William Blake Composition Sketch. Verso: Standing Figure Holding a Spear ?c.1805–10

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Artwork details

Artist
William Blake 1757–1827
Title
Composition Sketch. Verso: Standing Figure Holding a Spear
Date ?c.1805–10
Medium Graphite on paper. Verso: graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 508 x 370 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Mrs John Richmond 1922
Reference
A00048
Not on display

Catalogue entry

A00048 Composition Sketch c.1805–10 (recto)
Standing Figure Holding a Spear c.1805–10(?) (verso)

A 00048 / B 587
Pencil 405×340 (16×13 1/2) on paper 508×370 (20×14 9/16); the drawing on the verso is upside down
Inscribed on recto by Frederick Tatham ‘William Blake Frederick Tatham’ b.r. Presented by Mrs John Richmond 1922
PROVENANCE Mrs Blake; Frederick Tatham; his brother-in-law George Richmond, sold Christie's 29 April 1897 (in 147 with 22 other items; see no.2) £2.10.0 bt Dr Richard Sisley; his daughter Mrs John Richmond
LITERATURE Butlin 1981, pp.446–7 no.587, pls.821 and 822

In style the two drawings on this sheet resemble those on N00043, N00033 and N00049. This suggests that the recto could be a study for one of the biblical watercolours painted for Thomas Butts, but it is difficult to identify the subject. The small figure with arms outstretched is shown standing before a larger figure, both being seen within an oval frame of swooping angels similar to those in ‘Christ Offers to Redeem Man’ in both the 1807 and 1808 series of illustrations to Paradise Lost (Huntington Library and Boston Museum respectively, Butlin 1981, nos.5293 and 5363, colour pls.634 and 647).

This work was formerly inventoried by the Tate Gallery as no.3694 xxi.


Published in:
Martin Butlin, William Blake 1757-1827, Tate Gallery Collections, V, London 1990

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