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Ask a Curator: What’s a surprising fact about your museum?

That one of the secrets that we hold in the archives is that we have several catalogue plates engraved by William Blake for Wedgwood ware.

Blake, who is arguably best known today as a poet writing such works as The Tyger and And did those feet in ancient time, was also an engraver and painter. Although the details as to how Blake and Wedgwood first became acquainted are unclear, suggestions have been made that it could have been either John Flaxman or Erasmus Darwin who introduced them to one another. However, in 1815, Josiah Wedgwood II commissioned Blake to produce several plates for their new catalogue. The plates that he engraved of the newest shapes can be easily identified by the small printed signature Blake adds to the bottom corner.