This is my second semester working for the William Blake Archive, and I have to admit that the work has been a bit more complicated than I expected. (more…)
November 20, 2015
November 19, 2015
As the ongoing Phase Four of the Blake Archive’s development – image acquisition – continues, we realize that the excess of Blake’s delights will keep the Archive staff busy for years to come. Since we last posted about acquisitions in March, we have acquired the following works from nine institutions: (more…)
November 12, 2015
The William Blake Archive recently published seventeen pen and ink drawings by Blake that span the majority of his artistic career. As one of the art historians on staff at the WBA, I was tasked with the responsibility of creating XML documents to accompany each of the works—files that we call Blake Archive Documents or BADs. These BADs are incredibly important as they include not only textual descriptions of the drawings but also tagged search terms, which enable the new drawings to be plugged into the existing search function of the WBA.
This fall I’ve been blogging about forensic experimentation with Blake Archive images in Adobe Photoshop. The idea is that Photoshop can be a [relatively] cheap, easy, and fast way to either answer transcription questions or allow editors to model alternate views of manuscript images for Archive users. In the last two posts, I’ve used examples of faded, hard-to-read text to illustrate the potential usefulness of digital image manipulation.
Interesting stuff, but also pretty conservative in terms of total image manipulation and Photoshop’s technical abilities. This week, we’re going to push the envelope . . . just a bit. (more…)
At the end of October the Blake Archive added forty-five back issues of the Blake Quarterly to the digital archive of the journal (I wrote about the creation of this wing of the Blake Archive here). Now every issue from spring 1990 (vol. 23, no. 4) to our five-year subscription paywall is freely accessible in both HTML and PDF, with the original black-and-white images replaced where possible in the HTML versions with color images from the archive. This new batch of issues includes frequently requested articles such as Marsha Keith Schuchard’s “The Secret Masonic History of Blake’s Swedenborg Society.”
November 4, 2015
In the world of the Blake Archive, Blake Camp is one of the highlights of the year. We talk about it as a magical place where tricky problems will be solved and difficult decisions finally made, and even use it to measure time, referring to events as happening “before” or “after” Blake Camp. This year, I was going for the first time. (more…)
October 30, 2015
Publication Announcement – 17 pen and ink drawings and 50 past issues of Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly (1990-2000, 2010)
The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of seventeen pen and ink drawings by Blake. Ranging chronologically from his apprenticeship as an engraver to the final decade of his life, this group offers a comprehensive overview of his work in the medium. Most were created when Blake was learning his craft as an artist and reveal his exploration of various themes and genres. His apprentice drawings for James Basire (The Body of Edward I and Countess Aveline) show his early engagement with medieval art. Another group (two drawings titled Figures from a Greek Vase and Charon) is clearly based on classical art or mythology, responses to which were central to British art and design in the second half of the eighteenth century. The cluster of related sketches on two leaves, each titled (more…)
October 29, 2015
A few weeks ago, I blogged about a simple Photoshop technique for recovering faded text in old manuscripts. I used a couple of objects from Four Zoas as a demo because we’ve been working a lot with Four Zoas and, well, it’s pretty hard to read.
It wasn’t a true experiment, though. Because FZ has been so heavily scrutinized by scholars past and present, nearly every conceivable reading is documented and available for verification. In other words, I was working towards a recovery that I already had in mind. Not-so-boldly-going where many have gone before.
OK, so maybe that’s fine for proof-of-concept. But what about a real test? Could we try this out on something we really had trouble reading? Wouldn’t you know it—a recent letter acquisition provided exactly that opportunity. (more…)
October 23, 2015
As I explained in my post last week, I’ve been working on a transcription of Object 13 of The Four Zoas. After my revelation at DHSI, I decided to try encoding two basic transcriptions of the object in order to see how viewing it as an object or as a text changed my results – just as an experiment. (more…)
October 15, 2015
In June, I went to the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) in Victoria, BC. I have a whole other post in my head about the ferry journey from Seattle to Victoria (beautiful!), the fish tacones at Red Fish Blue Fish (delicious!) and the nineteenth-century architecture of the city (magnificent!), but for now I’ll stick to the subject at hand: encoding the Four Zoas. (more…)