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William Blake, National Gallery of Victoria International, Melbourne, 4 April–31 August 2014


Claire Knowles

This exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria International features the world-class collection of Blake works housed there, an impressive 124 individual items spanning the length of his career. Most of the gallery’s Blake holdings were acquired in 1918–20 through the Felton bequest. These include thirty-six of 102 watercolors illustrating the Divine Comedy, two watercolors illustrating Milton’s Paradise Lost, the set of twenty-two engravings to the book of Job, and three prints from Blake’s prophetic books. Copies of Songs of Innocence and Night Thoughts were added to the collection in the 1980s, and other works have been acquired from time to time. Because of the sensitivity to light of the works in the collection, the NGV’s Blake holdings are displayed very infrequently; the last exhibition was held fifteen years ago, and the next one will probably not take place for at least another decade.


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