London: R. Noble, 1797. William Blake. First Edition. Large quarto, viii, , 95,  pages; with 43 full-page engravings by Blake after his own designs surrounding the letterpress text. Half red hard grain morocco, gilt on the spine, gilt edges, marbled endpapers, a.e.g. “Explanation” leaf mounted at the front (lightly foxed), 1874 prospectus mounted at the back; slightly trimmed for gilding, stain at foot of p. viii, slight offsetting as often from the plates, slight mark at the top right corner of the first few leaves (from the turning of pages). Occasional other marks - 1cm diameter mark at the foot of the inner margin pp88 through to the end, and three light smudges of what appears to be light brown ink at the foot of p.95. Generally a very good copy. Very good. Item #23
First edition with Blake’s illustrations, complete with the leaf of “Explanations” and with the extremely rare prospectus and specimen leaf at the back dated London: James Bain, 1874, soliciting subscriptions for sets of the original watercolours in reproduction (never issued). “A few sets are struck off for private distribution”. Bentley (Blake Books p. 646) records one known copy (at Rosenbach). First advertised as a four part work with 150 engravings, only the first part appeared, with four out of nine nights. According to Bentley the edition may have been small for, "the book had become excessivley scarce by 1810, according to Crabb Robnson (Blake Records 441)" (BB, p638). Bentley, Blake Books, 515. Bindman, Complete Graphic Works of Blake, 357-379.