Search more than 3, biographies of contemporary and classic poets. Two of his six siblings died in infancy. From early childhood, Blake spoke of having visions—at four he saw God "put his head to the window"; around age nine, while walking through the countryside, he saw a tree filled with angels.
By This Poet
William Blake is famous today as an imaginative and original poet, painter, engraver and mystic. But his work, especially his poetry, was largely ignored during his own lifetime, and took many years to gain widespread appreciation. The third of six children of a Soho hosier, William Blake lived and worked in London all his life. In , he was apprenticed to the distinguished printmaker James Basire, who extended his intellectual and artistic education. Three years of drawing murals and monuments in Westminster Abbey fed a fascination with history and medieval art. In , he married Catherine Boucher, the steadfast companion and manager of his affairs for the whole of his chequered, childless life. Much in demand as an engraver, he experimented with combining poetry and image in a printing process he invented himself in
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Who Was William Blake?
William Blake began writing at an early age and claimed to have had his first vision, of a tree full of angels, at age He studied engraving and grew to love Gothic art, which he incorporated into his own unique works. A misunderstood poet, artist and visionary throughout much of his life, Blake found admirers late in life and has been vastly influential since his death in He only briefly attended school, being chiefly educated at home by his mother. The Bible had an early, profound influence on Blake, and it would remain a lifetime source of inspiration, coloring his life and works with intense spirituality. At an early age, Blake began experiencing visions, and his friend and journalist Henry Crabb Robinson wrote that Blake saw God's head appear in a window when Blake was 4 years old. He also allegedly saw the prophet Ezekiel under a tree and had a vision of "a tree filled with angels.
Poet, painter, engraver, and visionary William Blake worked to bring about a change both in the social order and in the minds of men. Though in his lifetime his work was largely neglected or dismissed, he is now considered one of the leading lights of English poetry, and his work has only grown in popularity. Far from being an isolated mystic, Blake lived and worked in the teeming metropolis of London at a time of great social and political change that profoundly influenced his writing. In addition to being considered one of the most visionary of English poets and one of the great progenitors of English Romanticism, his visual artwork is highly regarded around the world.