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William Blake. 1757-1827.

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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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"Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly?' (Job iv: 17-18)

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Blake began training his younger brother Robert in drawing, painting, and engraving. Robert fell ill during the winter of 1787 and succumbed, probably to consumption. As Robert died, Blake saw his brother's spirit rise up through the ceiling, "clapping its hands for joy." He believed that Robert's spirit continued to visit him and later claimed that in a dream Robert taught him the printing method that he used in Songs of Innocence and other "illuminated" works.

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“This,” says Mr. Rossetti, “is among the grandest of the series. Eliphaz the Temanite is telling Job of the thing that was secretly brought to him in the visions of the night; and above we are shown the matter of his words,—the spirit which passed before his face; all blended in a wondrous partition of light, cloud, and mist of light.”

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