Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Apocalypse

This Treasure is paired with: Apocalypse (Printing in relief)

  • William Blake
  • c. 1790–3
  • London
  • Printed book

The visionary poet William Blake made his illuminated books by drawing with acid-resistant varnish on copperplates. The plates were then soaked in acid, leaving delicate lines of words and pictures raised from the surface of the plate, from which the image was printed. The process itself has a metaphorical significance for Blake’s poetry: the ideas exposed by the acid on the plate correspond with his notion that we too have ideas innate within us, to be revealed by the printing house of Hell.