Blake was a mystic and a visionary. He was born and brought up in London, apprenticed to an engraver to the Society of Antiquaries, and later became a student at the Royal Academy. In 1779 he was employed as an engraver by J. Johnson, bookseller, and through his work met both Fuseli and Flaxman. He embraced the mysticism of Swedenborg. In 1782 he married Catherine Boucher. It was a long and mostly happy marriage, though childless. 1783 saw the publication of his first volume of poetry, Poetical Sketches. There followed, in the following year, the satirical An Island of the Moon.
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