1. William Blake, Jerusalem, plate 55, line 51. Complete Poetry and Prose, ed. Erdman, 205. Hereafter cited as “E” followed by page number.

2. Butlin refers throughout his response to an online version and a “significantly revised” print version of our essay. He is confusing the final online version with an early draft of the essay (15 October 2001) that the authors put online for the purpose of eliciting responses from curators, scholars, print historians, and other invited guests. The published online version (February 2002) and the print version are the same essay, except that the latter has fewer and only black and white illustrations and some of the captions and descriptions of the illustrations are altered to take that into account.

3. Butlin has apparently changed his mind since 1995, when he alluded to “perfect registration” in his review of Viscomi’s book.

4. Butlin apparently believes that if you apply colors only to the illustration and not the text, then only the illustration will print and a slight misregistration (or “muzziness”) won’t be noticeable. But the uncolored text still stands in relief as the plate is reprinted and it subtly embosses the text, flattening out the first printing and/or creating a slight halo effect around the letters (see “Inquiry” illus. 10a in the print version; 26 in the online version).

5. This was no mere thought experiment on our part. For “Inquiry,” we actually used the two-pull process in the studio, using Phillips as a guide, for about 45 minutes. At that point we got very tired of its complexity. For the present essay, Viscomi spent 22 hours in the print studio at the University of North Carolina (16, 24, and 26 July 2002) and as many hours in his home studio printing and coloring plates he made based on Blake’s designs and conducting tests; at least ten hours were spent printing the plates in the two-pull method. This experience (and previous experience at multiple plate printing in the 1970s and 1980s) reconfirms his opinion that for a work like Songs of Innocence and of Experience or The Book of Urizen, the technique is tedious and slow, wastes materials, has a high error rate, and, most importantly, provides no aesthetic gain.

6. These measurable differences were first pointed out in Bentley 67. We are confident that Bentley is right about the origin of these differences: “The reason for this variation may be that Blake and his wife dampened the paper when printing to get the best possible impressions, and it subsequently shrank, while Tatham did not dampen his posthumous pulls.”

7. In his note 4, Butlin says that the three-dimensional qualities of the paint over the date of the Experience title page cannot be ascertained in a digital reproduction and that it needs to be examined by the eye. One can, however, see in the enlarged digital reproduction (46a bottom of the online version of “Inquiry”) and in the enlarged print reproduction in the Tate exhibition catalogue (Hamlyn 119) that the texture of the gray pigment is smoother than the colors around it.

8. Logic alone indicates that the colors over the date could not have been printed separately with less pressure to create a top layer above the ink since the colors were printed from the plate’s shallows and not just its surface areas. Less pressure would not have picked up all the colors from the shallows. Depending on the depth of the plate, colors printed with less pressure would appear thinner, not thicker, and have less rather than more covering power.

9. The illusion, claimed by Phillips in his “Correction” (see also his book, 103), of multiple layers on the title plate of Songs of Innocence and of Experience copy T1, and which he read as evidence of two pulls, appears to be another instance in which the various viscosities and surface tensions of ink and colors trick the eye. An illusion of various layers can be experienced by viewing a reproduction of the Experience title plate (or of any color or colored print) in the Tate exhibition catalogue (Hamlyn 119) with a magnifying glass.

10. Butlin states that “creating precise registration . . . was indeed anything but a mechanical process”—which is to misunderstand the material exigencies of printmaking and printing because he equates “registration” with pen and ink “outline” that is done on the impression after printing. He argues that Blake was “forced to fill in the outlines in ink or with the point of a brush” on many of his color-printed impressions because the outline as printed was imprecise. He is right about the printed line being less sharp and wiry, hence “precise,” than hand-drawn pen and ink lines, which would be true of impressions printed in one pull or two pulls. But he is wrong to imply that we think that one-pull printing was “precise” in this sense of the word and hence not in need of hand finishing. We are very clear in “Inquiry” and in its captions for illustrations that Blake finished his color prints in watercolors and pen and ink. In short, registering a plate precisely to an earlier impression from it is not the same thing as adding fine lines and details in pen and ink on impressions. Butlin also equates a two-part or “double process” of printing impressions and then coloring them in watercolors with a two-pull printing process. This analogy obscures the issue at hand. Most image-making processes can be divided into multiple activities; the question is where those divisions occur.

11. A thicker, more viscous ink rolled over a thinner ink is rejected and adheres only to the surface surrounding the first ink. This technique is usually referred to as “color viscosity printing,” but Hayter considered that a misnomer and preferred to call it “simultaneous color printing, making no distinction between this technique and that used for other prints made with stencil, silk screen, or offset colors” (Moser 38). Plates etched to create relief areas and open shallows (called “open etched,” “relief etched,” and “deep etched” plates) could be inked with hard rollers for the surface in an ink of one viscosity and softer rollers for the shallows in inks of different viscosities. For more on Hayter’s experiments in color printing and its origins, see Black and Moorhead’s catalogue raisonné, The Prints of Stanley William Hayter (15-16, and 23ff). The reproduction in this catalogue of the print Jeux D’Eau (#208) from 1953 is of particular interest to the present discussion because it was one of the color prints produced from the same plate registered and printed twice. Along the edges and corners ink slightly overlaps from the two printings to reveal the registration. In other words, even a great printer like Hayter in a first class workshop like Atelier 17 could not completely hide the signs of registration. By the mid 1950s, Hayter “stressed so strongly the advantages of printing color from a single plate that an artist interested in printing from several plates rarely did it at the workshop” (Moser 46).

12. Phillips was, he realizes now, too quick to accept the notion that Blake produced four perfectly registered color prints without signs of registration using just one pinhole, a technique never before used for good reason. Common sense tells one that it cannot work; at least two pinholes are required (see Hayter, About Prints 57). Yet, not only was he willing to believe in Blake’s use of this technique, but he claims the technique does “work,” because he has tried it (“Correction”). We are curious to know what he means by “work” and to see the results. Are his registrations acceptable or perfect and without any traces of the second pull?

13. We do not know the exact recipe for Blake’s colors, but we know that the vehicle was glue and/or gum and not oil (pace Frederick Tatham; see Gilchrist 1:376 and Tatham’s letter in Rossetti 16). At least one large color-print drawing has gum as the medium in which its colors were suspended (see Essick, Printmaker 131, 259-60). Additives like honey and ox gall (replaced today by glycerin and wetting agents) impart moistness, prevent extreme caking and drying, and improve the uniform flow of paints on surfaces, while whiting adds body to the color (Mayer 300). The quality of the pigments and the size of the particles to which they are ground also affect the behavior of the colors. Blake’s pigments in color printing appear not to have been ground very finely.

14. Butlin does not explicitly say so, but he implies that the large color prints were printed in two pulls, first in outline and then in colors. In earlier statements, he implies that Blake used both a two-pull and a one-pull procedure: “In some cases, such as God Judging Adam, Blake seems to have printed a monochrome outline of his design before over-printing it in his tacky, tempera-like medium, a process akin to that used in the colour-printed examples of his books. . . . In others only colour-printing can be detected” (Paintings and Drawings 1:156). He makes the same point in his “Physicality” essay (4-5).

15. The outline may also have been drawn in watercolor and covered over in a thin film of transparent varnish or gum Arabic, which would prevent it from printing and assist in transferring colors from the support. Gum Arabic is used in this manner today in printing monotypes in watercolors. Millboard, the thick kind used in binding books, would have to be sealed with a glue or gesso to prevent the watercolors from being absorbed into the board. The idea that the patterns in the gesso may have contributed to the spongy appearance of the color print or parts of it was suggested to Viscomi by Beth Grabowski, Professor of Art at the University of North Carolina, who teaches printmaking. To test this hypothesis, impressions from the same board color printed in 1795 and c. 1804-1805 would need to be examined minutely. Identical patterns of reticulation in two such examples would suggest that they were produced by the surface structure of the gesso on the board.

16. It is interesting to note that Blake provided his chief patron, Thomas Butts, with a set of the large color-print drawings in 1805, some printed on paper dated 1804, and a copy of Songs of Innocence and of Experience (copy E) in 1806. In the latter case, he returned to sets of impressions printed 1789, c. 1794, and 1795 and finished them in watercolors and pen and ink. With the color prints, he did something very similar. Instead of executing new images, he returned to his series of painted boards executed in 1795 and repainted some of them to produce new impressions, dating them “1795” in pen and ink.