Previously Unknown Copy of Rare Book of Poems by Blake for Sale at Bonhams

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LONDON.- A previously unknown copy of a very rare book of early poems by William Blake is for auction at the Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs sale at Bonhams in London on 22 March. It is estimated at between £60,000-80,000. The poems in Poetical Sketches were written between 1768 and 1777 when Blake was in his teens. In 1783, a group of his friends banded together and paid for them to be printed in a slim 70 page volume. Approximately 50 copies were printed but the whereabouts of only around 20 are known so the discovery of this copy – one of a very few in private hands – is highly significant. Blake was given the print run to sell or give away but he seems not to have been very active in promoting them because several copies were found among his possessions when he died. His friends, who included the sculptor John Flaxman, were keen to spread the word of Blake’s talent and gave some volu