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The Baptismal Font, St. James’s Church, Piccadilly  

Blake’s Baptismal Font

St. James’s Church, Piccadilly, is the only West End Church designed by Wren. Blake was baptized in the church when Charles Moss was rector, in a font designed by Grinling Gibbons. It is one of few Gibbons sculptures in marble. The bowl shows three bas-reliefs: of Noah’s Ark, the baptism of Jesus, and the baptism of the Treasurer of Candace by St. Philip. The stand represents the tree in the Garden of Eden, with the serpent coiled about it and Adam and Eve on either side.

By a strange twist of fate, William Pitt the elder was also baptized in the font.

In the north vestibule of the church is a tablet by Flaxman commemorating James Dodsley (d. 1797), the brother and partner of Robert Dodsley, the publisherpatron of Johnson, and a modern tablet commemorating Blake’s baptism.

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