Fortunate Newton, happy childhood of science! He who has time and tranquility can by reading this book live again the wonderful events which the great Newton experienced in his young days. Nature to him was an open book, whose letters he could read without effort. The conceptions which he used to reduce the material of existence to order seemed to flow spontaneously from experience itself, from the beautiful experiments which he ranged in order like playthings and describes with an affectionate wealth of detail. On one person he combined the experimenter, the theorist, the mechanic and, not least, the artist in exposition.

Einstein’s Forward to Opticks, New York, Whittlesey house, 1931.
William Blake, Newton, 1795, Colour print, ink and watercolour on paper, Tate Modern
Blake was critical of Newton’s reductive, scientific approach and so shows him merely following the rules of his compass, blind to the colourful rocks behind him. (Gallery label, October 2018).