William Blake in Sussex

Visions of Albion

Sussex, the only place outside London where Blake ever lived, inspired a wide body of extraordinary work, done for new and existing patrons and ranging from the familiar to the rarely considered. Accompanying the first exhibition devoted to the subject, William Blake in Sussex considers the collective significance of the English county to the life
Date Published :
February 2018
Publisher :
Paul Holberton Publishing
Editor :
Andrew Loukes
Language:
English
Illustration :
70 color illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781911300298
Pages : 120
Dimensions : 8.3 X 8.3 inches
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In stock
$25.00

Overview
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Sussex, the only place outside London where Blake ever lived, inspired a wide body of extraordinary work, done for new and existing patrons and ranging from the familiar to the rarely considered. Accompanying the first exhibition devoted to the subject, William Blake in Sussex considers the collective significance of the English county to the life and work of the the celebrated artist and writer.

Disillusioned with London life and struggling to make a living, Blake and his wife Catherine went in 1800 to live at the coastal village of Felpham, which the artist soon described as “the sweetest spot on earth." Providing his principal encounters with both English rural life and the coast, the artist’s three years “on the banks of the ocean” informed his two greatest illustrated epic poems, Milton and Jerusalem, and continued to be reflected in his work for the rest of his career: “In Felpham," claimed Blake, “I saw and heard Visions of Albion”.

In addition to the work associated with Felpham, this publication considers the collections of nearby Petworth House, which include three major paintings by Blake – otherwise unrepresented in other grand houses of Britain – along with related prints, books and archival material. The authors will examine the relationships formed by Blake in Sussex, particularly with the poet William Hayley, the sculptor John Flaxman, the 3rd Earl of Egremont (one of the great collectors of contemporary art in the early 19th century) and his estranged wife Elizabeth Ilive, who commissioned two of the three paintings now in Petworth. Blake’s work for Hayley, often dismissed as illustrative and decorative, will be reappraised, and other projects he worked on in Sussex – including remarkable biblical watercolors produced for his great London patron, Thomas Butts – will be celebrated. Blake’s infamous arrest and trial for sedition – chief among the events profoundly affecting him in Sussex – will be discussed. It is not widely known that Blake was tried first in Petworth, where he was vouched for by the 3rd Earl.

About The Author
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Andrew Loukes is Exhibitions Manager at Petworth House, West Sussex, UK.

REVIEWS
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"Revelatory … moving between the rare and the well known, William Blake in Sussex: Visions of Albion captures the imagination."

- The Times

"Fascinating … William Blake in Sussex makes a strong case for the importance of this sweet pastoral interlude in the visionary artist’s life."

- The Telegraph

"Explores the influence of Sussex on the visionary artist-poet ... some of his best work."

- Country Life

"Treat of a show"

- World of Interiors, March 2018

“[William Blake in Sussex] combines the job of exhibition catalogue with a presentation of scholarly texts from specialist art historians, examines Blake in the context of Sussex in general and Petworth House in particular; the influence of the pastoral; his sponsor, poet William Hayley; and his biblical illustrations from the Felpham period … the overall impression is of a deeply significant artist whose personal idiosyncrasies produced some outstanding work and who continues to inspire critics and thinkers today.”

- Sussex Life, March 2018

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