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BLAIR, Robert (1699--1746)
[The grave, a poem. 1808]
The grave, a poem. By Robert Blair. Illustrated by twelve etchings executed from original designs.
London: printed by T. Bensley, for the proprietor, R.H. Cromek; and sold by Cadell and Davies, J. Johnson, T. Payne, J. White, Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, W. Miller, J. Murray, and Constable and Co. Edinburgh, 1808.
xiv, 36, [4] p., engr. frontis. port., [12] etch. pl. ; 35.8 cm. (4°)

Blair's poem in blank verse was first published in 1743. The twelve plates illustrating this edition (pl. X 'The Reunion of Soul, and Body' serves as a title-plate) were etched by Luigi Schiavonetti (1765--1810) from designs by William Blake (1757--1827), who also composed the dedication in verse 'To The Queen.' Blake's designs were submitted for the approval of Benjamin West PRA and ten other Royal Academicians before the editor and proprietor of this edition, R.H. Cromek (1770-1812) was prepared to have them engraved. The Keeper of the Royal Academy, Henry Fuseli RA (1741-1825), contributed 'remarks on the moral worth and picturesque dignity of the Designs' (pp. xiii--[xiv]). The portrait of Blake was engraved by Schiavonetti from a painting by Thomas Phillips RA (1770--1845). The list of subscribers, of whom Soane was one, includes twenty-five members of the Royal Academy. The title-plate is captioned 'Subscribers' Copy' at the extreme bottom right. The final [4] pages contain a prospectus by Cromek for publishing a print by Schiavonetti after Thomas Stothard's painting of 'The Procession of Chaucer's Pilgrims to Canterbury'. Another edition with Blake's illustrations was published by Rudolph Ackermann in 1813 with the addition of unsigned 'biographical sketches' of Blair, Schiavonetti and Cromek. For further details of this book's publishing history see R. Essick & M.D. Paley, 'The printing of Blake's Designs for Blair's Grave', The Book Collector, Winter 1975; and Gordon N. Ray, The illustrator and the book in England, 6. Hooked on Books 7.3.

Binding Original C19th brown paper spine and boards, printed paper label reading 'Blake's Illustrations of Blair's Grave, Engraved by Schiavonetti. 13 Plates - Price 2l. 12s. 6d.'

Reference Number 1708


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