|Copper engraving and etching
|William Blake after John Gabriel Stedman
|[London, Published Dec 2nd 1793 by J. Johnson, St Paul's Church Yard. c.1796]
|Image 180 x 135 mm, Sheet 260 x 195 mm
A plate from the first volume of J.G.Stedman's 'Narrative of a Five Years' Expedition against the Revolted Slaves of Surinam' published in 1796. The plate shows a group of three soldiers discovering the displayed skulls of Lieutenant Leppar and six of his men, killed by indigenous people.
John Gabriel Stedman (1744 – 1797) was a British–Dutch colonial soldier, who wrote 'Narrative of a Five Years' Expedition against the Revolted Slaves of Surinam'. This narrative covers his years in Surinam as a soldier in the Dutch military deployed to assist local troops fighting against groups of escaped slaves. He first recorded his experiences in a personal diary that he later rewrote and expanded into the Narrative. The Narrative was a best-seller of the time and, with its firsthand depictions of slavery and other aspects of colonisation, became an important tool in the early abolitionist cause. When compared with Stedman's personal diary, his published Narrative is a sanitised and romanticised version of Stedman's time in Surinam.
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: Good impression, small loss to top left corner.