Blake’s New Headstone

Well this is something special!

For years, fans of one of the nation’s greatest creative minds have had to make do with an approximate location of the great man’s final resting place. Thanks to long running efforts from a small band of his most ardent fans and the generation of £30,000 in fundraising, on Sunday 12th August 2018, poet, print maker and painter William Blake shall be receiving a new headstone –  at the ancient Bunhill Fields Burial Ground near Old Street.

blake
Blake’s existing memorial, which was erected to celebrate the centenary of his death in 1927. It originally marked the exact spot where he was but was moved 20 metres away in the 1960’s to be closer to the grave of Daniel Defoe.

According to The Blake Society:

William Blake died on 12 August 1827 and was buried in an unmarked grave. The Society has commissioned a gravestone from the leading letter cutter in England, the Cardozo Kindersley Workshop and the ceremony of unveiling will be marked with music and personal reflections from eminent & immanent Blakeans who have supported this project over the last twelve years. There will be a performance of a specially commissioned choral work by the Australian composer Chris Williams sung by Sansara. A set of songs will be performed accappella by Nicki Wells. Speakers include our President Philip Pullman and the poet, singer-songwriter, priest, and academic Malcolm Guite. The Unveiling will conclude with a candle ceremony when everyone will be invited to place one of 191 candles around the grave, marking the 191 years since Blake’s death.’

William Blake, by Thomas Phillips, 1807 - NPG 212 - © National Portrait Gallery, London
William Blake by Thomas Phillips, 1807 © National Portrait Gallery, London 2018

What a lovely commemoration (which has been twelve years in the offing), especially with the 191 candles around his grave signifying his transience from this life into the next. A sneaky preview of the new marker is on the Telegraph website and it’s been beautifully carved by Cambridgeshire based Lida Cardozo.

“The gravestone will provide the intimacy of contact with Blake that no text or guidebook can offer.”

Nick Duncan, Fellow of the Blake Society

The gravestone will be unveiled in a ceremony on Sunday 12 August at 3pm at Bunhill Fields. All are welcome to attend; more information can be found on The Blake Society website. 

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