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Frontispiece: What is Man!: P.436-1985

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Frontispiece: What is Man!
For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise


Printmaker: Blake, William
Publisher: Blake, William




History note: William Muir collection sold Sotheby's July 1953 with plate 1 from the collection of the Earl of Crewe.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1985-04) by Keynes, Geoffrey


Production date: circa AD 1818


Frontispiece. Fourth state. Part of 16 plates bound together in a volume.

School or Style


Materials used in production

Black carbon ink

Components of the work

Binding composed of leather ( red leather with gold gilding)
Support composed of paper
Sheet Height 312 mm Width 224 mm
Plate Height 93 mm Width 60 mm

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: What is Man!
  • Location: Plate lower centre
  • Method of creation: Printed
  • Type: Title
  • Text: The Suns light when he unfolds it/ Depends on the Organ that beholds it.
  • Location: Plate lower centre
  • Method of creation: Printed
  • Type: Verse
  • Text: Published by W Blake 17 May 1793
  • Location: Plate lower centre
  • Method of creation: Printed
  • Type: Signature
  • Text: Frontispiece
  • Location: Upper centre
  • Method of creation: Printed
  • Type: Number
  • Text: 55
  • Location: Sheet upper right
  • Method of creation: Ink
  • Type: Number
  • Text: 1
  • Location: Sheet lower left
  • Method of creation: Graphite
  • Type: Number

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: P.436-1985
Primary reference Number: 118227
Bindman: 580
Bentley: 45 L
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 17 October 2023 Last processed: Thursday 1 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Paintings, Drawings and Prints

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Frontispiece: What is Man!" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-03-04 23:07:00

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{{cite web|url= |title=Frontispiece: What is Man! |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-03-04 23:07:00|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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