1807: Blake, Slavery and the Radical Mind
Tate Britain: Display
3 April 21 October 2007
John Opie, 'Mary Wollstonecraft (Mrs William Godwin)' circa 1790-1

John Opie
Mary Wollstonecraft (Mrs William Godwin) circa 1790-1
Oil on canvas
support: 759 x 638 mm frame: 1005 x 875 x 130 mm
Purchased 1884

View the main page for this artwork

This special display helps mark the anniversary of the Parliamentary act abolishing the slave trade in the British empire in 1807. It focuses on William Blake (1757–1827) and the circle of radical writers and artists associated with the publisher Joseph Johnson (1738–1809) in the 1790s and 1800s. In Blake’s poetry, prints and actions we can clearly see his protests against the enslavement of Man’s mind and body which have continued to inspire generations of artists, writers and political dissenters. Including books, illustrations, prints and paintings, this display evokes the atmosphere of radical debate that helped shape his thought and gave impetus to the abolition movement.