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Illustrated manuscript of Genesis : first title page

Date: ca. 1826-1827
Dimensions:
13 7/16 x 9 7/16 in. (34.1 x 23.9 cm.)
sheet: 15 1/16 x 10 13/16 in. (38.2 x 27.5 cm.)
Medium: pencil, pen, gouache and watercolor on wove paper
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Marks: watermarked: J WHATMAN / TURKEY MILL / 1821
Inscription: Inscribed on verso in pencil: 57447 [former call number for the entire manuscript] Watermarked: J WHATMAN / TURKEY MILL / 1821
Object Number: 000.32
Label Text:Like many of his printed illuminated books, Blake's manuscript of Genesis combines texts and pictures to both tell and show a story of creation and fall. The work was unfinished at Blake's death in August 1827.

First Title Page (left). The Trinity occupies the upper half of the design, surrounding the first four letters of Genesis. The Holy Ghost strides energetically at the top, God the Father creates the waters above and below the earth on the right, and Christ (left) touches the hand of Adam, who dominates the center of the composition. The four figures only sketched at the bottom of the page may represent the four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) or the Four Zoas from Blake's own mythological system.

Second Title Page (right). A further development of the first title page, and perhaps meant as a substitute for it. The animal heads of the figures at the bottom associate them with the beasts emblematic of the four Evangelists.

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