File /Humanist.vol22.txt, message 140

Date:         Fri, 25 Jul 2008 06:16:12 +0100
From: Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty-AT-MCCARTY.ORG.UK>
Subject: 22.139 new on WWW: update to the Blake Archive
To: humanist-AT-Princeton.EDU

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 139.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to:

         Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 06:14:00 +0100
         From: Humanist Discussion Group <>
         Subject: Update to the William Blake Archive

24 July 2008

The William Blake Archive <> is pleased to announce
the publication of electronic editions of Blake's illustrations to John
Milton's "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity" and _Paradise Lost_ [go
to Archive/Works/Drawings and Paintings/Water Color Drawings]. The six
"Nativity Ode" water colors were acquired, and probably commissioned, by
Thomas Butts in about 1815. This series is now in the Huntington Library
and Art Gallery. The group of three _Paradise Lost_ water colors was
acquired, and almost certainly commissioned, by John Linnell in 1822.
The first two designs are now in the National Gallery of Victoria; the
third is in the Fitzwilliam Museum. Both sets are presented in our
Preview mode, one that provides all the features of the Archive except
Image Search and Inote (our image annotation program). With this
publication, the Archive now contains all nine of Blake's series of
water colors illustrating Milton's poetry.

Blake had created six "Nativity Ode" illustrations for the Rev. Joseph
Thomas in 1809. Blake repeated the same basic designs, with many minor
but intriguing variations, in the Butts set presented here. When sold at
auction in 1852, the water colors were accompanied by the poem, or
possibly only the passages illustrated, in manuscript. This text,
possibly in Blake's hand, is now untraced. In comparison to the earlier
series, the Butts water colors are more highly finished and show careful
attention to interior modeling and detailed coloring.

Blake produced twelve _Paradise Lost_ water colors for Thomas in 1807
and a similar set of twelve for Butts in 1808. It may have been Blake's
intention to execute another set of twelve illustrations for Linnell,
but only the three extant designs are known. They are based on the
fourth, eighth, and eleventh illustrations in the Butts series. In
comparison to these models, the Linnell water colors show an increased
emphasis on dramatic lighting, particularly evident in the radiance
surrounding Christ in the third design, "Michael Foretells the
Crucifixion." The Job engravings, commissioned by Linnell in 1823, show
a similarly masterful use of intense illumination.

As always, the William Blake Archive is a free site, imposing no access
restrictions and charging no subscription fees. The site is made
possible by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the
cooperation of the international array of libraries and museums that
have generously given us permission to reproduce works from their
collections in the Archive.

Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, editors Ashley Reed,
project manager, William Shaw, technical editor The William Blake

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