Work Information

Title: An Island in the Moon
Origination: William Blake: author, inventor, delineator
Origination: 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.
Composition Date: c. 1784-85
Number of Objects: 18
Object Order: 1-18
Note: 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 manuscript.
Object Size: 30.8 x 18.3 cm.
Number of Leaves: 10
Note: 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."

Leaf Size: 30.8 x 18.3 cm.
Medium: pen and ink
Support: laid paper
Watermark: crown and shield below, with animals, fleur-de-lis, and a harp within the shield.
Note: 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).
Penned Numbers: none
Note: 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 transcriptions.
Frame Lines: none
Binding: quarter brown morocco over buckram boards
Note: 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 of Virgil (1821) and a note from A.H. Palmer referring to their provenance.
Stab Holes: none


Name: Fitzwilliam Museum
Date: 1905
Dealer: none
Price: gift
Note: 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).

Present Location

Fitzwilliam Museum
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1RB
United Kingdom
Telephone: 44-1223-332900
Fax: 44-1223-332923
Department: Department of Manuscripts and Printed Books
Collection: none
Accession Number(s): CF Murray 1905