Edward Young’s highly acclaimed work The Complaint, or Night Thoughts, Young’s musings on death and loss was an extremely popular and successful eighteenth century poem. In 1795 William Blake was commissioned by Richard Edwards to produce a series of illustrations for an edition published in 1797.
Our Rylands copy of Blake’s illustrated Night Thoughts has now been fully digitised and is available to view online. These stunningly beautiful illustrations compliment Young’s text wonderfully. In the preface to the work Richard Edwards perfectly describes Blake’s artistry as ‘bold and masterly’ and that Blake had produced designs for Young’s work that ‘cannot be unnoticed or unadmired’. It is certainly very hard to disagree with his analysis when viewing these hand coloured engravings.