Welcome to our calendar of events for 2017-2018 !

This year the Society’s activities run from June 2017 through to February 2018 with an event held each month.  

The events are free for members of the Society unless otherwise indicated.

MONTH OF JUNE
A Visit to Milton’s Cottage
Saturday 17 June 2017 at 11:00 am
Milton’s Cottage, 21 Deanway, Chalfont Saint Giles HP8 4JH
Blake’s relationship with Milton went far deeper than most poets’ involvement with their influences. It was an engagement at many levels: the story of a naked William and Catherine reading Paradise Lost in their Lambeth garden; the insight that Milton was “of the Devil’s party without knowing it”; the breathtaking illustrations; and the prophetic book in which Milton, “unhappy tho’ in Heaven”, is sent back to annihilate his selfhood and achieve redemption.
Although both Milton and Blake spent only short periods of their lives away from London, both the cottages they lived in have survived. Both played a role in their occupant’s creative life, as a rural retreat in which major works took shape. Milton completed Paradise Lost at Chalfont, and was inspired to write Paradise Regained there.
The cottage is the only one of Milton’s dozen residences that still stands. It retains the charm of the 17th century home he would have known whilst housing one of the world’s most important collections relating to the writer on open display. The three museum rooms contain rare books, paintings and prints that give a unique insight into Milton’s life, work and influence.
Members of the Society will have a 2-hour private visit to the cottage guided by one of the Milton Cottage Trust’s curators. There will also be an opportunity to visit the ancient parish church and its 14th century wall-paintings.
Please note that this is a members-only event and that numbers are limited. To register interest and receive further details, please e-mail
milton@blakesociety.org

MONTH OF JULY
A Visit to Blake’s Cottage
Saturday 8 July 2017 from 2 pm to 4 pm
Blake’s Cottage, I Blake’s Road, Felpham, West Sussex PO22 7EB
After four centuries as a private dwelling, Blake’s Cottage was purchased and placed into charitable ownership in 2015. So this summer’s day – the day of the Felpham Village Summer Fête which takes place in the Old Vicarage Gardens beside the Cottage – is a good time to see the 17th Century Cottage – a home where William Blake and his wife Catherine lived for three peaceful yet turbulent years between 1800 and 1803.
‘Beneath our thatched roof of rusted gold’ William and Catherine created some extraordinary works including the visionary encounter with Milton and the words we now sing as ‘Jerusalem’. It was here also that the violent events unfolded that led to his trial for sedition.
The Trustees of the Blake Cottage Trust will be present to show you the initial architectural sketches for the restoration of the Cottage and talk about the plans for its economic future and visionary purpose.
www.blakecottage.org

MONTH OF AUGUST
POETRY AT THE GRAVE
Sunday 13 August 2017 at 12 Noon
Bunhill Fields, 38 City Road London EC1Y 1AU
Poetry at the Grave
We gather at Bunhill Fields at noon to mark the life of William Blake who died in August 1827 and was buried here.
By tradition people often read or share a favourite text.
Afterwards you are invited to repair to a local pub for lunch or conversation.

MONTH OF SEPTEMBER
A Wake for Blake
Monday 25th September 2017 at 7.30 pm
Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, London WC2H 7BX
A very special evening to raise money for a memorial in Bunhill Fields to mark the exact place of burial of William Blake. It’s organised by a fellow Blakean and famous comedian Stewart Lee who has drawn together a fantastic mix of poets, folk singers and comedians, including our own patron Alan Moore. In addition Henry Eliot will be giving two of his celebrated ‘Blake’s Soho’ walks before the performance.
Featuring
KEVIN ELDON
SHIRLEY COLLINS, DAVE ARTHUR AND PETE COOPER
THE GREAT BRITISH BLAKE OFF
ROBIN INCE
STEWART LEE
TESTAMENT
ALAN MOORE
SIMON MUNNERY
~ More To Be Announced ~
Tickets for this special Benefit Event cost £25 plus booking fee and can be obtained from the theatre on 0207 734 2222 or from their website:
https://leicestersquaretheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873574779

MONTH OF OCTOBER
We hope to soon be able to give more details on two fascinating events to be held in the month of October 2017:
The Book of Dust
Our President Philip Pullman will talk about The Book of Dust that is to be published this autumn and which is the first novel in a new trilogy to accompany ‘His Dark Materials’. Conversation and questions with actors reading extracts from the novel.
*** Postponed until the Spring of 2018 ***
A Study Guide to William Blake
This will be a new initiative in education aimed at schools with Dr Martin Myrone, Curator of the Blake collection at Tate Britain, talking about the significance of William Blake in our national pedagogy.
This Study Guide is aimed at supporting teachers and their students, as well as members of the Society, in enriching their all-round understanding of Blake’s place in art, literature, history and religion.
Information on both these events will be announced through our monthly email newsletter and by social media (Facebook and Twitter).
*** postponed until the summer of 2018 ***

MONTH OF NOVEMBER
Jerusalem in Full
Saturday 25 November 2017 10 am to 9 pm
Waterstones Bookshop, 82 Gower Street, London WC1E 6EQ
To celebrate Blake’s 260th birthday, we will be reading the whole of his last great prophetic book, Jerusalem, the Emanation of the Giant Albion, over the course of a single day.
In his Preface to Jerusalem, Blake speaks of producing the cadences of his prophetic poem for ‘the mouth of a true Orator’. This will be a rare opportunity to engage actively with ‘the grandest poem that this world contains’ as Blake himself tells us he shaped it – through the spoken word.
We will be guided through the multiple levels of Blake’s culminating vision by Susanne Sklar, a leading authority on Jerusalem as ‘Visionary Theatre’.
Members are invited to take part in the reading, which will be open to the public. Readers will be assigned specific roles for the leading figures, with a wider group sharing the narration.
If you would like to take part, please register your interest at:
jerusalem@blakesociety.org

MONTH OF DECEMBER
Tithe Grant Award Ceremony 2017
Wednesday 13 December 2017 6.00 pm to 7.30 pm
City of Westminster Archives Centre
10 St Ann’s Street London SW1P 2DE
This year’s Tithe Grant celebrates the art of letter writing and in particular William Blake’s idiosyncratic yet unbounded approach.
One of the most important collection of Blake’s letters is held at the City of Westminster Archives Centre, and so it is wonderful that the Award Ceremony for the 2017 Tithe Grant should be held here.
You will be able to see a display of some of Blake’s letters to Thomas Butts, and the Archivist Alison Kenney will give a short talk about the letters and the other original works of Blake that are held in the City of Westminster’s rich archive.
There will be an opportunity to hear extracts from the entries, and finally, the Winner of the Tithe Grant for 2017 will be announced.
Wine, Cake and Conversation

MONTH OF JANUARY 2018
The Vision of William Blake AND Annual General Meeting
Friday 12 January 2018 at 6 pm
Waterstones Bookshop, 82 Gower Street, London WC1E 6EQ
The AGM will be followed by a showing of the 1958 documentary film The Vision of William Blake by Oscar-winning documentarist Guy Brenton. It was produced by the British Film Institute’s Experimental Film Fund, with music by Ralph Vaughan Williams and readings of Blake’s poems by Bernard Miles and Robert Speaight.
‘The main intention of this film is not to examine the artistic achievement of William Blake, but to illustrate, by a comprehensive use of his books and pictures, the story of a spiritual journey, the theme of a man struggling to free his soul from the bondage he felt to be the state of man.’ – Monthly Film Bulletin
‘Blake’s flamelike bodies, writhing, strenuous, ecstatic, stream across the screen with a sense of movement beautifully liberated by the camera’s ability to prowl about a picture and detail after detail fastened upon in the terrifying enlargement of close-up remains obstinately bitten into the memory.’ – The Times.
Annual General Meeting
The AGM of the Blake Society will immediately precede this film.

MONTH OF FEBRUARY
Divine Madness : The Visions of William Blake
Wednesday 21 February 2018 at 6 pm
Waterstones Bookshop, 82 Gower Street, London WC1E 6EQ
Composer Graham Treacher will be joined by leading Blake Scholar Jason Whittaker (Head of English and Journalism at the University of Lincoln) to unpick Blake’s visionary texts Milton and Jerusalem and the process through which Treacher has translated these into music.
The evening will include a screening of the new multi-media work Divine Madness : The Visions of William Blake, first performed at King’s Place in the heart of Blake’s London in November 2016. Scored for Tenor solo (Charles Daniels), actor (Oliver Ford Davies) and six viols (Fretwork) with a background visual score by Robert Golden, the work tackles the complexities of Jerusalem using texts from Milton to make sense of Blake’s final and intriguing poem. It culminates in a new setting of And did those Feet in Ancient Time.
The evening will begin with an introduction to Jerusalem followed by the film of Divine Madness and a discussion between composer and scholar interrogating the interplay between music, image and poetry.
Blake Society Members and students: £4, non-members £6. Tickets from:
https://www.waterstones.com/events/