By Anna Mercer
2020 presents yet another exciting year for Romantic bicentenaries. We’ve already shared ‘On This Day’ posts about Lord Byron, John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Today we are delighted to present a reflection on William Blake in September 1820 by Dr Sibylle Erle (Bishop Grosseteste University).
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On This Day in 1820: 18 September, William Blake draws Pindar the Greek Poet and Lais the Courtesan (Visionary Heads) for John Varley
This Blog post will have two parts. Check back tomorrow to read part II for more on William Blake’s Visionary Heads.
According to its inscription, which was written by John Linnell (1792-1882), William Blake (1757-1827) drew ‘Pindar and Lais the Courtesan’ on 18 September 1820 (Butlin 1981, #711). Blake drew for an audience but only Blake could see who he was drawing.
Pindar (died c. 439BC) was a well-known, now canonical, lyric poet in Ancient Greece. Blake, who mentions ‘Pindar’ in passing in An Island in the Moon (1784), would have deepened his knowledge when illustrating Thomas Gray’s poems (c.1797-98). He would have been familiar with the apocryphal …read more