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William Blake

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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The artist Blake was an engraver who had a calling as a divinely inspired poet and prophet. He developed an integrated method of engraving copper plates with words and images. His visionary illuminated works include Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793) and Songs of Innocence and Experience (1794) which contains 'Tyger! Tyger! burning bright'. Blake's work later became highly symbolic and complex. Often misunderstood or scorned for his radical politics, Blake's work was only recognised by close friends like Fuseli and Flaxman and his disciple, the young Samuel Palmer. Phillips is said to have caught Blake's 'rapt poetic expression' by luring him to talk of his friendship with the Archangel Gabriel.

National Portrait Gallery, London





oil on canvas


H 92.1 x W 72 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased, 1866

Work type



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Normally on display at

National Portrait Gallery, London

St Martin’s Place, London, Greater London WC2H 0HE England

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