William Blake Sketch for ‘Tiriel Supporting the Dying Myratana’. Verso: Sketch for ‘Tiriel Supporting the Dying Myratana’ c.1786–9

Artwork details

Artist
William Blake 1757–1827
Title
Sketch for ‘Tiriel Supporting the Dying Myratana’. Verso: Sketch for ‘Tiriel Supporting the Dying Myratana’
Date c.1786–9
Medium Graphite on paper. Verso: graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 291 x 450 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Mrs John Richmond 1922
Reference
A00040
On display at Tate Britain

Display caption

This is a sketch for the first illustration to Blake’s poem Tiriel. It illustrates the lines ‘the aged man rais’d up his right hand to the heavens, His left supported Myratana shrinking in pangs of death’. Tiriel is the blind, mad and tyrannical King of the West. He cursed his sons when they rebelled against him. Then, after the death of his wife Myratana, ‘darkling o’er the mountains’ he ‘sought his pathless way’.
This brief sketch shows how Blake began his compositions.

May 2003

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