I’m just reading G. E. Bentley’s biography of William Blake, Stranger from Paradise, which is fascinating, informative and a valuable aid to understanding the verse and pictures.
I’m currently working on a book featuring William Blake as a character (and alive and kicking in the 21st century) so it’s all good background research and inspiration, but in addition I’m a fan whose admiration grows as my understanding and familiarity with his work grows. The complex mythology and idiosyncratic religious views of Blake can be a bit hard to cope with, but there are some striking and memorable lines and images which make it all worthwhile.
In an strange conjunction of interests, I discovered from Bentley (p.346) that in 1812 William Blake was a victim of bailiffs. He put four works in the spring exhibition of the Associated Painters in Water Colours which took place in Bond Street. The tenant of the gallery had not paid his rent and the landlord distrained on the pictures, including Blake’s Canterbury Pilgrims, Pitt, Nelson and plates from Jerusalem. He had to negotiate their release, presumably on the grounds that they were third party property on temporary loan.
More news of the new story Albion awake! in due course…
Here’s a link to Amazon if you’re interested in reading Bentley’s book.