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A Large Book of Designs / Albion rose...

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1856,0209.417

  • Title (object)

    • Albion rose...

    Title (series)

    • A Large Book of Designs
  • Description

    Copy A, plate 1: known as 'Glad Day' or 'The Dance of Albion'; a nude male figure standing with arms opened outwards, his right leg extended slightly to the side; around his head a cloud of light; all around and behind him, rays of light emanating in rainbow colours; below, the suggestions of a landscape, with rain and perhaps a hillside. 1794-96 Colour engraving and etching, printed planographically, predominantly in red, blue, yellow and pink, with hand colouring

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  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1794-1796
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 272 millimetres
    • Width: 200 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Bindman 1989
        Inscribed [on later state]:

        "Albion rose from where he laboured at the Mill with Slaves
        Giving himself for the Nations he danc'd the dance of Eternal Death"
  • Curator's comments

    For commentary on "A Large Book of Designs" copy A, see 1856,0209.425. This impression is the first state of this plate. This state only exists in planographic colour-printed versions. Due to the thick pigments in the colour printing, there is only slight evidence of the intaglio work on the plate (the intaglio work is here printed in relief). The second state of the plate shows etched, engraved and drypoint lines (for the British Museum's impression of this state see 1894,0612.27). The second state of the plate has the engraved date 1780. This was probably the date Blake made the first drawing for this print, but not of the first state of the plate. The plate was probably made around 1793 and colour-printed 1794-96 (see Essick 1983).

    Extract from catalogue entry in D. Bindman, The Shadow of the Guillotine, 1989:
    [The print] represents in its most complete form Blake's idea of the Redemption of the soul or spirit from the prison of the body, and in the political sense the state of revolutionary consciousness. It came to stand also for Britain, of which Albion was an ancient name, after she had exultantly thrown off the shackles of physical and spiritual oppression. Albion has, in a moment of divine perception, transcended the material state and rises up in his full humanity. Such a vision of redemption transcends earthly revolution: hence this design remained part of Blake's repertoire even after his loss of faith in the French Revolution.

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  • Bibliography

    • Bindman 1989 161 bibliographic details
    • Bindman 1978 315 bibliographic details
    • Essick 1983 VII(1A) bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Mounted Roy)

  • Exhibition history

    1990 Sep-Nov, Tokyo, National Museum of Western Art, 'William Blake'
    2000 Apr-Jun, Helsinki City Art Gallery, 'William Blake' 2000 Sep-Nov, Prague Castle, 'William Blake'
    2007 Mar-Jun, Beijing, Palace Museum, Britain meets the World
    2011/12 Nov-Feb, Moscow, State Pushkin MFA, Blake

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1856

  • Acquisition notes

    One of 6 'volumes of various works by Blake, of exceptional rarity' entered by Carpenter in the Bill Book on 13 July 1854. Blake made copy A of "A Large Book of Designs" for the miniature painter Ozias Humphry. The British Museum acquired it along with Humphry's copies of Blake's Small Book of Designs and of "America" (copy H). Upcott inherited all three books from Humphry, his father.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1856,0209.417

Copy A, plate 1: known as "Glad Day" or "The Dance of Albion"; a nude male figure standing with arms opened outwards, his right leg extended slightly to the side; around his head a cloud of light; all around and behind him, rays of light emanating in rainbow colours; below, the suggestions of a landscape, with rain and perhaps a hillside.  1794-96  Colour engraving and etching, printed planographically, predominantly in red, blue, yellow and pink, with hand colouring

Copy A, plate 1: known as "Glad Day" or "The Dance of Albion"; a nude male figure standing with arms opened outwards, his right leg extended slightly to the side; around his head a cloud of light; all around and behind him, rays of light emanating in rainbow colours; below, the suggestions of a landscape, with rain and perhaps a hillside. 1794-96 Colour engraving and etching, printed planographically, predominantly in red, blue, yellow and pink, with hand colouring

Image description

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