Pagliaghju

Pagliaghju was difficult to find. We drove past it a few times without even seeing the sign. Each time we looked it up the spelling was different. The sign was invisible and the spelling was variable. I’ve seen Pagliaghju, Palaggiu, Pagliaju, Palaghju, Pallagiu and finally Palagahiu. Read more

Frames of reference

Ancient Trees in Richmond Park

The Royal Oak

The presence of great trees in the city has always been a source of fascination to me as one born in the countryside. I often think of the nineteenth century rural writer Richard Jefferies who, while struggling to make a career in London, took lonely walks in the parks for consolation and once, to ameliorate his home-sickness for the West Country, spontaneously wrapped his arms around a tree. Thus he originated the notion of ‘tree-hugging’, a phrase that is now used to embrace the deep affection which many people feel for trees. It is a tendency I recognise in myself, as I came to realise last week, while prowling around Richmond Park in the frost in search of ancient trees. Read more

Frames of reference

St Valentine

Valentine was an amateur priest; he was very unpopular with the Roman authorities because he kept conducting illegal Christian weddings. He attempted to convert the emperor, Claudius Gothicus, known as Claudius the Cruel. The emperor, who had previously liked him, was livid and sentenced Valentine to death. While Valentine was in prison awaiting execution, he discussed Jesus with the jailer. The jailer said, “If Jesus is so great then use his magic to restore my beautiful daughter’s sight”. Valentine managed it – the jailer was instantly converted and went round smashing pagan idols. Valentine would never see the girl again but left her a little love note signed “Your Valentine”.

Valentine was beaten, stoned and beheaded on the Via Flamina on February 14th, 269. His flower-crowned skull is kept in the Basilica Santa Maria in Rome. Other bits of his bones are distributed around the world. The pagan festival of love, Lupercalia, used to fall at this time of year but was replaced by Valentine’s Day. It is the day that birds find their mates, as described by Chaucer in his poem ‘Parlement of Foules’.

Chris Kenny / The Rowley Gallery

Frames of reference

An Interview With Jonny Hannah

A short film about Jonny Hannah, with thanks to the Heart Agency for allowing us to share it.

Jonny Hannah / The Rowley Gallery

If you enjoyed this you might like to see a few more of Jonny’s blogposts:

Ouvrez Les Fenêtres De Votre Coeur / The Darktown Turbo Taxi / Main Street / Jonny Hannah At Kensington Place / Jonny’s Jackets / La Mer / A Wee Book Of British Folklore / Mingus Says…

Frames of reference

Ouvrez Les Fenêtres De Votre Coeur

The Rowley Gallery has a new, hand-painted February window. It’s a vibrant cornucopia of visual delights. The notice reads Ouvrez Les Fenêtres De Votre Coeur: A Darktown Valentine’s Window by Jonny Hannah, and wherever you look you’ll find lovehearts on parade. Along the front lower edge of the window there’s a collection of found records, their sleeves lovingly repainted and still containing a vinyl disc, though not necessarily the one illustrated on the cover. Read more

Frames of reference

Chapelle St Jean

A remembrance of last summer, a walk in the shade of olive trees and holm oaks, a green daze for these grey days, a sequence of photos one after another, mementoes of footsteps along a wooded path, winding down into the valley, submerged in the dappled light, a brief antidote until our sun returns. Read more

Frames of reference

The Fairlop Oak

At the Barbican, back in November last year, coming through the foyer from the car park to the café, and then again later hurrying to the concert hall to catch a performance by Pharaoh Sanders, I twice caught sight of what seemed to be a temporary structure propping up the ceiling. There was little time to investigate, but curiously it appeared to continue up through the floor above. I didn’t give it much thought. I was intent on a tribute concert for Alice and John Coltrane and an evening of Cosmic Jazz. Read more

Frames of reference

Old Trees In Greenwich Park

On the day my cat died last summer, I went for a walk in Greenwich Park to seek consolation and was uplifted to encounter the awe-inspiring host of ancient trees there. I promised myself I would return in the depths of winter to photograph these magnificent specimens on a clear day when they were bare of leaves. So that was what I did last week, braving the bitter wind and the plunging temperatures for an afternoon with my camera. Read more

Frames of reference

Terre Verte

Eastern Moss is a nine panel painting by Brice Marden in nine variations of terre verte (green earth) pigment. It was the first painting we met when we visited his recent exhibition at Gagosian in London.

I kept putting the same colour on – the same colour, the same colour – but every time I put it on it was different. Each time it was this whole new light/colour experience. It was not a revelation, but a whole wonderful new experience… To me, it involves harnessing some of the powers of the earth. Harnessing and communicating. Read more

Frames of reference

I Want To Be In That Number

The window of the Rowley Gallery has been blessed by the sudden arrival of a forest of twig saints. They appear to be involved in a game of invisible football, or perhaps they’re dancing in a silent disco, or maybe more likely they’re just writhing to the rhythm of life. Read more

Frames of reference