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Head of William Blake (1757-1827): M.7-1947

An image of Life mask

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 12: William Blake's Universe


Head of William Blake (1757-1827)


Maker: Deville, James S.




Calcium-sulphate-plaster head incorporating a cast life mask of William Blake. The neck rises from an integrally-cast circular plaster socle. The exterior is covered with a wax-shellac coating.
In a black tin trunk (A) with key (B) not accessioned

Legal notes

Given by Lady Richmond

Measurements and weight

Depth: 26 cm
Height: 29.5 cm
Width: 17.3 cm

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1947-07-18) by Richmond, Lady


19th Century, Early#
George IV
Production date: AD 1823 : The life mask was taken on September 1823

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Surface composed of wax-shellac coating ( All over the object, except the underside of the socle which is bare uncoated plaster. The colour derives entirely from the coating media; no significant colour pigments detected. Identifications by Dr Flavia Fiorillo using FTIR and XRF: see analytical report 2023-11-13)

Materials used in production

calcium sulphate Plaster

Techniques used in production

Casting (process) : Calcium sulphate plaster-cast, with an unpigmented yellow(ed) wax-shellac coating. With a few further localised patches of thicker, orange, shellac, perhaps contemporaneous additions or later repairs.

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.7-1947
Primary reference Number: 77336
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 19 February 2024 Last processed: Monday 19 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Head of William Blake (1757-1827)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-03-04 12:14:41

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{{cite web|url= |title=Head of William Blake (1757-1827) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-03-04 12:14:41|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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