Michael Wilson (1 July 1901 in Birmingham, United Kingdom – 22 December 1985 in Stourbridge, United Kingdom), was a musician, curative educator, scientist, translator and General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain
Michael Henry Wilson was born into a Quaker family in 1901. His mother Theodora Wilson, had met Rudolf Steiner and visited the first Goetheanum. For some years he was a professional violinist and conductor. He studied at the Goetheanum and became fluent in German. Later he was a founder and director of the first curative home in the UK. He translated a number of Rudolf Steiner’s works and researched and lectured on Goethe's Theory of Colours.
Although at school Michael had specialized in Physics and Chemistry, with a view to taking over the successful chemical plant his father owned and ran, he decided to study Violin and Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. He later (1929) became second conductor of the British National Opera Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli, played as Concert Master under Sir Thomas Beecham and was a close friend of Sir Adrian Boult.
A meeting with the German curative educator, Fried Geuter, in 1929 caused him to break off a successful musical career. Lady Cynthia Chance has described this in her memoirs. She was invited to a lecture by a Mrs Lloyd Wilson (Michael Wilson’s mother) who ran an Anthroposophical study group in the area, to be held by Fried Geuter:
Fried Geuter’s vision and intention of establishing a centre for Special Needs education based on Anthroposophy in Birmingham inspired Michael Wilson to start the Sunfield Children's Home for severely disabled children together with him. In 1932 this moved to the village of Clent by Stourbridge, where it continues its work to this day.
It was there that 30 years later, in 1962, Michael Wilson and David Clement, both co-workers of Sunfield Homes, offered space and support to Francis Edmunds in founding Emerson College, and together with him, became its first trustees. Michael Wilson continued to lecture at the college many years after it had moved to Forest Row remaining connected with it until his death.
The great outdoors was a lifelong passion for him. He was an experienced mountaineer and active member of the Alpine Society, having scaled many of the highest peaks of Europe. His interest in the elements, particularly the sound and experience of the wind led him to flying gliders. This he learnt from his friend, the pilot Ralph Brocklebank, who later became his colleague at Sunfield Homes.
His continued interest in physics and chemistry caused him to experiment mainly in the sphere of optics, being particularly interested in theatre lighting and in the colour theory of Goethe. During his time with the British National Opera, he had designed a new lighting system for their stage.These experiences he carried further in working with the staff and children of Sunfield Children’s Home in plays, but particularly in developing a specific kind of colour therapy.
This experimentation with physics and Goethe’s colour theory brought him in touch with many of the competent experts and businessmen of the time such as with Kodak, television networks and the developers of the Polaroid camera. He regularly attended the conferences of the Physical Society and wrote books and many articles on the subject of our perception of colour and the phenomenon of coloured shadows.
He was a devoted family man with his wife, Betty and their three children, Diana, Robin and Christopher.
He translated the central philosophical work of Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Freedom as well as other works.
Anthroposophy is a philosophy founded in the early 20th century by the esotericist Rudolf Steiner that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. Followers of anthroposophy aim to develop mental faculties of spiritual discovery through a mode of thought independent of sensory experience. They also aim to present their ideas in a manner verifiable by rational discourse and specifically seek precision and clarity in studying the spiritual world mirroring that is obtained by scientists investigating the physical world.
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, esotericist, and claimed clairvoyant. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.
The General Anthroposophical Society is an "association of people whose will it is to nurture the life of the soul, both in the individual and in human society, on the basis of a true knowledge of the spiritual world." As an organization, it is dedicated to supporting the community of those interested in the inner path of schooling known as anthroposophy, developed by Rudolf Steiner.
The Goetheanum, located in Dornach, in the canton of Solothurn, Switzerland, is the world center for the anthroposophical movement.
Sergei Olegovich Prokofieff was a Russian anthroposophist. He was the grandson of the composer Sergei Prokofiev and his first wife Lina Prokofiev, and the son of Oleg Prokofiev and his first wife Sofia Korovina. Born in Moscow, he studied fine arts and painting at the Moscow School of Art. He encountered anthroposophy in his youth, and soon made the decision to devote his life to it.
Paul Nordoff was an American composer and music therapist, anthroposophist and initiator of the Nordoff-Robbins method of music therapy. His music is generally tonal and neo-Romantic in style.
Louisa Edith Church Maryon, better known as Edith Maryon, was an English sculptor. Along with Ita Wegman, she belonged to the innermost circle of founders of anthroposophy and those around Rudolf Steiner.
Wilhelm Pelikan was a chemist, anthroposophist, pharmacist, gardener and anthroposophical medicine practitioner.
Oskar Schmiedel was a pharmacist, anthroposophist, therapist, Goethean scientist and theosophist.
Walter Heurtley Braithwaite (1906–1991) was a composer, pianist and teacher. He was born in Gloucester on 24 August 1906, the third of five children born to Rev. Herbert Morris Braithwaite and Juliet Mary née Young.
Peter Selg is a German psychiatrist. He was born in Stuttgart and studied medicine in Witten-Herdecke, Zurich, and Berlin. Until 2000, he worked as the head physician of the juvenile psychiatry department of Herdecke hospital in Germany. Selg is director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy and professor of medicine at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Germany). He lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books.
Francis Edmunds was an educator and Anthroposophist and the founder of Emerson College, Forest Row.
Carl Friedrich Wilhelm "Fried" Geuter, was a pioneer of anthroposophical Special Needs education, the co-founder of Sunfield Children's Home and teacher at the Ravenswood Village Settlement near Crowthorne in Berkshire.
Eileen Morley Hutchins, born 28 June 1902 in Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire and died 9 October 1987 in Stourbridge was a Steiner school teacher, author and founder of the Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School in Stourbridge.
Clive Robbins, was a British music therapist, Special Needs educator, anthroposophist and co-founder of Nordoff-Robbins music therapy.
Sunfield is an Independent special school, Children's Home and charity on the border of Worcestershire and the West Midlands in England. It was founded in 1930 and now supports boys and girls, aged 6 – 19 years, with complex learning needs, including autism.
George Adams Kaufmann, also George Adams and George von Kaufmann, was a British mathematician, translator and anthroposophist. He travelled widely, spoke several languages and translated many of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures into English. Through his studies in theoretical physics, he contributed to the expansion and development of the natural sciences as extended by the concepts of anthroposophy.
Liane Collot d’Herbois was a British painter and anthroposophical painting therapist. She researched light, darkness, colour and its application in painting and in therapy.
Rudolf Steiner wrote four plays that follow the initiation journeys of a group of fictional characters through a series of lives. These plays were intended to be modern mystery plays. Steiner outlined the plot of a fifth play to be set at the Castalian spring at Delphi, but due to the outbreak of First World War, this remained an unfulfilled project.
Frederik Willem Zeylmans van Emmichoven, was a Dutch psychiatrist and anthroposophist. From 1923 until his death in 1961 he was chairman of the Dutch Anthroposophical Society. He was a familiar figure in public life and had a considerable influence on the anthroposophic movement, particularly through his numerous lectures and his work as an author, which included the first biography of Rudolf Steiner.