Robert Blake

The Preaching of Warning. Verso: An Old Man Enthroned Between Two Groups of Figures, by ?William Blake


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Robert Blake 1762–1787
Graphite on paper. Verso: graphite on paper
Support: 343 × 467 mm
Presented by Mrs John Richmond 1922

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Blake’s younger brother Robert also aspired to be an artist, and probably attended the Royal Academy schools as well. Very few of his drawings are known. However, this design suggests a similar interest in big gestures and simplified compositions.

Gallery label, October 2019

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Catalogue entry

A00003 The Preaching of Warning (recto)
Possibly by William Blake: An Old Man Enthroned between Two Groups of Figures (verso)

A 00003 / B R6
Pencil 342×466 (13 5/16×18 3/4)
Inscribed on recto by Frederick Tatham ‘These sublime lines by William Blake - The preaching of warning - vouched by Fredk. 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, p.622 no.R6, pls.1179 and 1180

Despite Tatham's attribution to William Blake, Sir Geoffrey Keynes suggested that the drawing might be by Robert in a letter of 23 October 1926. The recto is close in style and apparent subject to the ‘Druid Grove’ in the Keynes collection (Butlin 1981, no.R4, colour pl.176).

The drawing on the verso seems to depict a ruler enthroned with two seated counsellors on the left while four other figures converse in a huddle on the right. The style of the right-hand group of figures is much more relaxed than in most works thought to be by Robert, though those on the left are close to A00002 and A00004.

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

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

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