William Blake

William Blake (1757–1827), English poet, painter, and printmaker, is considered one of the greatest Romantic poets. Throughout his life he had mystical visions of angels, which profoundly influenced his poetry and art. It was only after his death that his genius, in works such as Milton: A Poem in Two Books and Songs of Innocence and Experience, was fully appreciated. Wordsworth supposedly said of Blake, “There was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott.”

Portrait by Thomas Phillips, oil on canvas, 1807. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0, © National Portrait Gallery, London.