"The Songs of Innocence" was originally printed in 1789 by William Blake. There are nineteen poems and it is engraved with original artwork by William Blake. The poems are mostly happy and religious. They are mostly pastoral with children and lambs. Some of the poems do have dark undertones with stabs at the church and its strict laws. Some also have child endangerment and disregard in … [Read more...]
William Blake was born in London in 1757 to James and Catherine Blake. His father was a hosier and William attended school until he was ten years old. After that, he was taught by his mother, enrolled in a drawing class and read on the subjects that interested him. Although the family disagreed with the church, they were quite religious. Most of William's poetry has religious undertones.
At fifteen William was apprenticed to an engraver where he stayed for the next seven years. After that, he became a professional engraver. But, instead of practicing that profession, he enrolled in the Royal Academy to study art.
In 1782 at the age of twenty-five, William met and married Catherine. At the time of their marriage, she was illiterate. He taught her to read and write and how to engrave. She was invaluable in his career. She boosted him when his was low and helped with his work.
Shortly after his marriage, William opened a print shop. He began working with radical people of the time, including feminists, dissidents, artists, philosophers, and revolutionaries. He supported the American and French revolutions.
William Blake was a poet, a painter, and a printmaker, as well as an engraver. During his own lifetime, he was mostly unrecognized but is now considered to be one of the foremost leaders in poetry and art of the Romantic Age. In 2002 the BBC ran a poll, and the people of Briton voted him number thirty-eight of the one hundred greatest Britons of all time.
William's art was almost all of a religious slant. Especially after he seemed to have experienced visions of Christ and his Apostles along with hearing a chant from monks and priests in a procession while praying and studying art in the Westminster Abbey in his early twenties.
Later in life William finally managed to sell some of his art. It was mostly his Bible illustrations. Before his death, William was at work on watercolors for Dante Inferno commissioned by his friend, John Linnell. He was so devoted to finishing it that he left his sick bed and worked on it the day he died. He is said to have spent his last bit of money on a pencil to continue the work.
His wife, Catherine was by his bedside, and when she, in tears, started to leave, he told her to stay and said he would draw her because she was his angel. The drawing has never been lost. After singing hymns and assuring his wife he would be with her, he died on August 12, 1827.
His friend Linnell paid for his funeral and Catherine went to work as a housekeeper. She spent the rest of her life talking to him as if he was in the room. When someone wanted to buy some of his art, she would say she had to check with him first.
When she died four years later, she was cheerful. Catherine called out to William as if he was in the next room and said she was coming to him. They share a grave in Borough of Islington, London.