SCULPTOR John W Mills revisits the visionary William Blake in a selection of new drawings and paintings at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, from Saturday. On show too will be reworked studies made in 1964 for a public memorial to Blake at Blake House in Soho, London.

This exhibition includes 20 or so paintings and drawings, with two maquettes for the original Blake House sculpture and a sculpture of Blake’s head based on a life mask made by sculptor and phrenologist James Deville when Blake was 56.

"This small collection of images features new drawings based on studies I made at the Digswell Art Trust in Hertfordshire during the build-up to making the memorial to William Blake for Blake House in Soho, his birth place," says Mills.

"The invitation to make this exhibition at Pyramid Gallery gave me the encouragement to re-visit some of those drawings I made back then in an attempt to get back into thinking of Blake and his impact on me at that time, which was profound. The image of Blake’s head, once studied, is never forgotten!

"I like the idea of trying to detect, explore and reflect the mood swings of a very complicated man and important artist, based on scant but powerful information displayed in the famous life mask."

York Press:

William Blake, pastel, by John W Mills

In 1964, Mills was commissioned by Westminster Council to create the aforementioned memorial to William Blake for Blake House, a new development built on the site at 28 Broad St, Soho, London.This is the house where William Blake was born, and he lived there between 1757 and 1772, but the street was renamed Broadwick Street and the original building demolished.

Westminster Council instructed its architect to install a memorial to Blake and Mills was selected to create a sculptural mural that comprises four walking images of Blake, each eight feet tall with three cast in aluminium and the main figure cast in bronze. All had to be approved by the Blake Society, which also gave permission for a quotation to be included on the sculpture as an inscription.

For this, Mills who had studied the great master's poetry, writings and engravings while at art college in London, chose these lines from his epic poem Jerusalem: "I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create."

Since installing the Blake House memorial, Mills has produced many drawings, studies and sculptures depicting Blake, which have been exhibited almost exclusively in America, where there is a strong and enthusiastic following for the visionary poet and engraver.

The Pyramid exhibition will be opened at midday on Saturday by Mills, who will be in attendance until 3pm, and can be seen every week day until November 28 between 10am and 5pm. The works may be viewed on the gallery website at