Majesty

The Majesty oak is well named; it truly is majestic, /məˈdʒɛstɪk/, adjective, having or showing impressive beauty or scale, synonyms: exalted, august, great, awesome, elevated, sublime, lofty. It is all of these and more. It lives in Fredville Park at Nonington in Kent, alongside other exceptional trees called Beauty, Stately and Staghorn, but Majesty is said to be the finest oak in all of the British Isles. It stands 60 feet tall and measures 40 feet around and estimates of its age vary from 400 to 800 to the best part of a thousand years, no one knows for sure but it looks to me like it’s been here forever. Read more

Frames of reference

To The Jade Emperor’s Mountain

This richly textured puzzle-picture wood engraving is not much bigger than a large postage stamp but it is crammed full of intriguing detail. A stepped path winds through a grove of trees amid a cultivated chaos of cross-hatched herring-bone earth. How is it possible to get so much into so little? This tiny concentrated memento is a leitmotif for our July window display – To The Jade Emperor’s Mountain and other works by Jonathan Gibbs. Read more

Frames of reference

Cyclops

This is the third book of poems by David Attwooll with pictures by Andrew Walton. The previous two books resulted from shared walks around Oxford. This last book circles around David’s final illness. He died in August 2016 from Erdheim Chester disease. One of it’s symptoms was a gradual loss of sight in one eye, and the poet’s increasing identification with Polyphemus, the giant cyclops from Homer’s Odyssey. There is a dark humour in these poems; David’s sense of fun is evident throughout. I met him only once, but I agree with his daughter, Kate AttwoollHe was… the most modest of men, instantly filling those who knew him with a welcoming sense of human possibility and kindness. So without further ado, here is the whole book, hand-scanned cover to cover by yours truly. Take it slow, and click on each image to get a better view. Read more

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Wood, Metal, Pigment

The top floor gallery at Annely Juda Fine Art is one of my favourite spaces and when the sun shines in through the skylight on an exhibition of sculptures by David Nash it’s just about the best place to be in all of London. Wood · Metal · Pigment continues until 7th July. Read more

Frames of reference

Walking Home With The Trees

My car was in the garage for repairs but rather than take the tube home, a journey of 40 minutes, I preferred to walk, a journey of 3 hours. There was a time when travelling on the underground seemed exciting; you go down in one place and come up in another place, as if by magic. But over the years, in crowded rush hour compartments stopping without warning or explanation, that magic had faded and was gradually replaced by claustrophobia. That was when I learned how to drive. Read more

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Andante

Andante (a musical term meaning ‘at walking pace’) follows the cellist Ruth Boden as she climbs 10,000 feet to a peak in Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains for a deeply personal, yet breathtakingly public solo performance. With her prized cello strapped to her back, Boden reflects on how she wants to do something with music that transcends the commonplace, and on the particular joy of playing from Bach’s cello suite at ‘the top of the world’.

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The Forest Of Bavella

High in the mountains of southern Corsica, on the road above Zonza and the Hippodrome de Viseo, described as Europe’s most elevated racetrack, we came to a hamlet of stone shelters with corrugated iron roofs, a collection of summerhouses and sheepfolds nestled beside the pass. We left the car at the Auberge du Col de Bavella, with the promise of a hearty meal upon our return. Read more

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Patience (After Sebald)

This modest, immensely enjoyable documentary is about one of my favourite books, ‘The Rings of Saturn’ by the German poet and critic W G Sebald, who was born in 1944, taught for much of his adult life in this country, mainly at the University of East Anglia, and was killed in a motor accident in 2001. It was first published in German in 1995, translated into English three years later and is an account of a walking tour of Suffolk, the people he meets, the places he visits, and the historical and literary reflections prompted by what he sees and senses, taking his mind around the world. Suffolk becomes a sort of palimpsest for his eloquent, precise, lugubrious, often drily witty meditations about war, death, destruction and decay, about memories and continuities and the feeling that nothing entirely disappears.

Grant Gee’s film should make anyone want to read ‘The Rings of Saturn’ and the rest of Sebald’s relatively small but exquisite oeuvre, some eight or nine books in all.

Philip French

Frames of reference

In Sebald’s Footsteps

I found this thread on Twitter, from Francisco Cantú. I asked to share it here and he said ‘Of course!’

I spent the last 3 days walking 24 miles across East Anglia, following the footsteps of W.G. Sebald in THE RINGS OF SATURN. It was strange, sad, and wonderful, like living inside a dream about your favorite book. For fellow Sebald fans, here’s a thread with some of what I saw.  Read more

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Iford Manor

It was a chance discovery, and a beautiful surprise. We were in Bristol for the weekend, looking for a day trip. We consulted the National Trust handbook and Westwood Manor near Bradford on Avon seemed promising, but when we got there we found it was closed. So we carried on down the road, a narrow single-track lane that became evermore enclosed by trees, swallowing us up into its holloway and finally spitting us out into the valley of the Frome river. Read more

Frames of reference