The parish registry shows that Catherine, like many women of her class, could not sign her own name.
Blake soon taught her to read and to write, and under Blake’s tutoring she also became an accomplished draftsman, helping him in the execution of his designs.
In addition to being considered one of the most visionary of English poets and one of the great progenitors of English Romanticism, his visual artwork is highly regarded around the world. Unlike many well-known writers of his day, Blake was born into a family of moderate means.
His father, James, was a hosier, and the family lived at 28 Broad Street in London in an unpretentious but “respectable” neighborhood.
” The grim prophecy was to come true 12 years later.
Instead of Ryland the family settled on a lesser-known engraver, James Basire.His parents did, however, encourage his artistic talents, and the young Blake was enrolled at the age of 10 in Pars’ drawing school.The expense of continued formal training in art was a prohibitive, and the family decided that at the age of 14 William would be apprenticed to a master engraver.Henry Mathew, whose drawing room was often a meeting place for artists and musicians.There Blake gained favor by reciting and even singing his early poems. Mathew, a thin volume of poems was published under the title (1783).Even at an early age, however, his unique mental powers would prove disquieting.According to Gilchrist, on one ramble he was startled to “see a tree filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars.” His parents were not amused at such a story, and only his mother’s pleadings prevented him from receiving a beating.Many of these poems are imitations of classical models, much like the sketches of models of antiquity the young artist made to learn his trade.Even here, however, one sees signs of Blake’s protest against war and the tyranny of kings.By all accounts the marriage was a successful one, but no children were born to the Blakes.Blake’s friend John Flaxman introduced Blake to the bluestocking Harriet Mathew, wife of the Rev.