William Blake The Soul Hovering over the Body Reluctantly Parting with Life c.1805

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Artwork details

Artist
William Blake 1757–1827
Title
The Soul Hovering over the Body Reluctantly Parting with Life
Date c.1805
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 272 x 456 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Bequeathed by Sir Hugh Walpole 1941
Reference
N05300
Not on display

Display caption

This is a sketch for a design which Blake made for an edition of Robert Blair’s poem The Grave. This was published in 1808. Against Blake's wishes the illustrations to the book, shown in a display case in the centre of the room, were engraved after Blake’s designs by Luigi Schiavonetti.

In the engraving the figure of the hovering soul is the same as in this drawing. However, the print shows the dying man, who has led such a self-indulgent life, lying on his back without the lyre and wreath.

September 2004

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