(b London, Nov 28, 1757; d London, Aug 12, 1827).
English printmaker, painter and poet. His reputation as a visual artist increased during the 20th century to the extent that his art is as well known as his poetry (see fig.). Yet in his own mind Blake never completely separated the two, and his most original work is to be found in hand-printed books of prophecy, which developed a personal mythology of limitless intellectual ambition. In these books, text and design are completely integrated in what he called ‘illuminated’ printing. He also made many pen and watercolour drawings, prints in various media and a small number of tempera paintings, but even in these his broader aims were primarily theological and philosophical: he saw the arts in all their forms as offering insights into the metaphysical world and therefore potentially redemptive of a humanity he believed to have fallen into materialism and doubt.