London: 1821. 2 vols., small 8vo, xii (lacking vii/viii), 12, xxiv ( lacking i - iv), 214 pp; [I], -592 pp. With an engraved frontispiece to each volume, and 230 illustrations including 17 woodcuts and 6 engraved plates by Blake, and four other designs by Blake engraved by others. Original sheep rebacked to style, in a quarter calf box (just starting to show wear at the corners). The first volume is nearly fine internally with just the occasional fox make and offsetting from prints, the second volume is very good but with more age toning throughout. Item #22
Internally a very good copy beautifully rebacked of a scarce work in any condition as it was issued for use in schools. Blake contributed 17 woodcuts to this volume (as well as 10 other plates, of which he engraved six) which were not well received; nor were they well treated by the publisher who cut down the blocks and printed them poorly. Only a few proofs before they were trimmed are now extant. These blocks have remained amongst the most influential woodcuts in the history of British art and their influence can be seen from Calvert and Palmer all the way up to the present day. The blocks were saved by Linnell and were printed not long after Blake's death as separate impressions (perhaps by Calvert), and again in 1977 as a set by Iain Bain. Any impressions are now very hard to find. For a full discussion of this wonderful book, see Essick's masterly monograph A Troubled Paradise... (San Francisco: John Windle, 1999). Bentley, Blake Books, 504. Bindman 602-18. Easson and Essick I, X. “They are visions of little dells and nooks and corners of paradise, models of the exquisitest pitch of intense poetry... such a mystic and dreamy glimmer as penetrates the inmost soul” Samuel Palmer.