Illustrations of the Book of Job (1874)
21 plates ; 53 cm.
This 1874 publication was printed after Blake’s death but from his original copper plates – the last time they were used. They are easily mistaken for an original print from 1825, the date on the title page. The 1874 plates were originally bound together in a single volume, but when the Union College copy was recently conserved, the plates were separated and the glue once used for binding the images together was stabilized on the page.
Overview: The Book of Job is from the Old Testament and from the third section of the Hebrew Bible. The story tells of Job, a wealthy man with a large family who is known for always being good. When God brags to Satan about Job’s goodness, Satan questions how good he actually is; as a result, God takes away everything from Job and puts him through a rigorous test of his faith. Late in Blake’s life, John Linnell, Blake’s friend and patron, commissioned him to illustrate this work. The result was 21 pictorial engravings of the story plus a title page, which together demonstrate Blake’s enduring skill as an illustrator and engraver as well as his long involvement with Biblical subjects. – Caitlin Williams ‘18