BLAKE, William (1757-1827). Illustrations of the Book of Job. London: William Blake, '1825' [but ?1874].
Broadsheet 8° plates (210 x 159mm). Engraved title and 21 plates by and after Blake, mounted on 2° broadsheets 502 x 341mm, the word 'Proof' just visible on plates 5, 8, 10-14, 18, and 20-21, and the letterpress label 'ILLUSTRATIONS , OF THE , Book of Job, , ...', printed in an edition of 500 copies in 1826 to accompany the plates. (Scattered, very light spotting, affecting plates 14 and 19 particularly, label slightly creased at edges.) Loose as issued, in a nineteenth century gilt olive crushed morocco-backed portfolio, with gilt morocco lettering-piece on upper cover (spine of portfolio faded).
ONE OF 100 SETS ON INDIA, pulled from the original plates in by Linnell 1874. These remarkable illustrations were engraved by Blake and John Linnell after designs he had drawn circa 1810, and were printed in 4 series during the 19th century: a first set of 150 'proof' copies on india paper, 1826; a second set of 65 'proof' copies on French paper, 1826; 100 sets on drawing paper, with the word 'Proof' erased from the plates, 1826; and finally, 100 sets on india, mounted on heavy paper, 1874 (to which issue the present set belongs).
John Linnell junior wrote to Bernard Quaritch in 1892 that, after the 1826 printings, his father 'put the plates away, & they were never used again after this time until the year 1874. At this time my father wishing to have some prints [i.e. not proofs] of the Job to offer for sale, he had 100 copies printed from the plates upon india paper ... The above named impressions, taken at the two dates specified [i.e. 1826 and 1874], are all that have been taken from the plates, of the Job. My father considered the plates at the last were as good as they ever were, for the work being cut by a graver, and not etched, it is durable--and is not worn by the printing as is the case with an etching' (Bentley Blake Books p.523). Bentley Blake Books 421.