Posts Tagged ‘art’

Eric Ravilious – September

September 11, 2016

Now who’d have thought it? A double dose of interest for me this month. Not only a Ravilious wood engraving, but it is of a train.


This was an illustration for a book called ‘The Hansom Cab and the Pigeons’ published in 1935 by Cockerel Press. This company specialised in handmade books with art work by well-known exponents of illustration.

In terms of the train there is really nothing much right with it, except an overall effect.  The loco appears to have no water or coal storage and those 12 wheeled carriages would struggle on curves. And why did the bridge engineer make the train have to go up and over a hump.

But despite all this I enjoy seeing this image.


August 25, 2016

There are not so many parts of the UK which I have not visited. Actually, I have not yet made it to Northern Ireland – the 6 counties. But elsewhere I have been most places.

But Sherringham in Norfolk I barely know although I have been there. It features on my railway poster calendar for this month.


Artwork here is by Tom W Armes and the poster was used from 1948 to 1965.

I look at this and wonder how I have come to miss the place. As ever, a railway poster makes a place look very special. When I was there, back in 2005, I took a couple of photos.


Well as you can see, I’m not quite in the place. We went to a National Trust owned area – Sherringham Park.


Sherringham is on the heritage North Norfolk Railway


The railway station in Sherringham featured a modern clock and a pigeon back in 2005.



The August Ravilious Image

August 9, 2016

This is the woodcut by Eric Ravilious that I am enjoying during August.


Once again this is a cut made for the 1938 issue of A Natural History of Selborne, the landmark book by Gilbert White, first published in 1789.

This one certainly brings a smile to my face.

The calendar itself has this to say about this image.


Eric Ravilious – June

June 4, 2016

I am really enjoying the June image on my Eric Ravilious calendar. It is another illustration from the 1938 edition of Gilbert White’s ‘Natural History of Selborne’ Apparently Ravilious thought the book was fantastic and was utterly chuffed when he was asked to provide illustrations for it. And here is this month’s image.


The birds are unmistakably hoopoes. I featured the bird on this blog back in October 2014 and you can click here to read that.

But very few people actually click links so I’ll just say a few words about what the hoopoe means to me. My brother and I used to look at the image in dad’s bird book. We were both captivated by this exotic bird and as we grew up we pledged that if ever we saw one we’d tell the other person.

My time came in the early 1980s when, quite amazingly one fluttered over my garden and handily did a turn and came back when I had grabbed my wife so she could see it.

But was this a moment of elation? Well yes and no! Of course I was delighted to see this long looked for bird, but my brother had died in 1980 and I felt truly cheated that I was unable to tell him.

Close on 36 years have passed by now and time heals the wound. I look at the Ravilious image and think of my brother at the same time and I smile.

Thanks, Eric and thanks, too, to the calendar publishers.

Eric Ravilious May

May 3, 2016

Oh, I do love the works of Eric Ravilious. Yes, I prefer his water colours and particularly his Downland views, but I still have plenty of time for his woodcuts used as book illustrations. This is one of them.


This was another illustration for the 1938 edition of ‘The Natural History of Selborne’ by Gilbert White. It depicts a group of people sitting at a shelter around a large tree. A couple of men smoke long pipes and clouds scud across the sky.

It amazes me what can be achieved in just black and white. This is not the same as a black and white photo for these also use shades of grey – many more than 50 of them. Here we have either white or black and the artist has to come up with suitable textures.

Cunning stuff – and clearly this picture was chosen for May because it features a village maypole.

It’s good to report that maypoles still get used and here we see a maypole in use in my own village last year.


Deal and Walmer

April 29, 2016

I reckon I know Kent quite well. My mum was born in the county and so we often visited her Dad and other relatives in the county. For six years I had children at Uni in Canterbury and that meant frequent visits at the start and end of terms. And then we found that ancestors from longer ago came from other parts of Kent and we visited them. We have friends in Kent and my daughter now lives in the London part of Kent.

But I reckon my only visits to Walmer and Deal would have been passing through them on a train during my train spotting years back in the early 1960s.

Walmer and Deal feature on this month’s railway poster calendar.


As I lived in the south of England I might well have seen this poster adorning station platforms, encouraging folks to visit places for holidays. The poster was produced by Frank Sherwin in 1952. 1952 was the first year from which I have real, definite memories. I don’t remember this poster which probably stayed in use for years. Mind you, until around 1960 places like Deal and Walmer were just way beyond my ken. They might as well have been in outer space for all I knew about them. There seemed no possibility that one would ever visit places as far flung as these. Deal was all of 70 straight line miles from where I lived but honestly, back then this was much the same as another planet. I suspect those 70 miles would have needed four train changes and probably would have taken quite a bit of a day.

Maybe not knowing these places is an omission I should put right one day.


April 21, 2016


Let’s start with the calendar picture for Kew Gardens in April that I am enjoying this month.


Bluebells – the true native variety are such wonderful blooms – particularly when they have spread to form a carpet. That has been captured by artist Irene Fawkes who created this image in 1930.

But of course, you don’t have to go to Kew to see bluebells in profusion.  There’s a wood less than two miles from my house as the crow flies which is well known for bluebells and they can be enjoyed for free.

And there we see my wife doing just that.


image006By the way, the intrusive Spanish bluebells are very second rate and insipid by comparison.

A lost turn in family history

April 18, 2016

Actually, rather than a lost turn, we reached the wrong end of the lane. Back in 2002 we took my wife’s aunt on a jaunt in Cheshire, trying to find Lane Ends Farm where her dad and grandad had lived – grandad and great grandad for my wife. We all believed it was at Gawsworth but studies on detailed maps had not located us a Lane Ends Farm there but we did find one at Sutton nearby. In fact the village is even called Sutton Lane Ends. We went and took a look.

And here was a delightful Lane Ends Farm.


Now it has to be said straight away that our aunt felt sure this was not what she remembered and of course she was right. There is a Lane Ends Farm in Gawsworth which we found later. But there was a plaque at this Lane Ends and it caught my eye.

image004I’m a fan of Tunnicliffe, the bird artist and we have his sketch book of birds.


And there we have a long tailed tit – one of my favourites.

You might note that the year of publication of the book was the year the artist died. Apparently he saw the proofs, but not the completed book.

This picture, of spotted flycatchers was sketched out in Gawsworth in 1944.

image008The mallard sketches were also created in Gawsworth but back in 1935.

image010So Charles T. knew Gawsworth – hardly surprising as it is very close to his Sutton Lane Ends home.

I discovered a home of an artist I admire and ‘our’ Lane Ends Farm was found as well so all ended splendidly.

Eric Ravilious – April

April 16, 2016

The Sussex Trug

Art calendars are a good idea. Each new month reveals something new to explore and enjoy. The Ravilious calendar for this year is based on his woodcuts. Maybe that’s not a fashionable art form just now, but what fantastic work can be turned out – and being a wood cut, it can be repeatedly printed. Here we have the April photo I have been enjoying for a fortnight or so.


One could say this is an odd choice for April for we appear to be in the season of mellow fruitfulness and indeed this was Eric’s representation of autumn for a literary journal called the Cornhill Magazine. Our artist created this one in 1935.

I rather like the trugs that appear here. Yes they are universal, but some of us think of them as very much Sussex trugs. So here we see our Sussex trug with just a length of raffia in it.

image004This one was made by Thomas Smith of Herstmonceux.

image006 And yes, Herstmonceux, despite the foreign sounding name is in Sussex and is less than ten miles from Eastbourne where Ravilious had been a student. Trugs would surely have been familiar items in the Ravilious world.

The Musée d’Orsay

April 12, 2016

When in Paris, people tend to rave about the Louvre. I’ve only been to Paris once. My wife and I went there to celebrate our silver wedding which was quite a time ago now. Actually, the Channel Tunnel had not long opened and our son had become a qualified driver. So he was able to drive us to Salisbury from where we took a train to Waterloo which was then the Eurostar terminal. With just the one change of train it was next stop Paris!

Towns and cities tend to make me feel hedged in. Getting to them on public transport makes them better and so I have to say we had a grand time in Paris with the highlight being the Musée d’Orsay.

There’s more than one reason for this. This venue was once a major railway station.

Photo from the Musée D'Orsay web site

Photo from the Musée d’Orsay web site

It opened in 1900 and was designed to be a work of art for the Paris Exhibition of that year.  By 1939 it had been abandoned as a mainline station. The site was too small for the sleek long trains then used for long distance services. It was only used for suburban trains.

Like many a redundant building it suffered the slings and arrows of a very mixed fortune before finally becoming the art gallery for second half of the nineteenth century art which it is today. It opened its doors to the public in 1986.

But it still has the look and grace of a railway station.


From the top of the building you can peer out through a station clock.


But of course, instead of being filled with smoke and noise of a station, it is filled with fantastic works of art. I’m not good with the old masters and allegorical works. My brain copes on a ‘what you see is what you get’ level so works of the Impressionist era suit me well and of course, Musée D’Orsay is awash with such images. Photography without flash was allowed when I was there – which was in pre-digital days so I’ll just show one picture.


Here we have the unmistakable work of


Claude Monet. It is Dated 1891.

Fab place. For me, it was worth going to Paris for that alone.