12mo. 15ff. One page of handwritten text followed by thirteen pen-and-ink drawings by the English book illustrator Thomas Stothard. According to the text, these drawings were "sketched" by Stothard "from old wood engravings meant to illustrate the characters of Chaucer." Stothard was a prolific illustrator, who has been credited with over five thousand contributions, including Robinson Crusoe (1790); Young's Night Thoughts (1802), and an edition of Burns's Poems (1802). It is likely this work was a study for a watercolor painting showing all the Canterbury pilgrims that he executed for the engraver Robert Cromek in 1806. This commission caused a rift between Stothard and William Blake, who had been friendly. Blake and Cromek had already scuffled over the illustrations to Robert Blair's The Grave, and as Blake was preparing to engrave his own illustration to the Canterbury Tales, Cromek suggested the idea to Stothard, whose resulting work became more popular than Blake's. The handwriting in the front of this volume may indeed be Cromek's, as his initials can be made out below; this hypothesis is further strengthened by the presence of the signature of Cromek's son, Thomas Harley Cromek. A fascinating work with considerable artistic intrigue, bound in contemporary full vellum, decorated in gilt. Bookseller Inventory #
Title: Thirteen original drawings for The ...
Publication Date: 1800
Illustrator: Stothard, Thomas
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