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Chaucer's Canterbury Pilgrims   1810
etching and engraving, third state of five (NGV 45)
Presented by Mr. R. Haughton-James 1967
National Gallery of Victoria

This engraving followed Blake's painting of the subject which he exhibited in 1809. At the same time he announced his intention to produce an engraving 'similar to those original plates of Albert Durer ... and the old original engravers'. Its style is deliberately old fashioned. Blake believed that Chaucer's characters represented universal types rather than individuals and he depicted them accordingly. Blake's Chaucer designs were the subject of an acrimonious falling out with his patron Robert Cromek and the artist Thomas Stothard. Stothard had also illustrated Chaucer and was accused by Blake of artistic theft.


whole plate

detail of left side

detail of centre

detail of right side


(c)1999 National Gallery of Victoria