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William Blake's World: "A New Heaven Is Begun" | Chronology
September 11, 2009, through January 3, 2010

Chronology of William Blake as Represented by Major Works in the Morgan's Collection

Age Year and Event
Born, 28 November; lived at 28 Broad Street, Golden Square
10 1767
Began drawing lessons with Henry Pars
15 1772
Apprenticed to James Basire at 31 Great Queen Street (completed seven years later, in August 1779)
22 1779
Admitted to Royal Academy in October; studied as an engraver; exhibited in 1780, 1784, 1785, 1799, and 1808
Began engravings for books published by Joseph Johnson (1738–1809) 1779–86 (sixteen plates for seven books); 1786–1801 (ninety plates)
25 1782
Married Catherine Boucher, 18 August, in Battersea; moved to 23 Green Street, Leicester Fields
26 1783
Poetical Sketches
27 1784
Opened a print shop with James Parker at 27 Broad Street, probably in October; business dissolved in 1785
30 1787
Death of his brother Robert
31 1788
Etched There Is No Natural Religion, which probably was not printed until 1794
32 1789
Songs of Innocence
The Book of Thel, which perhaps was not printed before 1791
Engraved Satan
33 1790
Moved to 13 Hercules Buildings, Lambeth The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (first book from Hercules Buildings)
36 1793
Visions of the Daughters of Albion
37 1794
Songs of Innocence and of Experience
The First Book of Urizen
38 1795
The Song of Los
The Book of Los
40 1797
Night Thoughts
43 1800
Moved from Lambeth to Felpham, Sussex, 18 September; returned to 17 South Moulton St., London, in autumn 1803
46–47 1803–4
Quarreled with a soldier in his garden at Felpham in August; tried for uttering seditious statements, 1803; cleared in a second trial, 1804
Began Jerusalem, which probably was first printed 1820; last copy produced 1827
48–53 1805–10
Created watercolor illustrations for the Book of Job for Thomas Butts
50 1807
Pickering manuscript
51 1808
The Grave
59–63 1816–20
Created watercolors for Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso for Thomas Butts
61 1818
Met John Linnell
62 1819
Began drawing visionary heads for Varley
63 1820
On Homer's Poetry [and] On Virgil
63–68 1820–25
For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise
64 1821
Moved to 3 Fountain Court, Strand
Publication of Thornton's Pastorals of Virgil
66–69 1823–26
Began to engrave illustrations for the
Book of Job
, published by Linnell in 1826
67 1824
Met the young artists who called themselves the Ancients in his honor
67–69 1824–27
Blake's illustrations of Dante, of which only seven plates were produced; printed posthumously (1838)
69 1827
Died 12 August; Catherine died 18 October 1831

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Key to London Addresses:

  1. Multiple locations in and around Broad Street and Golden Square, 1757–90; South Moulton Street, 1803–21
  2. 31 Great Queen Street (apprenticeship to James Basire) 1772–79
  3. 13 Hercules Buildings, Lambeth, 1790–1800
  4. 3 Fountain Court, Strand, 1821–27

John Rocque. A New and Accurate Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster. . . . London, 1748. Detail, pl. vi. Purchased on the Henry S. Morgan Fund, 2007. PML 129921.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.