William Blake

Colinet with his Shepherd’s Pipe, Mocked by Two Boys

1821, reprinted 1977

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
William Blake 1757–1827
Wood engraving on paper
Image: 36 × 77 mm
Presented by British Museum Publications Ltd 1977

Display caption

In the Preface to the illuminated book Milton, from which the hymn Jerusalem comes, Blake tells ‘Young Men of the New Age’ to ‘Rouze up’ against the repressive ‘ignorant Hirelings’ who govern the nation. In these prints Colinet, holding the pipe he uses to accompany his songs, is mocked by ‘wanton imps of spite’. The imagery echoes the sense of rejection as a poet/prophet which we know Blake felt from his contemporaries.

Jerusalem also includes powerful pastoral imagery. But England’s ‘pleasant pastures’ have to be disrupted by Blake’s call to a ‘Mental’ civil war before Liberty and Peace can infuse society.

Gallery label, July 2008

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Catalogue entry

T02126 [from] Illustrations to Thorton's Pastorals of Virgil: Restrikes 1821/1977 [T02115-T02131; complete]

T02115–31 /-.
Seventeen wood-engravings on Japanese Hosho paper, each sheet approx. 121×153 (4 3/4×6)
Presented by British Museum Publications Ltd through Iain Bain and David Chambers 1977
PROVENANCE Printed for the donors 1977
EXHIBITED Tate Gallery 1978 (287–303, repr.)
LITERATURE As for A00111-A00127

Blake's woodblocks for his illustrations to Ambrose Philip's ‘Imitation of Virgil's First Eclogue’ in Dr Thornton's Pastorals of Virgil...Adapted for Schools were acquired by the British Museum in 1939 (1939-14-1-2 to 18). In 1977 one hundred and fifty sets of the seventeen engravings, together with an additional fifty impressions of the larger frontispiece, were printed for the British Museum by Iain Bain and David Chambers. The efforts taken to produce the optimum results are described in their introduction to the publication that goes with the restrikes. Despite some damages and warping certain details and gradations of tone were revealed which had not been picked out either in the early printings or in those from the electrotypes.

T02126 Plate 12: Colinet with his Shepherd's Pipe, Mocked by Two Boys

Wood-engraving 36×77 (1 3/8×3)

Published in:
Martin Butlin, William Blake 1757-1827, Tate Gallery Collections, V, London 1990

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