• William Blake, 'The Night of Enitharmon's Joy (formerly called 'Hecate')' circa 1795
    William Blake
    The Night of Enitharmon's Joy (formerly called 'Hecate') circa 1795
    Colour print finished in ink and watercolour on paper
    support: 439 x 581 mm
    Presented by W. Graham Robertson 1939

Enitharmon is an important female character in Blake’s mythology, playing a main part in some of his prophetic books. She is the Emanation of Los, and with Los gives birth to various children, including Orc.

Although symbolising spiritual beauty and poetic inspiration (some critics have argued that Blake’s wife Catherine was the inspiration for the character) she is also used by Blake to represent female domination and sexual restraints that limit the artistic imagination. The bulk of Europe a Prophecy is devoted to Enitharmon’s domination of the material world and puts forward various sexual rules through religion which Blake describes as errors found in orthodox Christianity. 

The name ‘Enitharmon’ could be a derivation of (z)enit(h)-harmon(y). It has also been suggested that the Greek anarithmon or ‘numberless’ is another possible starting point for the name.