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Blake Archive: color-printed drawings

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The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication this week of electronic editions of Blake's 12 large color printed drawings, designed and first printed in 1795. They are presented in our Preview mode, one that provides all the features of the Archive except Image Search and Inote (our image annotation program). They can be found in the Archive by moving through the following categories: Works in the Archive, Non-Illuminated Materials, Separate Prints and Prints in Series, and Color Printed Drawings.

Blake's 12 large color prints are often considered to be his greatest works as a pictorial artist. Both their sublime imagery and Blake's printmaking technique evolved out of his illuminated books of 1790-95. Although at least one of the designs, God Judging Adam, shows evidence of having been printed from a copperplate etched in relief, the other 11 subjects were probably printed from the unetched surfaces of copperplates or millboards (a thick cardboard). No more than 3 impressions from any one printing matrix are extant. At least 2 of the designs, and probably a good many others, were reprinted c. 1805. As with the illuminated books, each impression of the same basic image is different due to variations--some purposeful, some accidental--in both printing and hand-coloring. The selection of 23 impressions presented here includes at least one impression of each design. All 4 versions of Pity, including the small version printed from a different matrix, are included.

Modern scholars have interpreted the connections among the designs and their iconography, but no interpretation has become definitive. It seems as though the 12 subjects are not a series with a fixed sequence, but rather a group of designs centered upon images of the fallen world. Within that general group are a few companion prints, such as Elohim Creating Adam and Satan Exulting over Eve, associated in subject, design, or both. The textual sources for the images range from the Bible to Shakespeare, Milton, and Blake's own poetic mythologies of the mid-1790s.

As always, the William Blake Archive is a free site, imposing no access restrictions and charging no subscription fees. The site is made possible through the continuing support of the Library of Congress, the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, by a major grant from the Preservation and Access Division of the National Endowment for the Humanities, by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and by the cooperation of the international array of libraries and museums that have generously given us permission to reproduce works from their collections in the Archive.

Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, editors
Andrea Laue, technical editor
The William Blake Archive

BARS Website

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The BARS (British Association for Romantic Studies) website is now online at

The site features information about BARS conferences, calls for papers for other Romantic-period conferences, reviews from back issues of the BARS Bulletin & Review, a designated postgraduate section, information of BARS grants and bursaries, and as a list of useful links.

The site also includes a 'For Members' section, which can only be accessed by BARS members by means of individual usernames and passwords. This section of the site contains details of current projects and publications in the field, a list of the research interests of BARS members, details of whether you are up-to-date with your BARS subs, and as a list of subject-specific resources.

There is also a downloadable application form for those who wish to join BARS on the site.

Please send any content you wish to appear on the website to the moderators Sharon Ruston and Simon Kövesi

British Fiction, 1800–1829

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Charles E. Robinson has just brought to our attention an important new Website entitled "British Fiction, 1800–1829: A Database of Production, Circulation, and Reception."

Produced in Cardiff University’s Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, the site "allows users to examine bibliographical records of 2,272 works of fiction written by approximately 900 authors, along with a large number of contemporary materials (including anecdotal records, circulating-library catalogues, newspaper advertisements, reviews, and subscription lists)."

You can find the British Fiction Website at


New Byron Society Websites

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The Byron Society of America is pleased to announce two new Websites: one for the Byron Society of America; and the other for the Byron Society Collection at the University of Delaware.

Please go to where you will find a splash page or gateway to both sites, from each of which you can easily negotiate to the other.

In the Byron Society Website, you will encounter such things as membership benefits and forms, a history of recent Byron papers at the MLA, a list of the first five Leslie A. Marchand Memorial Lectures (with McGann's lecture available in full text and with others to follow, including the wonderful lecture that Romulus Linney delivered this past Friday), and application forms for travel grants for graduate students.

In the Collection website, you will encounter Byron images and text that will lead you to such things as a donor page, a yet-to-be-developed book-sale page, and a catalogue of many of the items in the Collection, including books, booklets, busts, conference proceedings, engravings, exhibition catalogues, lithographs, manuscripts, sale catalogues, and much else.

We hope that you will use, enjoy, and learn from these websites, both of which will be further developed over the next few months.

Charles E. Robinson, Executive Director
Byron Society of America

Blake Archive: Visions of the Daughters of Albion

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The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of electronic editions of Visions of the Daughters of Albion, copy A (British Museum) and proof copy a (Library of Congress). Like all the illuminated books in the Archive, both the texts and images of these new publications are fully searchable and are supported by our Inote and ImageSizer applications.

Like copies C and J, previously published in the Archive, copy A was produced in Blake's first printing session for Visions in 1793. Probably to lend variety to his stock of copies on hand, Blake used three ink colors in this first printing: yellow ochre (as in copy A), raw sienna (copy C), and green (copy J). All three copies exemplify his use of semi-transparent washes to color his illuminated books in the early 1790s. Like several other illuminated books in the British Museum collection, the leaves of copy A are mounted close to the image in windows cut in thick paper. The inner edges of these mounts appear in some of our reproductions.

Proof copy a is an unusual, and probably fragmentary, remnant of Blake's typical proofing of his illuminated prints in black ink (which takes on a brownish hue when thinly printed). This group of just 6 proofs was printed in 1793; they are probably the earliest extant impressions of Visions of the Daughters of Albion. All but the frontispiece and title page have been trimmed within the platemarks to the designs only. Blake very probably printed the entire plates, to check the progress of his work, and a later owner was responsible for trimming off the texts. Yet, even if reduced after they left Blake's hands, these impressions offer a glimpse into his etching and printing methods.

Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, editors
Andrea Laue, technical editor
The William Blake Archive