- Museum number
- Series: Europe: a Prophecy
Copy D, plate 1, frontispiece: "The Ancient of Days"; a bearded nude male (probably Urizen) crouching in a heavenly sphere, its light partially covered by clouds; his left arm holding a pair of compasses and reaching down with them, measuring the surrounding darkness. 1794
Colour relief etching and white-line etching in blue, black, red and yellow; with added hand colouring.
- Production date
Height: 233 millimetres
Width: 168 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- "Europe: a Prophecy" follows on from Blake's "America", although chronologically it describes an earlier history. "Europe" examines the destructive effects of a repressive Christianity on society.
"Europe" is an illuminated book comprised of 17 relief etchings. In this early copy, they are printed recto/verso. Nine copies are in existence, and the plate order varies: some late copies include an extra plate.
In copy D, plates are colour-printed and finished with hand colouring, sometimes adding details not on the plates. There is textual decoration throughout, which is only described when particularly plentiful. The text and much of the design is printed in a bluish green ink throughout, except in plate 7 when orange-brown ink is used. Excluding the frontispiece and title-page, plates are numbered 1-15 in pen and blue-green ink at the top outer corner. Sheets measure approximately 363 x 255 mm. Each sheet has a paper mount: mounts are bound together in red morocco. Sheets are watermarked I TAYLOR. The added pen annotations (see Inscriptions field) have sometimes been attributed to George Cumberland.
The British Museum has copies A and D of "Europe a Prophecy" (1936,1116.32 - 39 and 1859,0625.72 - 81). There is also a separate impression of the plate known as "Plague" in the collection, see reg. no. 1936,1002.1.
For reproductions of copies B, E and K of "Europe" (owned by the University of Glasgow, the Library of Congress and the Fitzwilliam Museum), 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 April-June, Helsinki City Art Gallery, 'William Blake'
2000 Sep-Nov, Prague Castle, 'William Blake'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Palgrave sold this copy of "Europe" to the British Museum along with copy D of "Urizen" and copy A of "Milton".
According to Viscomi, this was Humphry's copy. Joseph Viscomi, Blake and the Idea of the Book (Princeton, 1993).
According to Keynes and Wolf, it was probably Butts's copy. Keynes and Wolf, William Blake's Illuminated Books: A Census (New York, 1953), pp. 29 & 82.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number