Sunday, November 28, 2010
I know this is a little off-topic for this blog but the Astronomy Picture of the Day website has become a regalar haunt of mine and this appeared there the other day. It's wonderful: a time-lapse film of auroras over Noway. I read that auroras are getting more regular and more spectacular at the moment because of increased solar activity. I don't really know, or care, what that means, but I can recommend this to be watched full-screen, in the dark and in meditative mood.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Interestingly, (I think I have got this maths right), the artist, Bernard Boutet de Monvel died in 1949 and so Paul in the picture on the book cover can't be more than 15. It's a strange thing to be able to put a name and story to a face which was, presumably, chosen by very dint of its anonymity.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I wasn't kidding when I said I had something exciting to announce on this blog this weekend.
We are genuinely excited to be able to annouce the publication of Frederick Rolfe's Holywell Banners by Robert Scoble. The book is published by CJB and printed and distributed by Blurb.com as a 40pp., full-colour sofcover book. This is the first time that all five of the surviving banners have been reproduced in print and the book also contains the first colour reproduction of Rolfe's painting of St George as well as of a pen and ink sketch by Rolfe done for his young assistant Leo.
Holywell in north Wales takes its name from the miraculous Well of St Winefride, which has attracted pilgrims to the town for many centuries. The Well was falling into a state of disrepair and neglect when in 1890 the Jesuits appointed a young and energetic new priest to the Holywell parish. Within a few years Fr Charles Beauclerk had given the shrine a new lease of life, with a particular emphasis on regular processions through the streets of Holywell and on to the Well itself. By 1895 he was feeling the need for new and more splendid processional banners, and when an impecunious artist happened to visit the town, Fr Beauclerk prevailed upon him to stay. The artist told Beauclerk that his name was Frederick Austin, but in reality he was Frederick Rolfe, soon to write the unusual books, some of them under his nom de plume ‘Baron Corvo,’ which were to bring him enduring literary fame. In return for his food and lodging, Rolfe produced some fourteen or fifteen banners, of which only five have survived, as striking and colourful examples of his naïve representational style. His time in Holywell did not end well, however, as he gradually became convinced that Fr Beauclerk was taking advantage of him. This book tells the story of Rolfe’s commission to paint the banners, and reproduces the banners themselves in full colour, together with a detailed description of their fascinating iconography.
You can order your copy of the book DIRECT FROM BLURB
All week I've been posting little bits and pieces that I picked up at the fair we went to in Fareham last weekend. This is perhaps the highlight. When I bought it I just thought it was a reasonably interesting amateur sketch book with some monochrome landscapes in it. And, indeed, that is what it is. However, nearly all the landscapes are labelled and they are all of Weymouth and Sidmouth in Dorset. What's more, they are very early - I searched for ages to find it but there is one date in the entire sketchbook: the faint words written in pencil on the inside front cover "my first sketchbook 1808". What's even better is that this is not just a series of pictures of countryside - pretty much all the pictures in the book are of places or buildings which are still 'comparable' today. And this is, I believe, what gives this album its special value. This is a local historian's dream. Here, for instance is a double page painting of the sweep of the bay at Weymouth with buildings drawn in, the same at Sidmouth... and so on... I'm looking forward to really getting into the business of cataloguing its contents and trying to place it with the right buyer.
In other news, it's been a busy couple of days. Last night saw the release of the latest Harry Potter film and, for the fan, it's fantastic: grim and unending, but fantastic. If you haven't read the books though, you don't stand a chance of understanding what's going on. And then tonight R and I went with other friends to see Seth Lakeman in concert and, wow! he knows how to perform live. It took a while for the crowd to get themselves pumped up but by the time he got to the virtuoso solo fiddle routine at astonishing speed and with accompanying strobe lighting, and then the two 'ho-down' numbers for the encore the crowd was up and at it! Well worth seeing live but if you've never heard of him then go to the website - which has sound and video - and then head off to wherever you download your music.
Now winding down listening to Tchaikovsky's Liturgy of St John Chrysostom! Perfect!
Friday, November 19, 2010
By no means a conventional biography, nor a memoir, Aspects of Wilde roams freely through anecdote, philosophy, literary criticism, polemic and reminiscence.
O’Sullivan paints an honest and fair picture of Wilde, particularly in his last years, it is a picture which is not without affection but which is also frank. The cast of characters includes all the ‘names’ of the Nineties and O’Sullivan often digresses to detail his own and Wilde’s dealings with Leonard Smithers, Beardsley, Dowson, Merrill, Lord Alfred Douglas and the like.
O’Sullivan himself was a part of that group of bright young authors and artists who gave the 1890s their enduring style, his portrait of Wilde remains an important contribution to our understanding of that period.
It's very exciting to be able to announce a new edition of Aspects of Wilde by Vincent O'Sullivan. Callum James Books did publish this in a limited edition some while ago now but that is no longer available and so it seemed the perfect time to add this title to our 'paperback treasures' range which was begun in the autumn with a classic and impossible-to-find title by John Gambril Nicholson.
This edition is 147pp, a conventional paperback published by CJB but printed and distributed by Blurb. This edition retains the much needed index that we introduced into the limited edition. You can order a copy (or many copies) direct from Blurb for GBP9.95 plus postage. Please note that we won't be holding any copies in stock here, the only way to get your hands on it is to order it through Blurb. Please also note that Blurb's delivery times and postage prices are set by them and may differ from what you are used to with other books from us.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I like the boy who earns his bread;
The boy who holds my horse’s head,
The boy who tidies up the bar,
The boy who hawks the Globe and Star.
Smart-looking boys are in my line;
The lad who gives my boots a shine,
The lad who works the life below,
The lad that’s lettered G.P.O.
Being too lazy to get up from the desk and open some books to get this quote I typed the part I could remember into Google and, of course, found the poem online. However, in the process I was staggered and delighted to discover the most astonishing thing: there is to be, next year, in London, Cleveland Street The Musical. How mad and marvellous is that!? Follow the link to listed to some of the tunes and to put yourself up for a part if you feel so inclined!
Monday, November 15, 2010
I'll post some of the other finds from this fare in the near future but also today we have been to see Skyline at the cinema - DON'T! Quite the most unimproving and pointless film I've seen for a long while.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
More from the same wonderful box of ephemera. Reading anyone? This is a small lot, but perfectly formed, of pieces from the self-styled Chaldean Astrologer, Wallace Elroy (aka Prof. Elroy). The letterhead is actually on a two page typed astrological 'reading' for the said Ms. Stephens. I understand, I think, all the symbolism on the business card but you have to wonder what exactly he was trying to say with the reaper's sickle hanging over the top of it!