William Blake born in Soho, London, 28 November, the son of a hosier.
Enters Henry Pars's drawing school in the Strand, aged ten. Blake's favourite brother Robert probably born 1767.
Apprenticed for seven years to James Basire (1730-1802), Lincoln's Inn Fields, as an engraver.
Blake probably lives with James Basire, training as a reproductive engraver. Draws monuments in Westminster Abbey.
Admitted to the Royal Academy Schools as an engraver; probably ceases formal attendance after several months. Thomas Stothard (1755-1834) and John Flaxman (1756-1826) are fellow students.
Exhibits Death of Earl Goodwin at the Royal Academy. Witnesses the Lord George Gordon 'No Popery' riots. Employed as commercial engraver for the publisher Joseph Johnson.
Marries Catherine Butcher (or Boucher, b. 1762). Patronized by the fashionable salon of Harriet Mathew.
Publication of Blake's Poetical Sketches financed by the Reverend and Mrs Mathew, and John Flaxman. Commercial engraving after Stothard.
Blake's father dies. Opens a short-lived print shop with a fellow apprentice of Basire, James Parker (1750-1805). Probably writes the satirical Island in the Moon.
Robert Blake dies in Blake's arms.
Publishes Songs of Innocence and The Book of Thel.
Probably writes Tiriel.
The French Revolution printed for Joseph Johnson; never published. Blake's
illustrations to Mary Wollstonecraft's Original Stories from Real Life published by
Executes engravings for John Gabriel Stedman's Narrative, of a Five Year's Expedition, Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (not published until 1796).
Publishes the illuminated books Visions of the Daughters of Albion, For Children: The
Gates of Paradise and America.
Publishes Songs of Experience, The First Book of Urizen and Europe.
Commissioned by his friend George Cumberland (1754-1848) to engrave eight plates for Cumberland's Thoughts on Outline (published 1796).
Publishes more illuminated books: The Book of Los, The Song of Los and The Book of Ahania.
Engraves his own designs for Richard Edwards's edition of Young's Night Thoughts. Forty-three of these plates published in 1797.
First documented commissions from Thomas Butts, a series of designs from the Bible.
Moves with Mrs Blake to the coast at Felpham, Sussex, under the patronage of William Hayley (1745-1820). Paints heads of the poets for Hayley's library (1800-03).
Engraves his own compositions to illustrate Hayley's Designs to a Series of Ballads.
Violent confrontation with the soldier John Scolfield at Felpham. Blake charged with sedition. In September the Blakes return to live in London.
Acquitted on sedition charge 11 January. Begins etching plates for the last great poems Milton and Jerusalem.
Engraves five more of his own compositions for the second edition of William Hayley's
Ballads. Commissioned by Robert Hartley Cromek (1770-1812) to provide illustrations
for Blair's Grave. But commission to engrave the designs soon transferred to Luigi
Thomas Phillips's portrait of Blake exhibited at the Royal Academy.
Blair's Grave published.
Blake exhibits his own paintings at his brother's house, 28 Broad Street, London. Attracts little attention.
Publishes engraving after his painting of Chaucer's Canterbury Pilgrims.
George Cumberland finds Blake 'still poor still Dirty'.
Cumberland's two sons find William and Catherine Blake 'durtyer than ever'. Blake engraves eighteen plates of pottery outlines for Wedgwood's catalogue.
Engraves plates for Rees's Cyclopedia. Executes stipple engravings for Flaxman's Hesiod.
Meets John Linnell (1792-1882), his last great patron.
Begins to draw Visionary Heads for John Varley.
The Blakes move to a small lodging in Fountain Court, Strand. Wood-engravings published in Thornton's Virgil. Sells his print collection to Colnaghi's.
Royal Academy votes 25 pounds for Blake, 'an able Designer & Engraver laboring under great distress'.
Engraves twenty-two designs for The Book of Job, commissioned by John Linnell.
Engraves seven of 102 water-colour designs to Dante's Divine Comedy, undertaken for John Linnell.
William Blake dies at Fountain Court, 12 August.