Trianon Press, 1972. 3 volumes, folio, with 116 colour facsimile leaves reproduced by collotype and hand-stencil colour, the text of the poems reproduced from copperplate with 3 additional printings to reproduce Blake’s pencilings and the tone of the paper. Marbled boards, morocco spines, slipcases, a fine set as issued. Fine. Item #35
This is 208 of 351 copies numbered 37- 388; a further 100 copies (389-489) were reserved for Paul Mellon. Deluxe copies numbered 1-36 were issued unbound in portfolio with extra material.
In this, one of Blake’s most extravagant tours de force, he took Gray’s poems as a springboard for epic watercolours. Mounting the text on a large sheet, he painted all around the margins some of his most powerful and striking designs. The illustrations to a poem on the death of a favourite cat drowned in a goldfish bowl, for example, are a classic example of his visionary powers transcending the prosaic. The Trianon Press reproductions are recognized as the finest examples of the art of facsimile reproduction; working from the originals in Paul Mellon’s collection, each leaf is faithfully hand-collared through stencils to achieve an astonishing exactitude. The Times Literary Supplement stated that nothing like these books had ever been printed before and that it was highly unlikely that they could be printed again. Bentley, Blake Books, 385.