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  • William Blake, 'Beatrice Addressing Dante from the Car' 1824-7

    William Blake
    Beatrice Addressing Dante from the Car 1824-7
    Pen and ink and watercolour on paper
    support: 372 x 527 mm
    Purchased with the assistance of a special grant from the National Gallery and donations from the Art Fund, Lord Duveen and others, and presented through the the Art Fund 1919

    View the main page for this artwork

  • William Blake, 'Plate 2 of 'Urizen': 'Teach these Souls to Fly'' ?1796

    William Blake
    Plate 2 of 'Urizen': 'Teach these Souls to Fly' ?1796
    Colour print finished in ink and watercolour on paper
    support: 109 x 102 mm
    Purchased 1922

    View the main page for this artwork

  • William Blake, 'Plate 4 of 'Visions of the Daughters of Albion'' circa 1795

    William Blake
    Plate 4 of 'Visions of the Daughters of Albion' circa 1795
    Colour print finished in ink and watercolour on paper
    support: 75 x 115 mm
    Purchased with the assistance of a special grant from the National Gallery and donations from the Art Fund, Lord Duveen and others, and presented through the the Art Fund 1919

    View the main page for this artwork

William Blake A-Z

Albion

A common poetical name (and the ancient Roman name) for England, used by Blake to personify the country

Albion’s Daughters

The women of England, who yearn for liberty

Beulah

The realm of the subconscious, the source of inspiration

Emanation

The female counterpart of the essentially bisexual male

Enitharmon

Spiritual beauty, the emanation of Los

Golgonoozo

A city of ‘Art & Manufacture’ created by Los in Britain

Jerusalem

Stands for Liberty. She is the emanation of Albion and a spiritual inspiration for all mankind

Los

Personifies poetry, the creative imagination; the physical manifestation of Urthona

Luvah

The Zoa representing love and sexual energy

Oothoon

Represents thwarted love. The third daughter of Los and Enitharmon, she is also the primitive ‘soft soul of America’

Orc

The spirit of Revolution, the firstborn of Los and Enitharmon

Spectre

Stands for rational doubt and selfishness; hostile to Vision

Tharmas

The Zoa representing the bodily senses

Ulro

The material world, underneath Beulah

Urizen

One of the Zoas, standing for Reason. In Blake’s eyes he limits energy and is a vengeful lawmaker

Urthona

The Zoa representing the creative imagination of the individual

Vala

The goddess of nature

Zoas

The Four Zoas represent the four aspects of man: the body, reason, emotion and imagination. The reunion of these elements will lead to the redemption of Albion

William Blake Chronology

1757 – Born in London on 28 November to James Blake, a hosier
1769 – Begins writing poetry
1772 – Apprenticed to the engraver, James Basire
1775 – American War of Independence begins
1780 – First exhibits at the Royal Academy, while a student there London is shaken by the Gordon Riots
1782 – Marries Catherine Butcher (or Boucher)
1787 – Death of Blake’s beloved younger brother Robert
1788 – First uses his special method of relief-etched illuminated printing
1789 – In June the French Revolution begins Publishes his first major independent works, Songs of Innocence and The Book of Thel
1790 – Moves to 13 Hercules Buildings, Lambeth
1793 – The execution of Louis XVI in France leads to a conservative backlash in Britain and war against revolutionary France Blake’s Prospectus advertises his work for sale, including America a Prophecy
1794 – Publishes Europe a Prophecy and Songs of Innocence and Experience
1800 – The Blakes leave Lambeth to live at Felpham, Sussex
1803 – Alleged to have cursed the King and charged with sedition. The Blakes settle back in London
1804 – Aquitted of sedition charge. Date given on title-pages of the illuminated books Milton and Jerusalem
1808 – Thomas Butts commissions illustrations to Milton’s Paradise Lost
1809 – Opening in May of Blake’s exhibition of his own work
1819 – First examples of the ‘visionary heads’, including The Ghost of a Flea, drawn for John Varley
1821 – Blake’s wood-cut illustrations to Virgil published
1824 – John Linnell commissions illustrations to Dante’s Divine Comedy
1827 – Dies in London on 12 August