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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.

Details

  • Title: Albion Rose
  • Creator: William Blake
  • Date Created: 1794-1796
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 272.00mm; Width: 200.00mm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Medium: A colour printed etching with hand-drawn additions in ink and watercolour
  • Technique: planographic print; engraving; hand-coloured; colour
  • Registration number: 1856,0209.417
  • Production place: Published in London
  • Producer: Print made by Blake, William
  • Material: paper
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Evans. Previous owner/ex-collection Humphry, Ozias. Previous owner/ex-collection Upcott, William

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