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January 12, 2010

Vegetating in fibres of blood

The discovery of lost works by William Blake is the sort of thing that forces a less fortunate book collector to break out in hives; a not entirely pleasant experience I can assure you.

In among a box of second-hand books bought from a North London dealer in the late 1970s was a thick international railway timetable.

So boring did this tome appear to be that the seller apparently missed the eight small etchings hidden between the pages — a mistake that, in effect, handed the buyer a small fortune when they were identified three years ago as unique works by the visionary artist and writer William Blake.

Tate galleries have now bought these brilliantly executed and disturbing pictures for £441,000 and will exhibit them at Tate Britain in July.

They are not the sort of images that are likely to be ignored again. In one a naked man screams in horror as flames rage around him. In another a figure with long hair bends over a glowing red pool. Blake’s caption reads: “vegetating in fibres of blood”.

That's the stuff.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at January 12, 2010 07:28 AM