- Museum number
- Series: The First Book of Urizen
Copy D, plate 1: title-page; a bearded gowned male (probably Urizen) sitting examining a colourful book, apparently following his place with his right foot; on either side, he rests a hand on stone tablets; more tablets behind, and a willow tree framing the image and title. 1794
Colour relief etching predominantly in brown, blue, black and pink, with hand colouring
- Production date
Height: 147 millimetres
Width: 102 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- "The First Book of Urizen" is an illuminated book comprised of 28 colour-printed relief etchings. Seven copies are in existence, but only copies A and B include all of the plates, and the plate order varies in the different copies. Compared with Blake's other illuminated books, "Urizen" contains a very high proportion of full-page illustrations, nine in copy D and ten altogether. It also contains a high proportion of plates that include text but are dominated by illustration.
In copy D, many plates are heavily colour-printed and finished with hand colouring to provide fine detail and additional colours. The textual parts are always printed in orange-brown, and are sometimes re-touched by hand in red to clarify the lettering. The designs of vegetation that decorate much of the text are often printed in green. Each sheet is numbered in brown ink in the top right corner, and the sheets measure approximately 261 x 180 mm. Sheets are watermarked 1794 J WHATMAN. On many of the sheets, the original stitching holes are clearly visible.
"The First Book of Urizen" was never followed by a second book; in copy G, printed later in about 1818, the word "First" was not printed in the title.
In the British Museum's collection, other impressions of plates from "The First Book of Urizen", printed without the text, can be found in the Large and Small Books of Designs (1856,0209.417 - 447). There is also a single plate from "The First Book of Urizen" in the collection: see reg. no. 1874,1212,145.
For reproductions of copies A, C, F and G of "Urizen" (owned by the Yale Center for British Art, the Houghton Library and the Library of Congress), together with descriptions of those copies, textual transcriptions and a bibliography, see Eaves, Morris; Essick, Robert; Viscomi, Joseph (eds.), The William Blake Archive (www.blakearchive.org).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2000/1 Nov-Feb, London, Tate Britain, 'William Blake'
2007 April-May, Hull, Ferens AG (Sth Bank Tour), Blake
2007/8 Nov-Jan, Glasgow, Burrell Coll (Sth Bank Tour), Blake
2008 Jan-April, Manchester, Whitworth AG (Sth Bank Tour), Blake
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Palgrave sold this copy of "Urizen" to the British Museum along with copy D of "Europe" and copy A of "Milton".
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number