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).

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

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). Read more...

Published

17 October 2014

Stanley Kennedy North’s Norwich glass #2

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: And some discussion of the work... Read more...

Published

13 October 2014

Stanley Kennedy North’s Norwich glass #1

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. This is #1, The Wheel of Life,… Read more...

Published

09 October 2014

Hobo’s 79th Armoured Division insignia

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 For more on this story, see below... Read more...

Published

28 August 2014

Stanley Kennedy North: Medieval homages, c1920s

Stanley North, or Stanley Kennedy North (and sometimes, as below in the carol work, Kennedy North) as he became on his marriage to Helen Kennedy (his second wife), was a strikingly modern illustrator but almost as much a passionate medievalist - as we see in various images in the rest of this page. The image below is a detail from SKN's triptych for the Royal Academy of Music, which best described at the RAM's online museum and best seen at the BBC/PCF site. SKN's Royal Academy of Music tribute to Tobias Matthay, detail Moving on to other rather similar Stanley North medievalist offerings, see below... Read more...

Published

27 August 2014

Stanley Kennedy North folk dance book, 1921

Stanley North, by then calling himself Stanley Kennedy North, in recognition of his marriage to Helen Kennedy, illustrated and (presumably) produced this marvellous little book, Mr North’s Maggot (so called after a folk dance formulation). It is dedicated to Helen and has a foreword by Cecil Sharp, the great revivalist… Read more...

Published

27 August 2014

Stanley North WW1 “Child’s ABC”, 1914

Sometime during the autumn of 1914 (I am presuming), my grandfather, Stanley North produced these marvellous images to illustrate Geoffrey Whitworth’s “Child’s ABC of the War”. It was in the spirit of much of the artistic and literary response to the declaration of war. Here is a gallery of the… Read more...

Published

25 August 2014

79th Armoured Div souvenir, 1945

Gillian Parnell came across this remarkable cigarette box, presumably made in Hamburg in 1945 by or for the 79th Armoured Division. As of 25 August 2014, she has it on sale at eBay. Pix below.... Read more...

Published

25 August 2014

Loving the fake (#2 of 2): Human zoos

I love the "problem" of tourism and - most sharply - the problem of the "human zoo". Almost all our travel, at least where it involves looking at people rather than landscape or animals, has a dimension of anthropological voyeurism. Much of it is a matter of play-acting amongst imagined peasantries or primitives. This has now reached new heights of self-consciousness, and is blissfully funny as well as serious.... Read more...

Published

24 April 2014

Loving the fake (#1 of 2): Digital rip-offs

I love the idea of fake art in the age of digital rip-offs. To put it in grander terms, I love the "issue" of conservation - facsimile, and reproduction, actually - in an age of mass culture and digitalisation. (In my next blog, I want to riff in rather the same way about the modern issue of tourism and anthropology, flowing from Human Zoo tourism.) We have entered a wonderful time in which re-envisioning, for instance, Tutankhamun, Seti I and and Piranesi fairly make the mind explode with potential. I explore some of this below the fold: Read more...

Published

24 April 2014
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