Museum to Reconstruct William Blake’s Studio

William Blake, Los howl’d (detail). Collection of the British Museum, London.

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England has hatched an ambitious plan to rebuild the studio of William Blake (1757–1827) as the centerpiece of the institution’s upcoming exhibition, “William Blake: Apprentice and Master.”

In a press release, the museum announced that it recently unearthed 19th century blueprints and detailed descriptions of the artist’s studio which was located in Lambeth, South London. The building had been demolished in 1918.

The guest curator of the exhibition Michael Phillips hopes that the recreation of Blake’s studio will offer visitors a deeper understanding of the artists’ creative process. He said, “’William Blake Apprentice and Master’ explores how some of Blake’s best-known works were created and individually produced. It traces how Blake himself developed, from apprentice to master, poet to artist-printmaker, and then how he inspired a new generation of visionary artists.”

Phillip Pullman, president if the Blake Society commented “It’s very exciting to see this exhibition devoted to the work of Albion’s strangest genius. William Blake was a complete original—his power, his tenderness, his wit, his graphic line are like no-one else’s.”

The exhibition includes over 90 Blake works and examines the influences that shaped his artistic development. Blake started his career as an engraver’s apprentice. He reached the peak of his career in the late 16th century, when he was regarded as one of the most influential artists and poets. Toward the end of his life he became a mentor to the next generation of artists, such as Samuel Palmer, George Richmond, and Edward Calvert.

“William Blake: Apprentice & Master” will be on view at the Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PH, England, December 4, 2014–March 1, 2015.

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