Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
"I have walked by stalls in the market-place where books, dog-eared and faded from their purple, have burst with a white hosanna. I have seen people crowned with a double crown, holding in either hand the crook and the flail, the power and the glory. I have understood how the scar becomes a star, I have felt the flake of fire fall, miraculous and pentecostal. my yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are grey faces that peer over my shoulder. I live on Paradise Hill, ten minutes from the shops and local. Yet I am a burning amateur, torn by the irrational and incoherent, violently searching and self-condemned."
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
We both also like modern artwork in old frames so, although I haven't yet fixed them properly in place, here are two paintings by R in the two identical frames. Both paintings are crucifixions, a theme which R seems to be painting a lot.
With apologies for the damn camera flash which seems not to want to turn off at the moment.
Friday, May 18, 2007
The weather here has turned warm and humid but not unplesantly so. It was glorious to be able to walk along the waterfront in shirt sleeves in the dark. I love the old harbour walls and fortifications of Portsmouth. There is something so redolent about them, calling to mind a deep, long history. There are parts of The Point where, especially in the dark, where one can almost see the Press Gang waiting round the corner. And to stand on the Hot Walls and watch one of the massive continental ferries leaving, a blaze of lights, coming away from the city like a piece has broken off. So close to the shore that you can smell the diesel - that's one of my favourite things. Suffice it to say, a lovely evening.
However, also not such a bad day. This below was found for a few pounds in a bookshop today. I bought it only because the name seemed familiar. As well it might I discovered when I got home. A small, gouache design for a Happy New Year greeting and with it a note saying 'Designed and executed by Thos. Cooper Gotch Xmas 1873'. If it is what it claims to be then it could be a very interesting piece indeed. Gotch was a pre-Raphaelite of some repute whose full-scale paintings would set you back many thousands of pounds today. He was also the founder of the Newlyn Industrial School, a mainstay of the 'arts and crafts' movement.
If this is as it claims to be then it would be a very interesting if ephemeral piece by him. I have no other provenance but there are a number of things which I think make it very plausible. The date would make Gotch only 19 at the time of composition which was a year before he began his formal art training - this would certainly account for the fact that it has the air of a very talented amateur about it. The style is absolutely right. There is a painted monogram on the verso which is done in gothic lettering - I don't know what signature or monogram Gotch used in later life but the one here has the definite feel of a young man's enjoyment of marking his work - who hasn't experimented as a teenager with numerous versions of one's own signature. There is residue also on the verso from this piece having been stuck in an album, the same residue is also present on the back of the note and, given that the handwriting on the note is absolutely correct for the end of the nineteenth century, this would seem at least to indicate that the drawing is of the correct age. Finally, Gotch married a Hampshire woman and therefore had connections and family here - the piece was found in a Hampshire bookshop. All in all, I'm very content to say this is by Gotch and I can't yet make up my mind whether to sell or keep...
I had a slight interest in stamps as a child, my mum and dad, for a while were quite keen collectors. In fact, now I think about it, it's the only thing I've ever known them to collect. These days stamp collecting seems a dying art. Certainly, when I am at postcard and collectibles fares, the, usually sole, stall dealing in stamps seems to be populated by one or two old men who spend hours on small stools with magnifying glasses pouring over the stock books. On the contrary however, I was recently told that the extremely unprepossesing stamp-shop in our road which seems never to be open employs ten people upstairs doing a roaring internet and mail order trade in stamps around the world.
Whilst I am enchanted by these examples, I must try hard not to succumb to that charm!
There is something very appealing about all small forms. I love miniature books for example. Bookplates also have an appeal as tiny examples of engravers' and printer's art. I suppose therefore the stamp has to be the logical extension and smallest example of the charm of the tiny piece of art.
PS. John C, thank you for your kind words about my little photoshop experiment - coming from you, I'm flattered! I have seen the Prague photo you mention on your blog at some point and remember marvelling suitably! Alex, you're a little star, sorry I can't meet up with you this weekend. Thev, its so lovely to see you here occasionally and should you drop by before I am able to send that long promised email, I hope you are enjoying your time at 'The Burrow'. Clixchix, I'm always staggered by the ways connections form between people by accident and your story of having been at a Pat Marriott exhibition - in the same place I believe where you met our mutual friend - is another one of those amazing co-incidences. I owe you many emails, I'm sorry, I will do my best to be in touch properly in the near future.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
This is one of those posts which is going to confirm in your minds the idea that I really do have an odd brain with nowhere near enough to occupy it. Following on from my recent long post about Willard Price's bibliography I was really chuffed to receive a number of emails about it and this, in turn, prompted the idea that I should try a formal bibliographical description of one of his books. I have never sucessfully completed a full bibliographic description of any book before. There's something immensely satisfying about the process of describing things. Naming, I suppose, has always had a quasi-mystical quality and there was certainly something very calming to the brain in working on this.
I used the format I have learnt from The Soho Bibliographies, I hope sucessfully. I am, as always, worried about my ability to maintain a high enough standard of 'attention to detail' and accuracy in this kind of work but I'm quite pleased with the result.
Because of the difficulty I have had formatting some of the characters used into HTML or blog-language, I've made a tiny *.pdf file so those of you who are really really interested can have a look... I'm sure that will be thousands.... It's here.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
No one could claim, either, that they are great literature. The pace of the Adventure books in particular is relentless and the plots stretch the idea of ‘implausible’ to new heights. In the book I have just finished, Cannibal Adventure, the two boys (aged 19 and 14 I might add) escape a storm at sea, an attack by a Cannibal tribe, a murder attempt and being grabbed and pulled into the water by a man-eating croc as well as making a tribesman come back from the dead - and, literally, that’s in the first 30 pages. But they are immense fun and it is certainly true for me that Price’s first Adventure book Amazon Adventure sparked a childhood obsession with the place, wildlife and people of the Amazonian rainforest which has never truly left me. I devoured all fourteen Adventure books and, amazingly, for a series, the first of which was published in 1949, I had to wait for the last one to come out before I could read it in 1980.
There was much more to Willard Price than the Adventure series: he was an inveterate traveller, journalist and political commentator - there has also been recent speculation that he was effectively a spy for the US government in Japan and Micronesia, and above all he was a travel writer. It is this side of Price which I and many others are just coming to know so, for what it’s worth, below is a series of ‘notes’ towards his bibliography.
These notes are only that. I make no claim to completeness, nor could what follow be considered in any sense an academic bibliography of Price’s writing. I have used the catalogues of The British Library and The Library of Congress, booksellers’ catalogues and descriptions and have made reference to those books in my own collection. I have been discerning and as conservative as possible in the use of this material but these notes cannot be regarded as absolutely accurate or definitive. Certainly what follows could be regarded as a checklist in the broadest sense and it is hoped that it will not only form the basis for a more comprehensive and well sources bibliography but that it will give interested parties a good grounding in the range of Price’s works and help them identify books they have yet to find.
Amazon Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1951. 255pp. 8vo.
South Sea Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1952. 221pp. 8vo.
Underwater Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1955. 204pp. 8vo.
Volcano Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1956. 190pp. 8vo.
Whale Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1960. 190pp. 8vo.
African Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1963. 191pp. 8vo.
Elephant Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1964. 192pp. 8vo.
Safari Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1966. 190pp. 8vo.
Lion Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1967. 192pp. 8vo.
Gorilla Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1969. 222pp. 8vo.
Diving Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1970. 220pp. 8vo.
Cannibal Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1972. 246pp. 8vo.
Tiger Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1979. 240pp. 8vo.
Arctic Adventure. Jonathan Cape, London, 1980. 222pp. 8vo.
“The chief characters in this book are fictional, but the volcanic events described actually happened. A bell containing observers did descend 1,250 feet into the boiling crater of Mihara, the Kaiyo Maru was sunk by a submarine explosion, divers discovered Falcon Island fifty feet below the surface, Tin Can’s thirty craters erupted so savagely that the entire population had to be removed, Mauna Loa has frequently sent rivers of lava to the sea, and Hilo was saved by bombing… The author has personally visited all the scenes described. In his pursuit of information on the habits of volcanoes, he has climbed Asama, Aso, Mihara, Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Paricutin and Vesuvius, and has flown over Popocatepetl, Pelee, Momotombo, Izalco, Misti, Stromboli, Etna, Uracaz and Apo”
Unsurprisingly, with this level of travel under his belt, Price was something of an amateur photographer. Many of his books are illustrated with his own b/w photos and, while they are not on the level of the photos for The National Geographic, for which he worked for many years, their ‘enthusiastic traveller’ feel makes them rather charming.
This section consists of bibliographical notes about Price’s travel books and his one non ‘Adventure Series’ novel. Price travelled in a way few people in the world could have managed at the time, his two autobiographical books show his progress between 1951 (Adventure in 70 Lands) and 1982 (Adventure in 148 Lands). I would appear that most of Price’s travel writing was published by both John Day Co. and Heinemann in the US and UK respectively. However, a number of his earlier books about Japan were also published there. There are a number of titles on this list which might, on closer inspection, turn out to be various national titles given to the same couple of books. I have noted this where I suspect it may be the case.
Ancient Peoples at New Tasks. Interchurch Press (Missionary Education Movement of the US and Canada), New York, 1918. 12mo., xi+208pp., 16 b/w photo plates and 3 page list of mission boards. Incl. bibliography. Dark grey parchment boards with orange minaret illustration and titles. Frontispiece captioned ‘The once proud Incas are now slaves. Will modern industry still further enslave them and other ancient peoples of the world, or will it prove a liberating force?’
The Negro Around the World. George H. Doran (African Methodist Episcopal Church), New York, 1925. 75pp., with pictorial maps by George Annaud. Blue Cloth with gilt titles.
Rip Tide in the South Seas. Heinemann, London, 1936. 8vo., xiv+323pp., map on eps., b/w plates. Brown cloth, gilt sailing boat illustration and titles.
The South Sea Adventure: Through Japan’s Equatorial Empire. Hokuseido Press, Tokyo, 1936. xiv+313pp., b/w photo plates., maps on eps. Tan cloth, blue titles and decoration. May be the Japanese issue of Rip Tide in the South Seas. Issued in the US as Pacific Adventure Reynall & Hitchcock, New York, . 317pp., with 48 illustrations.
Japan Reaches Out. Angus & Robertson, 1938. 8vo., xii+322pp., maps on eps. Orange Cloth. Graphic jacket with Japanese ‘rising sun’ motif.
Japan’s New Horizon. Hokuseido Press, Tokyo, 1938. 12mo., viii+340pp., plates. Yellow Cloth. Sounds like this may be Japanese issue of Japan Reaches Out.
Children of the Rising Sun. Reynall & Hitchcock, New York, . xiv+316pp. Brown cloth. May be US issue of Japan Reaches Out.
Where Are You Going Japan. Heinemann, London, 1938. 8vo., xvii+369pp. May be UK issue of Japan Reaches Out.
Barbarian. A Novel. John Day Co., New York, 1941. Also, Heinemann, London, 1942. 8vo. 272pp.
Japan Rides the Tiger. John Day Co., New York, 1942. x+228pp., b/w photos. Red cloth black titles. 2nd imp incorporates ‘section of the authors Children of the Rising Sun’ no information about whether this material was incorporated in 1st imp..
Japan’s Islands of Mystery… with maps by the author. Heinemann, London, June 1944. 8vo., 225pp., blue cloth and silver titles. Second impression in November of same year. Released by Heinemann in paperback in the same year and reprinted the following year by The Publishers’ Guild (Guild Books no. 219). Clearly a book of extreme topical interest written in part to keep readers abreast of the war in the Pacific. Contains brief sections from Rip Tide in the South Seas.
Japan and the Son of Heaven. Duell, Sloan & Pearce, New York, 1945. 8vo., vii+231pp.
Key to Japan. Heinemann, London, 1946. 8vo., vi+283pp., yellow cloth, with 110 sketches by the author. Also, John Day Co., New York, 1946. Based on the notion that in the ten years following surrender, some one million Americans would visit Japan, this book is therefore intended as a guide to local culture, locales, customs etc.
Roving South: Rio-Grande to Patagonia. John Day Co., New York, 1948. 8v0., viii+373pp., grey cloth with green lettering, maps on eps., with photos and drawings by the author.
I Cannot Rest from Travel: An Autobiography of Adventure in Seventy Lands. Heinemann, London, 1951. 8vo., xiv+313pp., 8 b/w photographic plates.
Journey by Junk. John Day Co., New York, 1954. 8vo., 317pp, with maps and photos by the author. Also, Heinemann, London, 1954. 8vo., 223pp., black cloth.
Adventures in Paradise. Tahiti and Beyond. John Day Co., New York, 1955. 8vo., 309pp., black cloth and green titles, b/w photos, maps. Also as Adventures in Paradise. Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji. Heinemann, London, 1956. 8vo., xii+245pp., orange cloth and silver titles.
Roaming Britain: 8,000 Miles Through England, Scotland and Wales. John Day Co., New York, 1958. 8vo., 308pp., illustrated with map and photos by the author.
The Amazing Amazon. Heinemann, London, 1952. 8vo., 220pp. Also, John Day Co., New York, 1952. 8vo., 305pp., orange cloth and black titles and decorations. Also, Heinemann [The Vanguard Library No. 27], London, 1954. 8vo., 244pp., tan cloth.
Incredible Africa. Heinemann, London, 1961. 8vo., vii+213pp., maps and plates, green cloth and gilt titles. Also, John Day Co., New York, 1962. 8vo., vi+213pp., black cloth and gilt.
"Incredible Africa is the fascinating record of a round-the-continent journey made by Willard Price, well known as one of the most experienced and stimulating of contemporary travel-writers. It is also a timely and lively investigation of the political and social changes which are transforming parts of Africa at lightning pace. The book is divided into two parts: the text and a section containing 93 superb photographs. Together they illustrate with startling clarity the extreme contrasts between the ancient and modern ways of life which exist side by side all over Africa. "
The Amazing Mississippi. Heinemann, London, 1962. 8vo., 188pp., with plates, blue cloth with gilt. Also, John Day Co., New York, 1963. 8vo., 188pp, blue cloth with gilt.
Rivers I Have Known. John Day Co., New York, 1965. 8vo., 314pp., maps and line drawings.
Contents: Why rivers are important - Mighty and mysterious Amazon - Misadventure on the Nile - River Wonder of the world - Canoe on the Congo - Bandits of the Grand Canal - The Sea River by Junk - The Vale of Kashmir - Small boat on the Thames - The Bewitching Rhine - The storied Hudson - Mississippi Miracle
America’s Paradise Lost. John Day Co., New York, 1966. 8vo., 240pp.+[32pp.] of plates, blue cloth with gilt.
Odd Way Round the World. John Day Co., New York, 1969. 8vo., 310pp., maps, b/w photos.
The Japanese Miracle and Peril. Heinemann, London, 1971. 8vo., viii+341pp., red cloth. Also, John Day Co., New York, 1971. 8vo., 337pp., beige cloth with red and gilt.
My Own Life of Adventure. Travels in 148 Lands. Jonathan Cape, London, 1982. 8vo., viii+276pp.,+[12pp.] of plates, 2 maps.
‘Japan’s New Outposts’ Harper’s Magazine October 1935.
‘Mysterious Micronesia. Yap, Map and Other Islands Under Japanese Mandate are Museums of Primitive Man’ National Geographic. Vol. 69, No. 4, pp.481-510, April 1936.
‘Jappanning China’ Harper’s Magazine January 1937.
‘Grand Canal Panorama’ National Geographic Vol. 71, No. 4, pp.487-514, April 1937
‘Korea From a Nunnery Window’ Harper’s Magazine October 1937.
‘By Felucca Down the Nile. Giant Dams Rule Egypt’s Lifeline River’ National Geographic. Vol. 77 No.4, April 1940.
‘America’s Enemy No. 2.’ Harper’s Magazine April 1942.
‘Hidden Key to the Pacific. Piercing the Web of Secrecy Which Long Had Veiled Japanese Bases in the Mandated Islands’ National Geographic. Vol.81 No.6, June 1942.
‘Unknown Japan. A Portrait of the People Who Make Up One of the Two Most Fanatical Nations in the World’ National Geographic Vol. 82, No. 2, pp.222-252, August 1942.
‘Japan Faces Russia in Manchuria’ National Geographic. Vol.82, No.5, pp.603-634, November 1942
‘The Men Who Drive Japan’ Harper’s Magazine December 1942.
‘Americans on the Babary Coast’ National Geographic. Vol.84 No.5, July 1943.
‘Springboards to Tokio’ National Geographic. November 1944.
‘Jap Rule in the Hermit Nation’ National Geographic. November 1945.
‘Cruising Japan’s Inland Sea. Voyaging Americans Brave Whirlpools and Tide Rips to Explore the Secluded Beauty of an Island World’ National Geographic. Vol. 104, No. 5, pp.619-650, November 1953.
‘England. The Thames Mirrors England’s Varied Life’ National Geographic. Vol. 144, pp.45-94, July 1958.
‘The Upper Mississippi Between Lake Itasca and Cairo, Old Man River Grows Up’ National Geographic Vol. 114, No. 5, pp.651-699, November 1958.
‘Henry Hudson’s River’ National Geographic. Vol.121 No. 3, pp.364-403, March 1962.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Obviously, so much better in the flesh, or marble or bronze...
...and statues are incredibly difficult things to photograph... witness an increasingly large collection of photos on my harddrive where my ethusiasm for a piece of statuary has outweighed my photographic ability...
...so imagine my delight opening these rather uninspiring looking covers and finding the mist sumptuous photos of Michaelangelo's Pieta at about 8"x10" and meltingly photographed. This must once have been a slightly up-market tourist item from Rome and it came to me in a lot of stuff some while ago now. I haven't yet been able to bring myself to sell it but I suspect that posting these photos here may well bring about the necessary 'closure' and it'll go under the ebay hammer soon.