Page:Life of William Blake, Pictor ignotus (Volume 1).djvu/337

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the others in the small highest class of original engraved inventions, which comprises the works of Albert Dttrer, of Rembrandt, of Hogarth, of Turner, of Cruikshanlc in his best time, and some few othera Like all these they are incisive and richly toned to a degree which can only be attained in engraving by the original inventor, and have equally a style of execution all their own. In spirit and character they are no less independent, having more real anity, perhaps, with Orcagna than with any other of the greatest me- In their unison of natural study with imagination, they remind one decidedly of lim; and also of Giotto, limself the author of a now almost destroyed series of frescos from Job, in the Campo Santa at Pisa, which it would be interesting to compare, as far as possible, with these inventions of Blake.

To the high artistic value of this series Mr. Ruskin has home witness. In his //eme/s of 'an fro' ers (1857), it is specified among the 'Things to be Studied.' 'The oo] of aro6, engraved by himself' (by Blake, that is), it is there said, 'is of the 'highest rank in certain characters of imagination and expression; ' in the mode of obtaining certain effects of light, it will also be 'a very useful example to yo In expressing conditions of glaring 'and flickering light, Blake is greater than Rembrandt,'

March 8th, 1825, was the publishing date on the plates; the date by which Blke had expected to have finished then But March, 1826, is the date given on the cover, and the correct one The publishing price was three guineas; proofs, five; India paper proofs, six. The circulation was llmlted; the mode of publication, for one thing, being a very quiet one.

In April, 1825, another lingerer in the small knot of Blake's earliest friends was summoned away by Death: 1%seli, whose health and bodily strength had, for the last year or two, been failing but not his facultiea He died in his eighty-fourth year; neglected by picture-buyers, honoured by all in his own profession, by men of letters, by some among 'the great,' and not without a fair share