On the day he receives devastating news about the rejection of one of his finest projects William Blake reflects on his troubled three years in Sussex, which culminated in his being put on Trial for Sedition.


 
A Grain Of Sand In Lambeth
By
Michael Loughnan
 
(from the writings of William Blake)

 

 

On a November day in 1805 William Blake confronts a major crisis in his life and work.  He and his wfe Catherine face a bleak future following the withdrawal of a lucrative engraving contract from the publisher Robert Cromek, who had been delighted with Blake's designs but disliked the radical sample engraving that he provided.

In the two small rooms they rent in South Molton Street he rails against what he regards as his betrayal by Cromek and recalls happier times when he and Catherine lived in comparative comfort in a big house in Lambeth. He relives too the less happy events of their more recent three-year sojourn in Sussex, and the terrifying ordeal of being put on Trial for Sedition after an accusation by a drunken soldier.

He resolves to escape the tyranny of "the Fiends of Commerce" who had given him "tweny dark, but very profieable, years" and begins work on his illuminated epic masterpiece JERUSALEM with the help and support of his "angel", Kate and his ever-generous supporter, patron and "employer", Thomas Butts.