Index Bibliography

There is No Natural Religion

Currently Available:

There is No Natural Religion, copy B, c. 1794 (Yale Center for British Art): electronic edition
There is No Natural Religion, copy C, c. 1794 (Library of Congress): electronic edition
There is No Natural Religion, copy G, c. 1794 (Morgan Library and Museum): electronic edition
There is No Natural Religion, copy L, c. 1795 (Morgan Library and Museum): electronic edition

Dates are the probable dates of printing.

Blake divided this series of aphoristic declarations and accompanying emblem-like designs into two groups of numbered propositions, designated by modern editors as "series a" and "series b." In the first, Blake states basic principles, derived from the philosophy of John Locke and his followers, about physical perception, reason, and the limits of knowledge. The second series redefines and confutes the first and argues for the infinitude of spiritual perceptions. Shared graphic styles, themes, and genre closely associate There is No Natural Religion with All Religions are One.

Blake etched the work in relief on twenty small plates c. 1788. A few designs show touches of white-line work. Impressions of only nineteen plates are now extant; no impression is known from the plate that presumably bore proposition "III" in series b. Only two printings are known. The first, c. 1794, is an abridgement consisting of twelve plates (a1-9; b3, 4, 12). These show rudimentary color printing and hand tinting on some plates. This printing is represented by copies A-D, G, and M, although later extractions and additions in some of these copies have obscured Blake's intentions for his abridgement, in which the Lockean principles of series a are directly refuted by the three plates from series b. The second printing (1795) contains ten plates from series b (b1, 3, 4, 6, 7-12) plus the title page from series a (a2). Only a single large-paper copy (L), printed as a companion to the large-paper copy (A) of All Religions are One, plus a few loose pulls, are known from this printing. It too shows rudimentary color printing. At a much later date, probably no earlier than 1818, Blake added pen and ink framing lines to copy L.

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. 1794
    British Museum, Dept. of Prints and Drawings
  • Copy B, c. 1794
    Yale Center for British Art
    Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Copy C, c. 1794
    Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress
    Washington D.C.
  • Copy D, c. 1794
    Houghton Library
    Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Copy G1, plates a3, a4, a6, a9, b3, b12, c. 1794
    Collection of Robert N. Essick
    Altadena, California
  • Copy M, c. 1794
    Victoria and Albert Museum

All Known Related Drawings
  • Newton
    Color printed drawing, 1795. Butlin 306.
    Tate Collection at Tate Britain
  • Newton
    Color printed drawing, 1795. Butlin 307.
    Lutheran Church in America, on long-term loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts, Night I, Page 22
    Water color, c. 1795-97. Butlin 330.27.
    British Museum