The William Blake Blog

From the Collection: Vaughan Williams’s Job a Masque
This year is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams, among whose works was an important ballet inspired by William Blake's illustrations to the Book of Job.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams, one of the most popular English composers who also, through his friendship with Geoffrey Keynes, composed an extremely significant piece of Blake-inspired music, Job: A Masque for Dancing.

The music of Job was first performed in concert form at the Norwich Festival in 1930, with Vaughan Williams conducting. This was followed in 1931 by the first stage production given for the Camargo Society at the Cambridge Theatre, London, followed by the first public performance at the Sadler's Wells Theatre later that year. Keynes had proposed the original idea and written a libretto, while Ninette de Valois choreographed the ballet and Gwendolen Raverat was responsible for set design and costumes. Vaughan Williams had scored his setting for a full symphony orchestra, but the musical director for Sadler's Wells, Constant Lambert, also produced a version for small theatre orchestras.

Below are a few of the items that I have been collecting over the years in relation to Job a Masque.