Biography of William Blake

He had a long life: he lived seventy years, but attained international fame posthumously. However, Blake pays attention to his image even now.

Born: 28 November 1757
Soho, London, Great Britain
Poet, painter, printmaker

The touch with Blake’s creative work is like a contact with the stone turned by the nature – one should look at him from different perspectives, because each new facet appears more wonderful and significant, than the previous one.

Biography of William Blake

Biography William Blake

William Blake was born on the 28th of November, 1757 in the Soho – the central part of London – in the family of a knitted fabric merchant.

Blake began as an engraver and a drawer. In the 1778, he was admitted to the Royal academy and in the 1780, for the first time, he took part in an academy exhibition, having represented the water-color “Death of Count Goodwin”.

Since the 1787, Blake’s enthusiasm for mysticism began. It was inspired, first, by an impression from the death of the beloved brother Robert, and, secondly, by the friendship with the artist I. G. Fuseli, who developed fantastic themes all the life.

The years 1804—1818 were difficult period in Blake’s life. By the denunciation, he was accused of a treason, adjudicated, but finally he was acquitted.

The personal exhibition of the 1804 did not have a success, the pictures were sold badly. However, almost ten years of recognition and glory followed, and before his death, Blake was encompassed with worship and reverence of young painters.

Blake was similar in believes to the democratic London correspondent society.


Blake died on the 12th of August, 1827 from inflammation of the gall bladder. Blake’s body came down into a nameless pit for beggars – there were no funds to bury a dead person, London took over the attentions on burial. At the present time, there is a board in the Poets` Corner of the Westminster Abbey confirming the name of Blake engraved on it belongs to history.

After Blake’s death, the interest in his creative works began to rise. Now he is considered a classic, a representative of views of typical art of England.

Creative Work of William Blake

Blake can be called one of the first romantic theorists. His poetry and painting are like a cohesive link between education and romanticism. The first two books of poems – “Poetical Sketches” (1783) and “Songs of Innocence” (1789) – are quite optimistic in spirit.

The spirit of the Great French revolution of the 1791 captivated him. Blake began to work on the poem “The French Revolution”, which remained unfinished.

Afterwards he wrote “Of Prophecy books” (1791—1820), where he told about the French revolution and the struggle of the American colonies of England for the independence, he resorted to Bible allegories. Over time, twilight moods (of “Songs of Experience”, 1794) and a satyr (“Proverbs of Hell”, 1793) gradually began to replace his optimism.

Bringing mankind to the Golden Age became Blake’s central idea through religion – art; his main idea was the search of the greatest intelligence and beauty not outside a person, but inside him.

William Blake Poems


Blake’s works show, how deep and thin his inner world was, just not like of the rest of people one. The contemporaries considered him a madman for Blake’s unusual views and comparisons.

The famous poem by William Blake “The Tiger” belonged to the collection “Songs of Experience”. There is a parallel to this poem in the collection “Songs of Innocence”. This is the poem “The Lamb” by William Blake directly referring to the Gospel from Ioann. The poem “The Lamb”, an anthem to meekness, gives special expression to the images of “The Tiger”, which represent a real clot of furious energy. But even “The Tiger” is not a polarity, but a necessary addition: here is it, a crushing rage, which, as it seemed to Blake, could overcome delusions and evil of the world sooner, than Christian obedience and love can. And nobody knows, if this energy will be demanded by mankind, which decided to force the path through the dark thickets of self-deceptions and dogmas to the light of sincere truths.

The author liked to create parallels in his collections of poems. For example, there are 2 poems “The Chimney Sweeper” by William Blake, one of which refers to the collection “Songs of Innocence” and another one– to the collection “Songs of Experience”. In the first poem, the author reveals a plead for social injustice. Thus, the poet creates the feeling of sympathy and deep kindness for a little innocent chimney sweeper. The second poem is in a sharp contrast with the first one. This poem has an adult speaker, who meets a young chimney sweeper in the snow. The boy from this poem is fully aware of the complexity and hopelessness of his life situation. He is no longer innocent and sees the life by mature person`s eyes.

Popular poems by William Blake

  1. The Sick Rose
  2. The Chimney Sweeper (Innocence)
  3. A Poison Tree
  4. The Garden Of Love
  5. The School Boy
  6. The Echoing Green
  7. The Tyger
  8. Love’s Secret
  9. London
  10. The Chimney-Sweeper (Experience)

William Blake death: 12 August 1827 in Charing Cross, London, Great Britain