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William Blake (Symons)/Extract from 'a Book for a Rainy Day'

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Extract from 'A Book for a Rainy Day'

[1784].—This year Mr. Flaxman, who then lived in Wardour Street, introduced me to one of his early patrons, the Rev. Henry Mathew, of Percy Chapel, Charlotte Street, which was built for him; he was also afternoon preacher at Saint Martin's-in-the-Fields. At that gentleman's house, in Rathbone Place, I became acquainted with Mrs. Mathew and her son. At that lady's most agreeable conversaziones I first met the late William Blake, the artist, to whom she and Mr. Flaxman had been truly kind. There I have often heard him read and sing several of his poems. He was listened

to by the company with profound silence, and allowed by most of the visitors to possess original and extraordinary merit.'[1]

  1. A time will come when the numerous, though now very rare works of Blake (in consequence of his taking very few impressions from the plates before they were rubbed out to enable him to use them for other subjects), will be sought after with the most intense avidity. He was considered by Stothard and Flaxman (and will be by those of congenial minds, if we can reasonably expect such again) with their highest admiration. These artists allowed him their utmost unqualified praise, and were ever anxious to recommend him and his productions to the patrons of the Arts; but, alas! they were not sufficiently appreciated as to enable Blake, as every one could wish, to provide an independence for his surviving partner, Kate, who adored his memory.