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Blake’s Unfinished Series of Illustrations to Paradise Lost for John Linnell: An Addition

Martin Butlin

The unexpected appearance of a large watercolor of Adam and Eve Asleep, similar in size, technique, and finish to the three known watercolors from the series done for John Linnell in 1822, is a surprise. So, perhaps, is the fact that it is a surprise. The fact that all three of the known Paradise Lost watercolors are fully completed works, unlike the series of illustrations to Dante and to The Pilgrim’s Progress, both left incomplete at Blake’s death, may well have put off speculation about what would seem to have been intended as a complete set of near copies of the twelve subjects of the series done for Thomas Butts.

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