Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The plight of William Blake's watercolours

...is fascinating on many levels. The folio in question is currently valued at £8.8 million. This news brought to mind Blake's bio, which I find inspiring, as the heavily highlighted sections of my copy of the Norton Anthology of English Literature (Fifth Edition, 1987) plainly show. Parts of the bio jump out at me:

"...Blake moved back to London, determined to follow his "Divine Vision" though it meant a life of isolation, misunderstanding, and poverty. When his one great bid for public recognition, a one-man show put on in 1809, proved a total failure, Blake passed into almost complete obscurity."

"At the time of his death Blake was little known as an artist and almost entirely unknown as a poet."

But this is my favourite:

"Blake's old age was serene, self-confident, and joyous, largely free from the bursts of irascibility with which he had earlier responded to the shallowness and blindness of the English public."

After I read the news about Blake's watercolours, I spent some time looking around The William Blake Archive. It's a treasure. I lingered over work that made me think about serenity, self-confidence and joy. Then I stared at this.

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