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William Blake’s second life

An exhibition at the Tate shows both the triumphs and failures of the poet

By Seamus Perry   November 2019

In 1809, William Blake decided to re-launch his faltering artistic career at the age of 51 by putting on an exhibition of his works. The venue was the first floor of his brother’s haberdashery shop in Golden Square in Soho, not an obvious location for the art-loving public. Nevertheless, the poet, printmaker and artist intended the show to make an immense splash, and in the Descriptive Catalogue that he produced to accompany…

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