The Pilgrimage to Canterbury by Thomas Stothard (1755-1834). 1806-07. Oil on oak. 18 x 952 mm. Collection: Tate Britain No1163. “Image released under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported).” [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Tate Online Commentary

The engraver and publisher Robert Cromek commissioned this painting from Blake’s friend Stothard. Cromek put it on display and charged visitors a shilling to see it. He also collected subscriptions for the forthcoming print of the painting.

Blake claimed that Cromek had commissioned a painting of the Canterbury Pilgrims from him first, but Cromek had not liked the design and so took the commission to Stothard. Blake accused Cromek and, through him, Stothard of copying his long, frieze-like composition. It is unlikely that Blake’s accusations were well-founded, but the dispute effectively ended Blake and Stothard's friendship. [Gallery label, September 2004]

Last modified 1 February 2018