William Blake

Composition Sketch. Verso: Standing Figure Holding a Spear


Not on display

William Blake 1757–1827
Graphite on paper. Verso: graphite on paper
Support: 508 × 370 mm
Presented by Mrs John Richmond 1922

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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