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Vol. 56 no. 4: Spring 2023

Blake in the Marketplace, 2022

  • Robert N. Essick
17 April 2023
26 Apr. 2023


John Windle provided an auspicious beginning for the 2022 Blake market with his February publication of catalogue 70, Present Joy. At 160 pages offering 809 items, this is the second-largest sale catalogue devoted to Blake and his circle, exceeded only by Windle’s October 2009 catalogue 46. The organization of Present Joy is unusual for its genre. The main section is arranged chronologically, with works listed by the year they were originally created, even for later reproductions. Thus, a 1955 facsimile of Songs of Innocence and of Experience appears in the subsection on Blake’s productions of 1789–​94. The catalogue includes three drawings from the smaller Blake-Varley Sketchbook, separate plates including “Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims,” print series such as the Job and Dante engravings, a large group of Blake’s commercial book illustrations, ranging from his apprentice work in Jacob Bryant’s A New System, or, an Analysis of Ancient Mythology (1774–​76) to John Varley’s Treatise on Zodiacal Physiognomy (1828), and most of the William Muir and Blake Trust/​Trianon Press facsimiles of Blake’s illuminated books. All but a few works by Blake are illustrated. Many items are recorded as “Sold,” including “Holy Thursday” from Songs of Innocence copy W and “A Cradle Song” (both plates) from Songs of Innocence copy Y, and have been listed in earlier installments of these sales reviews. In the listings below, I have included all original materials for the record.