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Engravings and Blake

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 9 months ago

Stedman’s narrative associated him with some of Britain’s foremost radicals. His publisher, Joseph Johnson, was imprisoned in 1797 for printing the political writings of Gilbert Wakefield (1). Johnson commissioned William Blake and Francesco Bartolozzi to do color plate illustrations for Stedman’s Narrative. The images depict some of the horrific atrocities that slaves were subject to according to Stedman, including hanging, lashing and other forms of torture. Some critics have criticized these color plates as far removed from Blake’s usual style, calling them “caricature (2)” and saying that “they look nothing like Blake (3).” This can likely be attributed to the nature of the agreement between Blake and Stedman. While Blake retained his artistic integrity, he was nonetheless at the behest of Stedman’s vision as well as his original sketches of the events (3). Nevertheless, Blake and Stedman became close friends, visiting one another often, and with Blake taking care of some of Stedman’s business when he was out of London (1).



(2) http://arts.guardian.co.uk/art/visualart/story/0,,2057283,00.html

(3) http://www.jamesfenton.com/essays/things/20070505.html

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