This is a title illustration to Blake’s book, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
, 1790-93. In it, Blake followed in the footsteps of two of his literary heroes, Dante and Milton, and wrote of a visit to Hell. Blake’s Hell was not as depicted by conventional Christianity, and instead it is a place of unbound energy. Heaven is described as a place of conformity and control. The Marriage
explores the idea that both are necessary contraries within us all.
Because of the size and condition of the original work, 80 x 60 cm is the largest size option we are able to offer.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Original: Book, 27 plates on 15 leaves, leaf size 20.4 x 13.2 cm Open to plates 14, ‘The ancient tradition…’ and 15, ‘A Memorable Fancy’ Relief etching with hand-colouring 14.9 x 10.1 and 14.9 x 10.2 (plate) The Syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge
William Blake (1757 – 1827) was an English poet and artist. Blake trained as an engraver and had a career in etching, engraving and illustration. Although he exhibited his watercolours at the Royal Academy, from 1780 he railed against academic art, insisting instead on individual inspiration. His own style was influenced by Gothic sculpture and Michelangelo’s figures. Although he received little public recognition in his lifetime, he has since been hailed as one of Britain’s greatest artists, and celebrated for his anti-slavery and pro-equality views.