General Joachim Blake, 1759-1827

General Joachim Blake, 1759-1827

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General Joachim Blake, 1759-1827

General Joachim Blake was a senior Spanish general of Irish extraction during the Peninsular War. He is widely considered to have been brave but careful, energetic, organised but unlucky – during his career he suffered a number of defeats that were not his fault, amongst them his first defeat at Medina del Rio Seco, where he was badly let down by General Cuesta. Prior to the outbreak of the Spanish uprising in 1808, he was colonel of the regiment known as the “Volunteers of the Crown”, and the largest force he had commanded had contained three battalions. His predecessor, captain-general Filanghieri, had been murdered because of his opposition to the uprising. The uprising in Galicia began on 30 May 1808, and Blake was promoted to command the new Army of Galicia.

His first achievement was to convince the Junta of Galicia to allow him to use the large number of raw recruits at his disposal to reinforce the existing battalions of the old army, bringing them up to strength. This allowed the experienced soldiers of the old army to train their new colleagues and give Blake one of the best of the Spanish armies at this stage of the war. Having created this army around Lugo, Blake then moved to the edge of the mountains that protected Galicia, and by late June had occupied the three main passes leading into Galicia. At this point Blake had 25,000 men ready to take to the field, organised into four divisions and a vanguard brigade. His intention was to take up a defensive position in the hills, and force the French to come to him.

Blake was soon forced to abandon this plan. The Army of Castile under General Cuesta had been badly defeated at Cabezon on 12 June 1808, but despite this Cuesta was still determined to take the fight to the French. He called on Galicia and the Asturias to provide him with troops for an attack on Valladolid. The Asturians refused, but the Junta of Galicia ordered Blake to move onto the plains and join with Cuesta. On 10 July Blake, with three divisions and the vanguard brigade, joined Cuesta at Villalpando. Unfortunately Cuesta had thirteen years seniority, took command of the combined army, and insisted on an immediate offensive.

The French responded by reinforcing the army of Marshal Bessières in north-west Spain, bringing it up to a strength of around 14,000 men. It was still much smaller than the combined Spanish army, by now 21,000 strong, but Bessièries was still able to win a significant victory at Medina del Rio Seco on 14 July. This was the first of that series of battles which saw Blake on the defeated side despite his best efforts. Cuesta made an appalling deployment before the battle. Blake, with half of his own army, was posted in an advanced position on the right, while Cuesta, with the other half of the Army of Galicia and his own Army of Castile took up a position to the left, so far back that it was out of site from Blake’s position. The French were able to defeat the two wings of the Spanish army one by one, starting with Blake’s. To make things worse, when the French turned their attention to Cuesta’s wing, he used Blake’s troops to launch a futile counterattack on the French, before ordering his own army to retreat almost intact. The Army of Galicia lost around 3,000 men during the battle (400 dead, 500 wounded, 1,200 prisoners and the rest probably deserting), the Army of Castile only 155. Only a lacklustre pursuit saved the Spanish army from a much more serious defeat

Despite this defeat a series of Spanish successes elsewhere soon forced the French to abandon most of Spain, retaining the area around Barcelona and the north eastern corner of the country, behind the Ebro. These setbacks also forced Napoleon to make his one appearance in Spain. By the autumn of 1808 Blake had command of a new army 32,000 strong, formed from Galicia and the Asturias. Unfortunately the Spanish had failed to appoint a supreme commander, and so each of their armies operated independently. Blake decided to advance along the north coast into Biscay. His first target was Bilbao, but his ultimate aims were the defeat of the French right wing, which he believed to be much smaller than it was, and the capture of the main highway linking the French armies on the Ebro to Bayonne.

Blake made his first move on 10 September 1808. Bilbao was liberated on 20 September, but the French responded by sending a strong force under Marshal Ney to dislodge him, and Blake was soon forced to abandon Bilbao. However Ney then returned to his original position on the Ebro, leaving only 3,000 men under General Merlin at Bilbao. Blake took advantage of the French weakness, and on 11 October recaptured Bilbao. This was his best chance to inflict significant defeat on the French – for the next few days General Merlin’s weak force was the only thing stopping Blake from reaching the highway, but Blake delayed for too long in Bilbao. By the time he began to move east, the first French reinforcements had arrived. Eventually Merlin’s army would be replaced by fresh troops under Marshal Lefebvre.

Blake’s army was now in a very exposed position. Napoleon was about to begin his grand offensive in Spain. His aim was to break through the Spanish lines at Burgos, and then send armies sweeping north and south to trap the Spanish armies on the Ebro and Blake’s army on the coast. Marshal Soult would have the job of trapping Blake. Meanwhile, a smaller army under Marshal Victor had been sent unto the upper Ebro valley, where it too threatened to trap Blake. By late October Lefebvre and Victor were already in place to trap Blake east of Bilbao, but Napoleon was about to arrive in Spain, and so Victor remained where he was. Napoleon’s grand plan was more likely to success in Blake remained in his vulnerable position.

The trap was sprung too early. On 31 October Marshal Lefebvre attacked Blake at Zornoza, forcing him to retreat west of Bilbao. Lefebvre pursued Blake for a few days, and then turned back, returning to Bilbao and leaving a small force to watch the Spanish. This movement left a Spanish force 8,000 strong under General Acevedo trapped in the mountains south of Bilbao. He had been posted there to protect Blake’s right flank against an attack from the Ebro, and had received his orders to retreat too late. When his column approached Bilbao the French were already in the city, and so Acevedo retired back into the mountains and attempted to avoid detection.

Blake responded with a counterattack of his own. On 5 November his army attacked the French vanguard around Valmaceda, forced them to pull back far enough to allow Acevedo to escape to safety. This stung Lefebvre into action, and Blake was soon forced to begin a long retreat through the mountains towards the relative safety of the plains of Leon. At this point his army was largely intact, but the French were close behind. Marshal Victor’s army had finally moved north from the Ebro, and by 10 November was so close to the Spanish rearguard that Blake was forced to make a stand at Espinosa de los Monteros (10-11 November 1808). After holding their ground on the first day of the battle, the Spanish were overwhelmed on the second day and forced to retreat in some chaos to Reynosa. Blake lost around 3,000 men at Espinosa, but another 8,000 deserted after the battle. When the muster was taken at Reynosa, only 12,000 men remained in the army.

By now Napoleon’s grand plan was well underway. The road from Reynosa to Leon led south towards Old Castile, before turning to the west. Blake had hoped to use this road, and soon after reaching Reynosa sent a large convoy south along it on the first stage of the journey to Leon. On 14 November Marshal Soult’s advance guard destroyed this convoy. The road south was closed. Worse was to follow for Blake – on the following day he learned that after learning of the defeat at Zornoza, the Junta of Galicia had removed him from command in favour of General La Romana. Even worse, La Romana then decided not to take command until the army was back at Leon, leaving Blake to conduct the last desperate retreat across the mountains west of Reynose. His army was forced to abandon most of its baggage and heavy equipment, but despite terrible conditions 10,000 men reached Leon.

Blake was soon back in action. He was offered command of a new Army of the Right, recruited in the Coronilla (the old kingdom of Aragon, Valencia and Catalonia). This was a small army, contained Lazan’s division and Roca’s Valencian division, but more troops were being recruited all the time – by the summer of 1809 Blake would have 25,000 men under his command. Blake began well in his new command. His small army began an advance towards Saragossa, which had only fallen to the French in February 1809. His opponent would be Marshal Suchet, newly appointed to command of 3rd Corps. He realised the threat posed by Blake, and advanced towards him at the head of 8,000 men. The first clash came at Alcaniz on 23 May 1809. Here Blake, with 9,000 men repulsed a French attack, but aware of the overall weakness of his position did not follow up.

After this first battle Blake was reinforced by a fresh column of troops from Valencia, bringing the total force under his command up to 25,000 men. With 20,000 men from this force he began to advance towards Saragossa, and by 13 June he was in the Huerba Valley, only 20 miles from the city. Rather bizarrely Blake chose to split his force in two, keeping the divisions of Lazan and Roca under his direct command and sending General Areizaga on a separate route towards Saragossa. Even so, when Blake’s vanguard clashed with Suchet’s on 14 June the Spanish had around 13,000 men, while Suchet still only had 9,000. However, Suchet knew that another 3,000 men were close behind, and expected them to arrive on 15 June.

The two armies clashed on 15 June at Maria. Blake launched the first attack at around noon, but this was soon repulsed. This raised Suchet’s confidence, and he responded with an attack of his own, which was in turn repulsed, before a hailstorm brought a temporary end to the fighting. During this period the French reinforcements arrived. When the hail ended, Suchet launched an attack on the Spanish right, and made a breakthrough, driving the Spanish off the only road that linked the main force with Areizaga’s division. At this point many Spanish armies might have collapsed, but Blake showed his coolness under fire and launched a counterattack that largely restored the situation. Even so, he was forced to retreat having lost 5,000 men in the battle and its aftermath.

This was only a temporary respite. The two armies clashed again at Belchite on 18 June. By now Blake only had 12,000 men and seven cannons, so the two armies were roughly equal in size. The Spanish were already being pushed back when a French shell detonated their ammunition store. Convinced that the French were attacking from the rear, Blake’s army was routed, retreating towards Morella and Tortosa. By this point Blake had only 9,000 of his initial 25,000 men left.

He would be given no time to record. The French were now in the middle of their third siege of Gerona. Blake’s was the only Spanish army that had any chance of relieving the siege. Blake was understandably reluctant to risk another battle with the French. He was able to find another 5,000 men, bring his total force up to 14,000, but most of the new troops were raw recruits. His main aim was to avoid a battle with the French under St-Cyr while also slipping supplies into the city. His first attempt to achieve this ended in success. St-Cyr decided to seek a battle, and so took most of his army out of the trenches around Gerona in an attempt to catch Blake. Over the next few days Blake managed to lead St-Cyr further away from Gerona, and on 1 September a supply column under Garcia Conde entered Gerona.

This was Blake’s only success around Gerona. His second attempt to run supplies into the city saw the French capture the convoy, while the third attempt in November ended with the French destroying Blake’s supply depot at Hostalrich. On 7 December 1809 Gerona was finally forced to surrender.

Blake’s next command was at Cadiz, which remained in Allied hands from 1810 until the end of the war, protected by formidable natural defences. From his secure base at Cadiz Blake was able to launch a series of expeditions back onto the mainland. His first, in November 1810, was an attempt to drive the French out of Granada, which ended in defeat at Baza on 4 November.

His next was more effective. On 6 May 1811 the first British siege of Badajoz began, but on 15 May General Beresford was forced to break off the siege to deal with a French relief army under Marshal Soult. A large part of Beresford’s 35,000 strong Allied army was made up of 8,000 men under Blake. This men, in the divisions of Zayas and Lardizabal had been landed on the coast and marched up the Guadiana River to support Beresford. Soult believed that Blake had not yet reached Beresford. On 16 May 1811 he attacked the Allied army at Albuera, hoping to defeat Beresford and then turn south to tackle Blake. In fact the two Allied armies were already together. Soult suffered a costly defeat and was forced to retire to Llerena.

Blake remained with the British and took part in the second half of this first siege. When Wellington was forced to abandon the siege in June 1811, Blake was sent east towards Seville at the head of a force 10,000 strong. Soult was forced to move east to protect Seville. He found Blake’s army besieging Niebla, and on 2 July forced the Spanish to abandon the siege. Blake’s army was able to reach the coast in safety and was evacuated back to Cadiz on an Allied fleet.

In the autumn of 1811 Marshal Suchet had an army over 70,000 strong, and was preparing to invade Valencia. Threats to other parts of the area under Suchet’s command meant that he could only take 20,000 men into Valencia. Blake was appointed to command the army defending Valencia. Blake had a larger army at his disposal, but most of it was made up of raw recruits, at best poorly equipped. His only experienced troops were in the same divisions of Zayas and Ladizabal that had fought at Albuera. When Suchet advanced to besiege Saguntum, Blake responded. Even though he outnumbered the French by around two-to-one, Blake suffered a heavy defeat at Saguntum on 25 October 1811, losing 6,000 men killed or wounded and was forced to retreat back to Valencia.

Blake attempted to hold a position just outside the city, but in late December he was outwitted by Suchet, who smashed his way through this defensive line, forcing Blake and his 17,000 remaining men to retreat into Valencia. This time there would be no lengthy siege. The French began to build regular siege works on 1 January 1812, but morale was crumbling inside the city, and after enduring a short bombardment Blake and his army surrendered on 8 January. This ended Blake’s military career and he remained in French captivity until after Napoleon’s first abdication.

Napoleonic Home Page | Books on the Napoleonic Wars | Subject Index: Napoleonic Wars

The 14 Tribes of Galway

Ireland was ruled by tribes for many years. Under the Celts reign the country was divided into kingdoms ruled by alliances of tribes. These changed with the wars and battles undertaken by the Celts. The introduction of Christianity and the arrival of the Norse, Scottish and English settlers brought about change. The settlers claimed Irish territory as their own and eventually the country ended up divided into the four provinces of Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connacht, ruled by the British Monarchy until the struggle for independence early in the 20th Century.

From the 13th to the 19th centuries 14 tribes emerged - powerful merchant families of Galway. They dominated politically, socially and commercially in the city and the surrounding region at that time. They came from various backgrounds, including Irish, Norse, French, English and Welsh. After the English conquered Ireland these families became more influential through trading with Europe, specifically Spain, becoming de facto rulers of the city. Galway was a thriving port of trade. The families distanced themselves from the natives living around the city, but both were united against British rule from 1641 - 1653. In 1649 Oliver Cromwell arrived in Dublin and suppressed any rebellion across the country. In 1651 his forces laid siege to Galway for a year - the city surrendered in 1652 and Cromwell confiscated all property belonging to the Tribes. Their influence was affected by the English Parliamentarians taking over the Galway Corporation. Cromwell called the families the "Tribes of Galway" - a name they adopted for themselves.

After Cromwell the Tribes became more influential under King Charles II and King James II, but the city were defeated in the War of the Two Kings in 1691. They never recovered and their power was gradually transferred to the Protestants of the city. By the 19th Century they were essentially gone.

The purpose of this project is to identify descendants of the "tribes" linking their Geni profiles to the project. Noteworthy people can be listed under the names below. Bold links are to Geni profiles. Other links are to external web pages.

Works in Literary Context

William Blake was an English writer, poet, and illustrator of the Romantic period. Romantic authors and artists tended to emphasize the content of their works over the form, stressing imagination and emotion and celebrating nature and freedom.


Blake's famous contemporaries include:

Edward Jenner (1749–1823): British physician who developed a smallpox vaccine.

Marie Antoinette (1755–1793): Queen of France during the French Revolution.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791): Austrian composer and musician.

Horatio Nelson (1758–1805): Preeminent British naval commander during the Napoleonic wars.

Robert Burns (1759–1796): Scottish poet.

William Wordsworth (1770–1850): British poet famous for his Romantic style.

Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832): Popular British writer known for such classics as Ivanhoe.

Picture Books Blake did not write or draw specifically for children, but he believed that children could read and understand his works. He was opposed to the kind of moralistic writing for children that was done by the

clergyman Isaac Watts, whose Divine and Moral Songs for Children, published in 1715, taught readers to be hardworking and avoid idleness and mischief. Blake believed that children—and adults, for that matter—should be allowed the freedom to dream and imagine. His first biographer, Alexander Gilchrist, said in his Life of William Blake: Pictor Ignotus that Blake “neither wrote nor drew for the many, hardly for the workday men at all, rather for children and angels.” He called Blake “‘a divine child,’ whose playthings were sun, moon, and stars, the heavens and the earth.” Children are also the subjects of many of his works. Since Blake also did the illustrations for his writings, some authorities consider his works to be forerunners of the picture-book form.

Revolutionary Politics The storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789 and the agonies of the French Revolution sent shock waves through England. Some hoped for a corresponding outbreak of liberty in England while others feared a breakdown of the social order. In much of his writing Blake argues against the monarchy. In his early Tiriel (c. 1789), Blake traces the fall of a tyrannical king. Blake also consistently portrays civilization as chaotic, a direct reflection of the tumultuous times in which he lived.

Politics was surely often the topic of conversation at the publisher Joseph Johnson's house, where Blake was often invited. There Blake met important literary and political figures such as William Godwin, Joseph Priestly, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Thomas Paine. According to one legend, Blake is even said to have saved Paine's life by warning him of his impending arrest. Whether or not that is true, it is clear that Blake was familiar with some of the leading radical thinkers of his day.

Another product of the radical 1790s is The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Written and etched between 1790 and 1793, Blake's poem brutally satirizes oppressive authority in church and state. The poem also satirizes the works of Emanuel Swedenborg, the Swedish philosopher whose ideas once attracted Blake's interests.

Blake's work influenced a diverse assortment of later writers and artists, including Irish poet William Butler Yeats, American poet Allen Ginsberg, children's book author and artist Maurice Sendak, and songwriter Bob Dylan.

Tyger&rsquos eye: the paintings of William Blake, 3 &ndash biography

William Blake (1757–1827), The Circle of the Lustful: Francesca da Rimini (The Whirlwind of Lovers) (c 1824), pen and watercolour over pencil, 36.8 x 52.2 cm, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham, England. The Athenaeum.

William Blake was born on 28 November 1757 in what is now Broadwick Street, Soho, London. In 1767 or 1768, he started as a pupil at a drawing school in The Strand. In 1772, he started a seven-year apprenticeship with James Basire as an engraver. Basire was a traditional line engraver on copper, and Blake would have gained a sound and practical understanding of that craft. Among the tasks which he undertook was to make copies of the royal tombs in Westminster Abbey for the Society of Antiquaries, and he produced many drawings of them. From the completion of that apprenticeship, Blake undertook commercial engraving jobs when he was able, in order to supplement his income.

In the autumn of 1779, he entered the Royal Academy Schools, where he met the sculptor James Flaxman, who was to remain a friend, and became an important benefactor. The Royal Academy had only been founded in 1768, and its President was still Sir Joshua Reynolds, who viewed Blake’s drawings when a student. Blake’s aspiration, it would appear, was to be a history painter, although the best career prospects were in portraiture.

William Blake (1757–1827), Lear and Cordelia in Prison (c 1779), ink and watercolour on paper, 12.3 x 17.5 cm, The Tate Gallery (Bequeathed by Miss Alice G.E. Carthew 1940), London. © The Tate Gallery and Photographic Rights © Tate (2016), CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported),

Lear and Cordelia in Prison (c 1779) is one of Blake’s earliest paintings in ink and watercolour, and shows a scene from Shakespeare’s play King Lear.

In 1780, he exhibited his first work, a watercolour, at the Royal Academy he exhibited there again in 1784, 1785, 1799, 1800, and 1809. In 1782 he married Catherine Boucher. In 1784, he opened a printshop in partnership with James Parker, which was dissolved within three years.

William Blake (1757–1827), The Good Farmer, Probably the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (c 1780–5), ink and watercolour on paper, 26.7 x 37.5 cm, The Tate Gallery (Bequeathed by Miss Alice G.E. Carthew 1940), London. © The Tate Gallery and Photographic Rights © Tate (2016), CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported),

The Good Farmer, Probably the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (c 1780–5) is one of seven sketches which Blake made to illustrate this parable from the Gospel of Saint Matthew.

William Blake (1757–1827), The Death of the Wife of the Biblical Prophet Ezekiel (c 1785), pen and black ink and wash over graphite on cream wove paper, 34.6 × 47.9 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art (Gift of Mrs. William Thomas Tonner, 1964), Pennsylvania, PA. Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Death of the Wife of the Biblical Prophet Ezekiel (c 1785) shows how sophisticated Blake’s work had become, when using pen and wash. Throughout his work as a prophet, Ezekiel had preached that people should not weep or mourn the death of their loved ones. Here he is faced with his own grief, on the death of his wife whilst others are showing their grief, he must abide by his own teaching.

William Blake (1757–1827), Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing (c 1786), watercolour and graphite on paper, 47.5 x 67.5 cm, The Tate Gallery (Presented by Alfred A. de Pass in memory of his wife Ethel 1910), London. © The Tate Gallery and Photographic Rights © Tate (2016), CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported),

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing (c 1786) is a delightful watercolour of this last scene from Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and shows the fair and sinuous curves which Blake had acquired as an engraver. Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the fairies, are seen at the left, with Puck facing the viewer. In the words spoken by Titania to her fairy train:
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place.

In 1787, his brother Robert, who had been involved in Blake’s projects, died, but Blake met Henry Fuseli, Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy. The following year, Blake produced his first works using his process for illuminated printing, and the year after he published his first major independent works: Tiriel, Songs of Innocence, and The Book of Thel. This process was based on an acid etch which leaves the design standing in relief, so is sometimes known as relief etching.

William Blake (1757–1827), The Penance of Jane Shore in St Paul’s Church (c 1793), ink, watercolour and gouache on paper, 24.5 x 29.5 cm, The Tate Gallery (Presented by the executors of W. Graham Robertson through the Art Fund 1949), London. © The Tate Gallery and Photographic Rights © Tate (2016), CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported),

For some time since he had been a student at the Royal Academy, Blake aspired to create a series of paintings showing scenes from British history. One which he worked up into a complete painting, albeit rather later, is The Penance of Jane Shore in St Paul’s Church (c 1793), again using watercolour and gouache.

King Edward IV of England had kept many mistresses, among them Elizabeth Shore, known as Jane Shore (c 1445-1527), who had also had affairs with the King’s close associates. Following the King’s death in 1483, Jane Shore was charged with conspiracy and promiscuity. As part of her penance for the latter, she had to stand at Paul’s Cross, by Saint Paul’s Cathedral, in London, and it is that penance which Blake shows here: she is seen holding a candle and wrapped in a sheet.

The painting has yellowed considerably, as a result of a glue varnish which Blake applied, which masks its subtle colours.

In 1793, he published For Children: The Gates of Paradise, Visions of the Daughters of Albion, and America: A Prophecy. In 1794, he published Europe: A Prophecy, The First Book of Urizen, and Songs of Experience.

William Blake (1757–1827), Pity (c 1795), colour print, ink and watercolour on paper, 42.5 x 53.9 cm, The Tate Gallery (Presented by W. Graham Robertson 1939), London. © The Tate Gallery and Photographic Rights © Tate (2016), CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported),

Blake’s books of the 1790s were self-published using his illuminated printing process, and the manual application of watercolour paint to the resulting print. The result was a limited edition of often beautiful prints, such as Pity (c 1795).

Blake has again referred to a Shakespeare play, this time the tragedy Macbeth, and its lines in Act 1 Scene 7:
And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim, horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air…

One of his most sophisticated and relatively conventional paintings, this is unusual for depicting Shakespeare’s figure of speech in literal terms, and demonstrating how effective that is in portraying an emotion.

William Blake (1757–1827), Nebuchadnezzar (1795–c 1805), colour print, ink and watercolour on paper, 54.3 x 72.5 cm, The Tate Gallery (Presented by W. Graham Robertson 1939), London. © The Tate Gallery and Photographic Rights © Tate (2016), CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported),

Nebuchadnezzar (1795–c 1805) is typical of others of these prints, with its strange bestial figure. King Nebuchadnezzar became excessively proud, according to the account in the Old Testament, resulting in him going mad, and living like a wild animal. Blake shows him already partially changed into an animal, with claws instead of nails, and his hands intermediate between human hands and animal forefeet.

William Blake (1757–1827), Newton (1795–c 1805), colour print, ink and watercolour on paper, 46 x 60 cm, The Tate Gallery (Presented by W. Graham Robertson 1939), London. © The Tate Gallery and Photographic Rights © Tate (2016), CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported),

Newton (1795–c 1805) is another print, in which Blake makes clear his view of science, and the importance of the spiritual world. Newton, epitomising the pinnacle of rational and scientific thought, is absorbed in a geometric task with his compasses, but cannot see the rich natural and creative world of the rock on which he is seated.

In 1795, he published The Song of Los, The Book of Los, and The Book of Ahania. Between 1795 and 1797, he also designed and engraved illustrations for Night Thoughts, by Edward Young.

Blake’s experiments in self-publishing had not been commercially successful. Extraordinary and beautiful as his illuminated books are to us, neither his poetry nor its presentation in that form had achieved any recognition, nor brought in money to keep him and his wife from poverty. This changed in 1799, when he gained Thomas Butts as a patron, and started painting fifty glue tempera works illustrating the Bible for him.

William Blake (1757–1827), The Christ Child Asleep on the Cross, or Our Lady Adoring the Infant Jesus Asleep on the Cross (1799-1800), tempera on canvas, 27 x 38.7 cm, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Image courtesy of and © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Because of his choice of materials and media, many of these glue tempera paintings are now badly cracked and severely discoloured, making it hard to appreciate how they would have appeared then. The Christ Child Asleep on the Cross, or Our Lady Adoring the Infant Jesus Asleep on the Cross (1799-1800) has kept its colours rather better than most, and can perhaps give an impression of how they once looked.

This shows at best an apocryphal if not invented scene, in which the young Jesus anticipates his eventual fate, by sleeping on a wooden cross, surrounded by the carpenter’s tools, including compasses or dividers.

William Blake (1757–1827), The Nativity (1799-1800), tempera on copper, 27.3 x 38.2 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art (Gift of Mrs. William Thomas Tonner, 1964), Pennsylvania, PA. Courtesy of The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Nativity (1799-1800), which was painted for Thomas Butts using glue tempera on a copper plate, is a unique interpretation of this very popular scene. On the left, Joseph supports the Virgin Mary, who appears to have fainted. Jesus has somehow sprung from her womb, and hovers – arms outstretched once again – in mid-air. On the right, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth greets the infant, with her own son, John the Baptist, on her lap.

In 1800, under the patronage of the poet William Hayley, Blake moved to Felpham, near Chichester, Sussex, returning to London in 1803.

William Blake (1757–1827), The Death of the Virgin (1803), watercolour on paper, 37.8 x 37.1 cm, The Tate Gallery (Presented by the executors of W. Graham Robertson through the Art Fund 1949), London. © The Tate Gallery and Photographic Rights © Tate (2016), CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported),

The Death of the Virgin (1803) is one of another series of paintings made for Thomas Butts, this time using watercolour. His emphasis has now shifted to design, using partial symmetry and better-defined form. His colours have become higher in chroma, although this may also reflect the change in medium.

Although still not even comfortably off, Blake was at last kept more busy with financially-rewarding work: from about 1803-1810, he worked on illustrations for Milton, A Poem from 1804-20, he worked on his last great poem, Jerusalem, the Emanation of the Giant Albion from 1803-10 he painted more than a hundred watercolour illustrations for Thomas Butts and from 1805-7 he made illustrations for Robert Blair’s The Grave.

William Blake (1757–1827), The Entombment (c 1805), ink and watercolour on paper, 41.7 x 31 cm, The Tate Gallery (Presented by the executors of W. Graham Robertson through the Art Fund 1949), London. © The Tate Gallery and Photographic Rights © Tate (2016), CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported),

Blake’s emphasis on design is also reflected in paintings such as The Entombment (c 1805), made in ink and watercolour.

In 1808-09 he illustrated Paradise Lost.

William Blake (1757–1827), Sir Jeffery Chaucer and the Nine and Twenty Pilgrims on their Journey to Canterbury (1808), pen and tempera on canvas, 46.7 x 137 cm, Pollok House, Glasgow, Scotland. The Athenaeum.

Sir Jeffery Chaucer and the Nine and Twenty Pilgrims on their Journey to Canterbury (1808) is one of his more ambitious later works in glue tempera, celebrating Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

In 1809 Blake held a private exhibition of his work at his brother’s house, which lasted longer than expected, although it did not transform his circumstances. In 1812, he showed four paintings at the exhibition of the Associated Painters in Water-Colour.

William Blake (1757–1827), Milton’s Mysterious Dream (c 1816-20), pen and watercolour, 16.3 x 12.4, The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, NY. The Athenaeum.

Blake’s most extraordinary and phantasmagoric works largely result from later in his career. His watercolour of Milton’s Mysterious Dream (c 1816-20) is a good example, combining the sweeping curves of the engraver with a cascade of figures, and symbols such as eyes.

In 1818, Blake met John Linnell, the painter, who then became his most important patron and supporter. Through Linnell he met John Varley, Samuel Palmer, and other artists. In 1823, John Linnell commissioned Blake to engrave his illustrations for the book of Job.

In 1824, he illustrated John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, then in 1825 until his death, Blake was busy working on illustrations of Dante for John Linnell.

William Blake (1757–1827), The Circle of the Lustful: Francesca da Rimini (The Whirlwind of Lovers) (c 1824), pen and watercolour over pencil, 36.8 x 52.2 cm, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham, England. The Athenaeum.

Blake’s last great project to illustrate Dante gave him free reign to create some of his most visionary works, such as the ‘whirlwind of lovers’ in The Circle of the Lustful: Francesca da Rimini (c 1824). Painters have tended to give the adulterous couple of Francesca da Rimini and her husband’s brother a rather easier if not sympathetic treatment, in some cases perhaps recognising how close they had come to suffering the same fate. Blake’s less-than-condemnatory treatment results not from his own life (he appears to have remained in a monogamous marriage throughout), but curiously from a lifelong disbelief in marriage.

William Blake (1757–1827), The Punishment of the Thieves, from Illustrations to Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ (1824–7), chalk, ink and watercolour on paper, 37.2 x 52.7 cm, The Tate Gallery (Purchased with the assistance of a special grant from the National Gallery and donations 1919), London. © The Tate Gallery and Photographic Rights © Tate (2016), CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported),

In his late paintings, even the most mundane of themes becomes an exploration of the boundaries of art and the imagination. The Punishment of the Thieves (1824–7), anticipates figurative painting of a century or more later, and the darker psychological recesses of sex and snakes. Dante refers to the thieves being bitten by snakes, but Blake uses the creatures in other ways.

William Blake (1757–1827), Count Ugolino and His Sons in Prison (c 1826), pen, tempera and gold on panel, 32.7 x 43 cm, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England. The Athenaeum.

One of his last glue tempera paintings, Count Ugolino and His Sons in Prison (c 1826) shows a complex episode from Dante’s Inferno Cantos 32 and 33, of a nobleman accused of treason. Thrown into prison for his alleged crime, Ugolino and his sons were starved to death, a scene also shown in a painting by Fuseli in 1806.

Blake died while still at work on his Dante paintings, on 12 August 1827. In 1965, following remodelling of the cemetery in which he was buried, even the location of his grave has been lost.

Blake, W (2000) William Blake: the Complete Illuminated Books, Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978 0 500 28245 8.
Blake, W, Erdman, DV & Bloom H (1988) The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake, Newly Revised edn, Anchor Books. ISBN 978 0 385 15213 6.
Butlin, M (1981) The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake, 2 vols, Yale UP. ISBN 978 0 300 02550 7.
Frye, Northrop (1947, 1969) Fearful Symmetry, a Study of William Blake, PrincetonUP. ISBN 978 0 6910 1291 9.
Vaughan, William (1999) William Blake, British Artists, Tate Publishing. ISBN 978 1 84976 190 1.

William Blake (British, 1757-1827) He Eyed the Serpent and the Serpent Him (Buoso Attacked by Francesco di Cavalcanti in the Form of a

He Eyed the Serpent and the Serpent Him (Buoso Attacked by Francesco di Cavalcanti in the Form of a Serpent), plate 5 from Illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy, 1827, 20th century impression (Binyon, 131). Unsigned, inscribed "Impression taken from the copper plate in my collection 1953-1954 Lessing Rosenwald 6/1/54" in pencil in the lower margin. Engraving heavy watercolor paper or similar, plate size 11 x 13 7/8 in. (27.6 x 35.2 cm), framed.
Condition: Not examined out of frame.
Estimate $700-900

Out of the frame the sheet measures 14 3/8 x 20 3/8 inches. Please note that this is an impression from 1953-1954.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.

General Joachim Blake, 1759-1827 - History

Beacon Press has been working with the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. on "The King Legacy," new editions of previously published King titles and new compilations of Dr. King's writings, sermons, orations, lectures, and prayers with scholarly introductions. In addition, we've just published Nobody Turn Me Around: A People's History of the 1963 March on Washington. So with the anniversary of the March this Saturday, August 28th, we've been thinking about what the March means to American History. This week, we'll publish a series of posts on the March on Beacon Broadside.

Sarah Overton at the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford sent us the following scans of King's program from the March, and they've kindly granted us permission to publish them here.

The image of the map of the March route contains a handwritten note from Clarence Jones, Scholar in Residence at at the King Institute and advisor, speech-writer, and friend to Dr. King. The note says:

Dear Martin--

Just learned that Dr. W. E. B. DuBois died last night in Ghana. Someone should make note of this fact.



1. The National Anthem Led by Marian Anderson (Note: Anderson did not get to the podium in time to perform, and Camilla Williams performed in her place. Anderson later sang "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," which you can watch here.)

2. Invocation The Very Rev. Patrick O'Boyle, Archibishop of Washington

3. Opening Remarks A. Philip Randolph, Director March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

4. Remarks Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, State Clerk, United Presbyterian Church of the U.S.A. Vice Chariman, Commission on Race Relations of the National Council of Churches of Christ in America.

5. Tribute to Negro Women Fighters for Freedom Mrs. Medgar Evers
Daisy Bates
Diane Nash Bevel
Mrs. Medgar Evers
Mrs. Herbert Lee
Rosa Parks
Gloria Richardson

6. Remarks John Lewis, National Chairman, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

7. Remarks Walter Reuther, President, United Automobile Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, AFL-CIO Chairman, Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO.

8. Remarks James Farmer, National Director, Council of Racial Equality

9. Selection Eva Jessye Choir (Note: Watch here, although this clip shows them singing just before Roy Wilkins speaks.)

10. Prayer Rabbi Uri MIller, President Synagogue Council of America.

11. Remarks Whitney M. Young, Jr., Executive Director, National Urban League.

12. Remarks Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director, National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice.

13. Remarks Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

15. Remarks Rabbi Joachim Prinz, President American Jewish Congress.

16. Remarks The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President, Southern Christian Leadership Conference. (Note: Watch below or on YouTube.)

17. The Pledge A. Philip Randolph

18. Benediction, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, President, Morehouse College

Statement by the heads of the ten organizations calling for discipline in connection with the Washington March of August 28, 1963.

"The Washington March of August 28th is more than just a demonstration.

"It was conceived as an outpouring of the deep feeling of millions of white and colored American citizens that the time has come for the Government of the United States of America, and particularly for the Congress of that government, to grant and guarantee complete equality in citizenship to the Negro minority of our population.

"As such, the Washington March is a living petition-in the flesh-of the scores of thousands of citizens of both races who will be present from all parts of our country.

"It will be orderly, but not subservient. It will be proud, but not arrogant. It will be nonwiolent, but not timid. It will be unified in purposes and behavior, not splintered into groups and individual competitors. It will be outspoken, but not raucous.

"It will have the dignity befitting a demonstration in behalf of the human rights of twenty millions of people, with the eye and the judgment of the world focused upon Washington, D.C., on August 28, l963.

"In a neighborhood dispute there may be stunts, rough words and even hot insults but when a whole people speaks to its government, the dialogue and the action must be on a level reflecting the worth of that people and the responsibility of that government.

"We, the undersigned, who see the Washington March as wrapping up the dreams, hopes, ambitions, tears, and prayers of millions who have lived for this day, call upon the members, followers and well wishers of our several organizations to make the March a disciplined and purposeful demonstration.

"We call upon them all, black and white, to resist provocations to disorder and to violence.

"We ask them to remember that evil Persons are determined to smear this March and to discredit the cause of equality by deliberate efforts to stir disorder.

"We call for self-discipline, so that no one in our own ranks, however enthusiastic, shall be the spark for disorder.

"We call for resistance to the efforts of those who, while not enemies of the March as such, might seek to use it to advance causes not dedicated primarily to civil rights or to the welfare of our country.

"We ask each and every one in attendance in Washington or in spiritual attendance back home to place the Cause above all else.

"Do not permit a few irresponsible people to hang a new problem around our necks as we return home. Let's do what we came to do--place the national human rights problem squarely on the doorstep of the national Congress and of the Federal Government."

Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice.

Reverend Eugene Carson Blake, Vice-Chairman of the Commission on Race Relations of the National Council of Churches of Christ in America.

James Farmer, National Director of the Congress of Racial Equality.

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Rabbi Joachim Prinz, President American Jewish Congress.

A. Philip Randolph, President of the Negro American Labor Council.

Walter Reuther, President, United Automobile Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, AFL-CIO Chairman, Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO.

Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Whitney M. Young, Jr., Executive Director, National Urban League.

In addition, the March has been endorsed by major religious, fraternal, labor and civil rights organizations. A full list, too long to include here, will be published.

1. Comprehensive and effective civil rights legislation from the present Congress--without compromise or filibuster-- to guarantee all

access to all public accommodations

adequate and integrated education

2. Withholding of Federal funds from all programs in which discrimination exists.

3. Desegregation of all school districts in 1963.

4. Enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment--reducing Congressional representation of states where citizens are disenfranchised.

5. A new Executive Order banning discrimination in all housing supported by federal funds.

6. Authority for the Attorney General to institute injunctive suits when any constitutional right is violated.

7. A massive federal program to train and place all unemployed workers--Negro and white--on meaningful and dignified jobs at decent wages.

8. A national minimum wage act that will give all Americans a decent standard of living. (Government surveys show that anything less than $2.00 an hour fails to do this.)

9. A broadened Fair Labor Standards Acts to include all areas of employment which are presently excluded.

10. A federal Fair Employment Practices Act barring discrimination by federal, state, and municipal governments, and by employers, contractors, employment agencies, and trade unions.

*Support of the March does not necessarily indicate endorsement of every demand listed. Some organizations have not had an opportunity to take an official position on all of the demands advocated here.

Many thanks to the King Institute, MLKJP, GAMK, Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers (Series I-IV), Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc., Atlanta, Ga. Be sure to visit their resources on the March on Washington on their website .

  • with Elisabeth THIBODEAU 1710-1765/
    • Marie (Louise) LEMIRE ca 1741-1789
    • Joseph MIRE ca 1742-1792
    • Simon LEMIRE ca 1744-1807
    • David MIRE ca 1745-
    • Elisabeth MIRE ca 1745-1825
    • Jean LEMIRE ca 1747-1757
    about 1736 : about 1736 : Birth - Pisiquit, Acadia
    about 1759 : about 1759 : Marriage (with X PART)
    12 August 1763 : 12 August 1763 : Census - Halifax, Acadia
    - ACADIAN-CAJUN a - Internet
    Note Posting by Roger Rozendal ([email protected]) in Nov 2005. - Pier Pare, wife, 5 children Beleaunie [sic] Mir, wife, 2 children
    [The family of Joachim Benoni MIRE may include his wife and two half-brothers:
    Joachim dit Benoni Le Mire born ca 1736 Marie? Part born ca? Joseph Le Mire born 1742, half-brother of Joachim Simon Le Mire born ca 1744, half-brother of Joachim]
    - "List of Acadian Families & Individuals at Halifax between 1759 & 1764"n 1759 & 1764" - LeBlanc, Ronnie-Gilles, English trans. by John Estano DeRoche - Sept 2013 -

    nsgrdpre/documents/dossiers/Ronnie-Gilles/Halifax-Families-1759-1764-rev-Sept-2013-(English).pdf - Internet -

    Interesting Facts about William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’

    ‘Jerusalem’ is one of the most famous hymns around, a sort of alternative national anthem for England (and some, especially those of a republican persuasion, prefer it to ‘God Save the Queen’). But as with most things which we know well, the hymn called ‘Jerusalem’ is surrounded by misconceptions, legend, and half-truths. We intend, in this post, to clear away some of the mystery in which Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ is abundantly swathed.

    Let’s start with that title: Blake (1757-1827) didn’t call it ‘Jerusalem’, and instead the famous words that form the lyrics of the hymn are merely one part of a longer poem, a poem which Blake called Milton (in reference, of course, to the seventeenth-century poet who, Blake once opined in reference to Milton’s masterpiece Paradise Lost, was ‘of the Devil’s party without knowing it’). Or, to give the poem its full title, Milton a Poem (Blake apparently wasn’t keen on colons). ‘Jerusalem’ wasn’t originally written as a hymn, then, but as a poem, or rather part of a poem.

    Hubert Parry wrote the music for the patriotic hymn known as ‘Jerusalem’ in 1916, during the First World War. The theme has since become the anthem for the Women’s Institute, or WI, and as a result of this (and their penchant for jam-making) the phrase ‘Jam and Jerusalem’ is sometimes used jocularly to refer to the WI.

    The phrase ‘dark Satanic Mills’ originated in the poem, and the prevailing interpretation is that this phrase refers to the Industrial Revolution (the mills of industry) however, some scholars have put forward the view that the ‘dark Satanic Mills’ refer to churches rather than literal mills, and to the Church of England in particular (of which Blake was not exactly a fan – and no, that’s not meant to be a windmill pun).

    The literary critic William Empson, known for his unorthodox interpretations of literary works, put forward the reading, in his letters, that the poem refers not to Jesus but to Pythagoras – the Greek philosopher who, legend has it, had visited England and worked with the Druids (so the ‘feet in ancient time’ of that first line refer to him rather than to Christ). This tallies with the references to Stonehenge and other sites of religious ritual found elsewhere in the poem Milton of which ‘Jerusalem’ forms a small part the poem is a critique of the priesthood in general. Empson’s reading has not found much support, however.

    As well as those ‘dark satanic mills’, another phrase the poem has bequeathed to us is ‘Chariot of fire’, which of course gave the similarly patriotic 1981 film Chariots of Fire its name. The hymn version of Blake’s poem is performed in the film.

    The most famous phrase to come from the poem, however, is from the last line, which refers to ‘Englands green and pleasant land’ (we have elided the apostrophe, as Blake’s original poem did – what did he have against punctuation?). This goes some way towards explaining the poem’s popularity as an unofficial national anthem: it seems to sum up England in a wonderfully concise and vivid phrase.

    If you enjoyed these facts about the hymn ‘Jerusalem’, then check out these five great paintings of books by William Blake.

    Image: Watercolour portrait of William Blake by Thomas Phillips, 1807 Wikimedia Commons.

    Peninsular War [ edit ]

    Exploits in the field led to further promotions, and by the start of the Peninsular War in 1808, Blake held the rank of Lieutenant General. He was appointed head of the Supreme Junta's Army of Galicia (a paper force of 43,001 holding the Spanish left wing along the Cantabrian mountains) during the French invasions and fought well against Napoleon's Grande Armée despite the heavy odds against him.

    Blake and Cuesta were defeated on 14 July at Medina del Rio Seco. Following the general French retreat prompted by the disaster at Bailén, Blake took up positions opposite the enemy on the banks of the Ebro. On 31 October Marshal Lefebvre's IV Corps fell upon Blake's 19,000 men at Pancorbo, turning back the hesitant Spanish advance. To his credit, Blake retreated swiftly and in good order, preventing Napoleon's planned envelopment and annihilation of the Spanish flank.

    Furious, the Emperor dispatched Lefebvre and Victor in pursuit, the latter ordered to outmaneuver Blake and sweep across his line of retreat. The French were careless and allowed their forces to disperse during the pursuit. On 5 November Blake surprised his enemies again when, at Valmaseda, he suddenly turned about and attacked the French vanguard with seasoned troops, inflicting a stinging defeat on General Vilatte's leading division. However, another French corps then joined the chase, and Blake raced west once more to evade encirclement.

    Blake chose to make another stand at Espinosa on 10 November. Victor, intent on avenging himself for his earlier humiliations at the hands of Blake, spent the day recklessly flinging his divisions against the Spaniards without success. The next day, however, a well-coordinated French attack shattered Blake's center and drove his army from the field in rout.

    Although Blake lost only 3,001 men on the battlefield, many thousands more were dispersed in the hopeless confusion of retreat as the Spanish front disintegrated. Knowing the Army of Galicia to be irreparably shattered, Blake embarked on a grueling march west into the hills, outdistancing his pursuers under Soult. He reached Léon on 23 November with only 10,000 men. Command of what remained of the Army of Galicia then passed to General Pedro Caro y Sureda, 3rd marqués de La Romana.

    Battle of Albuera [ edit ]

    In 1810, Blake participated in the creation of a Spanish General Staff, which in the final years of the war began to restore coherence to the country's military enterprises. Poor battlefield performance had in large part been caused by the lethargy, mismanagement, and miscoordination of Spain's fragmented military administration.

    On 16 May 1811 Blake fought the French at the Battle of Albuera alongside William Beresford's Anglo–Portuguese army. The Spaniards under Blake's command successfully held the allied flank against a strong French infantry, earning him a promotion to Captain General.

    Blake was then transferred to eastern Spain to combat Marshal Suchet's advance on Valencia. Blake, after several defeats, ended up trapped in the city with his army, eventually surrendering on 8 January 1812 with his 16,000 troops, which marked the high point of French successes in eastern Spain.

    Watch the video: Field marshal August von Mackensen