William Blake was born in London in 1757. He was apprenticed to a master engraver and then studied at the Royal Academy under the guidance of Joshua Reynolds. In 1789 he engraved and published Songs of Innocence and the contrasting Songs of Experience came later in 1794. A poet, painter and printmaker of great originality and imagination, his work was largely unrecognized during his lifetime and he struggled to make a living. Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. He died in 1827.