Forgotten William Blake engravings unearthed in Manchester

23rd January 2013 - Fine Cut

The John Rylands Library has 350 newly rediscovered engravings by the poet William Blake that it will be exhibiting from February. reports that the Manchester facility did not even know it had the engraving plates until recent project involving staff and students was carried out. These examples of the poet's precision engraving skill were found in archived books.

Stella Halkyard, an archivist at the library, noted that commercial engravings such as those discovered are often looked down on as an art form, but she suggested Blake was ahead of his time in many ways.

She said: "As well as being a fine artist, Blake was an engraver and produced a wide variety of work. The students had some specialist training in identifying the work and went through the collection. They found out we actually had a huge number of commercial engravings by Blake."

Blake, who is now most closely associated with the Romantic Age of the arts, was known to be a painter and printmaker, but it is his poetry that has won the most praise. His work was not appreciated during his lifetime in the 18th and 19th century, but has since gone on to be hugely acclaimed.

According to, an exhibition entitled 'Burning Bright: William Blake and the Art of the Book' will go on show from February 7th to June 23rd and will feature a number of the engraving plates.

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