Wednesday, May 20, 2009

William Blake's First Exhibition Recreated at the Tate Britain

[William Blake, Jacob's Ladder 1799-1806. Pen and grey ink and watercolour on paper © The Trustees of the British Museum]

200 years ago, at age 52 William Blake had his first exhibition at a tiny gallery in London's Soho district. Not a single work sold, and worse, the only review has been called one of the harshest in history of British art. Tate Britain have managed to locate 10 of the 16 original works, the 10th just recently added having been deemed sturdy enough for travel to their gallery. The exhibition opened April 20 and will remain through October 4.

Read more at Culture24

For those of you in Paris, or planing a trip there, "the first ever retrospective of William Blake in France" is at the Petit Palais through June 28th, titled William Blake: The Visionary Genius of British Romanticism.

[Europe, A Prophecy: The Ancient of Days. Frontispiece - 1794. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge]


  1. I went to see this exhibition when it opened in April and it was really interesting, though quite sad as well, to see the reviews it got. It must have been so demoralising to get such harsh reviews, so few visitors and not to sell anything! Although it offers no consolation to the man himself, it is nice to know that this recreation of the exhibition is being enjoyed and respected now, only 200 years late! Kathryn

  2. Of course you can find Allen singing, reading and discussing Blake at (go to education --> naropa and then search "ginsberg and blake") I'd list the url but copying and pasting doesn't want to work.