We look forward to welcoming you to our events this year.

Our normal venue has changed to the Meeting Room at St. James’ Piccadilly, but some events take place in other locations.

Our events are free and open to all, but please note that some require advance booking, as detailed below.



7.30 pm Tuesday 28 May 2013

House of William Blake, 17 South Molton Street, London W1K 5QT

The Poet and the Flea: Reimagining Blake. A talk by G.E. Gallas

The Poet and the Flea is a reimaging of Blake’s life through the medium of the graphic novel. Blake’s intellect and creativity on one hand with relationships and emotions on the other are explored through the juxtaposition of image and word.

The character The Flea – based on Blake’s The Ghost of a Flea – serves as the graphic novel’s sinister antagonist. So where better to convene than 17 South Molton Street, the house in which Blake created his iconic painting?

As both the author and illustrator of The Poet and the Flea, Gallas will discuss its provenance and what it means to ‘reimagine.’


G. E. Gallas is a screenwriter and graphic novelist who resides in San Francisco, California. She is a graduate of New York

University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she created her own major : a cross-cultural study of storytelling. Her works include the screenplay Who is Laurence Harvey? and the graphic novel The First Reich (a collaboration with Shannon Brady).

Gallas publishes The Poet and the Flea on the web with a new page appearing every week. See thepoetandtheflea.wordpress.com

Places at this event are strictly limited so if you are interested in attending please email ghost@blakesociety.org



2.00 pm Saturday 15 June 2013

Please note the change in time from the printed calendar and the requirement to book (see below)

John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH

A visit to the exhibition Burning Bright, led by the curator Stella Halkyard


Manchester is now just a two hour train journey from London, so this intimate exhibition of Blake’s work is accessible to visitors and is also accessible to the heart & eye.

On display are about 30 examples of Blake’s work as a commercial print maker – the bread & butter jobs that kept him in funds for most of his working life. As works commissioned under the strictures of a commercial publisher, much of Blake’s natural obfuscation has been tempered by the commissioning process, leaving designs that can be immediately appreciated – the Book of Job, Blair’s Grave, Virgil’s Pastorals and Young’s Night Thoughts.

The John Rylands Library is a wonder of late Victorian philanthropy. The widow of a Manchester cotton trader, Enriqueta Rylands built and endowed the library in memory of her late husband. The library opened to the public on 1 January 1900 and in today’s money, she spent over £50m on the building and its books. In a late Gothic style, the architecture is somewhere between a medieval monastic library and a Hollywood film set; the building has recently received a £17m restoration including the addition of a modern glass extension containing a new entrance, shop and café.

Places for this event are limited — please book by emailing secretary[at]blakesociety.org

If you require financial assistance to travel to Manchester, then please contact the Treasurer treasurer[at]blakesociety.org



7.30 pm Tuesday 16 July 2013

The Meeting Room, The Rectory, St James’s Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL

Blake & The Left Hemisphere, a talk by Roderick Tweedy

Author Roderick Tweedy explores themes from his book The God of the Left Hemisphere: Blake, Bolte Taylor and the Myth of Creation, which examines the connections between the activities and functions of the human brain that William Blake termed ‘Urizen’ and the powerful complex of rationalising and ordering processes which modern neuroscience identifies as ‘left hemisphere’ brain activity.

The talk also features a showing of Jill Bolte Taylor’s remarkable TED podcast, ‘My Stroke of Insight’, examining the relation between the left and right brain and how this profoundly affects our own mental health.

Roderick Tweedy, PhD, completed his education at Oxford University in 1997, researching the poet Shelley’s interest in contemporary science and natural philosophy. He has written a number of articles and reviews on Romanticism and the English Romantics, and is an active member of the Blake Society. He is currently editor for Karnac Books, and an enthusiastic supporter of the user-led mental health organization, Mental Fight Club.



12 Noon Sunday 11 August 2013

Bunhill Fields, 38 City Road London EC1Y 1AU

Arbonauts at the Grave

We gather at Bunhill Fields at noon to mark the life of William Blake who died on Sunday 12 August 1827. By tradition people often read or share a favourite text.

Afterwards you are invited to repair to a local pub for lunch.

This year we will be joined by Arbonauts who are a site-specific performance collective. Intimacy with nature and the metaphysical act within their installations. Arbonauts recently created Aria Arboria – a cantata inspired by William Blake’s poem Love and Harmony.

Their reflection on the hallowed dissenters will echo through the 1000 year history of Bunhill Fields.




7.30 pm Tuesday 17 September 2013

Hampstead Tube Station (Northern Line), London

Minute Particulars : Visions in the Stockbroker Belt, an evening with Nick Papadimitriou

Kathleen Raine once described suburbia as a ‘desolation deliberately created’, a ‘terrible negation’ that brings death to the poetic impulse. Nick Papadimitriou, author of Scarp: In Search of London’s Outer Limits, strongly disagrees. His practice of Deep Topography involves an intimate engagement with seemingly ordinary places. Like Blake, he focuses on ‘minute particulars’ in order to pass through appearances and into a visionary dimension.

We will gather at Hampstead Tube Station and then walk up through Hampstead and over the Heath to the Spaniards Inn where we will enjoy an evening of conversation and readings with Nick Papadimitriou.



7.30 pm Tuesday 22 October 2013

The Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, London, NW3 5SX

Blake and the Therapists, an Illuminated talk by Carol Leader

William Blake’s visionary images and writings have been an inspiration to both Freudian and Jungian psychotherapists and analysts in their clinical explorations of the unconscious mind and the inner worlds of human experience.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapist Carol Leader will be exploring what Blake has to offer therapists and what therapists can contribute to contemporary perspectives on Blake’s work. Using a number of Blake’s celebrated images, she will be focusing on the psychoanalyst Matte-Blanco’s work on symmetrical and asymmetrical processes in unconscious and conscious thinking. She will also be bringing in Jung’s ideas on directed and non-directed thinking in relation to Blake’s insistence on the development of an imaginative inner life.

Carol Leader is a full-time psychoanalytic psychotherapist and a member of the British Psychoanalytic Council and the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists. She supervises MA trainees and their supervisors at the Westminster Pastoral Foundation. Formally a successful actor and presenter, Carol writes, lectures and leads workshops & seminars in a variety of settings and consults in business and the arts.


A recording of the talk is now available via the Blake Society’s YouTube page

A review article of the talk by Roderick Tweedy can be downloaded here: Tweedy_Review_Leader_BlakeandtheTherapists




7.30 pm Monday 11 November 2013

The Meeting Room, The Rectory, St James’s Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL

Printing in the Infernal Method: William Blake’s method of Illuminated Printing, a talk by Michael Phillips

In 1788 William Blake invented a method of relief etching that he called ‘illuminated printing’. This made it possible to print both the text of his poems and the images that he created to illustrate them from the same copper plate in an engraver’s rolling press. The lecture will explain Blake’s invention in the context of conventional eighteenth-century illustrated book production, its metaphorical significance for Blake, the creation of the first illuminated books, like the Songs of Innocence, and how the further development of colour-printing his images led to the production of the Large Colour Prints or monotypes of 1795, Blake’s supreme achievement as a graphic artist.

Michael Phillips is Emeritus Fellow of the interdisciplinary Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York. He has been guest curator of major exhibitions of Blake, in London, New York and Paris, and is currently preparing ‘William Blake Apprentice & Master’, due to open at the Ashmolean Museum in November 2014. His most recent publication on Blake is an edition in facsimile with introduction and commentary of the Bodleian Library copy of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, published by Bodleian Library Publications and the University of Chicago Press in 2011. Michael’s training and research as a printmaker has enabled him to re-create how Blake produced his illuminated books.




7.30 pm Monday 9 December 2013

The Meeting Room, The Rectory, St James’s Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL

William Blake: Lux, Lumen and the Lights of Science, a talk by Alan Wall

Alan Wall tries to make sense of Blake’s legendary aversion to science. He called it the tree of death, where art was the tree of life. Wall examines this belief in relation to the notions of light current in Blake’s day, and wonders if Blake’s notion of visionary light, a light illuminating from within, was simply incompatible with the notion of lumen which Newton’s Optics had propounded. There had always been an alternative tradition – prior to Newton – that of lux, where the light did shine from within. That is true light for Blake, as is shown in both his writings and his paintings & graphic work. The visionary shone, illuminating the faces of those around him. Nature itself was little more than a realm of shadows; it was the Imagination which said ‘Fiat lux’.

Alan Wall is a novelist, essayist and poet. His work has been translated into ten languages. He has a particular interest in the way in which art and science interpenetrate, and has published many essays on the subject. He is a member of the Welsh Academy and a Fellow of the English Association; he has been Royal Literary Fund Fellow in Writing at several universities, and is currently Professor of Writing and Literature at the University of Chester.

A transcript of the talk is available to download as a PDF: AlanWall_LuxLumenandtheLightofScience


January 2014

*Please note the change from the printed calendar of the date, venue and nature of the event *

7.30 pm Friday 17 January 2014

Waterstones, 203-206 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HD – in the auditorium next to the cafe in the lower ground floor.

The AGM of the Blake Society followed by the Award of the Tithe Grant 2013.

The Award of the 2013 Tithe Grant will be made by the judges Ruth Padel and Clive Arrowsmith.  Some of the shortlisted photographs will be shown using a screen & projector together with a discussion of how the poem Tyger Tyger Burning Bright has manifested itself in the lives of the 100 photographers who took part in this year’s Tithe Grant.

+ Hospitality +

Annual General Meeting

The AGM will immediately precede this Talk. All are welcome to observe, but only those members who have paid a subscription during 2013 may participate.

Agenda of the Annual General Meeting of The Blake Society

1)  Apologies for Absence

2)  Minutes of the last year’s AGM

3)  Chairman’s Report

4)  Treasurer’s Report

5)  Secretary’s Report

6)  Sub-Committee Reports to include Grave Project Report

7)  Election of the Honorary Officers for 2014

8)  Election of the Executive Committee for 2014

9)  Change to our Constitution to introduce limited liability (CIO – Charitable Incorporated Organisation)

10)  Any Other Business

Facebook event for The Award of the 2013 Tithe Grant