Schiavonetti, Luigi (1765-1810; Italian), after Phillips, Thomas (1770-1845; English)
William Blake (1808)
Etching and engraving, c. 34.3 x 27.2 cm (image and sheet)
Date of acquisition unknown (by 1894)
Present location unknown
This print, based on Phillips’ 1807 portrait of Blake, appeared as the frontispiece to the 1808 edition of Robert Blair’s poem The Grave, for which Schiavonetti prepared engravings based on Blake’s designs.
The print catalogued in NGV 1894 and 1905 no longer seems to be in either the NGV or SLV. But other impressions are included in two editions of The Grave acquired by the NGV in 1954 and 2010: see comparative photo reproduced below.
Original works by Blake (1757-1812) first entered the Melbourne collection in 1918, with the spectacular purchase of over 40 Blake watercolours (notably a suite of his Dante illustrations) through the Felton Bequest (advice of Robert Ross). The Dante and Job watercolours in the NGV were originally commissioned by John Linnell.
[comparative photo: impression of the Blake portrait from The Grave (1808 edn.) (NGV 3153-4, purchased in 1954)]
NGV 1894, p.107 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 2nd bay, no.22); NGV 1905, p. 119 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 2nd bay, no.12)
For the impressions now held in the NGV (3153-4 and 2010.248), see http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/74653/ and http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/76636/. For The Grave, see also http://www.blakearchive.org/exist/blake/archive/work.xq?workid=butwba10
For Phillips’ painting, in the National Portrait Gallery, London, see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake#mediaviewer/File:William_Blake_by_Thomas_Phillips.jpg; and for Phillips see also Bénézit 10, pp.1335-36 and AKL 95 (2017), p.359. Schiavonetti is listed in both Bénézit 12, p.602 and AKL 101 (2018), pp.466-67. For the Blake watercolours bought in 1918, see Poynter Mr Felton’s Bequests (2003/2008), pp.315-16; and Martin Butlin & Ted Gott, William Blake in the collection of the NGV, 1989 (complete catalogue)