William Blake's innovations in engraving techniques brought about his brilliant synthesis of visual and poetic art and signaled the beginning of his famous “Illuminated Books,” of which the Songs of Innocence was the first and most popular. Unfortunately, Blake's vision is generally known to the world in amputated form: because of the difficulty and expense of reproducing his original conception, most editions of Blake's work offer only the printed text, with no trace of the visual counterpart so essential to his “System.”
This new, facsimile edition of the Songs of Innocence reproduces Blake's color plates in a fashion which the artist himself would have approved. The 31 plates — printed on facing pages which are the same size of Blake's own first edition — offer one of the more brightly colored versions of this significant volume, no two copies of which are the same. As a special aid to readers, a typographical reprint of the text of poems follows the plates. Such classic “songs” as “The Lamb” and “The Chimney Sweeper” are now accessible to all in the symbiotic union of poem and picture that is crucial to a total understating of Blake's mind and art.