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An engraving to remember a great man

At Engravers Guild of London, we always remark how an engraving should last for time immemorial.

Our personalised pocket watches, hip flasks and other gifts are designed to endure forever, with the idea being that a fleeting moment or achievement can continue to live on.

Although we associate this more with the high spirited occasions of life – such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and awards – engravings also serve an important role in helping us to remember those who are no longer with us.

Our engraved lockets, for example, are sometimes bought as a keepsake for those who want to cherish precious memories of a loved one.

Of course, one of the most enduring impressions people leave behind is with the inscription on their headstone.

The engraving represents an important focal point to remember the person, and we feel it should be an appropriate and fitting footnote to the life that was lived.

As such, we’re pleased this week to read that a man who contributed so much to Britain will finally have the engraved tribute that he deserves.

William Blake, the celebrated poet and painter, died in obscurity in 1827. He wrote the words to the wonderful hymn “Jerusalem”, and contributed much throughout his lifetime to our cultural heritage.

Unfortunately, though, perhaps the full value of what he gave to the country was not recognised as it should have been, and he was buried in a public grave in London with the precise whereabouts unknown.

However, thanks to the work of the Blake Society, his final resting place has been discovered and £30,000 has been raised to create a more fitting headstone.

On the surface of the stone is to be engraved some of his own words:

‘I give you the end of a golden string / Only wind it into a ball / It will lead you in at Heavens gate / Built in Jerusalem’s wall.’

With that engraving we like to think that a little more of the man lives on in our memories, and we join others to celebrate his achievements.