Report to St James’s Church, Parochial Church Council
2006 1 April 2005 – 31 March 2006
The Blake Society
Three significant events took place in the growth of the Blake Society during the past year. We inaugurated an Annual Lecture, we published our first Annual Report and we received our first ever grant.
On a sadder note we lost our Treasurer Chris Rubinstein who died in the summer. Chris was one of the founding members of the Society and after our finances were separated from the Church in 1989 he looked after our accounts for 15 years with constancy and care.
Thanks to the persistence of Finna Ayres, permission was gained from the church authorities to put back the memorial plaque to Blake. And due to her excellent eye it is now in a far better position – above the Font where Blake was baptised.
The range of lectures continues to expand and inspire. There were professors who investigated the subject of forensic soteriology, others the secrets of divine dictation. Trafalgar was celebrated with a lecture on Blake’s painting The Spiritual Form of Nelson while an eminent scholar established that a meeting took place between Blake and Coleridge. Our lecturers travelled from as far as Canada and California. The joint meeting this year was with the George MacDonald Society.
A novelist talked about the difficulties of writing a fictional life of Kate, Blake’s wife, while a pair of detectives tracked down Blake’s final resting place. In 1789 the French invaded through Bunhill Fields and the graveyard was redesigned in a Cartesian co-ordinate system. So although Blake was buried in an unmarked grave it was not an unrecorded one. His co-ordinates are 77, 32, and 9 where the last number is the depth in feet (there are people buried above and below him).
Not all our events are so precise or pedantic. The Society collaborated with an artist to create a Floating Press – a celebration of Blake fusing the diverse media of a video film, a web blog and a19th Century rolling printing press.
For the ninth year running we published our Annual Journal, while individual members organised readings of the Four Zoas in Oxford and others were heard on London’s only station dedicated to the Arts – Resonance Radio.
Our inaugural Annual Lecture was given by Philip Pullman. This attracted the largest audience in our history and the Church was almost full (our tradition is to share the ticket sales equally between St James’s and the Society). Pullman talked about the importance of Blake to a creative writer and summarised Blake’s influence in seven axioms. Axiom One is Matter is Amorous suggesting matter attracts other matter.
Axiom One also applies to Annual Reports.
The Blake Society
Last modified 22/03/2008 09:36.