Michael Phillips


BA (Loyola University Los Angeles), PhD (Exeter), BPhil (Oxford)

Michael Phillips taught at Oxford, University College London and Edinburgh University before coming to York in 1998 specially to offer the one-year MA in English and the History of Art on Blake and the Age of Revolution which ran to 2004 (for a tribute from students see Blake and the Age of Revolution: Blake Quarterly (PDF  , 352kb)‌. Michael is now an honorary fellow of CECS.

Michael Phillips is currently writing a biography of William Blake in Lambeth during the anti-Jacobin Terror in Britain, entitled Blake and the Terror. Recently, his edition in facsimile of Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell was published by the Bodleian Library and the University of Chicago Press in 2011. He has been guest curator of important exhibitions of William Blake including Tate Britain and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2000-2001, in Paris at the Petit Palais from 1 April to 28 June 2009, and most recently, from 4 December 2014 to 1 March 2015, the major exhibition of Blake at the Ashmolean Museum of the University of Oxford, William Blake, Apprentice & Master.

His training as a printmaker has enabled Michael to explore and replicate Blake's graphic techniques used in producing his illuminated books and separate prints. His website The Illuminated Books of William Blake Re-created explains how he has been able to re-create relief-etched copper plates of Blake’s illuminated books that compare exactly with the lost originals: http://williamblakeprints.co.uk. Phillips's re-creations of Blake's plates and impressions are now in collections that include the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection of the Library of Congress, Berg Collection of the New York Public Library, the Morgan Library, Victoria University Library of the University of Toronto and the British Library, amongst other public and private collections. This research, together with his study of Blake's manuscripts, is also called upon in William Blake The Creation of the Songs From Manuscript to Illuminated Printing, published by the British Library and Princeton University Press.

For his work on Blake he has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Yale Centre for British Art, British Library Centre for the Book, a British Academy Research Readership in the Humanities, Waynflete Lectureship, Magdalen College, Oxford, and the Medal of the Collège de France. Michael lectures and gives Blake printmaking demonstrations internationally.




Selected Publications


  • William Blake Apprentice & Master (Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, 2014).
  • William Blake The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, A Facsimile of the Bodleian Library Copy, Edited with an Introduction and Commentary (Bodleian Library and University of Chicago Press, 2011).
  • William Blake (1757-1827) Le Génie Visionnaire de Romantisme Anglais. ed. and contrib. (Petit Palais and Musée de la Vie Romantique, Paris, 2009).
  • William Blake The Creation of the Songs From Manuscript to Illuminated Printing (The British Library and Princeton University Press, 2000).
  • William Blake, with Robin Hamlyn (Tate Gallery Publications, 2000).
  • William Blake, Recherches pour une Biographie Traduites par Antoine Jaccottet, Preface d'Yves Bonnefoy (Documents et Inedits du College de France, Paris, 1995).
  • William Blake, An Island in the Moon, A Facsimile of the Manuscript, Introduced, Transcribed and Annotated (Cambridge University Press, 1987).
  •  Interpreting Blake, ed. and contrib. (Cambridge University Press,1978).
  • William Blake Essays in Honour of Sir Geoffrey Keynes, ed. and contrib. together with Morton D.Paley (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1973).

Selected Papers

‘No. 36 Castle Street: A Reconstruction of James’ Barry’s House, Painting and Printmaking Studio, and the making of The Birth of Pandora’, The British Art Journal Vol. IX, No. 1 (Spring, 2008), pp. 15-27.

‘The Printing of Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job’, Print Quarterly, Vol. XXII, No. 2 (June, 2005), pp.138-62.

‘The Printing of Blake’s America a Prophecy,’ Print Quarterly, Vol. XXI, No. 1 (March, 2004), pp. 18-38.

‘No 13 Hercules Buildings, Lambeth: William Blake’s Printmaking Workshop and Etching-Painting Studio Recovered,’ The British Art Journal, Vol. V, No. 1 (Spring, 2004), pp. 13-21.

'Blake and the Terror, 1792-1793,' The Library, Sixth Series, Vol. 16, no. 4 (December, 1994), pp. 263-97.

Guest Curator, ‘James Barry Artist-Printmaker’, James Barry 1741-1806 ‘The Great Historical Painter’, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, 22 October 2005-4 March 2006.