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The title of this image suggests that it may be a type of visionary self-portrait. The marks on the forehead are reminiscent of phrenological divisions, and seem to correspond to areas associated with observation and intuition, among others.

This picture is thought to belong to the series of visionary heads Blake produced for John Varley (see Head of the Ghost of a Flea and the showcase, both nearby). James Deville, who made a cast of Blake’s head, also studied Varley, declaring that the astrologer ‘believed nearly all he heard, and all he read’.

March 2011