Part Four, covering the period 1810-1815, was a crucial one for Southey’s career and reputation. It has, however, never before been fully documented or fully understood. By 1810 he was established in Keswick...
182. Robert Bloomfield to William Darton, dated only 13 April*
City Road April 13
To Mr Wm Darton
The disagreeable contention which has arisen about the illustration of my Barns and stables is particularly irksome to me. I will tell you precisely how it became known to me first. Messrs Storer and Grieg call'd to state that they had many months past mention'd at Mr Hoods, (not to himself) their intention of following their plan as to Cowper and Burns and with regard to myself,  and that they had that minute gaind Mr Hoods avowal that he did not think from what he could judge of Mr Mills's abilities that the prosecution of your plan would be adequate to the public expectation, and the credid [sic] of the parties concernd. This was accompanied on their part with a positive resolution to go through their undertaking much sooner than you could, and whither I consented or not. I felt myself awkwardly situated, and said that if Mr Hood saw cause to retract, I knew not how to resolve, otherwise than not to suffer the portrait of my Mother to accompany any other than a masterly work that might reflect honour on us all.  I said that to either, (to you if you had askd it) I could give hints and anecdotes. But I did not authorise them to say this in a public advertisement as they have done.
Thus much truth from your uncomfortable servant
 Bloomfield refers to the volume of illustrations of his works and of the country in which they were set, proposed by two artists who specialised in producing topographical engravings, J. Storer and J. Greig. Prepared in summer 1805, the illustrations were published as Views in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Northamptonshire, Illustrative of the Works of Robert Bloomfield; Accompanied with Descriptions: to which is Annexed a Memoir of the Poet's Life by E. W. Brayley (London, 1806). They can be seen here:  BACK