Thomas Alphonso Hayley

William Blake, 1757 - 1827

Thomas Alphonso Hayley

William Blake 1757 - 1827


Painting depicting right side profile perspective bust portrait of sculptor Thomas Hayley as a young man, surrounded by a wreath of ivy leaves. There are outlines of two swooping birds, one either side of the wreath. The ivy and top section of the painting is coloured in dark green, whereas the rest of the painting has sepia-coloured detailing.

Display Label

Absent Presence 19 June 2015 – 3 January 2016 Manchester Art Gallery recently acquired Exposed Painting Green Lake, 2012, by contemporary artist Callum Innes. This new display of works from our collection takes its inspiration from this painting. It looks at how art captures a moment in time and asks how a subject can be present in an artwork, yet absent at the same time. Innes created this Exposed Painting by a process of ‘unpainting’: brushing off the top layer of black paint to reveal the deep green colour underneath, leaving traces of brushstrokes behind. In this way, he both removes the image and leaves its presence visible. The paintings in this gallery all require a similar heightened level of looking, a searching for traces of the absent. The artists are often playing with the concept of time, adding presences from the past into scenes of the present. A literal example is this Victorian family photograph. The image of the boy has been inserted after his death to show that for his family, he remains forever present. When the subject is absent, we try to find the missing presence in what remains.

Object Name

Thomas Alphonso Hayley

Creators Name

William Blake

Date Created



unframed: 41cm x 50.3cm
framed: 49cm x 58.5cm

accession number


Place of creation







© Manchester Art Gallery

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