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Regency Portraits Catalogue

William Blake (1757-1827), Visionary poet and painter

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 top

Bentley 1969
G. E. Bentley Jr., Blake Records, 1969, p 278.

Bindman 1970
David Bindman, William Blake: Catalogue of the Collection in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 1970, pp 58-60 (claiming Fitzwilliam version as the original).

Dibdin 1836
Rev Thomas Dibdin, Reminiscences of a Literary Life, 1836.

Gaunt 1956
William Gaunt, Arrows of Desire, 1956, p 48.

Gilchrist 1863
Alexander Gilchrist, Life of William Blake, 1863 reprinted 1907.

Gilchrist 1887
H. H. Gilchrist, Anne Gilchrist: her Life and Writings, 1887, pp 258-60.

Horne 1887
Herbert Horne, 'The Life Mask of William Blake' in Century Guild Hobby Horse, January 1887, p 27.

Keynes 1921
G. L. Keynes, Bibliography of William Blake, 1921, p 479 (claiming NPG 1809 as original version of life-mask).

Keynes 1977
G. L. Keynes, The Complete Portraiture, 1977, pp 21-3, 121-8, 133-7 (conceding the Fitzwilliam version as a 'proof' copy or prototype).

Piper 1982
Sir David Piper, The Image of the Poet, 1982.

Sampson 1913
John Sampson, Poetical Works, 1913, frontispiece.

Stirling 1926
A. M. W. Stirling, The Richmond Papers, 1926, p 26.

Wilson 1971
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.