Index Bibliography

Laocoön

Currently Available:

Laocoön, copy B, c. 1826-27 (Collection of Robert N. Essick): electronic edition

Dates are the probable dates of printing.

In an inscription beneath his detailed reproduction of the Laocoön, Blake reinterprets the famous Greek sculpture as a copy of an original Hebraic work representing Jehovah and his two sons, Satan and Adam. Other inscriptions surrounding the central design set forth Blake's interrelated opinions on money, empire, morality, Christianity, and the arts. The central image of the statue may have been executed as early as c. 1815 in connection with Blake's work on illustrations for Abraham Rees, The Cyclopaedia; or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature. The inscribed texts surrounding the statue were almost certainly added at a much later date, c. 1826-27. Both impressions (A and B) of the single plate, etched and engraved in intaglio, were printed in 1826 or 1827.

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, c. 1826-27
    Fitzwilliam Museum
    Cambridge, England

All Known Related Drawings
  • Copy of the Laocoön, for Rees's Cyclopaedia
    Pencil sketch, 1815. Butlin 679.
    Yale Center for British Art
    Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Copy of the Laocoön
    Pen and ink drawing, c. 1815 (?). Butlin 680.
    Untraced
  • Free Version of the Laocoön
    Water color, c. 1825. Butlin 681.
    Fitzwilliam Museum
    Cambridge, England