William Blake

Plate 4 of ‘Visions of the Daughters of Albion’

c.1795

Artist
William Blake 1757–1827
Medium
Relief etching, ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 75 x 115 mm
frame: 332 x 294 x 18 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased with the assistance of a special grant from the National Gallery and donations from the Art Fund, Lord Duveen and others, and presented through the the Art Fund 1919
Reference
N03374

Display caption

The design shown here occupies the top part of a page in Visions of the Daughters of Albion. It illustrates lines from an earlier page: 'Why does my Theotormon sit weeping upon the threshhold: / And Oothoon hovers by his side, perswading him in vain:'. In the frontispiece, shown above, the female Oothoon can also be seen, with her lover Theotormon crouched in despair. In the book the daughters of Albion - the women of England - are described as 'enslav'd' and weeping. This sentiment can be associated with Mary Wollstonecraft's book A Vindication of the Rights of Women, 1792.

Gallery label, October 2001

Catalogue entry

N03374 Plate 4 of Visions of the Daughters of Albion 1793/c.1795

N 03374 / B 265
Colour-printed relief etching finished in ink and watercolour 75 × 115 (2 7/8×4 5/8) on paper 282 × 245 (11 1/4×9 5/8)
Purchased with the assistance of a special grant from the National Gallery and donations from the National Art-Collections Fund, Lord Duveen and others, and presented through the National Art-Collections Fund 1919
PROVENANCE John Linnell, sold Christie's 15 March 1918 (175) £17.17.0 bt Martin for presentation to the Tate Gallery
EXHIBITED Paris and Vienna 1937 (5)
LITERATURE Damon 1924, p.333; Wright 1929, 11, p.18; Erdman in Warburg Journal, XV, 1952, p.246; Keynes and Wolf 1953, pp.26, 89; Digby 1957, p.76, pl.68; Beer 1968, pp.43–4; Erdman 1969, p.233; Duerksen in Blake Newsletter, VI, 1972–3, p.72; Jackson, Murray and Duerksen in Blake Newsletter, VIII, 1974–5, pp.91–6; Bentley Blake Books, 1977, pp.471, 478; Beer in Phillips 1978, pp.211–15; Mitchell 1978, pp.66–7, 158; Butlin 1981, p.146 no.265, colour pl.338

This design fills a bit over the upper third of the page in the original book and seems to have illustrated Oothoon's lament from plate 2 (Keynes Writings 1957, p.190),

Why does my Theotormon sit weeping upon the threshold;
And Oothoon hovers by his side, perswading him in vain.


This corresponds to page 4 of the large Book of Designs in the British Museum (Butlin 1981, no.262 4, pl.365). There are two rough sketches for the composition in Blake's Notebook (Butlin 1981, no.201 50 and 92, repr. Erdman and Moore 1973).


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