26 June 2011


William Blake (Side-light)

Stained glass by John Hayward of Edenbridge, Kent, commemorating William Blake (1757-1827) in St Mary's Church, Battersea, London.

William Blake was married to Catherine Boucher in the church in 1782. The original wedding certificate can be viewed here. It surprises many to learn that the wife of one of our greatest poets was illiterate, and could only made her mark with a cross. The wedding is suggested by a wedding ring between two pencil portraits. The one of the left is William drawn by Catherine, the one on the right, Catherine as drawn by William.

The rest of the window design attempts to give expression to the diversity of Blake's talents as a painter, engraver, printer and poet. Among his more insistent themes are those concerned with seeing the great and the small and the idea that all things contain a male and female principle. He is also the author of the words of the hymn, 'Jerusalem', now a very popular hymn at weddings in the church today. At the bottom right is a picture of the Houses of Parliament to mark the connection with the late William Hamling, MP, in whose memory the window was given.

William Blake (Detail)

© Brian Sibley, 2011

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