Latest News & Events

Help the George MacDonald Society secure historic MacDonald painting

Edward Clifford – Group Portrait of the Broadlands Conference, painted circa 1887

Rev Dr. John McNeill, a member of the Board of Directors of the George MacDonald Society, has been collecting material on George MacDonald and nineteenth-century Scottish spirituality in general over the last thirty years. He was alerted by the great-great grandson of George MacDonald to the auction of the Group Portrait of the Broadlands Conferences (1887) at Dreweatts’ Auction House on Thursday 28th May with only one week to go. The Broadlands painting is an exceptional tribute to an era of pioneering Christianity. Figures represented include Hannah Pearsall-Smith, the inspirational Quaker; Emilia Gurney, the feminist social reformer; and our man George MacDonald of Huntly.

Remarkably, John was able to find enough money – a combination of loans and gifts – to make a bid for the painting with the support of the George MacDonald Society (GMS). After John’s viewing of the painting two days before the auction, Dreweatts were very keen that such an expert on the period and a devoted fan of George MacDonald should purchase the painting with the support of the GMS and keep it for the nation, and they were extremely helpful with their advice. His bid was successful!

The total price was £18,500, which includes the bid for the painting and the Buyer’s Premium plus VAT. Most of the purchase price was initially borrowed. There have been donations and gifts of £12,500 since the auction, leaving £6,000 (approximately $8,250) of loans that must be repaid. The Society needs your financial help to help complete securing this work. We need people of spiritual and artistic vision to gather round, moved by the same Spirit that inspired the Broadlands Conferences and stirred creative minds like George MacDonald.

The presence of George MacDonald alone makes the Broadlands painting a very significant cultural treasure. The goal is for this painting to be displayed in public spaces and perhaps, one day, housed in a space that highlights the importance of this ecumenical gathering to advance Christianity in Great Britain. However, we need your help to make this become a reality. The George MacDonald Society has set up a GoFundMe page and we would encourage you to support it. Please also share the link to the GoFundMe page widely and help get the word out there. The link is:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-gms-secure-historic-macdonald-painting?utm\_source=customer&utm\_medium=copy\_link\_all&utm\_campaign=m\_pd%20share-sheet&fbclid=IwAR0HX9cS9j06obeEOaTwnhLmvmO09525sPJBkdbMzkIpD67j\_ZKJ6o1-iu4

In addition, The Wayfarer Trust, an arts and media organisation founded by the writer Murray Watts more than twenty years ago is offering itself as a conduit for donations and Gift Aid (if you pay tax in the UK) to raise the outstanding money to purchase the painting. For contact details please visit

http://www.wayfarertrust.org

Some further background on the significance of the Broadland’s Conferences can be found here:

https://specialcollectionsuniversityofsouthampton.wordpress.com/tag/broadlands-conference/

George MacDonald & Indwelling the Poetry of Science

The George MacDonald Society is pleased to announce the first in a series of themed conversations—this time on on ‘MacDonald & The Poetry of Science.’ Too few today are aware of just how deeply impassioned this Christian ‘Sage of the Imagination’ was for the study and praxis of Science; indeed, his initial vocational dream was to enter that field. Join us online on October 7, 2021 from 7-9PM BST | 2-4PM EST, where we will be speaking with guest conversants Professor Tom McLeish (Professor of Natural Philosophy in Physics, University of York; author of The Poetry and Music of Science) and Dr Franziska Kohlt (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of York) about MacDonald, science, and the imagination. 

This free event is open to members and non-members of the George MacDonald Society, but capacity is limited. Please email macdonaldsociety@gmail.com for the Zoom link by 7th October, 12 noon EST to reserve your free space. 

Rabbit Room Hutchmoot 2021

There is a session by Wheaton College’s Dr Jerry Root on MacDonald’s Golden Key at this years online Rabbit Room Hutchmoot (8-10th October 2021). The Society’s President Malcolm Guite will also be a guest speaker on Saturday evening. Sessions are recorded for those who sign up and will be available until the end October. Go to www.hutchmoothomebound.com for more information.

Review of Informing the Inklings

Informing the Inklings book cover

All creative people are inspired by those who preceded them, and in England’s Antiphon (Macmillan, 1868) the writer George MacDonald Review this truth in a choral image, showing writers as singers responding to each other. In acknowledgement of this connection, the George MacDonald Society met in 2014 to examine the debt that the Oxford myth-makers known as the Inklings (an informal group of writers associated with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien) owed to their predecessors. The selected papers presented in Informing the Inklings (edited by Michael Partridge and Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson) look from MacDonald back to Wordsworth, Coleridge, and others as well as forward, via the Inklings, to Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (Bloomsbury, 2007). They contribute to an understanding of the development of mythopoesis over the last 200 years or so. (click on the link for the full review)

https://readingreligion.org/books/informing-inklings?fbclid=IwAR2Y_IwSJ5O1iA8YRXKarqkkCGWlzboPGNATVsOf3LcmkgBGLo0krtGyLAM

The Princess and the Goblin – Live Play!

Saturday 7th August 2021 5:00PM. Mannington Hall, Norfolk, NR11 7BB. Due to covid restrictions prior booking is essential. Limited tickets available.

Goblin Market Theatre Company are delighted to bring the live theatre version of The Princess and the Goblin  to Norfolk’s Mannington Hall. This is an open air theatre event for families and children – be prepared to be completely enthralled by this world of fantasy and magic! Suitable for family members of all ages. Feel free to bring a picnic, but be careful of the goblins! For more information visit:

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/princessandgoblin/t-rnzjxo?fbclid=IwAR3y-T-q0FQ_zMDP4eFBHkL7LHf2yIpWecIqD6e2oYuUdZ60yYOVF2v-yfY