William Blake (1757-1827) was a British poet, painter, visionary mystic, and engraver, who illustrated and printed his own books. Blake proclaimed the supremacy of the imagination over the rationalism and materialism of the 18th century. He went to Henry Pars’ drawing school and apprenticed for engraver James Basire. Gothic art and architecture influenced him deeply. He taught his wife, Catherine, to draw and paint and she assisted him devoutly.
Blake engraved and published his major works: Famous among his “Prophetic Books” are The Book of Thel (1789) The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, (1790) The Book of Urizen, (1794) America (1793), Milton (1804-8) and Jerusalem. (1804-20). In the “Prophetic Books. Blake’s later artistic works are drawings and engravings for Dante’s Divine Comedy and the 21 illustrations to the book of Job, which was completed when he was almost 70 years old.