A week on Sunday I’m going to America – I’ll be spending a month at the Yale Center for British Art to consult their impressive Blake (and related) collections, then a week and a half zipping around the East Coast to clock a few more Blake pictures and to visit some friends and family.
I hope to post updates on here more regularly than I have been recently whilst I am away as a means of sending people my news. This post therefore inaugurates a new blog category so that all my ‘America’ posts will be stored in one place (which might have its uses for me afterwards).
Blake of course never went to America, but lots of rich Americans bought up his works, mainly in the early twentieth century, when there were a number of major sales which dispersed large Blake collections. The collection at YCBA was amassed by Paul Mellon; you can read about Mellon and his collection in a recent article by Matthew Hargraves, Chief Curator of Art Collections at YCBA.
Blake also wrote a poem entitled America, a Prophecy (1793), which among other themes, has to do with the American Revolution (see the Blake Archive for more information and to view seven versions of the illuminated plates).
On a more banal note, I am put in mind of Father Ted’s aborted trip to America (this is the only clip I can find on YouTube):
Hopefully that’s not going to happen (I’ve certainly not made any false promises about taking people with me), nor, I hope, will the flight be quite as eventful as this one: