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William Blake. 1757-1827.

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Job's Comforters. 'And When They Lifted Up Their Eyes Afar Off'. 1823-25. Engraving. Binyon 112.ii; Bindman 632. Image 7 11/16 x 5 7/8; plate 8 5/8 x 6 3/4; sheet 14 7/16 x 10 5/8. Series: Illustrations of The Book of Job, #7. From the original edition of 315 (published by John Linnell in 1826, printed on on 'J WHATMAN TURKEY MILL 1925' drawing paper. A superb, richly-inked impression printed on the full sheet. Signed and dated in the plate. $3,500.

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Then a Spirit Passed Before My Face the Hair of My Flesh Stood Up. (Job iv.15) 1823-25. Engraving. 1823-25. Binyon 114.iii; Bindman 634. Image 8 1/16 x 6; plate 8 9/16 x 6 11/16; sheet 18 1/4 x 13 1/28. Series: Illustrations of The Book of Job, #9. From the 1874 edition of 100 published by John Linnell, printed on laid India paper mounted on white wove paper (after the previous editions totaling 315). A superb, richly-inked impression printed on the full sheet. Signed and dated in the plate. $3,000.

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The Wrath of Elihu: 'I Am Young, And Ye Are Very Old, Wherefore I Was Afraid.'1825. Engraving. Binyon 117.ii, Bindman 637. Image 7 7/8 x 5 15/16; plate 8 5/8 x 6 5/8; sheet 17 3/4 x 12 3/4. Series: Illustrations of The Book of Job, #12. From the 1874 edition of 100 published by John Linnell, printed on laid India paper mounted on white wove paper (after the previous editions totaling 315). A superb, richly-inked impression printed on the full sheet. Signed and dated in the plate. $3,000.

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The Creation: 'When the Morning Stars Sang Together and all the Sons of God Shouted for Joy'. 1823. Engraving. Binyon 119.iii; Bindman 639. Image 7 5/8 x 5 7/8; plate 8 1/8 x 6 1/2; sheet 16 1/2 x 12 1/4. Series: Illustrations of The Book of Job, #14. From the 1874 edition of 100 published by John Linnell, printed on laid India paper mounted on white wove paper (after the previous editions totaling 315). A superb, richly-inked impression printed on the full sheet. Signed and dated in the plate. $3,000.

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Blake's friend the artist John Linnell saw this publication as a means of providing the aging Blake with an income. "Blake had produced for Butts a series of nineteen watercolour illustrations to the book of Job in 1805-6. Linnell traced these in September 1821; Blake later coloured the tracings and added two more designs. This work provided the basis for the contract, signed by Linnell and Blake on 25 March 1823, to engrave the Job illustrations. The commission provided Blake an income of about £1 a week from 1823 through 1825" ( Although the plates are dated March 1825, they were not actually printed until March 1826. Of the "Proof" sets, Bentley records 150 on "India paper" (mounted on sheets watermarked J. Whatman Turkey Mill 1825), and 65 on "French paper" (with the watermark J. Whatman 1825). The word "Proof" was then removed from the lower right corner of the plates, although it remains faintly visible on several, and 100 sets were printed on "drawing paper".

Blake’s original copperplates remained in the possession of the Linnell family, and as late as 1863, Linnell was offering for sale sets of the India-paper and French-paper issues. By 1874 these must have been sold, as in 1874, eight years before his death, Linnell authorised a further hundred sets to be printed to allow each member of his family to have a copy . The plates were printed on India paper mounted on sturdy white wove paper. Linnell's son wrote "My father considered the plates at the last [1874] were as good as they ever were, for the work being cut by a graver, and not etched, it is durable- and is not worn by the printing as is the case with an etching." After Linnell's death the plates were given to the British Museum on the understanding that no further copies should be printed. The plates are now in the British Museum.

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Allinson Gallery Index.

British Fine Prints.

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