A Blake drawing rediscovered and redated - Tate Research Repository
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A Blake drawing rediscovered and redated



William Michael Rossetti’s “Annotated Lists of Blake’s Paintings, Drawings and Engravings,” added as an appendix to Alexander Gilchrist’s The Life of William Blake, 1863, and revised for the second edition of 1880, are invaluable in listing Blake’s works when they were still in the hands of a relatively small number of owners, and in helping identify particular works through the almost naive specificality of some of his descriptions. However, unless the work is actually dated (and not even then in every case), Rossetti rarely gives any indication as to the period of a work, nor of its connection to any specific series of designs or set of illustrations. Remarks such as “A sketch for a design afterwards executed” is tantalizing to say the least (1863, p. 247, list 2, no. 78, and 1880, p. 266, list 2, no. 103; this drawing, listed as untraced in my catalogue, Martin Butlin, The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake, 1981, pp. 455-56, no. 610, has still not been identified). Hence it is not altogether unforgivable that the drawing entitled by Rossetti “The Last Trumpet” (illus. 1: see cover) should have been listed by me as a possible illustration to [Robert] Blair’s The Grave, “c.


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