The Blake Society
The Society is a set of people who love William Blake – poet, artist and visionary. Our activities are a union of exegesis and inspiration – we search for the provenance of his imagination and we try to act with creativity and vision. There are fewer than 200 members yet they enrich 5 continents.
This year we celebrated our 25th anniversary. When Blake was 25 he had yet to commence any of the work for which he is celebrated today. So the Society is still young and still striving to find the truth of its connection to the world. Is Blake a lens to view our planet, or are his paintings a window into the divine like the icons of the Orthodox Church, or is the Society the Bride of Blake?
In Blake’s 25th year he did do something – he married – and so we held a party, a marriage of the many opposing forces that commingle to form the Blake Society.
The party was held at Tate Britain and guests gathered from Britain and abroad. There were historians of art and professors of literature, singers and musicians, film directors and actors, radicals and divines, digital enthusiasts and lovers of books. After a segue of short films, music, prophesy, debate and visual presentations we repaired for tea & cakes.
Two of our Committee flew over from the USA especially to help. An economy of giving is one of the aspirations of the Society ~ our speakers share their enthusiasms without charge and our talks are free to attend.
This year the series of 10 monthly lectures focused on people who work in the arts & crafts and are inspired by Blake. We were privileged to hear an experimental film-maker, a translator, a poet, a punk musician, a classical musician, a novelist, a gardener, a cinematographer and a painter all talk about the provenance of their imagination.
During the year we strengthened our relationship with the Tate who appointed the first female curator of the Blake collection. We helped doctoral students advance into the firmament of Blake studies and organised a fundraising concert to mark Blake’s grave. Our financial support for three projects come to fruition: the transfer of 8 newly discovered artworks into public ownership, the installation of a new stained glass window in the Church in Felpham (where Blake spent 3 years in slumber by the ocean) and the completion of a cinematic film.
We had one notable failure. Our decision to give away one tenth of our income as a grant received no applications. The sum will be rolled over, and although it is still only a few hundred pounds, we hope this year the Tithe Grant will find a prophet who expands our vision and sees the world as horizons rather than as boundaries.
Finally we welcome Lucy Winkett to St James’s. Over the past quarter of a century Blake has proved to be a great companion – we hope we can be as good a companion to Lucy on her journey through the Church.
Tim Heath Chairman The Blake Society