The Complaint and the Consolation; or, Night Thoughts
London: Printed by R. Noble, for R. Edwards, 1797. Very Good +. Item #14226
London: Printed by R. Noble, for R. Edwards, 1797. First Thus. Large quarto; new three-quarter calf to style over marbled boards, gilt-lettered spine, retaining original flyleaves; viii,,95pp.; thirty-nine (39) engravings in margins of text, four (4) full-page engraved section titles. Some brief foxing to endpapers and occasional offsetting from engravings, else a Very Good or better, trimmed copy in attractive new binding bound in period style. Laid in contemporary manuscript bifolium in a neat hand translating into French the "Explanation of the Engravings" (pp. [ix-x]).
One of Blake's masterpieces, unrecognized for its merit in his lifetime. Commissioned during an especially prolific era of his life while living in Lambeth, this illustrated edition of Edward Young's hugely popular and esteemed poem inspired the artist to paint nothing less than 537 watercolors for the project, of which two hundred were originally slated for engraving. Instead, the work was an instant commercial failure and only four of the poem's nine books made it into print. Subsequently, only forty-three illustrations were ever engraved in Blake's lifetime. Not until 2005 did all 537 illustrations make it into print, in the Folio Society's two-volume facsimile edition. (See DNB II, p. 644, for additional information.)