Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Beatrice Offor of Sydenham
Tomorrow night (Thursday 10 June), Geraldine Beskin is giving a talk at South East London Folklore Society on 'The Women of the Golden Dawn'. It takes place at The Old King's Head, Kings Head Yard, 45-49 Borough High Street , London SE1 1NA . 8.00pm start, £2.50 / £1.50 concessions.
I don't think I can make it tomorrow, but I wonder whether Geraldine will cast some light on any of the South London connections to the story of this famous order of Victorian occultists.
Transpontine has previously covered the connection between Annie Horniman and the Golden Dawn, as a result of which the grounds of what is now the Horniman museum played host to mystically-minded luminaries including WB Yeats, Golden Dawn founder Samuel MacGregor Mathers, his wife Moina Bergson and AE Waite.
A looser connection is with the painter Beatrice Offor, born on the 21 March 1863 at Peak Hill Villa, Sydenham.
She attended the Slade School of Art and befriended Mona Bergson and Annie Horniman . They shared a studio together in Fitzrovia.
To what extent Offor herself shared her friends' occult leanings I do not know, but certainly some of her paintings suggest some kind of interest, even if only in the associated imagery. The bottom painting is entitled the 'Crystal Glazer' (don't know the name of the top painting.
Offor lived in Tottenham in later life, and died in 1920.
Her family seemed to have been quite interesting all round. She was one of ten children born to George and Emma Offor, though not all lived for long. Her brother William died as a baby before she was even born. A George Offor of Peak Hill Villa (presumably Beatrice's father, or possibly a brother) was listed in 1887 as a member of the Shelley Society.
Peak Hill, for those who don't know the area, is just around the corner from Jews Walk, where Eleanor Marx lived and died.