An Island in the Moon
: William Blake:
author, inventor, delineator
: Robert Blake:
delineator. The sketches and lettering on the verso of
object 18 may reflect Robert's attempts to draw subjects that had been set as
exercises for him by older brother William, and, in some instances, corrected by
one of them. See Object Note on object 18.
Number of Objects
Bentley designates these as pages 1-16, A, P. Not included here,
among the 18 objects, are the blank verso of object 17 (Bentley page B) and the
blank recto of object 18 (Bentley page O). We are also not including Bentley pages
C-N, all blanks, which are now housed separately from the leaves bearing the
30.8 x 18.3 cm.
Number of Leaves
Each leaf was originally half of a folio (2 conjugate leaves). Two
or more leaves may have been removed, at an unknown time prior to 1905, between
leaves 8 and 9 (objects 16-17 as numbered here). The verso of leaf 9 (page B in
Bentley) and the recto of what is now leaf 10 (formerly leaf 16, page O in
Bentley) are blank. These blank pages are not reproduced here. Before rebinding in
1978, there were 6 blank leaves (Bentley pages C-N) of the same paper that bears
the manuscript between what are now leaves 9 and 10 (objects 17-18 as numbered
here). As the sequence of watermarks and countermarks indicates, these blank
leaves were once conjugate with the manuscript. The verso of the final leaf
(object 18 as numbered here and page P in Bentley) bears assorted drawings and
inscriptions. It is included in Butlin's catalogue (no. 149) as "The Lamb Lying
Down with the Lion and Other Drawings, from 'An Island in the Moon' Manuscript."
30.8 x 18.3 cm.
pen and ink
crown and shield below, with animals, fleur-de-lis, and a harp within the
The watermark appears on leaves 2-8, 10 (objects 3-16, 18 as numbered
here). A countermark, consisting of the letters "G R" under a crown, appears on
leaves 1 and 9 (objects 1-2, 17 as numbered here).
Object 3 is numbered both 1 and 2 upper left and 5 upper right;
object 5 is numbered 3 upper left and 6 upper right. Objects 7, 11, 13, and 15 are
numbered 9, 6, 7, and 8 upper left. All these numbers are in pencil. They are
probably not written by Blake and thus are not included in our
quarter brown morocco over buckram boards
Each manuscript leaf is mounted
in a paper frame. The present binding was created in 1978; formerly bound in red
morocco with each leaf attached to a stub. The former binding included a
proofsheet of Blake's woodcuts for Robert John Thornton's Pastorals
(1821) and a note from A.H. Palmer referring to their
Early history not known. Acquired before 1893 by Charles Fairfax Murray; given by
Murray to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1905. A Fitzwilliam Museum collection stamp
appears on the verso of the final leaf (object 18 here).
Cambridge CB2 1RB
Department of Manuscripts and Printed Books
CF Murray 1905