Work Information

Title: Illustrations to Dante's "Divine Comedy"
Origination: William Blake: inventor, delineator, colorist
Composition Date: 1824-27
Number of Objects: 102
Object Order: 1-102
Object Size: each approximately 37.0 x 52.5 cm. (horizontal format) or 52.5 x 37.0 cm. (vertical format)
Number of Leaves: 102
Leaf Size: each approximately 37.0 x 52.5 cm. (horizontal format) or 52.5 x 37.0 cm. (vertical format)
Medium: pen and ink and water colors over pencil
Note: Designs 30, 68, 71, 83, 91, and 100 are basically pencil drawings with, in some cases, pen and ink additions or very slight touches of color. Butlin numbers are used here unless otherwise noted.
Support: laid paper
Watermark: WELGAR 1796 or a fleur-de-lis with WE
Note: Each leaf appears to be half of a sheet with the WELGAR watermark on one half and the fleur-de-lis countermark on the other half. The watermark or countermark cannot be seen on the water colors that are pasted down to a backing mat, but are very probably present.
Penned Numbers: All but designs 14, 42, 54, 94, 95, 97, and 99-102 are inscribed with the number of the canto or cantos of Dante's poem illustrated by the design. Design 54 is inscribed "95."
Note: The sheets bear inscriptions on their versos, including two sets of numbers that would appear to be attempts to indicate the proper sequence of the designs. None of these verso inscriptions are by Blake. Butlin numbers are used here unless otherwise noted.
Frame Lines: none
Binding: The designs may have been bound at one time, but are now disbound and dispersed.
Stab Holes: none

Provenance


Name: Ashmolean Museum (designs 86, 93, 97), Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery (designs 3, 10, 42, 65, 81, 92), British Museum (designs 21, 38, 45, 48, 50, 68, 72, 82, 87, 91, 96, 100, 101), Fogg Art Museum (designs 6, 7, 11, 17, 18, 22, 23, 26, 29, 30, 32, 33, 41, 43, 52, 54, 61, 64, 66, 67, 71, 77, 83), National Gallery of Victoria (designs 1, 5, 9, 13, 15, 16, 19, 20, 25, 27, 28, 31, 34, 36, 37, 39, 47, 49, 51, 55, 56, 57, 59, 62, 63, 69, 73, 75, 76, 84, 85, 89, 90, 94, 95, 99), Royal Institution of Cornwall (design 79), Tate Collection (designs 2, 4, 8, 12, 14, 24, 35, 40, 44, 46, 53, 58, 60, 70, 74, 78, 80, 88, 98, 102).
Note: Butlin numbers are used here unless otherwise noted.
Date: 1918
Dealer: Alec Martin of Christie's
Price: £7665
Note: Acquired directly from Blake by John Linnell, who commissioned the designs; sold from Linnell's estate, Christie's, 15 March 1918, lot 148 (£7665 to Alec Martin acting for the National Art-Collections Fund, which divided the designs by prior arrangement amongst the seven institutions now owning the Dante water colors).

Present Location


Ashmolean Museum
Beaumont Square
Beaumont Street
Oxford OX1 2PH
United Kingdom
Telephone: 0186-527-8000
Fax: 0186-527-8018
Email address: publications@ashmus.ox.ac.uk
URL: http://www.ashmol.ox.ac.uk/
Department: Drawings and Prints
Collection: Ashmolean Museum
Accession Number: WA1918.3 (design 86), WA1918.5 (design 93), WA1918.4 (design 97). Butlin numbers are used here for the design designations.

Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery
Chamberlain Square
Birmingham, B3 3DH
United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)121-303-2834
Fax: +44 (0)121-303-1394
URL: http://www.bmag.org.uk/
Department: Drawings and Prints
Collection: Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery
Accession Number: 1.19 (design 3), 2.19 (design 10), 3.19 (design 42), 4.19 (design 65), 5.19 (design 81), 6.19 (design 92). Butlin numbers are used here for the design designations.

British Museum
Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3DG
United Kingdom
Telephone: 44-2076-361555
URL: http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/
Department: Drawings and Prints
Collection: British Museum
Accession Number: 1918.4.13.1 (design 21), 1918.10.12.8 (design 38), 1918.10.12.9 (design 45), 1918.4.13.2 (design 48), 1918.4.13.3 (design 50), 1918.10.12.10 (design 68), 1918.10.12.6 (design 72), 1918.4.13.4 (design 82), 1918.4.13.5 (design 87), 1918.10.12.11 (design 91), 1918.4.13.6 (design 96), 1918.10.12.12 (design 100), 1918.10.12.7 (design 101). Butlin numbers are used here for the design designations.

Fogg Art Museum
Harvard University Art Museums
32 Quincy Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
United States
Telephone: 617-495-9400
Fax:
URL: http://www.artmuseums.harvard.edu/fogg/
Department: Drawings and Prints
Collection: Fogg Art Museum
Accession Number: 1943.445 (design 6), 1943.442 (design 7), 1943.440 (design 11), 1943.658 (design 17), 1943.439 (design 18), 1943.437 (design 22), 1943.444 (design 23), 1943.433 (design 26), 1943.447 (design 29), 1943.659 (design 30), 1943.436 (design 32), 1943.435 (design 33), 1943.446 (design 41), 1943.443 (design 43), 1943.432 (design 52), 1943.434 (design 54), 1943.431 (design 61), 1943.429 (design 64), 1943.430 (design 66), 1943.441 (design 67), 1943.660 (design 71), 1943.438 (design 77), 1943.661 (design 83). Butlin numbers are used here for the design designations.

National Gallery of Victoria
P.O. Box 7259
Melbourne, VIC 8004
Telephone: +61 3-9208-0222
Fax: +61 3-9208-0245
URL: http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/
Department: Drawings and Prints
Collection: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Accession Number: 988.3 (design 1), 989.3 (design 5), 990.3 (design 9), 991.3 (design 13), 992.3 (design 15), 993.3 (design 16), 994.3 (design 19), 995.3 (design 20), 996.3 (design 25), 997.3 (design 27), 998.3 (design 28), 999.3 (design 31), 1000.3 (design 34), 1001.3 (design 36), 1002.3 (design 37), 1003.3 (design 39), 1004.3 (design 47), 1005.3 (design 49), 1006.3 (design 51), 1007.3 (design 55), 1008.3 (design 56), 1009.3 (design 57), 1010.3 (design 59), 1011.3 (design 62), 1012.3 (design 63), 1013.3 (design 69), 1014.3 (design 73), 1015.3 (design 75), 1016.3 (design 76), 1017.3 (design 84), 1018.3 (design 85), 1019.3 (design 89), 1020.3 (design 90), 1021.3 (design 94), 1022.3 (design 95), 1023.3 (design 99). Butlin numbers are used here for the design designations.

Royal Institution of Cornwall
Royal Cornwall Museum
Photographic Librarian
Courtney Library & Cornish History Research Centre
Photographic Collection
River Street
Truro TR1 2SJ
Cornwall
United Kingdom
Telephone: 0187-227-2205
Fax: 0187-224-0514
Email address: photos@royalcornwallmuseum.org.uk
URL: http://www.royalcornwallmuseum.org.uk
Department: Drawings and Prints
Collection: Royal Institution of Cornwall
Accession Number: TRURI:1000.36 (design 79). The Butlin number is used here for the design designation.

Tate Collection
Millbank
London SW1P 4RG
United Kingdom
telephone: 020-7887-8000
fax: 020-7887-8900
email: robin.hamlyn@tate.org.uk
URL: www.tate.org.uk
Department: Drawings and Prints
Collection: Tate Collection
Accession Number: N03351 (design 2), N03352 (design 4), N03353 (design 8), N03354 (design 12), N03355 (design 14), N03356 (design 24), N03357 (design 35), N03358 (design 40), N03359 (design 44), N03360 (design 46), N03361 (design 53), N03362 (design 58), N03363 (design 60), N03365 (design 70), N03366 (design 74), N03367 (design 78), N03368 (design 80), N03369 (design 88), N03370 (design 98), N03364 (design 102). Butlin numbers are used here for the design designations.