Flaxman, John (1755-1826; English), after
Compositions from the Works, Days & Theogony of Hesiod (London, 1817; engravings by William Blake)
Purchased 1857
State Library of Victoria [RARE SF 735 F61H]

These illustrations typify the simplified linear style developed by Flaxman, sometimes characterized as a precursor of modern comic-books (see now general remarks in the linked artist entry).

All 37 engravings are by Blake, one of various commercial commissions he undertook between 1780 and 1821. Robert Essick (1991) comments that the stippled technique Blake employed here is innovative, softening the harsh linear effect of other prints after Flaxman’s outline drawings.

[photo: Pluto’s court (pl.36) {from another copy}]


MPL 1857, iv, p.6 (& MPL 1861, p.135)

See SLV catalogue entry for details. See also Robert Essick, William Blake’s commercial book illustrations, Clarendon Press, 1991, esp.cat.LI, pp.100-108 and figs.235-71 (entry on the Hesiod engravings) and p.11 (remarking on their innovative technique)