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The Canterbury Pilgrims

A work made of line engraving on cream laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of line engraving on cream laid paper.




William Blake
English, 1757-1827

About this artwork

Those with devout hearts set out on medieval pilgrimages, but these journeys could also be experienced in social fellowship. The visionary English artist William Blake’s enormous frieze contains all 29 of Geoffrey Chaucer’s boisterous Canterbury Tales pilgrims, as well as a portrait of the author himself. In Chaucer’s book, each character tells stories while passing time along the way from London to Canterbury Cathedral, a pilgrimage route that rivaled the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Blake devoted reams of paper to advertise this print, describing Chaucer’s Tales as “the physiognomy or elements of universal human life.”


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


William Blake


The Canterbury Pilgrims


England (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Line engraving on cream laid paper


Image: 29.5 × 92 cm (11 5/8 × 36 1/4 in.); Plate: 30 × 92.5 cm (11 13/16 × 36 7/16 in.); Sheet: 36.8 × 96.5 cm (14 1/2 × 38 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Dorothy Braude Edinburg to the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection

Reference Number


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