William Blake, Albion Rose, a colour printed etching with hand-drawn additions in ink and watercolour

England, around AD 1796

Also called Glad Day or The Dance of Albion

This plate was once part of the Large Book of Designs which Blake printed in 1796 for the miniature painter Ozias Humphrey. The design possibly dates back to a pencil drawing of 1780 (Victoria and Albert Museum), the date inscribed on the plate for Albion Rose. Blake executed the same subject in about 1804 as a black and white etching and engraving, to which he added the inscription 'Albion rose from where he labourd at the Mill with Slaves / Giving himself for the Nations he danc'd the dance of Eternal Death'. The inscription recalls lines from Blake's illuminated book, Milton, a Poem, begun in 1803, and from Milton's own work, Samson Agonistes (1671).

The figure of Albion, a personification of humanity and of Britain, is freeing himself from the shackles of materialism.

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More information

Bibliography

J. Viscomi, Blake and the idea of the book (Princeton, 1993)

D. Bindman, The complete graphic work of W (London, Thames and Hudson, 1978)

R.N. Essick, The separate plates of William (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1983)

Dimensions

Height: 265.000 mm
Width: 188.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1856-2-9-417

PPA49336

Location

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