Blakeman was born in Chipping Campden in 1907 in Wood House where the family had lived for several generations. Blakeman’s father, Francis, was gamekeeper on the Campden Estate and on his death when Blakeman was 12, the family had to leave the ‘tied ‘house. He was provided with a house next to St Catherine’s School in Lower High Street, which is now called Blakemans House.
At the age of 14, Blakeman was apprenticed to Paul Woodroffe in his stained-glass studio in Westington, Chipping Campden at a cost of £25. He worked there for five years before giving up his apprenticeship and working for the etcher and artist, F.L. Griggs.
“Blakeman had an independent streak, which made him willing to throw up his apprenticeship and fall in with Griggs plan to have him trained as a printer at the Royal College of Art in London”Jerrod Northrop Moore in his book on F.L. Griggs ‘The Architecture of Dreams’
Blakeman also worked at Winchcombe Pottery where he met the potter Michael Cardew, they became great friends.
- He was friends with the stained-glass designer Edward Nuttgens (1892 – 1982). In 1938, Nuttgens and Blakeman produced windows depicting the Stations of the Cross, two of these windows are in our collection. Around 1943 he married Mary (May) Cassie, a sculptor from Edinburgh and after the second world war they moved to Kensington, London.
- He designed and painted the stained glass which was then fired and leaded mainly by Drury of Fulham, a centre for stained glass artists. Examples of his work can be seen in the museum including the Four Seasons panels which were probably for his own house as there is no record of them being commissioned. In 1957 two panels ‘Christ with Doves’ containing a poem by Hilaire Belloc were made.
- In 1951 Blakeman began work at St Etheldreda’s Church, Ely Place, London. The East window he worked on with Nuttgens and then worked on the West window on his own. The 6th century crypt includes windows and Stations of the Cross produced by Blakeman, along with his wife Mary, they created eight statues of 16th century martyrs using polychrome resin-fibre.
- St Pauls Church, Battersea is now a gallery and used to house a window designed Wilhelmina Geddes and completed by Blakeman after her death. The Stained Glass Museum in Ely recently acquired this piece.
- Between 1960 and 1961 when Our Lady of the Victories Church in Kensington High Street, London, was rebuilt after the war Blakeman produced 12 two-light windows and many smaller ones.
- A 12 feet high fibreglass statue called ‘The Road to Damascus’ was made by the couple in 1962 – 3.
Blakeman died in 1989 in Oxford.