‘The Tyger’ from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, 1923.

  • Intro
    Museum's Description
    Teacher notes
    • The Tyger is an illustrated poem written by William Blake, it was published in 1794 in a collection of poems, written by Blake, called 'Songs of Experience'.

      William Blake was an English poet, painter and engraver. He was born in London in 1757 and spent much of his early life as an apprentice engraver to the print-maker James Basire. Blake was a highly skilled artist and he experimented with styles, combining poetry with images, much like we can see in The Tyger. Blake is also well known for his radical political views, something you might get an impression of from the poem. You can learn more about Blake on the British Library's website.

      The Tyger
      is part of a wider collection published by Blake. Happily, the British Library have a digitised version of this collection from 1923 so you can flick through the pages of his work and see close up all the details of his work.

      They have also digitised his notebook where you can see his early sketches and occasional scribbles lines of poetry. We think it's amazing that we can read through his personal notebook which dates back to the 18th century!

      We should probably explain why the word Tyger is spelt differently from how we're used to. That's because the poem was written in the 18th Century at a time when the English language was still developing. When Blake was alive I sounds were often written with a Y.

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