William Blake was born in London on 28th November, 1757 (d.12th August, 1827) and lived all his life in the city, apart from an absence of 3 years, when he lived in Felpham (Sussex).
He is difficult man to fathom, despite detailed and comprehensive study of his work, particularly in the late 20th century; he seems to stand entirely alone in his collection of crafts.
He was pre-Romantic, yet a Romantic poet; a printmaker and painter (engraver, printer and illustrator of his own illuminated poems and manuscripts).
Blake was described by writer and scholar William Rossetti (1860s) as ‘a glorious luminary’ and as ‘a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors.’
Artist or genius, or mystic or madman?
Perhaps an element of each; unafraid to show, explore and reveal his true self.
‘Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy perfect symmetry?’
From ‘The Tyger‘ William Blake
His home in Soho, London was demolished in 1965, and is recognised by this plaque below; his grave is unmarked, he lies somewhere in Bunhill fields, (Islington, London), where there is a memorial stone.
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