Final resting place of William Blake honoured at last

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The lost and forgotten grave of William Blake is finally to be marked with a gravestone, nearly two centuries after the poet, painter and author of ‘Jerusalem’ was laid to rest – and those inspired by him have the opportunity to own their own fragment of the stone.

Blake has been acclaimed “the greatest artist Britain has ever produced” by the eminent art critic Jonathan Jones. He was voted the top painter in the BBC’s Great Britons poll. He has inspired countless cultural figures from TS Eliot and Vaughan Williams, to Bob Dylan and Bono. His phrases such as “green and pleasant land” and “dark Satanic mills” are part of the national consciousness, along with his iconic images such as The Ancient of Days.

Yet Blake died in obscurity in 1827 and was buried in an unmarked common grave in Bunhill Fields, the cemetery popular with Dissenters just outside the City of London. There is a plain memorial stone in the cemetery that simply records that the artist is buried nearby, but the exact site of Blake’s grave was lost to history until it was re-discovered by two members of the Blake Society in 2006.

Now the anonymous and seemingly unremarkable patch of lawn under which England’s pre-eminent visionary is buried is to be adorned with a stunning slab of carved Portland Stone.

As befits Blake’s profession as an engraver, the stone is to feature a quotation from his work designed and carved by Britain’s foremost stone-cutter Lida Cardozo, whose commissions have included the bronze gates of the British Library.

The ceremony of unveiling will be marked with some personal reflections from eminent and immanent Blakeans who have supported us over the years, including our President Philip Pullman, together with the performance of a specially commissioned choral work by the Australian composer Chris Williams. A little later, towards dusk, there will be a candle ceremony in which everyone present will be invited to place one of the 191 candles around the grave.

Everyone will be very warmly welcomed at the ceremony on August 12th at 3pm in Bunhill Fields cemetery, London EC1Y 1AU.

Click here to view invitation

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