Rebecca Marks, Peterhouse

Degree: PhD
Course: English
Supervisor: Dr Sarah Haggarty
Dissertation Title:

William Blake and Michelangelo: Influence, Adaptation, and 'The Florentine Original'

Biographical Information

I studied English Language and Literature at Exeter College, Oxford, from which I graduated in 2019 (Distinction) with a Waugh Scholarship and three prizes. In 2020 I completed a MA in History of Art at the Courtauld institute (Distinction) specialising in the Italian Renaissance.

Research Interests

This project explores the effect of Blake's lifelong study of Michelanglo's work on his art. More broadly, I am interested in the reception of Michelangelo in English visual culture in Blake's lifetime, 1757-1827, and how this reception was mediated for Blake. This PhD thesis is fundamentally a study of art history, not of English Literature, and its central goal is to reframe Blake as a primarily artistic, not poetic, figure.

Selected Publications


Marks, R. 'Organs of Embodied Sentiment: Contextualising William Blake’s Sistine Studies c.1770-1790' (2023), Cambridge Quarterly, 52.3 (2023)



Marks, R. (2023), Art, Science, and the Body in Early Romanticism by Stephanie O’Rourke (review), Eighteenth-Century Studies, 56.3.

Marks, R (2023), Painting with Fire, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Photography, and the Temporally Evolving Chemical Object (review), Eighteenth-Century Studies, 57.1 (forthcoming)

Marks, R (2023), Blake, Parry, and the Fight for Englishness (review), Romanticism, 30.1 (forthcoming)


Conference Papers

'Organs of Embodied Sentiment' (2023), Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies Research Group, University of Cambridge

'William Blake and Michelangelo's Torso' (2023), Influence: 50 Years On, University of Oxford

'William Blake's Sistine Studies' (2023), Global Blake: A Network for Blake Studies, University of Lincoln (

‘The Belvedere Torso: Blake’s Reception’ (2023), Classical Reception seminar, University of Cambridge

'Blake's Last Judgement' (2024), Devis and Justified Sinners online conference, Romancing the Gothic

'Blake's relationship with Old Master prints' (2024), William Blake's Universe exhibition, Fitzwilliam Museum 



Richard D. Gooder Essay Prize, University of Cambridge (2023)

Wilmot Jenkins Prize, University of Oxford (2019)

Fitzgerald prize, University of Oxford (2016, 2019)