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William Blake of the Woolpack & Peacock

G. E. Bentley, Jr.

William Blake was born in 1757 at the sign of the Woolpack & Peacock—or at least that was the name of his father’s haberdashery and hosiery shop at 28 Broad Street, Golden Square, in the year the poet was apprenticed, 1772. Probably there was a shop sign with an emblem of a peacock above a woolpack. The shop title may be seen in the elegant engraved bill-head made out by James Blake, the poet’s father, to the prodigious botanist Joseph Banks. This is the only known evidence of the name of the shop.

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Department of English
© Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly