings herself on her husband's grave. A Father and Two Children is more loosely executed than any of the other watercolors offered here. While the faces are worked up in some detail, the surroundings are indicated by quick brush strokes, thereby leaving the trees and the lantern rather two dimensional. Whether Blake intended to work on it further is difficult to say, but the overall effect is to emphasize the harshness of the elements as the family kneels beside the mother's open grave. As in the case of The Counseller, King, Warrior, Mother & Child (lot 13), this design derives from a much earlier drawing. The Burial Scene in the McGill University Library (Butlin 137, recto), which Butlin dates to the early 1780s,1 has all the major elements of the composition, though more roughly indicated.

LOT 16 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 'HEAVEN'S PORTALS WIDE EXPAND TO LET HIM IN' 350,000—550,000 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 329,600 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 237 by 128 mm.; 9 5/8 by 5 1/16 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black and gray inks and watercolor over pencil

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES

Bentley 2001, pp. 482-83, note 58; Butlin 2002, p. 71. 1Essick and Paley, pp. 77 and 224-45. CATALOGUE NOTE This design was never engraved, nor was it mentioned in Flaxman's letter or Cromek's first prospectus. However, Essick and Paley had postulated its existence from two sketches of ascending figures that were drawn on the same sheets as known designs for The Grave1 The subject derives from Blair's description of the resurrection and ascension of Christ, and specifically to the passage: Heaven's portals wide expand to let him in; Nor are his friends shut out: as a great prince Not for himself alone procures admission, But for his train; it was his royal will, That where he is there should his followers be. Death only lies between, a gloomy path! (p. 29) In Blake's vocabulary, the Gothic doorway or archway often refers to heaven, and Christ's companions here are clearly the saved. The initial conception may derive from a more traditional interpretation of the Ascension, a watercolor made for Thomas Butts, now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (fig. 19). Here and in the Cambridge drawing Christ spreads his arms wide as he floats up to heaven. His body is absolutely weightless, as if he were being pulled upward by an outside force. His companions in the present drawing are for the most part as immune to gravity as he is. Yet, in spite of apparent weightlessness, the figures terain a physicality greater than disembodied spirits, as is underscored by the embracing couple on the left and, in particular, the man's hand on the woman's buttock. This gesture recalls the husband and wife in Meeting of a Family in Heaven (lot 2). Heaven's Portals shows a greater range of colors than most of the watercolors in this group, and has a pastel tonality that reinforces the unadulterated feeling of goodness and joy. LOT 17 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 'OUR TIME IS FIX'D, AND ALL OUR DAYS ARE NUMBER'D' 350,000—550,000 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 318,400 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 234 by 177 mm.; 9 1/4 by 7 in.

DESCRIPTION

traces of a pencil inscription on the mount below, largely erased and illegible and inscribed in pencil on the verso of the mount upper right: Not pen and black and gray inks and watercolor over traces of pencil

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES Bentley 2001, pp. 482-83, note 58; Butlin 2002, p. 71and reproduced p. 72; Gourlay, passim. CATALOGUE NOTE This watercolor of the fates carrying the thread of life was never engraved by Schiavonetti and was completely unknown until its discovery in 2001. Butlin has related the subject to a line on page 18 of The Grave, "Our Time Is Fix'd, and All Our Days Are Number'd," but the rest of the passage deals with suicide and the prohibitions against it. Although Blake was quite free in his interpretation of Blair's poem, plucking that one line out of context goes rather far, even for him. However, even if the exact line does not fit, the theme of the unexpectedness of death is clear. Blake's use of such undiluted classical imagery is unusual in the context of the other designs. He does depict the fates cutting the thread of life in a few illustrations for Night Thoughts but the compositions are quite different. The extraordinary ring of figures circling the moon in Our Time Is Fix'd seems to have little precedent. There is some kinship with the ghosts circling the moon in The Gambols of Ghosts, but in its absence of setting Our Time Is Fix'd is unique among Blake's illustrations to The Grave. LOT 18 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 CHRIST DESCENDING INTO THE GRAVE (THE DESCENT OF CHRIST INTO THE GRAVE) 350,000—550,000 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 329,600 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note

230 by 124 mm.; 9 1/16 by 4 7/8 in.

DESCRIPTION

pen and black ink and watercolor over traces of pencil

CATALOGUE NOTE This watercolor may be seen in relation the very first lines of the poem in which the narrator introduces himself and defines his role as a guide through the landscape of the Grave. Whilst some affect the sun, and some the shade, Some flee the city, some the hermitage; Their aims as various as the roads they take In journeying through life; the task be mine To paint the gloomy horrors of the tomb; Th� appointed place of rendezvous, where all These trav�llers meet. Thy succours I implore, Eternal King! whose potent arm sustains The keys of hell and death. The Grave, dread thing! (p.1) Christ, as Blake depicts him, also is a guide, leading us into the grave and into The Grave. He is shown descending a staircase into flames with the keys to hell and to death in his hands. This is not the traditional rendering of Christ descending into hell, holding the banner of the resurrection, but Christ as described in Revelations I:18: I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and hell.1 He is both savior and guide, who protects the author on his journey � a frightening journey describing the gloomy horrors of the grave. In Blake�s personal iconography He is also the divine imagination, inspiring Blair and Blake as he inspired John the Evangelist to write Revelations.2 This is not the angry, judging Christ but a benign, restrained figure. But despite the well-muscled body, there is a distinctly feminine quality to the figure, due to the wide-eyed rather pretty face, and the long, flowing robe that is tied just below his breast. Blake was apparently inspired by Revelations for this robe: �clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle (Revelations I:13), and he used it frequently in portraying Christ. There are a number of similar representations in a series of watercolors illustrating the Bible that he made for his patron Thomas Butts. Typical works include Christ Girding Himself with Strength (Butlin 464, pl. 551), The Hymn of Christ and the Apostles (Butlin 490, pl. 546) and The Magdalen at the Sepulchre (Butlin 504, pl. 604). A drawing in the British Museum (Butlin 621recto, pl. 854), has often been described as a sketch for this composition, but the subject seems to be quite different. In the London drawing Christ opens his cloak with one hand and shows the other palm outward, displaying His stigmata, rather than carrying the keys of hell and death, as in this illustration to The Grave. 1 Essick and Paley, p.56.

2 Ibid.

LOT 19 WILLIAM BLAKE LONDON 1757 - 1827 'FRIENDSHIP' 180,000—260,000 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 318,400 USD MEASUREMENTS

measurements note 238 by 176 mm.; 9 3/8 by 6 15/16 in.

DESCRIPTION

inscribed in pencil on the mount below Friendship and on the verso of the mount upper right Not. pen and black ink and watercolor over pencil

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES Bentley 2001, pp. 482-83, note 58; Butlin 2002, p. 71 and reproduced p. 70; Gourlay, passim. CATALOGUE NOTE This watercolor is one of the simplest and most tender designs that Blake made for Blair�s Grave. Although the title was listed in Cromek's first prospectus, the image was not used in the final publication. The subject derives from verses on pages 4-5 of the poem. Invidious Grave! how dost thou rend in sunder Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one! A tie more stubborn far than nature�s band. Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul!

Sweet�ner of life! and solder of society! I owe thee much. As is often the case, Blake�s interpretation diverges greatly from Blair�s. The two men are dressed as travelers, or possibly pilgrims, wearing wide-brimmed hats and tunics. The bearded man points the way forward to his companion, whose shorter tunic may indicate he is younger. The fact that they are barefoot suggests they are on holy ground (though many of Blake�s characters are similarly without shoes), and the composition has overtones of the Apostles on the road to Emmaus. The men's hands barely touch, but they are clearly bound together and headed toward the heavenly Jerusalem. Thus while Blair dwells how death ends friendship, Blake indicates that it endures beyond the grave. Although we have found no preliminary drawing for Friendship, it is a theme Blake had treated before. An entire section of Edward Young�s The Complaint, and the Consolation; or, Night Thoughts, for which Blake provided illustrations, is devoted to the subject. On the title-page of Night the Second: On Time, Death, and Friendship two young men in classical robes reach across a giant figure of time and clasp each other's hand. Later in the same chapter, on page 30, Blake shows two shepherds, completely nude, standing by their flock talking; one is bearded and one clean shaven, the former carrying a crook. The text reads: Know�st thou, Lorenzo! What a Friend contains? As Bees mixt Nectar drawn from fragrant Flow�rs, So Men from FRIENDSHIP, Wisdom and Delight; Twins ty�d by Nature, if they part they die. This is the sentiment that Blake illustrates in Friendship. In the watercolor he has distilled the meaning to its essence, with no extraneous details. Even the plants beside the road the travelers walk radiate hope and renewal LOT 20 ENGLISH SCHOOL, C. 1821 DRAWINGS PORTFOLIO 1,000—1,500 USD Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 5,040 USD

MEASUREMENTS N/A

DESCRIPTION N/A

CATALOGUE NOTE A contemporary wallet-style straight-grained red morocco portfolio, lined with red glazed paper watermarked Beilby & Knotts 1821, covers with simple double blind ruled border, the catch for the clasp

gilt lettered: DESIGNS FOR BLAIR'S GRAVE, short tears at catch edges, edges and other extremities quite rubbed, with minor loss

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