Photogravure of Blake's Life Mask
In the British Museum is an image of the mask produced in photogravure, an early photographic technique which is still used to produce high quality art prints. The photograph was formerly in the collection of William Blake Richmond, the son of George Richmond who was in the group of young followers of Blake who called themselves 'The Ancients.' The gentle, introverted man, confident in himself and determined to follow his course, is better captured in this undated print than in the other photographs of the life mask.
I am reminded of the Apostle Paul's remark about the goal of his life:
 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Annotations to Reynolds, (E 648) "Knowledge of Ideal Beauty. is Not to be Acquired It is Born with us Innate Ideas. are in Every Man Born with him. they are Himself. The Man who says that we have No Innate Ideas must be a Fool & Knave." Annotations to Reynolds, (E 656) "If Art was Progressive We should have had Mich Angelo's & Rafaels to Succeed & to Improve upon each other But it is not so. Genius dies Possessor & comes not again till Another is Born with It ... Reynolds Thinks that Man Learns all that he Knows I say on the Contrary That Man Brings All that he has or Can have Into the World with him. Man is Born Like a Garden ready Planted & Sown This World is too poor to produce one Seed" Annotations to Reynolds, (E 660) "Inspiration & Vision was then & now is & I hope will always Remain my Element my Eternal Dwelling place. how can I then hear it Contemnd without returning Scorn for Scorn"
Letters, (E 714) [To William Hayley] " Time flies very fast and very merrily. I sometimes try to be miserable that I may do more work, but find it is a foolish experiment. Happinesses have wings and wheels; miseries are leaden legged and their whole employment is to clip the wings and to take off the wheels of our chariots. We determine, therefore, to be happy and do all that we can, tho' not all that we would." Letters, (E 723) [To] Mr Butts, "I am now engaged in Engraving 6 small plates for a New Edition of Mr Hayleys Triumphs of Temper. from drawings by Maria Flaxman sister to my friend the Sculptor and it seems that other things will follow in course if I do but Copy these well. but Patience! if Great things do not turn out it is because such things depend on the Spiritual & not on the Natural World & if it was fit for me I doubt not that I should be Employd in Greater things & when it is proper my Talents shall be properly exercised in Public. as I hope they are now in private. for till then. I leave no stone unturnd & no path unexplord that tends to improvement in my beloved Arts. One thing of real consequence I have accomplishd by coming into the country. which is to me consolation enough, namely. I have recollected all my scatterd thoughts on Art & resumed my primitive & original ways of Execution in both painting & Engraving. which in the confusion of London I had very much lost & obliterated from my mind. But whatever becomes of my labours I would rather that they should be preservd in your Green House (not as you mistakenly call it dung hill). than in the cold gallery of fashion.--The Sun may yet shine & then they will be brought into open air."