Regency Portraits Catalogue
William Blake (1757-1827), Visionary poet and painter
'... of low stature and slender make, with a high pallid forehead, and eyes large, dark and expressive' (Cunningham, Lives, II, p 180).
'His eye was the finest I ever saw; brilliant but not roving, clear and intent, yet susceptible; it flashed with genius or melted in tenderness' (letter from Samuel Palmer to Gilchrist 23 August 1855).
Referencesback to topBentley 1969
G. E. Bentley Jr., Blake Records, 1969, p 278.
David Bindman, William Blake: Catalogue of the Collection in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 1970, pp 58-60 (claiming Fitzwilliam version as the original).
Rev Thomas Dibdin, Reminiscences of a Literary Life, 1836.
William Gaunt, Arrows of Desire, 1956, p 48.
Alexander Gilchrist, Life of William Blake, 1863 reprinted 1907.
H. H. Gilchrist, Anne Gilchrist: her Life and Writings, 1887, pp 258-60.
Herbert Horne, 'The Life Mask of William Blake' in Century Guild Hobby Horse, January 1887, p 27.
G. L. Keynes, Bibliography of William Blake, 1921, p 479 (claiming NPG 1809 as original version of life-mask).
G. L. Keynes, The Complete Portraiture, 1977, pp 21-3, 121-8, 133-7 (conceding the Fitzwilliam version as a 'proof' copy or prototype).
Sir David Piper, The Image of the Poet, 1982.
John Sampson, Poetical Works, 1913, frontispiece.
A. M. W. Stirling, The Richmond Papers, 1926, p 26.
Mona Wilson, Life of William Blake, 1971 edn, pp 230-1, 289, 369-70.
This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.