It is with great sadness that we note the death of Richard Lines, the former and long-term Secretary of the Swedenborg Society in London, who unexpectedly passed away on April 18th. The Society is one of our key co-sponsors of the June 2017 conference. For many who work in the microcosm of Swedenborg Studies, visiting the Society’s rich library and archive on Bloomsbury Square in the heart of London was inextricable from encountering Richard’s exuberant presence: someone always willing to share anecdotes and stories from the broad swath of his knowledge about Swedenborg’s reception history, and so quick to generously give insight into the various jewels of the Society’s collection (Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s copies of Swedenborg volumes, the voluminous collection of letters by James John Garth Wilkinson to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Coventry Patmore, and others). Richard was particularly deeply read around the history of Charles Augustus Tulk; one of Richard’s last major publications was an important monograph on the colorful two-hundred year history of the London Swedenborg Society — the oldest organization devoted to the (re)publishing of Swedenborg’s works, and to scholarship about his science, theology, and impact on arts and culture.
Under Richard’s tenure, the Swedenborg Society flourished as it embarked in new directions that made the institution and its landmarked buildings in Bloomsbury an important venue for engagement with contemporary art. Richard was originally educated at Oxford University and was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn, where he served as a barrister. He became Secretary of the Swedenborg Society in 2002, having previously served on its governing Council for nearly eighteen years. He was also President of the Society from 1991 to 1994.
His garrulous hospitality and warmth will be much missed in the broader orbit of Swedenborg Studies, and we send our sincerest condolences to his wife Anna, and their four children who all survive him: William, Katie, Edward, and Eleanor. Our heartfelt thoughts remain with them and with Richards’ former colleagues at the Society in London.