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William Blake 1757-1827
The marriage of heaven and hell
Relief etching printed in colours with hand colouring and highlighting in gold, 1790-93
Bequeathed by Thomas Henry Riches 1935 (received 1950)

This illuminated printed book contains Blake's reactions to the political and religious issues that emerged in the wake of the French Revolution. It is still within its original white vellum binding, made for John Linnell, who bought the copy on 30 April 1821 for £2, 2 shillings. On the left-hand page (plate 4) Blake writes of the erroneous division of body and soul, a belief symbolised by his method of etching, whereby he drew and wrote on the plate with acid-resistant varnish, then bathed it in acid, 'melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was hid' (plate 14).

P.123-1950


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The Fitzwilliam Museum : Highlights

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