Beastly Blake pp 183-202 | Cite as

‘How sweet is the Shepherds sweet lot’? Sheep in Blake’s Designs

  • Hayley Flynn
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


Flynn considers the iconography of the sheep in Blake’s visual art. Beginning with a survey of the subject in the artist’s work, Flynn goes on to explore Blake’s appropriation of the sheep from other art-historical sources. Particularly focusing on Blake’s pastoral imagery (primarily, Blake’s illustrations to Virgil), the chapter culminates in a discussion of the sheep’s symbolic value in the context of Blake’s underlying philosophy of innocence versus experience. Flynn argues that Blake included the animal in his designs as an embodiment of sacrifice, not only in the Christian sense but also in terms of the traditional way of life threatened by the social and industrial developments of the late eighteenth century.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hayley Flynn
    • 1
  1. 1.Freelance Curator and Art HistorianLondonUK

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