William Blake: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about William Blake.

  • William Blake was an English poet and painter, and one of the most important figures of the Romantic Age. He has been voted 38 in a list of 100 greatest Britons.
  • During his lifetime Blake was considered to be eccentric and even insane, by most people. He has only been recognized and appreciated after his death.

  • He was born in London in 1757 and died in 1827. As a child, he left school at age 10 and was educated at home, and enrolled in drawing classes.
  • William Blake became a student at the Royal Academy in 1779, where he had to pay for his own materials.
  • His first book of poems, Poetical Sketches, was published around 1783.
  • Blake married a woman who could not read or write and then spent time teaching her. Their marriage certificate can still be seen in a South London church.
  • Blake mentioned the ‘doors of perception’ in one of his famous works, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The line influenced the writer Aldous Huxley and the rock group, the Doors.
  • William Blake produced many etchings and engravings during his lifetime. He was asked to produce engravings for the Divine Comedy by Dante, although died before completing the job.
  • His best known work is perhaps the poem Jerusalem, written in 1804. The poem was later set to music and became a hymn; today it is one of the most widely played of all songs.
  • Blake’s final years were spent in poverty. He died at the age of 69 and was buried in London’s Bunhill Fields, a burial ground for those not considered to be religious.
  • Today, guided walks of the London sites associated with Blake and his life are popular. A series of mosaics inspired by Blake has been created on a wall in Lambeth, South London.