Monday, March 12, 2012

Blake's Houses

Blake was born in 1757 and spent his early childhood at 28 Broad St. in Westminster. His father was a shopkeeper, and their financial circumstances were middle, middle class. He seemed to have had maximum freedom to wander around London and environs, which of course was far different from today's London.

In 1782 he was married and moved with his wife, Catherine to 23 Green St.

Three years later they moved to 28 Poland St. and stayed there for the next five years. It was a three story house with an attic indicating that Blake was relatively prosperous at that time. He encountered Druid enthusiasts, who influenced his poetry and general viewpoint.

In 1790 Blake was apparently prosperous enough to move across the Thames to a fairly new building at Lambeth, 19 Hercules.

Blake was growing increasingly frustrated with what might be called a failure of recognition and to realize that in order to live he had to resort to popular rather than good art.

New York Public Library
Milton, Plate 36
William Hayley a wealthy and popular poet made a practice of rescuing needy poets and in 1800 he invited Blake to move to a cottage he had on the south coast at a town called Felpham. Blake took him up and had three miserable years trying to please Hayley's taste, far different from his own.

By 1804 Blake had reached the end of his rope. He moved back to London at 17 South Moulton St. They were on the first floor of a four story building. They stayed there until 1821; it was hard going.

In 1821 they moved to 3 Fountain Court, owned by the husband of Blake's sister-in-law.

Most of this material came from a book called William Blake, by Michael Davis.

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