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William Blake - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
on 1 February 2012
William Blake (1757-1827), was an accomplished poet and outstanding artist whose relation with the divine often caused him to be rediculed by his peers and ignored by his contempories. Although holding the Christian Bible in high esteem, and considering it a source of deep spirituality, nevertheless, he found the established Church, as a religious institution, to be very limited in its appreciation of the presence of god. In this respect, Blake viewed the human imagination as a device for a personal communication with the divine, linking god's 'grace', (or 'presence'), as being manifest in the structures of artistic creation.
The paperback (1992) edition is arranged in numbered pages i-xxvii - and pages 1-27. There are 27 Plates, the originals, (including both text and designs) were etched by Blake himself, upon copperplates, before these plates were used to prodice printed copies. These copies were then visually enhanced by the adding water-colours. Blake referred to this kind of work as 'illuminated', and it is interesting to consider that only nine copies are known to exist. The original is believed to have been started in 1789 and finished in 1790. The copy reproduced in this book is from one of two original copies held in the Fitzwilliam Musuem, Cambridge:
The text of The Marriage of Heaven and Earth.
The facsimule of the Illuminated Plates.
Commentary by Sir Geoffrey Keynes (1887-1982).
Keynes qualified from Cambridge, and trained as a surgeon. He was considered the foremost authority on the literary and artistic work of Blake, and through his efforts did much to bring Blake's work in the public awareness. In this book Keynes reproduces the original, beautiful text and illustrations created by Blake's hand, and adds an authorative commentary to each. On the last page Blake writes 'For everything that lives is holy'. An extraordinary book worthy of study.