Sarah Weston’s BlakeTint at Yale’s Digital Humanities Lab

November 5, 2020

William Blake’s Color Theory

Quantizing Color in William Blake’s Illuminated Books studies the artistic output of the Romantic poet and painter, William Blake (1757-1827). Blake invented a complex process of etching and printing, a system he called “illuminated printing.” His “infernal method” consisted of using an acid-resistant substance to mirror-write onto a plate of copper, which he then etched, printed, and reprinted. Throughout his lifetime, Blake would re-ink the same plate, using different colors every iteration, giving each copy with its own distinctive feel. This project wishes to study, on a micro- and macro-level, the changes Blake made to his plates over time in order to better understand his use of color and affect.

The visualizations in BlakeTint give us fresh ways of looking at Blake’s manuscripts, providing new angles into understanding his complicated relationship with color.

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