William Blake show celebrates wife’s creative influence

William Blake Self portrait
William Blake Self portrait

Catherine Blake brought out of shadows in exhibition also featuring artist’s self-portrait

William Blake’s wife, Catherine, is to be brought out of the shadows and celebrated as a lifelong creative influence, in the largest exhibition in a generation devoted to an artist believed by many to be one of Britain’s greatest.

Tate Britain has announced details of its big autumn Blake show, bringing together more than 300 works. It will include the first UK display of a piece thought to be Blake’s only self-portrait, and the recreation of a solo exhibition he staged in 1809 that he hoped would bring him fame and fortune. Sadly, only a handful of people turned up.

There will also be watercolours from a hoard of 19 works lost for 165 years and found in 2001 in a Glasgow secondhand bookshop. Two book dealers bought them for £50 each; the set was later controversially broken up and sold for $7m.

Curators said Catherine, Blake’s lifelong companion, would feature heavily in the exhibition. “It is only in the last 15 years that Catherine as a huge stabilising, supporting and level-headed influence on Blake’s art and his domestic life has really come to the fore,” said Amy Concannon, a co-curator of the show.

On a practical level she made sure the family did not descend into poverty, always keeping a certain amount of money hidden in the house and occasionally serving her husband an empty dinner plate to buck his ideas up.

But she also coloured his prints and was a hugely important creative force in his life, said Martin Myrone, another co-curator.

Source: Tate’s William Blake show celebrates wife’s creative influence | Culture | The Guardian

Advertisements

The Emily Brontë Song Cycle: wandering in the wuthering heights

Folk band the Unthanks and Adrian McNally have made an audio soundtrack pairing music with the writer’s poems as the listener walks the landscape of West Yorkshire. What is it like?

It begins with a flock of birds taking raucous flight; and even though there are no crows to be seen above the heather-flecked moors around the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth, it’s difficult to discern whether this is reality, or a fantasy. I’m immersed in the latest heritage project dedicated to the literary family: a unique audio experience that combines Emily’s poetry, folk music and West Yorkshire’s grand landscape to produce something quite incredible.

The Emily Brontë Song Cycle, an audio production pairing Emily’s poems and music by folk group the Unthanks, was commissioned by the Brontë Society, which runs the sisters’ old family home the Parsonage as a hugely successful museum. The last couple of years has seen a number of Brontë bicentennial anniversaries; this year marked marked 200 years since the birth of Emily, best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights. Continue reading

Sad, saucy and seductive, the Beeb’s non-Musical take on Les Mis is a hit

Les Miserables on BBC
Les Miserables on BBC

Gloomy French genius Victor Hugo’s grand masterpiece isn’t called Les Happychaps for a good reason.Les Miserables (BBC1) opened with an aerial shot of the carnage after the Battle of Waterloo, as ravens pecked the flesh of corpses and the thief Thenardier (Adeel Akhtar) dodged about stealing purses and gold teeth.Akhtar played it for laughs – and for the next hour, that blood-soaked battlefield was about as light-hearted as things got. Continue reading

A Faraway Back of Beyond Place

A musical drama about a young musician’s quest to find the truth about her family. The drama stars much loved iconic Scots actor Bill Paterson and, in her first appearance in a radio drama, the award winning folk musician Karine Polwart.

As BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer Of The Year 2018, Karine Polwart is a multi-award-winning Scottish songwriter and musician, as well as a theatre maker, storyteller, spoken-word performer and published essayist. Her songs combine folk influences and myth with themes as diverse as “Donald Trump’s corporate megalomania”, Charles Darwin’s family life and the complexities of modern parenthood. She sings traditional songs too and writes to commission for theatre, animation and thematic collaborative projects. Karine is six-times winner at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including twice for Best Original Song.

Cast:

Tommy … Bill Paterson
Lucy … Karine Polwart

Listen at: BBC Radio 4 – A Faraway Back of Beyond Place