Produced in 1757 in London, England, William Blake started composing for an early age and claimed to have had his first vision, of a tree filled with angels, at age 10. William studied engraving and grew to adore Gothic art, which he incorporated into his own exceptional works. Blake just briefly attended school, being mainly taught at home by his mom. The Bible had an early, profound impact on Blake, also it might stay a very long time source of inspiration, coloring his life and works with extreme spirituality. Blake also supposedly saw the prophet Ezekiel under a tree and had a vision of “a tree full of angels.” Blake’s visions could have an enduring impact on the artwork and writings he made. At age 14, Blake apprenticed with an engraver.
Also around now, Blake started accumulating prints of artists who’d fallen from vogue at that time, including Durer, Raphael and Michelangelo. In the catalogue for an exhibit of his own work in 1809, almost 40 years later, actually, Blake would lambast artists “who endeavour to raise up a fashion against Rafael, Mich. Angelo, and the Classic.” Artists also rejected 18th century literary styles, choosing the Elizabethans (Shakespeare, Jonson and Spenser) and historical ballads instead.
In 1779, at age 21, Blake finished his seven-year apprenticeship and became a journeyman copy engraver, working on jobs for novel and print publishers. Additionally preparing artists for a job as a painter, the exact same year, he was accepted to the Royal Academy of Art’s Schools of Design, where he started showing his own works in 1780. In August 1782, Blake married Catherine Sophia Boucher, who had been illiterate. Blake instructed her how to read, write, draw and colour (his layouts and prints). Artists also helped her to experience visions, as he did.
Among the very traumatic events of William Blake’s life happened in 1787, when his precious brother, Robert, died from tuberculosis at age 24. In the minute of Robert’s departure, Blake supposedly saw his spirit ascend through the ceiling, joyously; the minute, which entered into Blake’s head, significantly affected his later poetry. The next year, Robert seemed to Blake in a vision and presented him with a brand new approach to printing his works, which Blake called “illuminated printing.” Once integrated, this approach enabled Blake to command all facets of the creation of his artwork. While Blake was an recognized engraver, shortly he started receiving commissions to paint watercolors, and he painted pictures in the works of Milton, Dante, Shakespeare as well as the Bible.
In 1800, Blake accepted an invitation from poet William Hayley to go to the small seaside hamlet of Felpham and work as his protg. Schofield accused Blake of assault and, worse, of sedition, asserting he had damned the king. The punishments for sedition in England in the time (during the Napoleonic Wars) were serious. Blake anguished, unsure of his destiny. Hayley hired a attorney on Blake’s benefit, and he was acquitted in January 1804, where time Blake and Catherine had moved back to London.
In 1804, Blake started to compose and illustrate Jerusalem (1804-20), his most challenging work to date. He also started showing more work at exhibits (including Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims and Satan Calling Up His Legions), but these works were encountered with quiet, and the one printed review was absurdly negative; the reviewer known as the exhibit a display of “junk, unintelligibleness and egregious conceit,” and referred to Blake as “an ill-fated lunatic.” Blake was devastated by the review and insufficient interest to his works, and, later, he pulled away increasingly more from any effort at success. From 1809 to 1818, he engraved few plates (there’s no record of Blake making any commercial engravings from 1806 to 1813). Himself also sank deeper into poverty, obscurity and paranoia.
In 1819, nevertheless, Blake started sketching a set of “visionary heads,” asserting the historic and fictional bodies which he depicted really appeared and sat for him. Staying artistically active, between 1823 and 1825, Blake engraved 21 designs for an illustrated Book of Job (in the Bible) and Dante’s Inferno. In 1824, artists started a string of 102 watercolor illustrations of Dante—a job that would be cut short by Blake’s death in 1827.
In the last years of his life, William Blake suffered from recurring spells of an undiagnosed ailment which he called “that illness to which there’s no name.” In passing, as in life, Blake received short shrift from onlookers, and obituaries tended to underscore his private idiosyncrasies in the cost of his artistic achievements. The Literary Chronicle, for instance, described himself as “one of the imaginative men … whose eccentricities were still more remarkable than their professional skills.” Unappreciated in life, William Blake has since become a giant in literary and artistic groups, and his visionary way of artwork and writing haven’t only spawned innumerable, spellbound guesses about Blake, they’ve inspired a vast variety of artists and writers.