Date 1878-02-23
Publication Academy
Topic Blake's Jerusalem, Bell-Scott's Blake etchings
AP display
RA display
Subject art
Keywords facsimile Jerusalem
  ↳ Bell-Scott's etchings
Standards authenticity
  ↳ effective publication
Notes Facsimile & complications, Swinburne ref, see also 1876.03.11.

Annotation details

78 February 23 Academy


Blake's Jerusalem, Bell-Scott's Etchings from Blake.


Rossetti, William M. "William Blake." Academy (February 23, 1878): 174. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


Rossetti considers two new Blake-related publications that he says prove that "the fame of Blake continues to extend and solidify."

The first is the facsimile edition of Jerusalem, "done by some photographic process which necessarily ensures absolute reproduction of the engravings and engraved text." Rossetti describes the poem in forensic terms, including Blake's explanation for its origin, the mode of poetry, the public's early reaction and the poet's appraisal that Jerusalem was "the grandest poem that this world contains."

Rossetti explains Blake's composition and the process that resulted in the poem, allowing that no one could truly understand the process, except perhaps for Swinburne.

This edition is a valuable asset for the reading public, Rossetti says, because the original edition is very difficult to obtain in its original form, which the facsimile does justice to while providing access anew for readers and book buyers, even though the facsimile process does causes a little blurring of some images. Rossetti adds that an index would be a helpful addition to the new volume, but overall pronounces it to be a success.

Rossetti says Bell-Scott's motivation for the volume of Blake-inspired etchings was "to give typical examples of the beautiful inventions of Blake." Rossetti pronounces the collection to be up to Bell-Scott's usual high artistic standard, and praises the fact that he included a few paragraphs of descriptive text with the etchings to lead the viewer to a greater understanding of Blake's intent. In 1876, Rossetti noted with dismay that W. Bell-Scott had not finished his etchings from Blake's work in time for the Blake exhibition of that year. Bell-Scott was one of Rossetti's oldest friendships and was considered among his inner circle of Cheyne Walk associates (Reminiscences 2:327)

Rossetti notes that some of the photographic processes for reproducing the etching in book form degrade the illustrations in minor ways, and that the Milton subjects, based on water-colours by Aspland, are inferior to those done by Strange, even though Aspland's illustrations were included in the Blake Exhibition of 1876 and Strange's were not.





Standards of Judgment:

effective publication design, authenticity

Rhetoric and tone:

evaluative, definitive


Blake, Bell-Scott, Aspland, Strange

Works Cited

Rossetti, William Michael. Some Reminiscences of William Michael Rossetti. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner, 1906. Print.