John Windle also considered the decision to split up the collection a poor sales choice as well. "As of now they have at least eight unsold lots, known to the entire art world as having failed to sell," he pointed out. Leading experts in the field, he explained, think the drawings will remain unsaleable for the foreseeable future unless the sellers dramatically reduce the price, or new buyers come along. He saw each of these possibilities as being remote.
Mr. Windle was not certain where all of the drawings purchased were headed. Other than the one he purchased, he said he understood that two were purchased by a British collector, two by an American buyer, possibly an institution, and the rest were single sales, one each going to French and German institutions. None appeared to go to resellers. As for the unsold eight, Windle said he had been reliably informed that two after-sale offers on single lots had been rejected, but as of roughly a week ago, none had been accepted. He pointed out that the auction house usually has a right to make after-market sales for 30 to 90 days after an auction, but that he would not be surprised if Sotheby's quietly returns the drawings to the owners. Windle noted that Sotheby's has shared in the bad press generated by this sale and may have no desire to rekindle it.
Blake's drawings are eerie and somewhat dreamlike. They depict the borderline between two worlds, that of the living and that of the dead. Souls reach out for heaven, or look back to their graves. The poem for which they were drawn was written during a time when there was great fascination with the world of the dead, a topic that might be considered morbid today. This may explain why Blair's poem, once enormously popular, has largely been forgotten. Blake, on the other hand, mostly unknown or ignored during his own lifetime, now has a sizeable following of rabidly devoted admirers. While not everyone puts him on a high pedestal, those who love his work have no question that he belongs in the pantheon of greats as an artist, poet, or both. His reputation is finally secure. His is the one name associated with this sorry spectacle that will emerge from it untarnished.
"I'll hear no more; it makes one's blood run chill."