The Folio Society has produced a lavish new limited edition setting William Blake’s stunning watercolours to John Bunyan’s literary masterpiece The Pilgrim’s Progress. Blake’s extraordinary and iconic illustrations have been newly photographed from originals held in the private collection of Sir Alan Parker, exclusively for this edition which is the only currently available one to contain all twenty-eight images.
The illustrations are displayed alongside the complete and authoritative text established by respected Bunyan scholar Roger Pooley and complemented by his informative and detailed notes. Quarter-bound in red leather, blocked in gold and housed in an elegant slipcase, this edition is essential for any Bunyan or Blake enthusiast.
Arguably one of the most influential religious book ever written, The Pilgrim’s Progress is an absorbing allegorical tale of the journey of Christian who travels from the City of Destruction to eternal salvation in the Celestial City. Nearly 350 years after it appeared, it continues to speak to modern readers, with its evocative descriptions of the doubts, fears, trials and temptations of earthly existence.
Also included for this edition is a compelling new introduction by Nathalie Collé, a renowned specialist in both 17th-century English literature and the history of book illustration, and a former editor of the newsletter of the International John Bunyan Society. In her essay, Collé reveals the way in which William Blake responded to Bunyan’s tale to create his own series of images.
In her introduction, Collé says: “What we get when we look at Blake’s pictorial interpretation of Bunyan is consequently not simply a set of watercolours which is spiritual in content due to the frame of mind of the artist and his ability to mine the essence of the original text; we also get a very spiritual attitude towards the art of illustration itself and the task of the illustrator.”
The Folio Society’s limited edition of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress featuring 28 illustrations by William Blake and introduced by Nathalie Collé, is available exclusively from The Folio Society.