In a comment, lief just reminded me that earlier this week, @RCArmitage favorited a link to a Guardian article, titled Me and William Blake.
When he was working as Lucas North on Spooks, Richard Armitage disclosed in an interview by Vulpes Libris, that he was currently reading Peter Ackroyd’s biography of William Blake. Published 10 years earlier, Armitage’s choice might have been driven by his Spooks character, whose chest was tattooed with the same image as shown in Blake’s painting, Ancient of Days, above. I wrote about this early on https://armitageagonistes.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/that-darn-tat-the-lucas-northwilliam-blake-case-revisited/.
TheGuardian article was occasioned by a gallery showing of Blake’s fine art, but the writer, Philip Pullman, focuses on Blake’s literary works, not his art, and specifically how the author’s life and view of himself altered when he discovered William Blake. He opens,
Sometimes we find a poet, or a painter, or a musician who functions like a key that unlocks a part of ourselves we never knew was there. . . . . It’s a more visceral, physical sensation than that, and it comes most powerfully when we’re young. Something awakes that was asleep, doors open that were closed, lights come on in all the windows of a palace inside us, the existence of which we never suspected.
Philip Pullman asserts that it is mostly in youth when we’re struck by some artist, whether writer, painter or musician, who has a life changing affect on us – but his words called to mind a large group of non-youths I “know,” who all claim to have been unlocked, awakened, sent through, by a certain actor, who once sported a William Blake on his chest.
And who, if anyone, was the “key” for that certain actor, I wonder?