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This is a sketch for a design which Blake made for an edition of Robert Blair’s poem The Grave. This was published in 1808. Against Blake's wishes the illustrations to the book, shown in a display case in the centre of the room, were engraved after Blake’s designs by Luigi Schiavonetti.

In the engraving the figure of the hovering soul is the same as in this drawing. However, the print shows the dying man, who has led such a self-indulgent life, lying on his back without the lyre and wreath.

September 2004