This is the autobiography, written in 1931, of Walford Graham Robertson (1866–1948) - a British painter, illustrator and author, who donated over 20 works of art to the Tate Gallery, London.
Part of a wealthy shipbuilding family, Robertson was born Graham Walford Robertson in 1866, but went by W. Graham Robertson because he did not want to share initials with the Great Western Railway. His grandmother was befriended by Coleridge, and his mother refused to meet Dickens because she disliked his waistcoat. By 13 Robertson wanted to be an artist. He discovered Blake at 17 when he came across a biography of the artist in a bookshop. In the 19th century, Blake was not highly esteemed except among Pre-Raphaelites. Robertson was able to buy his first Blake for £12, ''despite severe qualms of conscience at the vast outlay.'' By his 20th birthday he owned 40 drawings.
With the start of World War II he took steps to safeguard his collection. In 1939 the pictures he valued most went to the Tate Gallery, including 9 out of the 10 large colour prints by Blake. Ultimately Robertson gave or bequeathed 21 Blakes to the Tate, making him a principal benefactor of the museum. The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge was given six Blakes, plus money to establish a room -- today the gallery is named after Robertson -- for the study of watercolours, drawings and prints. Three Blake watercolours were donated to the British Museum, and other institutions received single works. Robertson was no genius, but his eye, his money and his talent for remembering made a difference to British arts and letters.
No dustjacket. Blue cloth cover is good, but faded at the top inch and to the spine. Previous owner's name and label inside front cover. Inside pages good and clean. A tidy copy.