Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm Back



Well, it's been a funny two or three weeks being away, back and then away again. The week in Wales was, of course, food for the soul. The above is the view from the conservatory at the back of the cottage. We had a week of sunshine more or less, which is more than can be said for the rest of the UK last week. I can heartily recommend this cottage if solitude is your thing. If you have a novel to write and need an inspirational and isolated spot to work or if you are in the first flush of a new relationship, in that period when you can't keep your hands off each other, and need a place away from the madding crowd in which to do unspeakably wonderful things to each other or, if like Mark and I, you are 'just good friends' in need of somewhere to write, walk, talk and drink whisky then give it a go.

Blogging should settle back to a more normal and relaxed kind of style in the next few days

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Recommendation 9


I'm away for a few days, with limited internet access, half-way up a mountain. And so I hope you will excuse these pre-prepared posts in which I shall simply recommend you go away - or more specifically, recommend a more interesting place for you to go to...

Of course, Clive Hicks-Jenkins blog is always worth a recommendation but he is currently asking for submissions to an online exhibition of Maquettes - probably best just to go an look at his blog to find out what that means rather than me trying to put it into words. Clive uses a lot of these jointed paper models in the process of creating his full-scale paintings and they are something of an art form in their own right. The one above is from the preparatory work for the Old Stile Press publication of Equus, illustrated by Clive.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Recommendation 8


I'm away for a few days, with limited internet access, half-way up a mountain. And so I hope you will excuse these pre-prepared posts in which I shall simply recommend you go away - or more specifically, recommend a more interesting place for you to go to...

I had thought this blog was dead and so hadn't been for a while but it appears rumours of its demise... Still going, not extremely regular, but find some really lovely stuff and since we had a British book cover blog as Recommendation 1, I think we can find space for The Art of American Book Covers.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Recommendation 7

I'm away for a few days, with limited internet access, half-way up a mountain. And so I hope you will excuse these pre-prepared posts in which I shall simply recommend you go away - or more specifically, recommend a more interesting place for you to go to...

Although I have chosen to illustrate this with a sculpture in wood, most of the sculptures by Wim Botha on this gallery page are actually book-sculptures. It's a field I have stayed away from for a while but every now and again you see something that moves beyond the usual and Botha's book sculptures certainly do that.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Recommendation 6

I'm away for a few days, with limited internet access, half-way up a mountain. And so I hope you will excuse these pre-prepared posts in which I shall simply recommend you go away - or more specifically, recommend a more interesting place for you to go to...

Of course, this has been a link on my blogroll for a long time, being my partner, R's own blog about his passion for the Staffordshire ceramics company Powell, Bishop and Stonier. He's been at it (the collecting that is) for years, and he's uber-knowledgable about this kind of thing. So if you think you could stretch your interest to encompass things that aren't made of paper then you should try his informative and often witty blog which contains nothing that isn't safe at work, despite being called, Porcelain Porn.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Recommendation 5

I'm away for a few days, with limited internet access, half-way up a mountain. And so I hope you will excuse these pre-prepared posts in which I shall simply recommend you go away - or more specifically, recommend a more interesting place for you to go to...

The Stuff Doer tumblr has been featurd here before, but it was a long time ago now and he's still going and still worth plugging. The art, I think of a tumblr photo blog is about selection and editing: providing your tumblr with a 'look' that appeals to and makes sense to your visitors. Stuff Doer has this down pat. Be aware, the site features occasional nudes.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recommendation 4


I'm away for a few days, with limited internet access, half-way up a mountain. And so I hope you will excuse these pre-prepared posts in which I shall simply recommend you go away - or more specifically, recommend a more interesting place for you to go to...

If you are a fan of the vintage graphic work that I sometimes post on this blog then you should know Agence Eureka, one of the most regularly updated and well edited blogs around containing this kind of imagery - a visual feast.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Recommendation 3



I'm away for a few days, with limited internet access, half-way up a mountain. And so I hope you will excuse these pre-prepared posts in which I shall simply recommend you go away - or more specifically, recommend a more interesting place for you to go to...

If you don't know the Strange Flowers blog already then shame on you...! One of the most consumate creators of content, regularly updated and always interesting, the blog focusses on the strange characters, decadent souls and bizarre creatures of the late 19th and early 20th century literary and artistic scene - a must see blog...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Recommendation 2


I'm away for a few days, with limited internet access, half-way up a mountain. And so I hope you will excuse these pre-prepared posts in which I shall simply recommend you go away - or more specifically, recommend a more interesting place for you to go to...

Today I'm sharing the Flickr photostream of a very good friend of mine. She is an entirely amateur photographer who, being somewhat disabled, spends what outside time she can manage wandering, or wobbling as she would say, around Portsmouth with her camera. I think she has a phenomenal eye for a picture. Having said that, for the past couple of weeks she has been visiting family and so the top few photos are not Portsmouth at all... If you have a Flickr account, I know that she would very much appreciate any comments you might like to leave.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Recommendation 1


I'm going to be away for the next few days, with limited internet access, half-way up a mountain. And so I hope you will excuse these pre-prepared posts in which I shall simply recommend you go away - or more specifically, recommend a more interesting place for you to go to...

Today, The Existential Ennui blog full of crime, spy and science fiction along with a great and continually upadated page on Beautiful British Dustjackets.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mad Prices for Vintage Swimwear


The prices of good vintage photos of handsome chaps in their swimwear seem to go in cycles on Ebay, for a while you will be able to pick up whatever you fancy and then there's a period when the silly bidding kicks in again, a little like it did with this lot of recent sale, all from the same seller. From top to bottom they sold for, approximately: 170, 180, 330 and 400 USD respectively. Madness? Certainly, but a very pretty madness nonetheless.





Thursday, April 19, 2012

What to Read Next?


I got the latest book in the Game of Thrones series for Christmas and I have just finished reading it! Now that the doorstep sized fantasy-fest is out of the way I have been thinking a little about what I would like to read and, along with a couple of other books that have lain untouched since Christmas, my musings have been a lot in the direction of Edgar Allen Poe, H. P. Lovecraft and Robert Louis Stevenson. The first because he is clearly a genius and it has been too long since I have read any of his stories (and indeed his poetry), the second because I really feel I should know more about this elusive master of the macabre and the third, partly at least because of another hang over from Christmas. Sky TV produced, at Christmas, an adaptation of Treasure Island. I have only just watched it. Eddie Izzard as Long John Silver is an inspired piece of casting and a wonderfully ambiguous piece of acting, Elijah Wood as the charmingly insane Benn Gunn and the simply beautiful (but also very talented) Toby Regbo all conspired to make it a thoroughly enjoyable piece of television. So I thought I might take on a bit of Stevenson that I've never read before, Kidnapped perhaps. Then I heard this piece of news about Stevenson's masterpiece (IMHO) Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde and wondered if should take it as a sign.

But signs and portents are a dangerous and murky business because just minutes later I came across Poe and Phillips, a graphic novel (to be either downloaded or owned in print) which teams the real people Edgar Allen Poe and H. P. Lovecraft in an Indiana Jones-style festival of arcane investigations. So, the long and the short of it is that I was feeling quite conflicted about what to read next until, in the post today, what joy, a review copy of Samuel R. Delany's latest book arrives like a brick through my letterbox, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders, and so the deadlock is broken and my course is clear.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vintage Swim in Panama


This handsome chap comes from Panama, and has made it all the way to my collection. In fact, I have the negative, taken probably in the mid 1960s and clearly by an accomplished photographer, although I don't know if they were professional or not - the photographer that is, not the guy in the photo!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Asleep on a Train


Sometime in the 1930s, some people fell asleep on a train. They happened to be sharing the carriage with a student artist who took the opportunity to sketch them in a quick but confident hand. The artist eventually died, having kept these ephemeral sketches tucked away in a draw and eighty years later, probably long after the deaths of her subjects, a bookdealer buys the sketches in a lot at an auction which includes some of the estate of the artist. The bookdealer uses a technology undreamed of in these sleeping heads to turn the images into numbers and broadcast them to people all around the the world...




Monday, April 16, 2012

Fireplaces and Skyscrapers


Well, as promised, this is all from the 1930s trade catalogue I bought at the NEC, Antiques for Everyone fair in the past week. I was, of course, swayed to this item in particular because Brown and Smith Ltd (perhaps the two most common surnames in England) were based at 22-34 The Quay, Portsea.

I'm not usually a fan of Art Deco but I do, perhaps paradoxically, think that it's one of the most 'liveable' of the styles when in a domestic setting. These fireplaces below are so humble and certainly domestic and yet are redolent of skyscrapers...






Sunday, April 15, 2012

Goodbye NEC


This is the hardest day of all at the NEC Antiques for Everyone, breaking down the stands, packing and loading about 17 crates of books onto the van takes 3 or 4 hours of back-breaking work, followed by a couple of hours drive home again.

I hope you'll therefore forgive this somewhat pre-baked post in which I simply introduce you to the wonderful website of Rennies in Folkestone. I do this because it follows loosely from yesterday's use of a Barnett Freedman image: this eclectic gallery has something of a specialist in Freedman and the photo above comes from their website and shows Eric Ravillious, Barnett Freedman and Paul Nash together in uniform in 1940, taken by Christine Nash. I would whole-heartedly recommend the entire website for burrowing around in...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Another Day Without Daylight


Well, another busy day at the NEC with some solid sales but a lot of hard work, these kinds of events mean that you are talking almost continuously throughout the day, always trying to be bright, interesting and persuasive no matter whether someone is eyeing a £20 book or a £2000 book. I have had a little chance to look around a bit and when I have access to a scanner I shall certainly share some of the little bits and pieces that I have bought whilst I've been here.

One item that took my fancy, but I passed on, was a great piece of Oxfordiana, if such a thing can be said to exist it's a small book that consists only of a single sheet, folded concertina-style into its covers, and which, on each folded panel has a hand-coloured engraving, 17 in all, each of a version of the academic dress of Oxford types from scholar to Chancellor. Engraved by Nathaniel Whittock and published, according to the British Library c.1845. But it's a salutary example of why buying on impulse ain't always a good idea. Fortunately I didn't buy it at well over £200 at the NEC today, having found a couple of copies online for half and less of that when I returned to my hotel. It remained a great thing, but not perhaps as rare as I might have imagined to start with.

Today's picture, in my currently slightly internet-restricted state, is simply a lovely book token designed by Barnett Freedman (you may recall that I have a small collection of books in jackets by Freedman) that I found on the website of the Ephemera Society. If anyone out there has one of these tokens tucked away somewhere I'd be delighted to buy it for a reasonable price.

Friday, April 13, 2012

1930s Trade Catalogues


The 1930s was perhaps the hey-day of the trade catalogue and the art work is distinctive and, to my eye, often worthy of credit. Everything from hats to wrought iron ballustrades, lamps, pipes and water measurement devices would have their own catalogue. As an area of study, these catalogues are just being recognised as having something serious to offer to our understanding of material culture and the V & A National Art Library has a special collection of the things.  I hadn't imagined that I would today be blogging about this topic except that at the Antiques for Everyone fair I have been talking with the lovely Nicholas Daly, bookdealer, and while browsing his stall my eye fell on just such a catalogue, in this case, for fireplaces. I was just thinking to myself how much I liked it and how great the art work was in a kind of domestic Art Deco kind of way when I flicked to the front of the book and saw that this particular company was based on The Quay, Portsea, just literally down the road from Callum James Heights. So, I think, tomorrow I shall be purchasing that but sadly I didn't do it today so these illustrations: just a few odds and ends I've been able to pull off the net. Hopefully tomorrow I shall be able to share...



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Antiques for Everyone at the NEC


300 dealers, over 100,000 items for sale, Antiques for Everyone is a vetted and datelined antiques and I'm working here all week despite a hideous cold. As a result my blogging may not quite be up to par but I hope you'll forgive, gentle reader. There are some truly wonderful things for sale here, including a Bishop and Stonier coffee service complete with ceramic Lazy Susan and those of you who've been paying close attention will know that to be an item to set my husband's heart a-racing... see here for further details...

For stallholders these kinds of fairs are basically non-stop talking, talking, talking with all-comers and as I woke up yesterday with a streaming cold and sore throat that's been something of a challenge.  Thanks to Mark, Judith and Tracy on the Miller's Guide stall for keeping me at least half-way sane.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Little Victorian Humour


The practise of publishing little humorous 'fillers' in newspapers is an venerable one. In the largest scrapbook (physically) of newspaper cuttings I have ever seen, largely about India in the 1890s, I found a few that, whilst not leaving me in need of incontinence devices, did at least raise a smile.





Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Keith Vaughan and Books


2012 is the centenary year of Keith Vaughan's birth. At the recent Pallant Gallery exhibition in Chichester there was a good selection of books illustrated by him or at least with their jackets designed by him. It struck me that it would make a very good collection. I'm sure that someone, somewhere, has done this work before but I thought I would begin the process of listing the books that Vaughan was involved with. For starters we know that he had a very close association with John Lehmann. Lehmann had worked at the Hogarth Press as Leonard Woolf's assistant until he went off to start his own publishing business in the 1940s. Lehmann, as a publisher was known for his use of the so-called neo-romantic artists for jacket design and illustration. Lehmann was, by no means, the only publisher that Vaughan worked with (as the photographs here of books I've pulled off my shelves attest), but you have to start somewhere. I will update this post as more come to light and, in the future I hope to create a wider list of publishing work by Vaughan.



New Writing and Daylight 1946 edited by John Lehmann (1946)
Poems from Giacomo Leopoldi translated by John Heath Stubbs (1946)
A Mountain Boyhood by Andre Chamson (1947)
The Spirit of Jem by P. H. Newby (1947)
A Greek Poet in England by Demetrius Capetanakis (1947)
The Other Theatre by Norman Marshall (1947)
French Stories from The New Writing edited by John Lehmann (1947)
A Hard Winter by Raymond Queneau (1947)
Orpheus. A Symposium of the Arts Vol. 1 edited by John Lehmann (1948)
Africa Dances. A Book About West African Negroes by Geoffrey Gorer (1949)
The Station. Athos: Treasures and Men by Robert Byron (1949)
Travels Through France and Italy by Tobias Smollett (1949)
Don Juan by Lord Byron (1949)
The World is a Wedding by Delmore Schwartz (1949)
A Little Stone by Paul Bowles (1950)
A Vagrant and Other Poems by David Gascoyne (1950)
The American Genius. An Anthology of Poetry With Some Prose selected by Edith Sitwell (1951)
English Stories from The New Writing edited by John Lehmann (1951)
Pleasures of New Writing edited by John Lehmann (1952)






Update: 28.5.12: The first Hogarth Press cover by Vaughan to be scanned here is this, ironically perhaps, written by John Lehmann. The Sphere of Glass (Hogarth Press: London, 1944)


Update: 29.08.12. Although using the same design, this is another title in John Lehmann's Library of Art and Travel and is it printed in a different colourway to the book on Africa above. Edinburgh by Sacheverell Sitwell and Francis Bamford (Lehmann, London, 1948) first published ten years earlier by Faber


Update: 20.09.12: This is a John Lehmann publication from 1946, with a second impression in 1947, of Billy Budd by Herman Melville.

 
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