Portrait of William Blake (1807) by Thomas Philipps
William Blake (1757-1827) was an English artist, poet, philosopher, who created a unique form of illustrated verse and was one of the most remarkable figures of the Romantic period. His poetry, inspired by mystical vision, is among the most original, lyric, and prophetic in the language. One of the most singular and gifted of all British artists. His uniqueness lies in his importance as a figure in literature as in art.
The son of a hosier, Blake was born November 28th, 1757, in Soho, London, where he lived most of his life. Largely self-taught, he was widely read, and in his poetry shows the influence of the German mystic Jakob Boehme, of Swedenborgism. As a child he wanted to become a painter. He was sent to drawing school, at age 14 and then apprenticed to an engraver James Basire. From childhood he possessed…
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