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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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It took years for William Blake to perfect the way in which he produced prints from his highly productive studio in Lambeth, London. We are all aware of his incredible imagination that fuelled most of his artworks, but he was also a supremely skilled artist who could turn his hand to a number of different mediums.

William Blake developed his technical knowledge far enough to the point where he could essentially produce illustrated books entirely by himself, once he had purchased the paper. He would slowly make the process quicker and achieve several tasks at the same time. These very same techniques have been researched in recent years by a number of British institutions, including the British Library, who have sought to understand more about the advancements in print that this artist achieved. Such knowledge is a long way away from how most regard William Blake's career, as an imaginative draughtsman and painter foremost. In fact, he was a brilliant technician and innovator in the printed form, as we now understand much better.

William Blake's Printing Process

The British Library produced an insightful video which describes the artist's processes during his production of printed artworks. It was released onto YouTube and is included below for you to enjoy. This institution have also released several other videos around the artist's career as well as the Ashmolean Museum who have also produced a shorter piece which examines his methods of production. It is clear that the work of William Blake and his reputation as an artist remain as strong and relevant as ever in the present day.

Looking for William Blake Reproduction Prints?

Rather than wishing to learn about the printing techniques and creations of William Blake, you may instead be looking for your own reproductions of his most famous works. Whether it be his drawings or paintings, many of his finest pieces are available online in a manner of forms, going way beyond just traditional art prints. For example, modern technology has brought in new opportunities, with some using his original work as covers for their mobile phones or stickers to add to their laptops. You may also be interested in cushion covers or tapestries that are often also available.

It is the imaginative mind of Blake that have helped him to become so popular within European art history, particularly in the UK. His worlds, inspired by literature, combined great skills of portraiture with heavily contrasting colours. Many of his works feature dark backgrounds alongside bright colours on the main elements of the scene, leaving an eye catching finish. Having completed his career several centuries ago, copyright has now expired on his back catalogue of work, meaning anyone can reproduce prints of the original without having to pay for the rights to do so. This helps to keep costs down and also allows website retailers to offer a fuller selection of his work, only limited by whether they are able to get hold of good quality, highly defined photographs of the original.

Once you have managed to choose a particular artwork from the many available, you will then be presented with a plethora of options for customising it to suit your taste. A frame will help protect the print, as well as providing a far more professional looking finish. Different types of frames are then available, including wooden and metallic, in a variety of different designs and colours. Much will depend on the place in which the print is intended to be hung, as well as the style and colour scheme of the original artwork itself. In general, William Blake's original drawings and paintings are bright and detailed enough to mean that a simple black frame with inlay matt is best suited to this artist's work. Simpler designs of frames will also tend to be cheaper and also easier to deliver, too.

Follower of British Art?

Besides William Blake, there is also plenty more to see from past centuries of British Art. For example, who can forget the extraordinary JMW Turner, whose prints remain the most popular of all artists from the UK. He was the master of Romanticism, combining colour and emotion with the British landscape to produce hundreds of memorable paintings and sketchbook drawings. Most of his collection was gifted to the state and can now be found in the major galleries of London, where he remains a huge favourite. If any of his original paintings were ever to come up for sale, the prices reached would surely be extraordinarily high, such is his importance to British art but also the rarity of them to become available on the open market.

The Pre-Raphaelites, as a movement, provide us with many of the most famous British artists, and these have enjoyed considerable interest over the past few years. Some Victorian art lost favour for a period of time but currently their use of slim female models and backdrops of the English countryside has proved popular. Perhaps the most appreciated is John William Waterhouse who was actually only on the fringes of this group, arriving around a generation later. Waterhouse prints remain much loved for their beautiful portrayals of young women within scenes inspired by literature, both recent domestic poetry and also classical works too. Some of his most impressive works included Lady of Shalott, Hylas and the Nymphs, Echo and Narcissus and The Siren.

Or how about some William Morris prints, capturing his beautiful floral designs which have been used for countless different mediums, from furniture to drawings and wallpaper. You will now find cushions reproduced with many of his original designs from past centuries as well as tapestries and even bed spreads. He partnered with the versatile members of the Pre-Raphaelites to create business which turned their creative talents into profit, though never looking to sacrifice the strong principles of quality that provided their initial success. Morris believed firmly in using the original techniques of production, at a time when corners were being cut right across Victorian Britain in order to maximise profit.