As a small boy Père Castor’s Wild Animal Books were a magical introduction to nature, along with Beatrix Potter’s stories. The series of eight books first published in France in the late 1930s were brought out in English just post war. Continue reading “Père Castor”
Another book from the wonderful and sorely missed Notting Hill Books. This one was perhaps not so beloved as the last but it was one of my favourites. I always liked its folksy illustrations and the way one thing leads to another and life just inevitably gets more and more complicated. Continue reading “The House That Jack Built”
A short trailer for the forthcoming Holloway film by Adam Scovell, inspired by the book of the same name by Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood & Dan Richards, in which they go in search of an ancient Dorset holloway – previously visited by Macfarlane with Roger Deakin. They were looking for the hide where the hero of Geoffrey Household’s novel ‘Rogue Male’ went to ground.
Roger Ackling made artworks like small miracles. He turned driftwood into diamonds. He died last year, his obituary is here. I never met him but I knew people who were taught by him and exhibited with him. I saw many of his exhibitions and loved his work. I think I even once walked by his house on the crumbling north Norfolk coast at Weybourne. There are presently exhibitions of his work at Annely Juda and Kestle Barton, and Occasional Papers are hoping to publish a crowdfunded book about him, Roger Ackling: Between the Lines. I’m looking forward to reading it. Continue reading “Roger Ackling: Between The Lines”
Another King Penguin from the collection of Evelyn Hallewell. This one’s a beauty but sadly missing a few pages from the middle. The illustrations are by Irene Hawkins but Rampion, Scabious, Rock Rose and Pasque Flower have disappeared. It was published in 1947 and, according to the label in the back, it was purchased from Binns Ltd. (Book Shop), Princes Street, Edinburgh 2. Continue reading “Chalk Flowers”
This might be a curio best forgotten, an embarrassing piece of juvenilia. Forty years ago this was my final year thesis at art school. Nowadays it would be called a dissertation. But really it was just an annotated photo album. I’d found a stripey beach towel which became a sort of security blanket for a while, it seemed emblematic of the striped abstract paintings I was making and I photographed it wherever I went. I put all the photos together in a book with lots of random quotes as if I’d swallowed a library, or more likely the Whole Earth Catalog and An Index Of Possibilities. It was all very 1970s and very pretentious, but what really strikes me today is how much it resembles a prototype blog post. Continue reading “Thesis & Antithesis”
Henry Moore’s Large Spindle Piece, a cast bronze sculpture from 1974, now installed in the newly reappointed King’s Cross Square. For the past forty years the station was hidden behind an “awful tin shed” temporary canopy. It’s eventual removal, and the long overdue revelation of Lewis Cubitt’s elegant facade, is celebrated by the arrival of this captive “flying shuttle”. Continue reading “From Moore To Serra”
It was a fleeting visit. Rain was falling on Lake Como so we got the train to Milan, but there was no plan. We arrived at Stazione Nord and walked into town just to see what we might find. Continue reading “In Milano”
Busie old foole, unruly Sunne,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windowes, and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motion lovers’ seasons run?
Sawcy pedantique wretch, goe chide
Late schoole boyes and sowre prentices,
Goe tell Court-huntsmen, that the King will ride,
Call countrey ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clyme,
Nor houres, dayes, moneths, which are the rags of time…
Thou sunne art halfe as happy as wee,
In that the world’s contracted thus.
Thine age askes ease, and since thy duties bee
To warme the world, that’s done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy centre is, these walls thy spheare.
from The Sunne Rising by John Donne, 1633.