Index Bibliography

For Children: The Gates of Paradise

Currently Available:

For Children: The Gates of Paradise, copy D, 1793 (Library of Congress): electronic edition

Dates are the probable dates of printing.

Through a numbered series of emblems with inscriptions ranging from single words to brief aphorisms, Blake puts the course of human life from birth to death in psychological perspective. Some of the plates form narrative sequences; others exemplify mental states and their reification in the external world.

Blake etched in intaglio the eighteen plates of For Children in 1793 and printed all extant copies (A-E) in the same year. The imprint on plate 2, the title plate, reads "Published by W Blake No 13 Hercules Buildings Lambeth and J. Johnson St. Pauls' Church Yard." In copy A the title page is a proof that bears fragments of an erased imprint that may refer to J. Dodsley as the publisher or co-publisher. There is no other evidence that either Johnson (a bookseller for whom Blake executed many engravings) or Dodsley actually participated in the publication or selling of the book. Copy D has been supplemented with two plates (19, 20) etched c. 1820 as part of Blake's revision of For Children into For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise, plus an additional impression of plate 2 in its later, For the Sexes, state.

Related Works

Related works currently available in the William Blake Archive appear as links below. Works not currently available appear as plain text.

All Known Copies
  • Copy A, 1793
    Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress
    Washington D.C.
  • Copy B, 1793
    British Museum, Dept. of Prints and Drawings
    London
  • Copy C, 1793
    Private Collection
  • Copy D, 1793
    Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress
    Washington D.C.
  • Copy E, 1793
    Yale Center for British Art
    Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

All Known Related Drawings
  • A Crouching Woman, Possibly Later Used for "The Gates of Paradise," Plate 16
    Water color, c. 1780-85. Butlin 133 recto.
    Morgan Library and Museum
    New York City
  • A Female Figure Crouching in a Cave, Possibly later Used for "The Gates of Paradise," Plate 16
    Pen and ink drawing, c. 1780-85. Butlin 134.
    Anthony E. Wolf
    New York City
  • The Spirit of a Just Man Newly Departed Appearing to His Mourning Family
    Monochrome wash drawing, c. 1780-85. Butlin 135.
    Royal Collection, Windsor Castle
    Windsor, England
  • Blake's Notebook, pages 15, 19, 34, 40, 45, 52, 58, 59, 61, 63, 68, 69, 71, 91, 93-95
    Pencil sketches, c. 1790-93. Butlin 201.15, 19, 34, 40, 45, 52, 58, 59, 61, 63, 68, 69, 71, 91, 93-95.
    British Library
    London
  • Sketch for "For Children: The Gates of Paradise" plate 15: Death's Door (?)
    Pencil sketch, c. 1793. Butlin 131 verso.
    Hornby Library
    Liverpool City Libraries, Liverpool, England
  • A Woman with Snaky Locks, Perhaps for "The Gates of Paradise" (recto), "Father and Mother, I Return," Perhaps for "The Gates of Paradise" (verso)
    Pencil sketches, c. 1793. Butlin 202 recto and verso.
    Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress
    Washington, D. C.
  • "How I Pity," Perhaps for "The Gates of Paradise"
    Pencil sketch, c. 1793. Butlin 204.
    British Museum
    London
  • "For Children: The Gates of Hell": Design for an Unpublished Title-Page (recto), "It Is Deep Midnight": Design for a Frontispiece (verso)
    Pencil sketches, c. 1793. Butlin 205 recto and verso.
    Fitzwilliam Museum
    Cambridge, England
  • Sketch for "The Gates of Paradise" Plate 8: "My Son! My Son!"
    Pen and ink drawing, c. 1793. Butlin 206.
    British Museum
    London
  • Five Sketches for "America" and Other Works
    Pencil sketches, c. 1793. Butlin 227.
    Untraced
  • Studies for Plate 11 of The Grave, "Death's Door"
    Pencil sketches, c. 1805. Butlin 632 recto and verso.
    Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Deaths Door
    White-line etching, 1805. Essick XIII.
    Collection of Robert N. Essick
    Altadena, California