William Blake
Age Teaching Youth c.1785–90

Artwork details

William Blake 1757–1827
Age Teaching Youth
Date c.1785–90
Medium Ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 108 x 80 mm
Acquisition Bequeathed by Miss Alice G.E. Carthew 1940
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

The image of a seated adult with children
or youths reading occurs in a number
of Blake's works from the 1780s, including
the title page to Songs of Innocence.


It has been suggested that the leaf and tendril motif on the dress of the youth
in the foreground (who seems to be drawing) identifies him as representative of a mind limited to nature and its imitation. The old man might represent the law, which
is contradicted by the girl who, gesturing heavenwards towards the infinite, might represent imagination.

September 2004

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