William Blake: Life and works

William Blake was born on 28 November 1757 in Soho, London, England, and died on 12 August 1827 at the age of 69 in Charing Cross, London, England. He was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Black was the third child of 7 children of his parents.

William Blake

His father’s name was James, a hosier; he had come to learn them from Ireland, and his mother’s name was Catherine Blake. William Blake attended school until he could read and write and left school at 10. Afterward, he was taught by his mother, Catherine Blake, at their home. Blake’s father used to purchase drawings of Greek antiquities so that William Blake could practice. He was baptized on 11 December in James Church, London. Though he left his school at age 10, he was engaged in drawing classes at the school of driving school in the Strand. And during this period, he was also enrolled in explorations into poetry, and his early works also show the knowledge of Ben Johnson, Edmond Spencer, and the Psalms.

On 4 August 1772, William Blake started working for engraver James Basire of Great Queen Street, where he was paid 52 pounds and worked there for seven years. When he finished the term, he was 21, and till then, he had become a professional engraver. Later after two years, he was sent to copy images from the Gothic Churches in London. His artistic style and ideas were the results of the experience of Westminster Abbey. On 8 October 1779, Willam Blake joined the Royal Academy, established in old Somerset House near the Strand. During his first five years at the Royal Academy, he became the friend of John Flaxman, Thomas Stothard, and George Cumberland.

In 1781, William Blake met with Catherine Bouncer and married her on 18 August 1782 in St Mary’s Church, Battersea. Catherine Blake was illiterate, so William Blake taught him to read and write. He made her an engraver as well. Blake’s father died in 1784, and after his father’s death, William Blake opened a print shop with the help of his former apprentice James Parker. During the time between 1790 to 1780, he stayed in North Lambeth, London. At 31, in 1788, William Blake started using relief etching to produce his books, paintings, poems, and pamphlets. This method also can be called illuminated printing. William Blake is famous for his relief etching.

William Blake

William Blake moved to a cottage at Felpham in Suxxex in 1800, took a job there, and illustrated the works of William Hayley, a junior poet. He started writing ‘Milton,’ an epic poem living at that cottage between 1804- 1810. In August 1803, William Blake faced trouble with authority because he was involved in a physical altercation. He was charged for this. He moved back to London in 1804 and started to write and illustrate his most famous world, Jerusalem, which he completed between 1804 to 1820. In 1809, William Blake wrote a “Descriptive Catalogue.” He was introduced to John Linnel by the son of George Cumberland. John Linnel was a young artist. And through him, Blake came into contact with Samuel Palmer, who also belonged to a group of artists; the group’s name was Shoreham Ancients.

At age 65, William Blake started working on illustrations for ‘The Book of Job,’ which was later adored by Ruskin, and he compared him to Rembrandt. Later he started selling his numerous works, including the Bible illustrations, to Thomas Butts, who was his patron and friend. William Blake spent his last year at Fautain court of Strand and worked on the “Dante Series” on the day of his death. And suddenly, he moved toward his loving wife and told her to stay just as she was so he could make a portrait of her. After completing the portrait, William Blake laid dawn on a tool and started to hymn songs and verses. And around 6 o’clock that evening, William Blake died after promising her wife that he would always be with her.


  • The Angels Hovering Over the Body of Christ in the Sepulchre, 1805
  • The Ancient of Days, 1794
  • Adam Naming the Beasts, 1810
  • Newton, 1795-1805
  • Satam, 1789
  • Blake’s Cottage, 1804-10
  • The Ghost of a Flea, 1819-20
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience 1789
  • The Dance of Albion 1796
  • Jerusalem,1804

Read More