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The figure of Newton appears in Blake’s poetry and thought as the kind of representative figure of materialism and empiricism, so what Blake seems to be doing is representing Newton not through a portrait, but through this emblematic figure, to suggest how modern science is perhaps destroying the imagination. For me, this is one of the key works in Blake’s oeuvre and in the Blake collection at Tate, because on the one hand it is incredibly powerfully visual and I think of Blake as a visual artist as well as a poet, but at the same time it’s mystifying, it’s mysterious, and despite the fact that you’ve had generations of philosophers and scholars and art historians and thinkers about Blake trying to unpick this image we still can’t quite make sense of it, and that, to me, kind of encapsulates why Blake is so fascinating and so appealing. This is an enigmatic little painting created towards the end of Blake’s life, about 1819–20 inspired supposedly by a vision that Blake had of a spiritual form of a flea a ghost of a flea, when he was working with John Varley, a watercolour artist and astrologer We’re not quite sure whether Blake genuinely had those visions, or whether he was playing up to what Varley expected him to see as a visionary artist. But either way, Blake has created a very memorable and influential embodiment of evil. These three works were among the paintings that Blake included in his one-man exhibition held in the upstairs room of his family hosiery shop in Golden Square, Soho in 1809. The paintings that he showed there dealt with themes of national importance. This work is the spiritual form of Pitt guiding Behemoth, and is a partner to the work on the far right the spiritual form of Nelson guiding Leviathan. Both show figures from public life, recently deceased, guiding biblical monsters of destruction. Here we see the spiritual form of Pitt, Pitt was the Tory prime minister who had died a couple of years before guiding Behemoth, the biblical monster that brings destruction on land. But Pitt, rather than being represented as a contemporary figure is shown as a Christ-like figure in a robe, with this extraordinary gigantic halo the halo probably taken from Asian art, rather than from Western tradition. Blake is not an easy artist to interpret. His work deals with strange and often very personal and rather arcane themes. What I hope is that the Blake Room will help, kind of, reassert Blake’s role not only in the history of poetry or the imagination, or in Britain’s cultural life but also as a visual artist, and someone who used visual forms in a very original and very powerful way.