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William Blake as an Artist

William Blake was one of the first romantic poets as well as an incredible painter, printer and one of the greatest engravers in English history. Blake was also considered insane and was largely disregarded by his fellow peers but through that all he became known as not only one of the greatest English Literature contributors of all times, but also a major contributor to the arts. Blake’s ambitions began at an early age of 14. He became interested in the arts and poetry and attended a drawing school where he learned to engrave when assigned to apprentice James Basir. He completed a seven year term at the drawing school. He opened a print shop in 1784 but quickly came to a close when the business dropped miserably. William Blake made a living off of the engravings and illustrations that he made. He married in the year 1782 to a woman named Catharine who helped him advance his small career. Ironically Catharine was also his mother’s name, who gave birth to him on November 28th 1757, His father James Blake worked as a hosier meaning he sold hosiery. William Blake taught his wife Catharine to read and write and also was her instructor in draftsmanship. This is how she later helped him begin printing his poetry, which is still being read nearly 230 years later. Not only did he teach his wife but he also began training his younger brother Robert in drawing, painting, and engraving. Robert fell ill during the winter of 1787 and died. As Robert died, Blake saw his brother's spirit rise up through the ceiling, "clapping its hands for joy." He believed that Robert's spirit continued to visit him and later claimed that in a dream Robert taught him the printing method that he used in Songs of Innocence and other "illuminated" works. This is what also mad people believe that he was in deed a mad man for his belief in the visits of his younger brother.