Publication Announcement – Letters (1800-1805)

By Andrea H. Everett

Letter to John Flaxman, 12 September 1800, object 3, detail

The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of electronic editions of our second installment of Blake’s letters, the correspondence of 1800-1805, which includes his three years with patron William Hayley in the coastal village of Felpham, West Sussex, and the frightening months leading up to his trial for sedition.

The letters in this group supplement the Archive’s publication in November 2013 of Blake’s illustrations to works by Hayley, including his Essay on Sculpture, the broadside ballad Little Tom the Sailor, The Triumphs of Temper, The Life and Posthumous Writings of William Cowper, and The Life of George Romney, along with the republication of Blake’s etched and engraved illustrations to Designs to a Series of Ballads, Written by William Hayley (1802) and Hayley’s Ballads (1805). Letters from this period track the downward spiral from the most hopeful moments of Blake’s anticipations of working for the beloved “hermit of Eartham” to the bitterness and resentment he ultimately felt for that “pickthank.” The letters also show Blake in the process of conducting routine business: with Hayley but also with his important London patron Thomas Butts and with the publisher-promoter Robert Hartley Cromek, who …read more