4 of 10 portraits of William Blake
- Extended Catalogue Entry
after James Deville
bronze head, 1953, based on a work of 1823
11 1/2 in. (292 mm) high
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Sitterback to top
- William Blake (1757-1827), Visionary poet and painter. Sitter in 10 portraits, Artist associated with 5 portraits.
This portraitback to top
James DeVille was a sculptor, a publisher of marked-up phrenological busts and the owner of a museum of phrenological casts. He made this plaster life-mask of the artist Wiliam Blake to be 'representative of the imaginative faculty'. As was often the case with life masks, cast directly from the subject's face, it was a disappointing likeness. One of Blake's friends noted that the unnatural severity of the mouth was caused by the discomfort of the process 'as the plaster pulled out a quantity of hair'.
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Events of 1823back to top
Current affairsGaols Act is passed to build new prisons, raise standards in old ones and institute regular inspections. It is prompted by the vigorous campaigning of reformers such as Elizabeth Fry, leader of the Ladies Association for the Improvement of Female Prisoners in Newgate Prison.
Anti-Slavery Committee is founded in London.
Art and scienceArchitect, Robert Smirke begins construction of the British Museum.
Thomas Wakley founds The Lancet, the first weekly medical journal and important mouthpiece of medical reform.
Charles Babbage begins work on the first calculating machine.
Charles Macintosh invents waterproof fabric.
InternationalCatholic Association is founded by Daniel O'Connell in Ireland in an attempt to mobilise and politicise the entire Irish Catholic population in a systematic challenge to the ruling Protestant ascendancy.
War breaks out between France and Spain.
English missionary John Smith died in prison having been sentenced to be hanged for failing to take up arms against slaves in Demerara.