About William Blake

William Blake was a poet, artist and one of England's most original thinkers. His two volumes, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience contain some of the most unforgettable poems in the English language. On the surface, often appearing as simple as nursery rhymes, they offer profound insights into human nature, and the need for social justice.

Blake would spend all but three years of his life living in London, as he wrote in his poem ‘London’: "near where the charter'd Thames does flow". Blake had a very basic education, before being apprenticed to an engraver at the age of 10. After working hard to begin his career, he later studied at the prestigious Royal Academy. Blake died in poverty in 1827 and is buried in London's Bunhill Fields. His imagery has influenced artists, poets, musicians and inspired novelists such as Philip Pullman. Blake’s poem Jerusalem was set to music during the First World War and has been adopted as an alternative national anthem. Blake's ‘The Tyger’ is probably one of the most loved and published poems in English literature.

At Ark Blake Academy, we admire William Blake for taking the responsibility to educate himself and master his skills as a poet and artist. As a poet and artist who struggled to be appreciated during his lifetime, we respect the resilience and determination he showed in continually striving to fulfil his talents and produce his great work. We honour William Blake for being brave enough to challenge the injustices of his times, through his strong opposition to slavery, as well as by arguing for the rights of women and children.

  Image: William Blake (1757 - 1827) 'Europe' Plate i: Frontispiece, 'The Ancient of Days' 1827