[BLAKE, William]. VIRGIL, Publius Maro. The Pastorals of Virgil, with a course of English reading, adapted for schools ... by Robert John Thornton. London: J. McGowan for F.C. Rivington and others, 1821.
2 volumes, 12o (173 x 104 mm). Wood and steel-engraved plates and illustrations, printed with up to five plates to a page, some leaves printed recto and verso, 27 BY OR AFTER WILLIAM BLAKE, 3 engraved maps, 2 folding (occasional light browning and minor spotting). Contemporary green-stained calf, front covers gilt-stamped with bust of John Colet, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral and founder of St Paul's School, in 1509, gilt spine, edges uncut (tiny repairs to spine ends, a few very minor spots and scuffs). Provenance: "Presented by George Palmer Esqr, Surveyor Accountant to St. Paul's School, to [name deleted] as a reward for diligence and as an encouragement to future exertion", dated 6 May 1822.
A fine copy of the third edition of Thornton's translation and the FIRST EDITION WITH PLATES BY BLAKE. Following criticisms of Blake's work, and despite the praise of Sir Thomas Lawrence, James Ward, Linnell and others, Thornton included the following explanation beneath the frontispiece to the imitation of Eclogue I: "The illustrations of this English Pastoral are by the famous Blake, the illustrator of Young's Night Thoughts and Blair's Grave; who designed and engraved them himself. This is mentioned, as they display less of art than genius, and are much admired by some eminent painters". Bentley 504.