Lost William Blake prints could be in the North East

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A COLLECTION of lost prints and illuminated books by the artist and poet William Blake is waiting to be discovered in the North East, according to a historian.

Colin Trodd, whose book about Blake is to be published soon, says the works – potentially worth millions of pounds – were bought from Blake possibly in the 1820s by the little-known artist James Ferguson.

The academic, based in Manchester University’s School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, says Ferguson’s collection was never found after he died, but could very well have been left in a pre-Victorian attic.

He said: “James Ferguson lived a semi-nomadic life – stomping around South Shields, Newcastle and County Durham.

“He would have taken the collection with him, so there’s no reason to doubt that he left it somewhere in the region.

“It could be that some lucky individual in an old house is sitting on a goldmine.”

According to Dr Trodd, an unknown illuminated book entitled Outthoun is likely to be in the collection. Other works include colour prints of Newton and God Judging Adam.

The academic describes how Blake acquired his reputation as one of Britain’s’ greatest artists and poets after he died.