4 of 10 portraits of William Blake
after James Deville
bronze head, 1953 (1823)
11 1/2 in. (292 mm) high
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- William Blake (1757-1827), Visionary poet and painter. Sitter in 10 portraits, Artist associated with 5 portraits.
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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'.