Blake was friendly with Thomas Stothard when he was a student at the Royal Academy. According to Stothard’s biographer, in about late 1780 Blake, Stothard and another friend went on a sketching trip on the river Medway. This led to Blake’s first experience of one effect of war: all three were arrested as spies for the French.
This etching shows the improvised camp that was made while they were detained. A successful appeal to Royal Academicians for character references ensured their release.
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