Quote

Linnell on Blake

“I soon encountered Blake’s peculiarities and [was] somewhat taken aback by the boldness of some of his assertions. I never saw anything the least like madness, for I never opposed him spitefully, as many did - but being really anxious to fathom, if possible, the amount of truth which might be in his most startling assertions, I generally met with a sufficiently rational explanation in the most really friendly and conciliatory tone. Even when John Varley, to whom I introduced to Blake, and who readily devoured all the marvellous in Blake’s most extravagant utterances - even to Varley, Blake would occasionally explain unasked how he believed that both Varley and I could see the same visions as he saw - making it evident to me, that Blake claimed the possession of some powers, only in a greater degree, that all men possessed, and which they undervalued in themselves but lost through love of sordid pursuits - pride, vanity, and the unrighteous mammon”

John Linnell’s Autobiographical notes, f.57-58
MS32-2000

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