Welcome to the written world of RDN, aka "the stand-up philosopher". I am a complicated conservative, and a bit hippy and arty round the edges. I am currently working on poems, a memoir and a one-man show. Over all that is an increasing interest in the idea of spirituality. More »

Latest posts

Stanley North’s glass portrait of Vera Bax

Posted by RDN under On art on 20 October 2014. No comments.

Before he married his second wife HelenKennedy, and adopted her name, my grandfather Stanley married Vera Rawnsley, and they produced my father, Paul. She later married, first, Filson Young, and, second, Clifford Bax.

Here is Staney’s stained glass portrait of a young woman, by family tradition, his wife Vera.



Stanley Kennedy North’s Norwich glass #3

Posted by RDN under On art on 20 October 2014. No comments.

This is the third of three posts on Stanley Kennedy North’s work for the Colman family of Norwich mustard fame. He did three pieces of stained glass or them, and this, the third, is a large (I guess six foot by six foot) set of panels which add up to a heraldic device celebrating the Colman’s. It is currently (October, 14) dismantled as panels, in store at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, in the care of NNUH’s Arts Project and its chief, Emma Jarvis.

The panel is built round a pair of panels with the text (repunctuated):

“Geoffrey Russell Rees Colman, 1892 – 1935, chairman of this hospital 1932-33, in whose memory this maternity wing
was built by his parents Russell James Colman and Edith Margaret Colman, in the year of our Lord 1938. For thy peace thou wast beloved.”

SKN heraldic G_R_R_Colman inscription_text

Here’s a gallery of other images from this heraldic work:

  • DSCN2861_thumb33
  • DSCN2862_crop88
  • DSCN2853_crop56
  • DSCN2855_crop54
  • DSCN2852_crop71
  • DSCN2856_crop25
  • DSCN2857_crop31
  • DSCN2858_crop85
  • DSCN2861_crop21
  • DSCN2860_crop82
  • DSCN2863_crop63
  • DSCN2868_crop83
  • DSCN2866_crop32

Unique 1945 Hamburg book: the 79th and “Hobart’s Funnies”

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / Mind & body / On art on 17 October 2014. One comment.

I have come across and now have a unique, beautiful book, The Story of 79th Armoured Division: October 1942 – June 1945, published  by its officers and men in July 1945 in the ruins of Hamburg, which they had just helped capture. I long to know more about the circumstances of this astonishing piece of work…. More »

Stanley Kennedy North’s Norwich glass #2

Posted by RDN under Uncategorized on 13 October 2014. No comments.

Here, further to the first SKN glass post, on his Wheel of Life, is another, on his Tree of Life, similarly commissioned by the Colman family.

Here’s a gallery on The Tree of Life:

  • DSCN2839_thumb
  • SKN Tree of Life small web size
  • DSCN2842_relit
  • DSCN2841_relit
  • DSCN2839_relit
  • DSCN2838_relit
  • DSCN2837_relit
  • DSCN2835_relit
  • DSCN2836_relit
  • DSCN2833_relit
  • DSCN2834_relit
  • DSCN2832_relit
  • DSCN2828_relit
  • DSCN2830_relit
  • DSCN2822_relit
  • DSCN2827_relit
  • DSCN2826_relit
  • DSCN2825_relit
  • DSCN2824_relit
  • DSCN2823_relit
  • DSCN2821_relit
  • DSCN2831_relit
  • DSCN2840_relit
  • DSCN2851_crop_ToL maybe (2)

And some discussion of the work…

More »

Stanley Kennedy North’s Norwich glass #1

Posted by RDN under On art on 9 October 2014. No comments.


Stanley Kennedy North did three beautiful large stained glass works for the  Colman mustard family of Norfolk to commemorate their donations to Norwich’s pre-NHS hospitals. The works are now in the care of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s Arts Project, managed by Emma Jarvis. One of the works, The Wheel of Life, is on display. Emma Jarvis kindly let me see and photograph two others in store, The Tree of Life and a Colman family heraldic device.

[Material coming soon for The Tree of Life and for the Colman heraldic work.]

Here is a gallery of the Wheel of Life:

  • The Thumb image for SKN

    Trial thumb image for SKN

  • SKN WoL entire
  • SKN WoL astrology detail
  • SKN WoL bird detail
  • SKN WoL bird detail
  • SKN WoL detail
  • SKN WoL astrology detail
  • SKN WoL detail
  • SKN WoL detail

    SKN WoL Astrology detail Taurus

  • SKN WoL
  • SKN WoL detail

    SKN WoL astrological figure: Aquarius man with pitcher

  • SKN WoL

    SKN WoL astrological figure: Pisces fish

  • SKN WoL detail

    SKN WoL astrological figure: Venus wth mirror

  • DSCN281847
  • SKN WoL detail

    Astrological figure: Gemini twins

  • SKN WoL detail

    SKN WoL Astrological figure: Lion

The Wheel of Life is about six feet high by four or five feet wide. Typically of SKN’s work, it is a joyous mix of Arts and Crafts and Modernism. It celebrates the human, including agriculture; flora and fauna; and has an astrological theme as well.

The Britten-Pears Red House experience

Posted by RDN under Mind & body on 6 October 2014. No comments.

At long last I have visited the Britten-Pears residence, shrine and museum which is the Red House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk. It was indeed up there with the Bloomsberries’ Charleston, near Eastbourne,;or with Karen Blixen’s Rungstedland, near Copenhagen (or her house by the Ngong Hills, near Nairobi). All are places where creative people surrounded themselves with good taste. Above all, the Red House could be compared with the wonder of Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. Both these East Anglian gems are, after all, pilgrimages for the “Soft-Modernism” which the middle classes adopted from their post-war Bohemian leaders in style. In the event, the Red House excelled, and was almost a disappointment too. More »

Jessica Chastain’s “Salomé”

Posted by RDN under On movies / On theatre on 22 September 2014. No comments.

Al Pacino’s Salomé efforts are really wonderful and  I want to rattle on about all three: the film of the play; the documentary about the filming of the play; and the Stephen Fry Q&A on Sunday 21 September at the BFI. My main point is that Jessica Chastain was the star of all of them. More »

Medea: Revenge and The Avengers at the NT

Posted by RDN under On theatre on 5 September 2014. No comments.

Helen McRory’s Medea was unmatchable, I’d guess. She is superb as the woman close to a complete breakdown but never more magnificent and even sometimes in an eerie sort of control, and not without wit and guile. Not at all without those latter, though at her wits’ end. But let’s get down to business – the bits she’s not accountable for.   More »

David Hare’s Skylight revived

Posted by RDN under On theatre on 1 September 2014. No comments.

I like the idea of liking David Hare as a pretty good playwright of the human heart who is hopeless when he lets his NW1 soft-left liberalism close his mind like a clam. But his Skylight, recently reprised in the West End, and by the NT live in cinemas, makes this quite difficult. More »

Hobo’s 79th Armoured Division insignia

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / On art / On books on 28 August 2014. No comments.

This is the famous insignia of the 79th Armoured Division. It seems very likely that, like the 79th itself, it was designed by General Percy Hobart (Sir Percy, as he became). If so, he was as creative with a pencil as with his military planning. He was certainly close friends with writers and artists, including Eric Kennington, one of the best war artists of WW1 and WW2.

The Bull's Head insignia of the 79th Armoured Division

The Bull’s Head insignia of the 79th Armoured Division

For more on this story, see below…

More »