Cardinal Pandulph granting King John absolution
black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, the outlines incised, the verso rubbed with black chalk
5 5/8 x 3 1/8 in. (145 x 80 mm.)
By William Blake for the second edition of Charles Allen, New and Improved History of England, London, 1798 (Bentley 415/2, Schiff 938).
Four other drawings by Fuseli etched by William Blake are known: the frontispiece to Fuseli's translation of J.C. Lavater's Aphorisms of Life, published in 1788, for which the drawing is in the collection of Robert Essick, Altadena (Schiff 831; Weinglass 80, for Lavater see lot 186), an illustration to Timon of Athens, published in 1790 after an earlier drawing in the Auckland City Art Gallery (Schiff 1755; Weinglass 111), The Fertlization of Egypt, the second plate to Erasmus Darwin's The Botanic Garden, published in 1791, for which the drawing is in the British Museum (Schiff 1038; Weinglass 115), and the Fantasy Portrait of Michelangelo of circa 1801, for which the drawing is also in the Essick Collection (Schiff 873; Weinglass 162). With the exception of the drawing in Auckland these are rough studies for each composition, the present drawing is extremely unusual in being a finished and fully indented working drawing.
Blake etched seven other plates for Allen's Roman History and his History of England, one other for Darwin's The Botanic Garden, two illustrations to Shakespeare for Chalmers' edition of 1804, and a single plate of an Allegory of the Dream of Love published in circa 1790, all after designs by Fuseli. Fuseli first arrived in London in 1764, and lived in England almost permanently from 1778. His friendship with Blake began in about 1787, but by about 1808 relations were completely broken off and there were no further collaborations.
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