July 16, 2013

William Blake’s cottage for sale


The road of excess leads to the picturesque cottage of wisdom.

William Blake’s cottage in Felpham, West Sussex is for sale. It’s the first time the house has been on the market since 1928, and this time it’s going for £650,000, approximately $978,00.

Blake lived there from 1800-1803, though the house has been updated considerably since then. The real estate agency calls it, “A most picturesque 17th Century brick and flint period cottage set in a sheltered walled garden in the heart of the old village within 250 yards of the foreshore.”

If the listing were in Blake’s own words:

NEW LISTING, ABSOLUTELY OUT OF THIS WORLD: Away to sweet Felpham for heaven is there: / The Ladder of Angels descends through the air / On the turrett its spiral does softly descend / Through the village it winds, at my cot it does end. (Letter to Anna Flaxman, 1800)

DELIGHTFUL LOCATION: Sussex is certainly a happy place and Felpham in particular is the sweetest spot on earth. (Letter to Thomas Butts, 1801)

SQUARE FOOTAGE: What is Grand is necessarily obscure to Weak men. That which can be made Explicit to the idiot is not worth my care. (Letter to Reverend Dr. Trusler, 1799)

4 BEDROOMS: Enough! or too much…. You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough. (Proverbs of Hell)

LARGE DINING ROOM (the site of Blake’s printing press): The martyr’s groan, and the lover’s sigh. / They are his meat, they are his drink: / He feeds the beggar and the poor / And the wayfaring traveller; / For ever open is his door. (The Mental Traveller)

SITTING ROOM (where Blake and his wife were rumored to read Paradise Lost aloud together in the nude): Art can never exist without Naked Beauty displayed. (Etching around “Laocoön and His Sons”)

EXPANSIVE YARD: The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the Eyes of others only a Green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all Ridicule and Deformity, and by these I shall not regulate my proportions; and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the Eyes of the Man of Imagination, Nature is Imagination itself. As a man is, So he Sees. As the Eye is formed, such are its Powers. (Letter to Reverend Dr. Trusler, 1799)

ACT FAST! He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence. (Proverbs of Hell)


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.