<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
Blake, William, 1757–1827

The illustrations of William Blake for Thornton's Virgil : with the first Eclogue and the Imitation by Ambrose Philips / the introduction by Geoffrey Keynes.

Additional Title(s):

Half-title: William Blake's wood-engravings

London : The Nonesuch Press, 1937.
Plaistow : The Curwen Press, [1937]
Physical Description:
38, [14] pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
NE1217.B6 K49 1937+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.

Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Publisher's pagination includes the image-bearing side of plates, but not the reverse sides.
"The woodcuts were first reproduced and published by Thomas B. Mosher, Portland, Maine in 1899. They were reproduced again, with an introduction by Lawrence Binyon, for the Unicorn Press, London, in 1902. Enlarged facsimiles in platinotype were made by Frederic H. Evans and issued privately in 1912. The two sheets of proofs were reproduced side-by-side with the prints as they appeared in the book in the Burlington magazine, December, 1920."
"This edition, printed at the Curwen Press, is limited to one thousand copies."--Verso of title page.
Dreyfus, J. History of the Nonesuch Press, 110
SML,AOB (X178 N73 Z937K): Imperfect: plates in pocket wanting.
SML,AOB Jn18 224p "is number 22."
BEIR Jn18 224p copy 2 "is number 498."
BAC: British Art Center copy is numbers 886 of 1000. Bound in grey and white patterned cloth. The set of engravings have been removed to a separate folder.
Twenty woodcuts illustrating Ambrose Philips' Imitation of Eclogue I in the Pastorals of Virgil ... By Robert John Thornton. 3d edition London, 1821. All were engraved by Blake with 3 exceptions which were re-engraved from his designs by another hand.
"Blake's woodblocks appear in the text of the book in groups of four, as they did in Thornton's Virgil. This folder contains a set of prints, each subject on a separate page. A comparison of these prints taken direct from electrotypes of the woodblocks with the photographic process reproductions of the blocks in their original state printed at the end of the text will show (a) how much was cut off the blocks by the printers of Thornton's Virgil, and (b) the poor printing (a little exagerated in reproduction) of the proofs ascribed to Blake himself, which obscures the beauty of his work as it is now revealed for the first time."--Folded sheet inclosing the set of prints. The set is printed on Japon vellum and inserted in pocket on rear pastedown.
Subject Terms:
Blake, William, 1757-1827.
Private press books -- England -- London -- Specimens.
Virgil. Bucolica. I -- Illustrations.
Private press books (Publishing) -- England -- London.
Photomechanical prints -- 1937.
Keynes, Geoffrey, 1887-1982, writer of introduction.
Philips, Ambrose, 1674-1749, author.
Blake, William, 1757-1827, illustrator.
Thornton, Robert John, 1768?-1837.
Virgil. Bucolica.
Nonesuch Press, publisher.
Curwen Press, printer.

  • Introduction
  • The first Eclogue of Virgil
  • Ambrose Philips's Imitation of Eclogue I, with Blake's illustrations
  • Proofs of eight of Blake's blocks in their original state
  • Sixteen of Blake's pencil designs for the wood-engravings.

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.