Flesh of His Flesh

This is a book of poems by Florence Elon and illustrated by Warwick Hutton in 1984, The Keepsake Press.

Florence Elon, A young poet of impressive range, who draws on continental European, Jewish and cosmopolitan roots, and whose sense of exile is pervasive.

MY EYELIDS OPEN
My eyelids open from a thought of you
to your half-covered shape beside me, blurred
as rain slanting against our window now:
chilled slopes & hollows of your face surprise
my fingertips, that slide across
flesh puckering between
each forehead line; a white flash of the sky
lights up your eyes.
Our bodies, turning towards each other, close
like halves of a book. Taut mass of your thighs
& torso, that my own curves press into,
burns as you sway: warm being next to mine,
in this full touch, clay moulding against clay-
beside which, other acts
are partial, all thoughts, substitutes-
change dream to fact.

LINES FOR AN ALBUM
For sport, long summer days,
falling in love, we took
snapshots of graves
on the outskirts of Rome.
Caged in gold wire
a stage crowned the headstone:
two angels in mid-air
hovered on silver wings,
holding lit bulbs
round a Madonna figurine-
rose-lipped, pearl-robed-
smiling into our lens.
I spread the finished prints
on our tile floor
one late September afternoon.
They show, in blacks & whites:
Madonnas’ teeth
missing, bulbs burnt-out,
& round the stone-
boll-wisp, wing-bone.

X-STaTIC PRO=CeSS

Though not a typical post for me I think it is good to investigate an artist and a muse. The X-STaTIC PRO=CeSS book by signer Madonna and photographer Steven Klein is a curious meeting of minds.

The images use the typical surroundings of the traditional muse, a bed, a chez lounge and the stage of a performer, all without any frills and stripped back. The clothes are by a range of designers but the impressive red dress is by Christian Lacroix

This last video was a photo animation. It was 8 x 26 feet.

Norman Parkinson

Norman Parkinson was a celebrated British fashion and portrait photographer. Credited for inspiring important shifts in the trends of fashion photography, Parkinson left the more posed studio setting to take outdoor shots that were more dynamic and carefree than his contemporaries, adding inventive humorous elements in to his work.

Parkinson’s work regularly appeared in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, earning a reputation for finely produced images that combined elegance with British charm. “I like to make people look as good as they’d like to look, and with luck, a shade better,” he once quipped.

Born on April 21, 1913 in London, England, he began his photography career as an apprentice to Speaight and Sons court photographers in 1931. He would later take over as official court photography to the British monarchy following the death of predecessor, Cecil Beaton, in 1975. Parkinson would create many indelible portraits of the royal family, and was the recipient of the title Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He died on February 15, 1990 while on assignment in Singapore.

Norman Parkinson – Régine Debrise wearing a Balenciaga ball gown, 1950

Norman Parkinson – Wenda Parkinson (née Rogerson), 1947

Norman Parkinson – The daughters of William Bramwell Booth (Olive Emma Booth; Dora Booth; Catherine Bramwell-Booth), 1981

Norman Parkinson – Anne Chambers (Owena Anne Chambers (née Newton), 1949

Norman Parkinson – Margot Fonteyn; Sir Robert Murray Helpmann, 1951

Norman Parkinson – Kathleen Ferrier, 1952

Norman Parkinson – Edward Bawden with Walter Hoyle to his left and Sheila Robinson to his right, 1951

Norman Parkinson – (John) Christopher Heal, 1953

Norman Parkinson – Joan Cox with thirty-five school children, 1955

Norman Parkinson – Wenda Parkinson (née Rogerson), 1951

Norman Parkinson – Carmen Dell’Orefice, 1980

Norman Parkinson – Dame Barbara Hamilton Cartland, 1977

Norman Parkinson – Dame Margaret Rutherford as the Duchess; Paul Scofield as Prince Albert; Mary Ure as Amanda in ‘Time Remembered’, 1955

Norman Parkinson – The Young Look in the Theatre, 1953

Norman Parkinson – Charles Alexander Vaughan Paget, Earl of Uxbridge; Lady Henrietta Charlotte Eiluned Megarry (née Paget), 1953

Norman Parkinson – Virginia Ironside with three children

Peggy Rutherford

History is full of artists that made amazing works and were forgotten, often in the case of women artists they studied, worked and then ceased painting when they got married. I don’t know if this happened to Peggy Rutherford or not, but she is mentioned in various reports and papers in clippings and periodicals in the 1930s, most notably from Apollo Magazine in 1931 she was mentioned as deserving ‘special praise’ for her painting ‘The Purple Magnolia’. Rutherford had a studio flat in Fitzroy Street in London. From an artistic family her aunt was Maud Rutherford who married George Hall-Neale, both portrait painters.

Rutherford studied at the Grosvenor School Of Modern Art under Iain Macnab and alongside Rachel Reckitt and Suzanne Cooper. It is clear that she favoured flower paintings and many of the works here from the 30s have a strong Bloomsbury influence as well. The Grosvenor School was a private British art school and gave the country some of the best inter-war avant garde artists; they nurtured the talents of the some of the most talented women students, Suzanne Cooper, Rachel Reckitt, Alison Mckenzie, Sybil Andrews, Lill Tschudi, Ethel Spowers, Eveline Syme and Dorrit Black to name a few. Some like Rutherford have been less documented than others.

Peggy Rutherford exhibited at the Society of Women Artists, National Society of Painters, Sculptors & Printmakers, (1936) at the Royal Academy with a watercolour called ‘Flower-piece’ (1936). She is in the correspondence of John Piper, and lived at New Malden and Chelmsford.

Christmas Pictures 2020

Here is the link to the pictures I am selling this Christmas in the Cambs Antique Centre. The shop should be open every day, but in these times who knows, but, if in doubt, please call 01223 356391 or email me.

Happisburgh

In 1930, two couples, Henry & Irina Moore (married in 1929), and John Skeaping & Barbara Hepworth (married in 1923) holidayed together at Church Farm, Blacksmiths Lane, Happisburgh, on the Norfolk Coast. The holiday was intended as a working one and it was hoped the time in a new location might help Skeaping / Hepworth marriage, but it did not.

In 1931 Hepworth met Ben Nicholson and later invited him and his wife Winifred Roberts to join them on another trip with the letter below:

I enclose a photo of the farm – the colour is very lovely. The country is quite flat but for a little hill with a tall flint church and a lighthouse… The beach is a ribbon of palesand as far as the eye can see. The Moore’s and ourselves should be so pleased if you came… If you can get away the farm will be less full the first week we are there – 9 Sep – 16 Sep

Winifred was looking after their three children (Jake, Kate and Andrew) and stayed with her family in Boothby, Cumbria, while Ben went to the farmhouse. The Skeaping / Hepworth marriage hadn’t resolved itself and divorce had been spoken of before the holiday, so at first John Skeaping stayed in London. On changing his mind to join his wife in Norfolk, he found she had fallen in love with Ben Nicholson. The next week into the holiday they were joined by Ivon Hitchens and Mark and Douglas Jenkins.

(left to right) Ivon Hitchens, Irina Moore, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Mary Jenkins, Happisburgh in Norfolk, 1931. Mary’s husband Douglas took the photograph.

Left: Ben Nicholson and Ivon Hitchens
Right: Henry Moore carrying stone

Ben Nicholson with camera

Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, by the Church Farm Gate, 1932

Skeaping divorced his wife in two years later. But it wasn’t until 1938 that the Nicholsons got a divorce. In 1932 Hepworth found herself pregnant with Nicholson’s issue, she gave birth to triplets: Rachel, Sarah, and Simon. This would mean Ben Nicholson was the father of six children by two women.

The rest of the photos are taken in 1932 and show the fashion for naked bathing and games. I am sure one day a scriptwriter will turn what must have been an emotionally tense holiday into a screenplay.

A nest of gentle artists in the 1930s Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson, 2009

The Countrywoman’s Year

Last week, in a box outside a bookshop I found this book for a pound. It is the The Countrywoman’s Year, 1960. Paid for by the Women’s Institute, it is a curious book of crafts, recipes, instruction and advice on making wine, beekeeping, growing indoor plants and all the mumsey crafts of made-do-and-mend. Why it is singled out to appear on my blog? Because it is peppered with Eric Ravilious illustrations. I am unsure how, or why, but I would guess that the illustrations were in the sample books of the Curwen Press and in those days you had books of designs and devices used by the press, as well as typographic books too, a high class version of clipart.

The title page image is a thresholded image of Raviliouses design for Wedgwood’s Garden design. Appearing on a soup bowl, the print likely taken from the transfer plate would have been reversed as in the book.

The image below appears on the back of the contents is The Village, for the cover of a journal by the National Council of Social Science, 1933.

Below is a design for Wedgwood again, but this time for a Lemonade set in 1939. You can see how the image appeared on the jug when it was first released and how it looks without the enamel colouring over the top.

The baking kitchen scene is a December Headpiece to a calendar in The Twelve Months, by Nicholas Breton, ed. Brian Rhys and published by the Golden Cockerel Press, 1927. The image below of the dustpan is from the same book and is the headpiece for February.

The block below of pancakes in a pan is from the Kynoch Diary 1933 that Ravilious illustrated in 1932, it’s title is Block 122. The book is below.

Below is another block from the Kynoch Notebook, this time, Block 110

Kynoch Press, 1933 illustrated by Eric Ravilious.

The illustration for summer is a larger version of the title page image, and the illustration as previously seen for Wedgwood’s Garden plates.

The illustration by Eric Ravilious below was originally used for the Country Life Cookery Book, June, 1937.

The wood engraving below was a bit of a mystery, I thought it was Ravilious but it wasn’t in any of the reference books on him (Greenwood) and it was identified by David Wakefield as being a wood engraving for a Apple box label for the Ministry of Agriculture in 1934. In 2018 it was published in the ‘Eric Ravilious Scrapbooks‘.

For the chapter ‘Painting for Pleasure‘ uses part of the cover to the BBC Radio Talks Pamphlet on British Art. January 14th – February 18th, 1934.

Eric Ravilious – BBC Radio Talks Pamphlet on British Art, 1934

The wood-engraving used above can be seen below, called Two Cows and was used for the cover of a London Transport Walking and touring guide.

1936 cover to Country Walks, 3rd Series with a Ravilious Design of Two Cows.

Below you can see the work re-cycled into a watercolour also named Two Cows. Here keeping the study of a cow in the same pose and doubling it, both cows are the same tracing but coloured differently.

Eric Ravilious – Two Cows, 1936, The Fry Gallery

Above and below are both from the Country Life Cookery Book, July (above) and October (below), 1937.

The last little wood engraving was a projected design for a book plate but looks to illustrate a chocolate log and christmas pudding,

Eric Ravilious – Projected Bookplate, 1937

The editor of the book was Elizabeth Shirley Vaughan Paget, Marchioness of Anglesey, DBE, LVO, Shirley Morgan began her career in the Foreign Office as personal secretary to Gladwyn Jebb until her marriage to Lord Anglesey in 1949. As Marchioness of Anglesey, she served as President of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes 1966–1969, a board member of the British Council 1985–1995, chairman of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission 1987–1991, and vice-chairman of the Museums and Galleries Commission 1989–1996.

La Joie De Vivre

This is a short cartoon by Anthony Gross & Hector Hoppin from 1934. It is interesting to think about how Gross went on to become a war artist, and became famous for his etchings. But this short film is full of joy and the verve of the age. I added colour in places.

Eric Ravilious and the Country Life Cookbook

Recycled

There are many examples of Eric Ravilious recycling designs for work and it’s something I hope to focus on in a few weeks time on a post, but here is a snippet showing how he recycled a woodcut illustration from The Hansom Cab and the Pigeons, L.A.G Strong, published in 1935 by The Golden Cockerel Press and this design for Wedgwood’s Travel china in 1938.