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William Blake Collection

Identifier: MS-Retro-017
This collection contains two letters of correspondence from William Blake, three documents relating to his trial in 1804, correspondence of Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), the famous lyric poet, to Seymour Stocker Kirkup (1788-1880) commenting on Blake, spiritualism, and his engravings, mostly from the 1860s. Later correspondence, newspaper clippings, and invoices mostly from the 1940s regarding Blake’s engravings, especially those in printed books such as those of Poetical Works of John Scott of Amwell (1782), and Edward Kimpton’s Complete Universal History of the Holy Bible (1785). Also includes some auction catalogues with Blake works in them.


  • 1800 - 1976


Language of Materials

Collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open with no restrictions.


1 Cubic Feet (3 flat boxes)

Biographical / Historical

William Blake; a well-known British poet and engraver from the early 19th century, was put on trial for assault and sedition in 1804 for forcibly removing a drunken British soldier, John Schofield, trespassing in his garden. The assault occurred in October 1803, but Blake was not acquitted of charges until January 1804. He then moved back to London where he began to illustrate the ambitious Jerusalem (1804-1820), and his engravings and illustrations appeared more at exhibitions.

This collection of manuscripts by Blake, and correspondence between his associates Thomas Carlyle, Seymour Kirkup, and Algernon Charles Swinburne, was acquired by Allan R. Brown; a collector of Blake-related records. Brown (b.1883) studied law at New York University becoming a lawyer in 1907, and developed a keen interest in William Blake, the poet, among many other intellectual pursuits. Brown also wrote poetry, publishing it and some critical articles in La renaissance esthetique. He died in 1966.


There are three series in this collection arranged by creator:

Series I: William Blake Correspondence and Documents, 1800-1863 Series II: Swinburne-Kirkup and Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1860-1976 Series III: Allan R. Brown Correspondence and Documents, 1937-1946

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection is a gift of Allan R. Brown presented in memory of his son Allan Gordon Brown.

Repository Details

Part of the Watkinson Library Manuscripts Repository

Trinity College Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford Connecticut 06106