Biography and History

William Hayley was an English writer, best known as the friend and biographer of William Cowper. Hayley won the fame he enjoyed among his contemporaries by his poetical essays and epistles, including a Poetical Epistle to an Eminent Painter (1778), addressed to his friend, the painter George Romney. In 1800 Hayley lost his natural son, Thomas Alphonso Hayley, to whom he was devotedly attached. He had been a pupil of John Flaxman, to whom Hayley's Essay on Sculpture (1800) is addressed. Flaxman introduced Hayley to William Blake who engraved the illustrations for the Life of Cowper. This, Hayley's best known work, was published in 1803-1804.

Source: From the finding aid for C1139