Saturday, March 24, 2007

Randwick Woods

Randwick Woods and Other Pieces
by Leonard Green

Not yet ready for distribution but here's a first glance at the little booklet I've made out of the paper I found the other day. It became obvious to me, when I stopped to think about it, that the colouring of the paper and the slightly old-fashioned feel that it would have, made a perfect cover for three little pieces by a Uranian writer called Leonard Green who wrote a little book called Dream Comrades in the middle of World War One in which he melded his love of youth, his love of is native Gloucestershire and his horror at the loss of so many young lives on Flanders' fields. One of the lovely things about working in the way I do with computer, a box of tools and some space on the living-room floor is that I can do things quickly and spontaneously. So, needing a break from some other (and more important work) late last night I sat down with cutting mat, paper, computer, text (already typed some time ago) and played until this appeared.

Still some tweaking and proofing to do and because of the limited amount of material there will only ever be 12 of these. I always put 'privately printed' on the colophon of my books but that is not entirely true since, apart from the lack of an ISBN number they are now all pretty much 'published' in the same way that any other book is and distributed publically. The 'privately printed' is a hang over from days when this was almost entirely a hobby but I keep it now as a nod to the fact that I still don't feel like a 'professional' printer/publisher. This project, however, being so small in number, may indeed be much more truely a 'private' publication as I imagine that it may be distributed in a quieter way. We'll see...

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Paper in Search of a Print

A wonderful objet trouve today... three sheets of Cockerell marbled paper which I just had to have. It's not the patterning of this stuff but the feel of it too, the sense that your fingers are touching a thick layer of ink on the surface of the paper. Of course, it begs the question of what to do with it. There is just about enough to make covers for a small booklet - about 24mo - in an equally small edition of about 25. But in a booklet so small the text would have to be bijoux also so the hunt is on for something to fill the insides of this wonderful paper.

No Names No Packdrill

Here's a picture...
What do you think?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Keith Vaughan and the Missing Boyfriend

Well, Russell has gone off on one of his visits to a friend in Bristol. This time he goes with the express purpose of seeing the Keith Vaughan exhibition at The Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. So yes, perhaps this time a little jealous. They write of the exhibition:

A major retrospective of work by Keith Vaughan, a member of the Neo-Romantic movement and one of Britain’s greatest artists of the post-war era opens soon at Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Victoria Art Gallery. The exhibition runs from Saturday, 3 February, 2007 to Sunday, 25 March and features some of Vaughan’s most important works of art, which express his feelings about the male body seen in relation to the landscape. The Gallery is delighted to display over 60 oil paintings, gouaches, sketchbooks and journals. It is Vaughan’s first museum exhibition for 26 years, and this show coincides with the 30th anniversary of hs death. The exhibits, generously lent by private collectors in Britain and France, include many of his most influential figure compositions, among them two of his nine Assembly paintings as well as The Return of the Prodigal Son and Reclining Nude 1950. Jon Benington, Manager of the Victoria Art Gallery, said: “Vaughan's paintings depicted "Man," often naked and usually too indistinct to be regarded as portraits, in relation to his environment. Implicit in much of his work was a sense of man as a homosexual in opposition to a hostile world.

“Like many gay men of his generation and class, Vaughan was troubled by insecurities about his sexuality. Much of what is known about his private life comes from his journals, which he began writing in August 1939 and continued until the morning of his death thirty-eight years later.” He added: “Two of Vaughan’s journals have also been borrowed for the show."

Russell phones this evening to say that they will also be going to look in on an exhibition of work by Robin Tanner! So, to make up a little for missing out I'm having my own small Keith Vaughan exhibition here. As far as I know most of these images below should be new to the Internet which, as I have mused on before, I rather enjoy as it means that eventually Google's spider programs will find them and bring the many who type in Vaughan's name to look at the unique offering here.

Study for the Festival of Britain Mural

gouache and pencil

13.5 x 56cm

Figure on the Beach, 1964

oil on board

40.5 x 44cm

When I finally complete and have published my novel, The Scar, this is the image I want on the cover.

Joseph and His Brethren No.2, 1965

watercolour, gouache and coloured pastel

46 x 44.5cm

Compostition, 1951

pen and black ink and gouache

27.5 x 37cm

Landscape with Figures, 1968

watercolour and gouache

33.5 x 39cm

Harlequin, 1962
coloured pastels
49.5 x 32cm

Seated Figure, 1946

watercolour and gouache

35 x 27.5cm

Male Nude, 1945

pen and black ink, watercolour, gouache and wax crayon

22.5 x 14.5cm

Monday, March 19, 2007

Male Nude, 1945

pen and black ink, watercolour and wax crayon

21.5 x 14.5cm

Friday, March 16, 2007

More Postcards of Venice

This whole week has been a glorious burst of spring and today was no different. Feeling the heat of the sun on you, no matter how weak and white, is quite an uplifting experience and so it was great to be able to browse a few books and boxes on the forecourt of a bookshop today before plunging into the obligatory gloom of the shop itself. And wonder of wonders, a whole bundle of postcards of Venice. Normally I wouldn't consider postcards printed after 1930 being worthy of much attention let alone a few pennies, however, this bundle were really lovely reproductions of artwork of Venice. One of those things, like the book cover designs of certain publishers which, whilst simply ordinary when looked at as individuals, become something much more interesting when seen together in a group. Here are just a few of the load I came home with.

Francesco Guardi

Chiesa della Salute

Private Collection

Francesco Guardi

Il Bucintoro in Riva degli Schiavoni Particolre

Gentile Bellini (1429-1507)

Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross Falling into the St. Laurence Canal

Gallerie dell'accademia, Venice

Antonio Canal detto il 'Canaletto'
Piazzetta S. Marco
Galleria Nazionale, Rome

Ippolito Ceffi

Serenaia in Canal Grande

Museo d'arte moderna, Venice

Antonio Canal detto il 'Canaletto' (1697-1768)
Piazza S. Marco
Galleria Nazionale, Rome

Joseph Heintz

Fair in S. Mark's Square

Galleria Doria, Roma

Luca Carlevarjs (1665-1731)

Riva degli Schiavoni

Galleria Nationale, Roma

Francesco Guardi

L'Isola di S. Giorgio

Museo Civio, Treviso

Antonio Canal detto il 'Canaletto'

Piazza S. Marco

Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Victorian Photographers

Every now and again I realise that the header of this blog includes mention of vintage photos and the guilt creeps up in my peripheral vision that I have not spent as much time on them as they deserve. A large proportion of my 'dealing' life is spent with photos and many of those are Victorian cartes des visites or Cabinet Cards.

For those not familiar with the genre, here probably isn't the place to give a history of this little phenomenon of early photography. Suffice it to say that before the advent of affordable photography for the masses, a trip to the local photographic studio (pretty much one in every commercial road) wasmuch more common than it is today. The photos that this brief episode in photographic history produced are now collected and for multiple reasons. I know people who collect photos taken by photographers from a particular place (a kind of local history I guess), others collect them for the chronicle they provide of the fashions of the day, some people collect them by subject matter, dogs being a strange but common example, or toys or perhaps those which show real contemporary interiors.

The backs of these cards, however, are almost as interesting as the fronts. They are mainly used by collectors to help in dating the photograph. Early CDVs and Cabinet Cards have very simple backstamps, sometimes literally stamped on with a rubber stamp. As time goes on the backs of the cards became more and more elaborate with fancy designs and gilt printing and so on. It was also de rigeur to add any Royal Warrants (of course) but also to make note of prizes won at that other great phenomenon of the age: exhibitions. All of this helps to provide rough dating material for the photograph. But they are perhaps not as much appreciated as they should be for their sheer exuberance of design.

In the small selection below there are clear examples of aesthetic movement taste, the influence of the classical, high Victorian and, of course, nice examples where influences from all the design and cultural movements of the time can be seen mashed up together.

The picture really DO need to be clicked and enlarged to appreciate them.

PS. Thank you to all who have posted comments here in the last little while. I do read them and appreciate them (and the emails generated directly to me from items posted here).

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Word Museum

Courtesy of The Word Museum. The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten. by Jeffrey Kacirk.

nazzle: A child who has been guilty of deceptive practices is termed a 'little nazzle'. Never applied to the male sex.

froonce: To go about in an active, bustling manner.

gaberlunzie: A mendicant; a poor guest who cannot pay for his entertainment.

quanked: Overpowered by fatigue.

snoutfair: A person with a handsome countenance.

conskite: To befoul with ordure, as when one's bowels are loosed with fear.

ostentiferous: That which brings monsters or strange sights.

knevel: The moustache. The hair on the upper lip was worn for ages before the modern, and now the only, name for the thing was borrowed from the Spanish. The word is now entirely obsolete, but pure English.

mastigophorer: A fellow worthy to be whipped.

parnel: A priest's mistress. A punk, a slut; the dimintive of [Italian] petronella.

dwang: To oppress with too much labour.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Roden Noel: Ganymede and Bacchus

This is the latest project underway. A little like the Porcelain Boy project, this one has taken a lot of time to get going. This is going to be my first attempt at a 'flagship' piece of printing. The text consists of two poems by Roden Noel, a little known, difficult, sensuous and rewarding Victorian poet who was bisexual and whose poetry, in just a few place radiates a 'gay sensibility'. Having said that, from his prolific output only a few of his poems have any real homoerotic content. These, I believe, are the last two which haven't already been published as single items (of course, The Old Stile Press have done a couple, of which the most beautiful was The Waternymph and the Boy). Along with the two poems in my book I am also printing the short 'case history' which details Roden Noel's sexuality from Havelock Ellis's Sexual Inversions and providing a short introductory piece about Noel and his work.

The pictures below are the unbound pages from the first mock-up of the book. It is going to be in the same format at the one-off I did (and botched) a little while ago. I am going to use a patterned paper, blue on blue, with a feather motif that I designed and posted here some time ago. I haven't yet decided whether to offer a small part of the edition in hardcover and then a 'booklet' state as well or whether to simply work on and off for quite a while producing the whole edition casebound. The illustrations are printed straight from blocks created by the artist.

Revamp of Callum James Books

Plans, plans, plans...

I'm hoping in the next week or so to have a revamp of 'Callum James Books' my little publishing company. The website is looking a little scrappy at the moment I fear and needs updating and tidying up. I've also created a 'list of titles' in a small 8 page loosely folded booklet which I'm going to send to all previous customers. One doesn't like to impose what many people might consider 'junk mail' but I have not done it before and don't intend to do it often so I would hope that most people who receive it wouldn't mind. I'm also going to make it available as a *pdf file to send to enquirers. The font on the front is my new favourite of the moment called 'Felix Tilting' - very stone-carving feel to it

Penguin Patterns

This post can't help but reveal the answer to one of the mystery book patterns below but, for the rest of them, I will add the answers to the 'comments' section of the previous post so you can still try them out for a while.

I was turned on recently to the fantastic designs on the Penguin Poets series of the 50s and 60s by a wonderful set of posts at the equally wonderful typographical blog,
Ace Jet 170. There's much more detailed and sensible stuff about the series there and the whole blog is worth saving to favourites.

These are just a few of the series that I have found so far.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

...a book by its cover...

Here's a little wheeze - since I've been blogging a little about book cover design, here are six patterned papers used in book design which I have pulled off my shelves. Have a guess at author, title, or even just the date... I know of at least one reader of this blog who ought to be able to get two straight off, but I'd be surprised if anyone can get all of them. Sharing/knowing my particular interest in book-collecting may help on a number, but perhaps not all of them...

Stations of the Cross

The brief poems I posted below while musing on the Mari Lwyd series of drawings by Clive Hicks-Jenkins were excerpts from The Stations of the Cross, a long poem I wrote some time ago for liturgical use in an Anglican setting. As it is now Lent, and as I recently came across some images of the Stations which I very much admired I thought I would post the whole poem. Hence a new blog which will not be added to, and will continue at least as long as Lent, which has the whole poem.

The Stations of the Cross
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