The Complaint and the Consolation; or, Night Thoughts

Various artists/makers

Not on view

About 1795 the bookseller Richard Edwards commissioned Blake to illustrate Edward Young's "Night Thoughts," a poem with nine sections. This large commission impacted his art and poetry, shaping his own prophetic poem "Vala or The Four Zoas" and, when the project proved a commercial failure, encouraging him to leave London and move to the seaside village of Felpham. When he received the commission, Blake made five hundred and thirty-seven watercolor drawings around pages of the first edition of Young's poem, inlaid into album sheets. He then engraved forty-three which were published as first installment in 1797. The public did not respond to Blake's novel imagery, sales proved minimal and the remaining sections never appeared, making the pages of this volume a fascinating fragment of a much larger intended whole.

The Complaint and the Consolation; or, Night Thoughts, William Blake (British, London 1757–1827 London), Illustrations: etching and engraving

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