Carfax Conduit, Oxford

Method Copper engraving
Artist William Blake
Published c.1780
Dimensions Image 293 x 190 mm, Plate 357 x 265 mm, Sheet 372 x 274 mm
Notes A very rare engraving of Carfax Conduit by William Blake, inscribed 'Blake sc' to bottom left and titled below the image. The print depicts the ornate conduit building on a blank background with two figures in the foreground, one in academic dress. The scale of the figures illustrates the 12 metre height of the conduit which was originally located at the junction of St. Aldate's, Queen Street, Cornmarket, and The High. It was later regarded as an obstacle to traffic and in 1787 it was relocate to the grounds of Nuneham House, where it remains to this day.

Prior to 1985 this print was one of the few unrecorded engravings by William Blake and , In Print Quarterly 2 (1985): 42-47. Robert. N. Essick's article "A 'New' Blake Engraving?" discusses an engraving showing the "Carfax Conduit, Oxford," signed "Blake sc.," and probably to be attributed to the poet-engraver William Blake. "The graphic style and subject of Carfax Conduit support the attribution made possible by the signature in the plate."

William Blake (1757 - 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Blake trained and worked as a commercial engraver under the initial tutelage of James Basire. After his apprenticeship, Blake went on to become a student at the Royal Academy. In 1784, Blake set up in business as a print seller in partnership with James Parker. Later in 1788, at the age of 31, Blake began to experiment with relief etching, a method he would use to produce most of his books, paintings, pamphlets and poems. William Blake is regarded as one of the great geniuses in the history of art. He was largely ignored in his own lifetime, yet today is revered as a major reference point for British culture, appealing to a more universal audience than perhaps any other artist.

Condition: Light surface dirt, diagonal crease through the top right of the sheet.
Framing unmounted
Price £400.00
Stock ID 52221