Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/66

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12
THE LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE

have irritated Blake to say, that he possessed too much sound sense and judgment to be absolutely wrong, although he might in his violence have said more than he could prove. Blake seemed intended for the fifteenth century, when real energy of mind gained the appropriate rapidity of hand, and when the vehicle, if not such as he invented, was in much better command for sublime compositions; there might have been some variation in the vehicle that was enough to make all the difference, and that vehicle might have been such an one as he would not have complained of. The author has seen pictures of Blake's in the possession of Wm. Butts, Esq., Fitzroy Square, that have appeared exactly like the old cabinet pictures of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, where he has touched the lights with white composed of whiting and glue, of which material he laid the ground of his panel. Two of these pictures are of the most sublime composition and artistic workmanship; they are not drawings on canvas, as some of his others, but they are superlative specimens of genuine painter-like handling and force, and are little inferior in depth, tone, and colour to any modern oil picture in the country.

During these paroxysms of indignation he is said to have come in contact with Sir Joshua Reynolds, but it is very odd that the man whose