William Blake

Died aged 69

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his life, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual art of the Romantic Age. What he called his "prophetic works" were said by 20th-century critic Northrop Frye to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language". His visual artistry led 21st-century critic Jonathan Jones to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". In 2002, Blake was placed at number 38 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. While he lived in London his entire life, except for three years spent in Felpham, he produced a diverse and symbolically rich collection of works, which embraced the imagination as "the body of God" or "human existence itself". Although Blake was considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, he is held in high regard by later critics for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterised as part of the Romantic movement and as "Pre-Romantic". In fact, he has been said to be "a key early proponent of both Romanticism and Nationalism". A committed Christian who was hostile to the Church of England (indeed, to almost all forms of organised religion), Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American revolutions. Though later he rejected many of these political beliefs, he maintained an amiable relationship with the political activist Thomas Paine; he was also influenced by thinkers such as Emanuel Swedenborg. Despite these known influences, the singularity of Blake's work makes him difficult to classify. The 19th-century scholar William Michael Rossetti characterised him as a "glorious luminary", and "a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors".

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Commemorated on 6 plaques

John Linnell 1792-1882 painter lived here. William Blake 1757-1827 poet and artist stayed here as his guest.

'Old Wyldes', North End, Hampstead, Barnet, NW3, London, United Kingdom where they stayed

William Blake 1757-1827 poet, painter, visionary was arrested, in 1803, in this doorway after allegedly making seditious remarks to a soldier billeted at The Fox Inn

The Fox Inn, Waterloo Road, Felpham, Bognor Regis, United Kingdom where they billeted

William Blake, artist, poet and mystic lived here 1800-1803

Blakes Road, Bognor Regis, United Kingdom where they lived (1800-1803)

William Blake poet & painter lived here born 1757 died 1827

17 South Molton Street, London, United Kingdom where they lived

William Blake was born on 28 November 1757 in a house which stood on this site.

8 Marshall Street, SW1F 7EJ, London, United Kingdom where they was born (1757)

William Blake poet & painter lived in a house formerly on this site 1793

Hercules Road, London, United Kingdom where they lived