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Posts under ‘On art’

I am a keen looker at art: not, I think, a connoisseur, nor an ignoramus. Definitely not a practitioner. I am keen on the British tradition in art, and perhaps especially the development of a civilised Modernism (as opposed to dogmatic Modernism).

Jews and design in post-war Britain

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On art on 14 December 2017. No comments.

The Jewish Museum in Camden Town, London, has put on a revelatory exhibit: Designs on Britain. It’s about the works of Jewish émigré designers who escaped Hitler’s Reich to settle here. Their images and inventions contributed to the upbeat, the witty, the bright – and also sometimes the edgy –  in the day-to-day experience of British people. By the way, the show does not feature the most famous Jewish designer of the period: Abram Games was born in the UK (and has had his own one-man show at the Museum).

Hardly anyone, I think, realised or realise just how many Jewish people produced the designs which populated our lives back then. Because I can find no one-stop online bringing-together of this story, here’s my rather casuual and amateur attempt…

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Polite Modernism: Eric Parry & the Other Tradition

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On art / On books on 28 June 2017. No comments.

What Colin St John Wilson called “The Architecture of Invitation” or “The Other Tradition”, I call “Polite Modernism”. Its finest living exponent is Eric Parry, who is firmly in the CSJW tradition, both academic and creative. And now he has delivered what looks like an excellent successor to CSJW’s British Library, and Denys Lasdun’s Royal College of Physicians. Actually, his headquarters for the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers has a decent claim to be the ultimate in the genre so far.

After the fold, there’s an account of what Polite Modernism is, and how it fits into Brutalism and Modernism, and even post-modernism.

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Remembering Billy, killed in Burma, May 1945

Posted by RDN under On art on 3 May 2015. One comment.

I want to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the death in action of my half-uncle Billy Filson-Young in Burma on 15 May, 1945, aged 25.

His mother was the poet and painter Vera Bax (it’s complicated) and she wrote a series of poems about the deaths of her youngest son Richard (a pilot killed in action in 1942, aged 21) and Billy himself. They are of course grief-stricken poems. But they embolden me, too. More »

Mr Turner’s inaccuracies

Posted by RDN under On art / On movies on 17 January 2015. No comments.

Mike Leigh’s film of Turner’s later years is almost always lovely, occasionally very touching,  and often instructive. But some of its assumptions and presumptions are amazingly and even ruinously impertinent…… More »

Stanley North’s 1924 London & World maps

Posted by RDN under On art on 7 November 2014. No comments.

In 1924, Stanley Kennedy North drew two maps, one for the Thomas Cook tourist business and the other a London transport map for the 1924 British Empire Exhibition (the one featured in The King’s Speech). Below the fold, I have posted links to the maps, in a form which allows you to zoom, pan and scroll within the images.

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War and art on BBC R4’s BH

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On art / RDN's media outings on 2 November 2014. No comments.

I had an outing on this Sunday morning show as a paper reviewer (and squibbist on Strictly Come Dancing) and said one thing which may have seemed distasteful. Can I try to put things right here, below the fold?

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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. (See #1 here and #2  here.)

SKN did three pieces of stained glass for the great Norfolk mustard makers, 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. 28 comments.

In around 2013 I was given a unique, beautiful book, The Story of 79th Armoured Division: October 1942 – June 1945, published  by the unit’s officers and men in July 1945 in the ruins of Hamburg, which they had just helped liberate. Since then, I have researched a fair bit and here is what I think I know, or can reasonably guess at…. Update: December 2017 brought a new hypothesis that Broschek of Hamburg may have produced the book (see below). More »

Stanley Kennedy North’s Norwich glass #2

Posted by RDN under On art on 13 October 2014. No comments.

This is the second of three posts on Stanley Kennedy North’s stained glass commissioned by the Colman family of Norfolk. Here, further to the first SKN glass post, on his Wheel of Life, is another, on his Tree of Life. The third post is a heraldic panel devoted to the Colman’s.

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
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  • DSCN2828_relit
  • DSCN2830_relit
  • DSCN2822_relit
  • DSCN2827_relit
  • DSCN2826_relit
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  • DSCN2821_relit
  • DSCN2831_relit
  • DSCN2840_relit
  • DSCN2851_crop_ToL maybe (2)

And some discussion of the work…

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