Exhibition | William Blake in Sussex: Visions of Albion

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 23, 2017

From the National Trust:

William Blake in Sussex: Visions of Albion
Petworth, Sussex, 13 January — 25 March 2018

William Blake, The Sea of Time and Space, 1821 (Arlington Court, National Trust).

William Blake in Sussex: Visions of Albion offers a rare opportunity to see original works by Blake inspired by the Sussex coast and countryside re-united for the first time. The exhibition takes place in the Servants’ Quarters Gallery and the mansion. Due to limited space in the Servants’ Quarters Gallery, timed tickets are required for this part of the exhibition.

Celebrating Blake’s three years living in Sussex between 1800 and 1803, the exhibition features over 50 loans from such prestigious collections as the British Museum, V&A, and Tate. These are complimented by works from the Petworth collection acquired by George Wyndham, the 3rd Earl of Egremont and his estranged Countess, Elizabeth Ilive.

Sussex remains the only area outside of London where Blake ever lived, settling with his wife in a cottage in Felpham, which he described as “the sweetest spot on Earth.” It is here that Blake saw ‘Visions of Albion’, surrounded by the Sussex coast and countryside that would continue to inspire his work. This exhibition is the first to re-unite these works and nowhere could be more fitting than Petworth, the only great English country house to hold major paintings by the artist.

Among the highlights of the exhibition, on loan from the British Museum, are hand-coloured relief etchings from Blake’s illustrated epic poem Milton, of which only four are in existence. Written and illustrated between 1804 and 1811, the preface contains the words ‘And did those feet in ancient time’ that was adopted for the anthem Jerusalem.

As part of the William Blake in Sussex exhibition, step inside an immersive experience featuring the original drawings by the author and President of the Blake Society, Philip Pullman, created for his best-selling His Dark Materials trilogy. Using projections, sound, and text, Pullman’s Miltonian works are brought to life and offer parallels with Blake’s art which also draws inspiration from the 17th-century English poet John Milton.

A very limited amount of tickets are available on the day sold on a first come, first serve basis. We recommend arriving early and checking with our team for any last minute availabilities, but to avoid disappointment we advise booking at least 24 hours in advance.


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