Archive for the ‘Art & Design’ Category


These eyes are in the ceiling of a well-known building.

Do you know which building and where it is?

If you know the building you might have an idea of who commissioned the eyes to be painted?

Here’s the bigger picture.


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Paul Nash The Void 1918

Paul Nash, The Void, 1918
Working from memory, Nash depicted the total devastation of the Great War, shocking the viewer’s sensibilities. This dark, hellish scene reveals the war’s desolation, destruction, and terror.

A new exhibition has opened at Dulwich Picture Gallery in south London, Nash, Nevison, Spencer, Gertler, Carrington, Bomberg: A Crisis of Brilliance, 1908-1922. These six artists, David Bomberg, Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, Richard (C R W) Nevison, and Stanley Spencer, were all students of the Slade School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture at University College in central London in the years around 1910.

The Slade was then opening its doors to a remarkable crop of young talents, what the Professor of Drawing, Henry Tonks, later described as the school’s second and last ‘Crisis of Brilliance’ (the first included Augustus John, Percy Wyndham Lewis, and William Orpen). Bomberg, Nash and Nevison became war artists in the First World War, and Nash and Spencer were also war artists in the Second World War.  In A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War (Old Street Publishing, 2009), David Boyd Haycock tells the story of this entangled, war-defined group (Bomberg was not included).

David Bomberg Study for Sappers at Work France

David Bomberg, Study for Sappers at Work, A Canadian Tunnelling Company, Hill 60, St Eloi, France 1918-19

The exhibition, in bringing together more than 70 original works including paintings, drawings and prints, plus original letters, documents and photographs, shows how the First World War crushed the ambitions of that generation of talented artists, who felt that they had failed to portray the full horror of the slaughter.

Brian Sewell writing in the Evening Standard on 20 June 2013, link, says ‘Rarely, if ever, have I said “Wow” on entering an exhibition in the Dulwich Picture Gallery, but I did say it last week. The cause was David Bomberg’s painting of Canadian sappers tunnelling below the trenches in the Great War …’ In the conclusion to his review, Sewell, in his typical form, says ‘I wish it were compulsory for every art student at the Slade school now [and at other schools] to spend an hour in this exhibition for I’d wager that amongst their thousands they would not muster one with the talent and skills of these half-dozen prodigious tyros of a century ago. Would “Wow” be their response? (more…)

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DictionaryMagnifyWords are sometimes used to impress, to demonstrate intellect, though it depends on who is speaking, and to whom. Conversation between philosophers or academics will seem high brow to many, and the language of scientists is too technical or just gobbledygook to most of us. That is to be expected. But when addressing a wider audience surely jargon should be avoided. In the art and literary world, though it is not exclusive to them, the use of big or smart words in articles, programmes or talks aimed at a broader public, almost appears to be mandatory. I would guess that many on the receiving end will not know what the words mean. Perhaps some will think they should, and others may be embarrassed by their lack of education.

Here are fifteen of these words . Do you know what they mean?

allegory, dichotomy, didactic, ennui, meme

narrative, oeuvre, palimpsest, paradigm, prosaic

recherché, resonance, solecism, trope, vapid

Here are the meaning of the words: Words to Impress

Is it better to use simpler words or phrases, or would that be ‘dumbing down’?

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Dust jacket of the first book in the New Naturalist series, E B Ford's Butterflies

The dust jacket of the first book in the New Naturalist series, E B Ford’s Butterflies

The New Naturalist books are a series published by Collins on a variety of natural history topics relevant to the British Isles. It is the longest-running and arguably the most influential natural history series in the world with more than 100 volumes published over almost 70 years.

The first to appear was E B Ford’s Butterflies in 1945. The authors of the series are usually eminent experts, often professional scientists, giving the series authority. The books are written in scientific style, but are intended to be readable by the non-specialist, and are an early example of popular science in the media. Being a numbered series, with a very low print run for some volumes, they are highly collectable. Second-hand copies of the rarer volumes, in very good condition, can command high prices. There is a New Naturalist Collectors Club, which publishes three or four newsletters each year.

Some of the dust jackets for the books in the New Naturalist series

Some of the dust jackets for the books in the New Naturalist series

The dust jacket illustrations are stunning and have a distinctive style. Until 1985, the illustrations were done by Clifford and Rosemary Ellis. Since then Robert Gillmor has designed the dust jackets..

Volume 82, The New  Naturalists, describes the series to date, with authors’ biographies and a guide to collecting the books. A detailed history of the dust-jackets can be found in Art of the New Naturalists by Peter Marren, which was published by Collins in 2009. A full list of the 136 volumes that have been published to date can be found here.

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