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date: 13 December 2019

Cromek, Robert Hartleylocked

(b Kingston upon Hull, 1770; d London, 12 or March 14, 1812).
  • David Alexander

Extract

(b Kingston upon Hull, 1770; d London, 12 or March 14, 1812).

English publisher and engraver. He studied in London under Francesco Bartolozzi and engraved a number of book illustrations but was best known as a publisher, issuing the designs by William Blake for Robert Blair’s poem The Grave (London, 1743). In 1805 Cromek commissioned Blake to draw and engrave the designs, but Blake felt betrayed when Cromek engaged Luigi Schiavonetti instead because he saw that Blake’s style of engraving would not please the public (for further discussion see Blake, William). Blake was further annoyed when Cromek commissioned Thomas Stothard to paint the Canterbury Pilgrims (1806; London, Tate; for illustration see Stothard family, §1), an idea that Blake thought had been stolen from him; in 1809 Blake published a very successful singly issued print of it. Bentley has shown that although Cromek had considerable understanding and sympathy for Blake his treatment of him helped to increase the artist’s isolation....

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U. Thieme and F. Becker, eds: Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, 37 vols (Leipzig, 1907–50) [see also Meissner above]
Dictionary of National Biography, 63 vols and suppls (London, 1885–)