William Blake as an Artist

William Blake (1757–1827) began studying art as a boy at the drawing academy of Henry Pars and received further training at the Royal Academy before apprenticing under commercial engraver James Basire. Blake engraved many works using the intaglio printing technique. This technique required an image to be engraved or incised on a metal plate; ink was dabbed into the recesses of the image and wiped off the top surface; and the paper was then dampened so that the ink could be pressed into the paper leaving an embossed image. Using another technique called relief etching, Blake was able to create illuminated books by simultaneously etching images and words on the same plate. The Peel library's  exceptional collection comprises many scarce books that reflect Blake's artistic talents, including Blake’s twenty-two well-known etchings of the Book of Job and engraved compositions of Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days. An especially rare treasure is the 1797 edition of Edward Young’s Night Thoughts showcasing forty-three hand painted watercolours designed and engraved by Blake. 

Collection Formats: 18th Century, 19th Century, Art Work, Books -- click to see other collections with this format