Blake’s Cottage

I was approached today in connection with the campaign to save the small seaside cottage where William Blake lived in Felpham, a village now subsumed by Bognor Regis.   In 1799 and 1800, Blake exhibited big works in tempera at the Summer Exhibition, commissioned by Thomas Butts, a minor government servant in charge of military pay.   In July 1800, he visited Felpham for the first time, invited by William Hayley, a local poet and patron whose son had just died.   Blake loved being by the sea as an escape from ‘Londons dungeon dark’ and thought that Felpham would be ‘propitious to the Arts’.   It was for a bit and he thought Felpham ‘the sweetest spot on earth’.   But his relationship to Hayley gradually soured, he was accused of sedition by a local drunk, and he and Catherine returned to London in September 1803.

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