Jonathan Jones takes the occasion of the Tate’s purchase of eight William Blake drawings to assess the country’s artistic heritage. He finds the nation lacking in genius:
In reality Blake is the essential British artist. He is the only one we have ever produced who really captures the national genius. This is because he was a writer as well as an artist – and the English language is Britain’s true cultural achievement. We are not, repeat not, a nation of artists. The lack of great artists in our history is hilarious when you set it aside most other European nations. We have no Titian, Rembrandt or Picasso. We don’t even have a Dali. But we do have William Blake. It is the conceptual quality of Blake’s art that raises it above the run of British visual achievement.
Is William Blake Britain’s Best Artist? (Guardian)