London: John Linnell, March 8, 1825 [i.e. London: John Linnell, 1874]. posthumous printing. Large folio, title-page and 21 plates printed on India paper. Mounted on large sheets as issued, enclosed in a blue linen folder within a blue morocco box lettered in gilt. The box is slightly worn at the corners and with some marks on the back. Bookplate of Robert Pirie. Also enclosed is a letter to Mr Pirie from the British Museum of London dated 24th February, 1959. A very good set with minor foxing. Very good. Item #2
A very good set of the posthumous edition printed from the original plates (with the word “proof” removed) for Linnell by Holdgate Brothers. The India paper set is the best printing of these famous plates which comprise Blake’s major single achievement as a printmaker after the illuminated books. Illustrations of the Book of Job was Blake’s last completed prophetic book: the text, a series of biblical quotations, is above and below each image. “It was produced while Blake was still working on Jerusalem, his most obscure book; yet the illustrations are Blake’s most lucid; and they are the supreme example of his reading the Bible in its spiritual sense” (S. Foster Damon, A Blake Dictionary, p. 217). “The modest size of the central panels does not prevent them from ranking with the supreme masterpieces of graphic art” (Ray, Illustrator and the Book in England #8).The Holdgate brothers printed 100 sets for Mr Linnell nad the plates were not pulled again until 1919, when the copperplates went to the British Museum Print Room. Bentley, Blake Books, 421B. Bindman, Complete Graphic Works of Blake, 625–641C.