Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sultry Young Man

Today has been an excellent buying day and the results will be in upcoming catalogues as soon as I've had a chance to catalogue things but we have ranged from 1980s goth/post-punk lyrics back a hundred years to 1880s sketchbooks. An alongside those things and others, this solitary postcard came to my attention at the back of a junk shop today and, given the sultry good-looks I thought he ought to come home with me: taken in Coney Beach Studios in Porthcawl...

Monday, September 14, 2015

1940s Hand-painted Patterned Papers

Readers with long memories may recall eighteen months ago, this post, in which I showed off some stunning hand-painted patterned papers I had bought by one Gwendoline K. Young, whom I assume to be an art student in the 1940s. It's only now, digging around under a chair (!) that I have discovered a whole batch more of these great period designs. It's possible I didn't include these in the previous post because they are bigger, some of them over 20" on the long side and therefore not amenable to scanning. These images here are photographs, always slightly duller and not as crisp as a good scan, but I hope they give something of the measure of the collection.

...And to answer the email questions that I know will come, yes the collection will be for sale in my next Short List in a few weeks time so if you are not signed up to my mailing list please click immediately on the email link at the top(ish) of the right hand column and ask me to add you on!

1960s Penguin Illustrated Book Covers

I have been scanning some mainly 1960s Penguin book covers, a period in which they used a lot of line illustrators, so I thought I would share some of them here. From top to bottom the illustrators are Robin Jacques, Enzo Apicella, Adrian Bailey, 'the author' (i.e. Sandy Wilson), Osbert Lancaster, Adrian Bailey again, Ronald Searle and Charles Raymond.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Karmic Astrology and Naked Planets

Hard to resist these cards which are marketed as "Tarot Astro Karmique" although they are a long way from either divinatory Tarot cards or the continental European playing cards also called Tarot. These were published by Editions Dusserre in 1991 (despite their rather 1980s vibe) and are intended for use as divinatory cards relating to a rather niche brand of astrology which attempts to link your past lives and karmic debts to its telling of your future path in this life. That said, what great cards! There are a few women featured on some of the cards that I haven't scanned, but overwhelmingly this is a homage to the sinuous, naively painted male form. Is it just me or does the gaydar ping somewhat browsing through these images? Strangely, although the accompanying booklet is given as by Eric Jansen, the images are nowhere signed nor credited and so we might have to assume that the author is also the artist.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Jean Cocteau: Church Decoration II

The chapel of St Blaise des Simples is set in a garden in the small town of Milly La Foret a short distance from Paris. This series of black and white postcards arrived today and show the amazing decoration of the interior by Jean Cocteau in 1959. The garden is dedicated to growing medicinal and healing herbs and plants, which explains the tall flowers as part of the scheme in the chapel. There are, of course, colour photos easily discoverable with your favourite search engine.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Jean Cocteau Decorates a Church

Most people's knowledge of Jean Cocteau as a visual artist is related to his films and to his simple line drawings of nude men with often very homoerotic themes. It comes as something of a surprise to some therefore to discover that he also created mural decorations for a number of churches. The book above was reprinted in 1994 to mark the 30th anniversary of his death and includes a series of photos of the unique and peculiar decorations at St Pierre, Villefranche-sur-mer on the Riviera. The actual murals have colour in them and Google will help you find hundreds of photos of them if you want to see them in that way but I think the black and white of these reproductions actually has something rather fine about them.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Frederick Rolfe and Vincent O'Sullivan - A Slight Ex-libris Connection

There are some little piece of paper that can really connect us to the past. In this case, a somewhat battered ex-libris plate from St Mary's College, Oscott. At the time this bookplate was in use, two of the great names of the 1890s were both in residence, one as a schoolboy, the other as a seminarian and teacher. St Mary's was, and remains, a Roman Catholic seminary, but in the late 1800s it had a school for catholic boys as well as a full-blown seminary for training men for the priesthood. Sometimes the seminarians acted at teachers in the boys' school. So It was here that Frederick Rolfe (soon to be styling himself Baron Corvo and writing astonishingly baroque fiction) was, for a brief time before being asked to leave, a seminarian and, at the same time a teacher to Vincent O'Sullivan whose morbid musings on art and life would go on to fill such an important place in the corpus of the 1890s. Whatever book this came from in the college library may well have passed through the hands of one or both of them!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Vintage Men

Always a good way to jump start the postings again after a bit of a break with a handful of hunky chaps from some distance in the past. None of these guys reside in my collection but I have swept them together from various parts of my hard drive for your delectation. The file names all suggest that they came from the Internet originally but some of them maybe some time ago. 

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