The Pastorals of Virgil, Eclogue I: The Blasted Tree

(British, 1757–1827)
Image: 3.4 x 7.3 cm (1 5/16 x 2 7/8 in.)
Catalogue raisonné: Bindman 607; Binyon 142; Russell 30.6
State: Binyon II/II
Location: not on view
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William Blake conceived and engraved 17 designs for Dr. Robert John Thornton’s The Pastorals of Virgil, a popular schoolbook used in teaching Latin. The publication included translations of poems by ancient Roman author Virgil that focus on a rural setting as both a subject matter and as the background for discussions of various issues, from love to politics. Blake’s illustrations reveal his emphasis on the natural world. As his only wood engravings, they also show how the process entails cutting away from the woodblock to create lighter sections, in essence working in white over a black background. Here, several areas—such as the textures of the trees—emphasize that point.
The Pastorals of Virgil, Eclogue I:  The Blasted Tree

The Pastorals of Virgil, Eclogue I: The Blasted Tree


William Blake

(British, 1757–1827)
England, 19th century

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