Culture, Nature, and liberal issues

Page 2 of all posts

Herkenrode Stained Glass book review #1

This is the first part of a passionate layman’s ignorant and tentative review of the book The Stained Glass of Herkenrode Abbey by Isabelle Lecocq and Yvette Vanden Bemden, published by the British Academy and Oxford University Press, 2022. This first outing covers some overall impressions of the work, but concentrates on the opening 40-odd pages (out of the tome's 500-odd) which focus on the Belgian abbey; the creation and reputation of its 16th Century stained glass up until the end of the 18th Century The windows' rescue and adventurous passage to England is posted as "Herkenrode Stained Glass book #2". (Their arrival at Lichfield Cathedral, installation in the cathedral, religious symbolism and recent restoration will have to wait whilst I catch my breath and read things up.) Read more...

Published

11 May 2022

Filed in

Mind & body, On art, On books

Poem: Denmark Villas, Hove

Hove, in west Sussex, feels to me like an incubator of the future. It's not just that its population is youthful but that so many of the young seem successful. I imagine them to be getting and spending in ways probably not known ten or twenty years ago. This is an springtime upbeat piece, about 1,000 words in all, and takes around ten minutes to read aloud. Read more...

Published

22 April 2022

Filed in

Mind & body, RDN's poems

Stanley North: Artist, conservator and ruralist

This posting could be subtitled: "Adventures in ancient and Modern taste". Or: "An illustrated sketch of a controversial paintings conservator, dedicated artist, craftsman and rural revivalist". Stanley Kennedy North (1887-1942) was my grandfather and I am hoping to see his work and role recognised, interrogated and archived. Read more...

Published

14 March 2022

Filed in

Mind & body, On art, On books

A spiritualism serendipity

An odd and touching synchronicity occurred whilst I was going through my father ‘s bookshelves with an eye to downsizing the collection I inherited from him. I had seen a book of his, inscribed by hand as belonging to Vera Bax (his mother) in 1951 (additionally she wrote: “First read… Read more...

Published

11 March 2022

Filed in

Mind & body, On books, Shrink-a-library

The inspiring story of a mental institution

This is a layman's review of Better Courts Than Coroners: Memoirs of a duty of care, Volume 1, 2011, by Barone Hopper (1937-2019). It's a marvellous book (BCTC, in Hopper's shorthand): a memoir both of its author, a psychiatric nurse, and of Graylingwell, the Chichester mental institution (1897-2002) in which he worked for several years from the 1960s and of which he became an informal but diligent historian and archivist. I had not heard of Graylingwell until I read in the Annals of the Chichester Carmelite convent at Hunston that in 1929 the community's handyman gardener went to be treated, and eventually died, there. (More on that towards the end of this post.) So here was a link between Chichester institutions which share late 19th Century formation and a similar lifespan before dissolution. Both were fascinating communities. Read more...

Published

10 March 2022

Filed in

Mind & body, On books

Hunston Carmel: archive material

These notes are a partial account of the Roman Catholic Arundel and Brighton Diocese’s archive of various records of the life of the Chichester Carmel at Hunston. For convenience, I have appended some data on the community's post-Hunston diaspora. I am very open to amending any of this material if it proves inaccurate or inappropriate. This work is undertaken in the hope that it may be useful for future researchers. Read more...

Published

08 March 2022

Filed in

Mind & body

21st C “stained-glass” innovation

This is an account of innovative "stained-glass" work done by youngsters in a Sunday School in the first decade of the 21st Century. Designed for their parish church, it deploys plastics technology and was undertaken partly in reparation of mid-20th Century arson damage to its Victorian glass. I love this body of work because it shows great respect for the medieval. It is at once muscular, naive, and feeling: I risk saying that it leaps across centuries, just as great Old Stained Glass does. Read more...

Published

08 March 2022

Filed in

Mind & body, On art

William James on being alive

RDN's credo, as at New Year, 2022 is culled from William James and, being paraphrased, runs: Humanity is a worthwhile joint enterprise and being useful to it makes sense of each of us. Read more...

Published

01 January 2022

Filed in

Civilised Right-wing, Mind & body, On books

Heiresses, art, and the Midlands

Subtitle: Female affluence and patronage, or the vicissitudes of compulsive collectors. Or: Abbesses, arrivistes, aristocrats and art.

Context: Last October my wife and I broke a round trip to Northumbria with overnights in the English Midlands and came across fabulous artistic treats. I was guided partly by a Matthew Parris… Read more...

Published

12 December 2021

Filed in

Mind & body, On art, On books

Stoppard comes to Leopoldstadt

Tom Stoppard is the indispensable playwright of my generation. He is rather more: he is one of the key British cultural figures of my times. He ranks with the other knights Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Roy Strong as a person of style. As a creative talent, he ranks with… Read more...

Published

12 December 2021

Filed in

Civilised Right-wing, Mind & body, On theatre, Politics & campaigns
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