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YOUNG, Edward (1683--1765)
[Complaint, or Night-thoughts. 1797]
The complaint, and the consolation, or, night thoughts, by Edward Young.
London: printed by R. Noble, for R. Edwards, 1797.
vii, 95, [3] p. : hand-coloured illus. ; 42.5 cm. (4°)

First published in 1742; the 1777 edition is also in Soane's library (q.v.). Young's work is an epic poem in nine 'Nights' -- a nocturnal meditation on death and immortality. The publisher of the present edition, Richard Edwards, commissioned William Blake to produce 537 watercolours to illustrate the poem. Of these 150 were to be chosen and engraved by Blake for publication in four volumes. The first volume, containing 43 illustrations, was not a commercial success and no further volumes were published. The Soane copy is one of a few that were hand-coloured by either him or his widow. Digitized images of uncoloured and hand-coloured copies of Blake's illustrations can be viewed at The William Blake Archive. (Accessed 20 March 2009.). ESTC t20820.

Copy Notes There may be a connection between Soane's acquisition of the volume and an undated letter to Soane from the sculptor Frederick Tatham in the Soane Archive informing him "that at the demise of the Widow of the celebrated William Blake ... I became possessed of all the residue of his Works being Drawings Sketches and Copper Plates of a very extraordinary description" and offering "any portion of them to you at a reasonable rate. They are not now for sale nor is it likely there will be but these in my possession." (Priv. Corr. II.T.2.1; reproduced in Bolton, Portrait, p. 485). No such drawings, sketches or original coppers are in the Soane Museum.

Binding C19th half russia, gilt-ruled borders, marbled-paper boards, gilt triple-rule spine.

Reference Number 3653


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