William Blake in Sussex: Visions of Albion
13 January – 25 March 2018
Celebrating William Blake’s relationship with Sussex, this exhibition brings together works inspired by his time there – the only place he lived outside London.
Poetry and paintings by William Blake offer insight into his time in Felpham, Sussex, where he lived between 1800 and 1803 in a cottage he described as ‘the sweetest spot on earth’.
The exhibition reunites Blake’s works made while in Felpham with later pieces informed by the Sussex landscape.
Works on show include Satan calling up his Legions (c1800-1805) and Characters from Spenser’s Faery Queen (1825), while a particular highlight is a hand-coloured relief etching of his illustrated epic poem Milton, of which
only four are still in existence.
The watercolour The Sea of Time and Space (1821), meanwhile, is intriguing for its discovery at Arlington Court in 1947 when the house was given to the National Trust. Found above a wardrobe in the housemaid’s pantry, little is known of how, or why, it came to be there.
Running parallel to William Blake in Sussex is a display of original drawings by author and president of the Blake Society Philip Pullman, whose His Dark Materials novels echo Milton’s Paradise Lost. Pullman's illustrations feature as part of an exhibition in the Red Room using projections, sound and text to connect these Miltonian works within the wider context of the exhibition.