The William Blake Archive is part of an emerging class of electronic projects in the humanities that may be described as hypermedia archives. It provides structured access to high-quality electronic reproductions of rare and often unique primary source materials, in this case the work of poet and painter William Blake. Due to the extensive high frequency content of Blake's paintings (namely, colored engravings), they are not suitable for very efficient compression that meets both rate and distortion criteria at the same time. Resolving that problem, the authors utilized modified Mixed Raster Content (MRC) compression scheme -- originally developed for compression of compound documents -- for the compression of colored engravings. In this paper, for the first time, we have been able to demonstrate the successful use of the MRC compression approach for the compression of colored, engraved images. Additional, but not less important benefits of the MRC image representation for Blake scholars are presented: because the applied segmentation method can essentially lift the color overlay of an impression, it provides the student of Blake the unique opportunity to recreate the underlying copperplate image, model the artist's coloring process, and study them separately.© (2002) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.