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Compositions From The Works Days And Theogony Of Hesiod. Designed By John Flaxman, R.A. P.S. Engraved By William Blake.

RA Collection: Book

Record number


Variant Title

Works and Days
Theogony Works & Days & Days Of Hesiod


Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown,, London,: Jan. 1, 1817.

Physical Description

37 pl. (incl. t.pl.); 365 mm.

General Note

The Academy's second copy is preceded by one leaf of letter-press reading 'The Theogony Works & Days & Days Of Hesiod Engraved From The Compositions Of John Flaxman R.A. Sculptor, London.'

Responsibility Note

No plate is signed.

Each carries the publishers' imprint of Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, and the date.


R.N. Essick, William Blake's commercial book illustrations (1991), no. LI; G.E. Bentley, Blake books (1977), no. 456.

G.E. Bentley, 'Blake's Hesiod', in The Library, 5th ser. 20 (1965), p.315-20; D. and E. Panofsky, Pandora's box (1965), p.92-105; G.E. Bentley, 'Blake's engravings and his friendship with Flaxman', in Studies in bibliography, 12 (1959), p.161-88.

On Flaxman's outline illustrations generally see the bibliographic note on Compositions From The Tragedies of Aeschylus Designed By Iohn Flaxman (1795).

Summary Note

The publication-date of 'Jan. 1. 1817' appears on the title-plate and plates 2, 12-21, 24, 28-37. The earlier publication-date of 'November 1. 1816' is carried by plates 3-11, 22, 23, 25-27.

(The Academy's second copy is preceded by a leaf of letter-press reading 'The Theogony Works & Days & Days Of Hesiod Engraved From The Compositions Of John Flaxman R.A. Sculptor, London'. As this has the appearance of a divisional title-page and the second copy is bound with Compositions From The Tragedies Of Aeschylus, Designed By Iohn Flaxman ... (London, 1831), perhaps this second copy is an 1831 reprint.)

Plates 1-4, 6-20 represent passages from Hesiod's Works and Days; plates 5, 21-37, passages from his Theogony. All are captioned with a quotation from Elton's English translation, and usually with a title also.

For the engravings Blake employs a stipple technique; which gives them a softer appearance on the page than the earlier engravings by Piroli of Flaxman's designs for Homer and Aeschylus.


[First copy:] Acquired between 1816 or 1817 and 1821. Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1821.

[Second copy:]

Binding Note

[First copy:] 20th-century half calf, grey cloth-covered boards; gilt-decorated spine, lettered, 'Flaxmans Hesiod' and 'R.A.'

[Second copy:] 19th-century marbled-papered boards, rebacked and recornered in calf in 1988; black morocco spine-label lettered 'Compositions From The Tragedies Of Aeschylus', spine lettered '1831'. [Bound with one other.]

Name as Subject


Mythology, Greek - Gods, Greek - Iconography
Agriculture - Greece
Drawings - Great Britain - 19th century - Neoclassical
Greek poetry
Pictorial works - Illustrated books - Stipple engravings - Great Britain - 19th century


John Flaxman RA, source artist
William Blake, 1757-1827., engraver.
Charles Abraham Elton, 1778-1853., translator.
Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, publisher.

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