Wednesday, September 17, 2014

John Piper illustrates Benjamin Britten

I have never met a piece of work by the 20th century British artist John Piper that I haven't really liked, and I am currently reacquainting myself with the work of Benjamin Britten. How serendipitous then when I discovered these two music scores for two of Britten's Canticles. There are others, all with covers by Piper but I don't have these. In clearing a house today these just leapt off the shelves at me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Catalogue from Callum James Books: The Old Stile Press

Callum James Books and the Old Stile Press have been friends for years and so it is an absolute delight to be able to present a catalogue which contains not only a selection of their 'in-print' books direct from the Press, but alongside that a collection of material now out of print and a large collection of artists' prints created by the press over the years.

Since the beginning of the Press in the 1980s they have issued a strong selection of homoerotic material and it is vein of their work which is represented in this catalogue.

The catalogue is only available in digital form and can be viewed here:

I really hope that you will discover something new and exciting here even if you already know the Old Stile Press. Details of how to order can be found on the first page of the catalogue.

A 1930s New York Guide II

The 1939 New York City Guide that I mentioned in yesterday's post is not just illustrated by photographs. Far better, in my view, is the illustration work. All of the illustrations I've scanned here are by the same artist (there is more than one artist at work in the book) but I don't know who they are. There is a monogram which looks like a capital L and then another inverted L next to it so I assume they are by someone with the initials LL but if anyone out there in the wonderland that is the Internet can shed any light on them that would be appreciated. I've really enjoyed these for their dark and brooding quality and the slightly macabre sense of proportion in the design.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A 1930s New York Guide

As you might imagine, being in Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town, for my birthday recently resulted in quite the pile of books in the back of the car and one of them was the New York City Guide from 1939. A really interesting book that doesn't shy away from the seamier side of life in the metropolis. It is illustrated not just with b/w photos but with some brilliant b/w artwork too which will be featuring here in the near future. For the time being though, what's not to like about a book that shows us both 1930s Art Deco skyscrapers but also young men in vintage swimwear about to throw themselves into a river!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mr Manhood and the art of Double Entendre

It may be that being named Mr Manhood is something that predisposes you to a life of double entendre and innuendo... which may explain why he called his only novel Gay Agony, which is a novel about none of the things you might imagine from the title, despite the fact that the action takes place in a small village called Thrust-on-the-Moor; I kid you not!. I've not read it but reviews online seem to suggest that you will either love it or dislike it, mainly on stylistic grounds. All agree that Mr Manhood is actually something of an overlooked talent in the world of the weird, supernatural story, his first collection of which he called... Nightseed!

And why am I telling you this? Because when away in Scotland recently I paid a visit to Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town and whilst there had occasion to see this fetching mug which, of course, I just had to have.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Letterpress postcards by Clare Melinsky

R and I have just returned from holiday. We have been staying in a gloriously isolated cottage in the Glenkens area of Galloway in South Western Scotland. It was a magical and beautiful holiday and you will all be subjected to much more about it here in the next few days I'm sure but for the time being I wanted to share these great letterpress printed postcards I found. I found them in the The Working Print Studio in Kirkcudbright (pron: Ker-Koo-Bree) but they were actually printed at Robert Smail's Printing Works in the Scottish Borders. They are brilliant linocut designs by the illustrator Clare Melinsky who first came to my attention in 2010 when she designed a series of covers for a new issue of the Harry Potter novels in paperback. These designs though were specifically for postcards and were commissioned for the Pollock's Toy Museum in London.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Jan Parker Illustrates Witchcraft and Black Magic II

Back in May I posted a selection of these images by Jan Parker for the Hamlyn paperback edition of Peter Haining's Witchcraft and Black Magic and I said at the time there may be more at a later point. I'm prompted to make good on that promise now because a number of people have now commented on that original post most helpfully providing information sorely missing in the first one. Most of it comes from Parker's Saatchi Art page in which we learn not only that Parker is still painting but that he still paints with an interest in the other side of the veil as it were. At the bottom of the page is a link to this reasonably recent interview with Parker about his involvement as the on-set artist with Kubrick's, 2001.

I'm grateful to Odyzeus, Alexandre Fernandes and to anonymous for taking the trouble to comment on the original post.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ian David Baker at The Photographer's Gallery

If you are in London at lunchtime on Friday then you might like to pop into The Photographer's Gallery for the second of their "My Favourite Photographs" ten minute talks. Photographer and friend of Callum James Books, Ian David Baker will be giving the short talk in the cafe at one o'clock, not about the photo above but about one of his 1980s images of MODs in Carnaby Street. 

A while ago Callum James Books published a catalogue of photographs and artwork by Ian. Although the catalogue has now sold out you can still browse through it by clicking here.


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