Thomas Stothard

The Pilgrimage to Canterbury

1806–7

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
Thomas Stothard 1755–1834
Medium
Oil paint on oak
Dimensions
Support: 318 x 952 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1884
Reference
N01163

Display caption

The engraver and publisher Robert Cromek commissioned this painting from Blake’s friend Stothard. Cromek put it on display and charged visitors a shilling to see it. He also collected subscriptions for the forthcoming print of the painting.  

Blake claimed that Cromek had commissioned a painting of the Canterbury Pilgrims from him first, but Cromek had not liked the design and so took the commission to Stothard. Blake accused Cromek and, through him, Stothard of copying his long, frieze-like composition. It is unlikely that Blake’s accusations were well-founded, but the dispute effectively ended Blake and Stothard's friendship.

Gallery label, September 2004

Features

Tate Paper

Reasoned Exhibitions: Blake in 1809 and Reynolds in 1813

This paper considers Blake’s 1809 exhibition in the light of the nascent practice of retrospective exhibitions and compares it ...

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