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Blake in the Marketplace, 2016

Robert N. Essick

Among Blake’s least studied major works are his watercolor illustrations to the Bible painted for his patron Thomas Butts. More than eighty are extant or have been recorded. The Hymn of Christ and the Apostles, one of only six remaining in private hands, was offered at Sotheby’s 28 January auction in New York. Unfortunately, this beautiful design is faded and the paper yellowed, no doubt due to overexposure to light over many years. The same auction included The Descent of Man into the Vale of Death, one of Blake’s watercolor illustrations for Robert Blair’s The Grave.

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