Oct 31 2011: Three (Mostly) Unintentional Halloween Style Photographs from Snapshot Collections (1950s and 70s)

Three images selected from a folder of scanned photographs to fit the general Halloween mood. The three elderly ladies larking about at a fairground stall, turning themselves into witches around a bubbling cauldron, is comic and quirky enough, I suppose, but there’s something more genuinely unsettling about the other two photographs here, mainly because neither intends to … Continue reading

Oct 30 2011: Reader’s Diary (Brittle Star Magazine, May 2010)

Of the three addictions that have shaped my life, I can only remember with certainty where the least desirable of them began: with an Embassy filter-tip, one summer afternoon outside a corrugated iron shed in New Quay, mid-Wales, at the antique restoration workshop where I spent my teenage Saturdays working. With music, I can clearly … Continue reading

Oct 29 2011: Twenty One Victorian Studio Portraits of Women in a Variety of Settings: Second Part (English, c.1880 – 1900)

The final gathering of Victorian studio portraits features 21 further images of women, as before seen in artificial and contained settings, in a variety of poses, and with a range of props that includes flowers, books, hats and furnishings of various kinds (side-tables seem to feature quite heavily). With yesterday’s gallery of 24 similar images, this … Continue reading

Oct 28 2011: Twenty Four Victorian Studio Portraits of Women in a Variety of Settings: First Part (English, c.1880 – 1900)

Following the galleries of Victorian studio portraits of children and men posted here earlier in the week, here is the first part of a far larger gallery of images of women from the same period. It’s not clear why there are so many more portraits of females: perhaps it reflects a bias in the collection as … Continue reading

Oct 27 2011: After ‘The Flea’: John Donne Responds to the Present Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral (October 27, 2011)

Reading today about the resignation, on a matter of Christian principle, of Canon Giles Fraser from his role at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and the petulant responses of the present Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, the Dean of St Paul’s, the Right Rev Graeme Knowles, and other Church authorities over the past week to the presence of … Continue reading

Oct 26 2011: Eleven Victorian Studio Portraits of Men, Plus One Couple (English, 1880 – 1900)

Following on from yesterday’s post featuring eleven Victorian studio portraits of children, here are twelve more, eleven of men, and one showing a couple posed beside a clearly artificial Country Stile in formal dress: the man holds a top hat, and the lady doesn’t seem attired for such activities as, let’s say, actually attempting to climb … Continue reading

Oct 25 2011: Eleven Victorian Studio Portraits of Children (English, 1880 – 1900)

A few weeks ago, I opened a cigar box at the Cattle Market and found inside 50 or 60 small Victorian studio portraits, mainly of women (presumably mementoes taken so that absent husbands and intendeds could carry the likenesses of their loves with them) alongside smaller numbers of images of children and men. While there’s little especially … Continue reading

A Return to Victoriana: Maggy Milner and Tracey Emin (NVA, 2011)

Brian Walden: Obviously Britain today is a very different country from the one it was in Victorian times, when there was great poverty and great wealth, but you’ve really outlined an approval of what I would call Victorian values. Now is that right? Margaret Thatcher: Oh exactly. Very much so. Those were the values when … Continue reading

Oct 23 2011: Postwar Exercises from Design Drawing One by John Rolfe (EUP, 1975)

This set of exercises selected from a 1975 schools textbook for students of technical drawing contains many vanished emblems of postwar British design, ranging from British Rail, Leyland and other nationalized industries to such (then) hyper modern consumer products as the transistor radio, electric toaster and fan heater. The Post Office Tower, pylons, the distinctive decorative … Continue reading

Oct 22 2011: Photograph of a Woman and Two Girls in an Unidentified Landscape With Cacti (Date and Location Unknown)

This is a strangely beautiful image, granted a slightly surreal air by the cacti looming over the heads of the woman (a nurse, perhaps?) and two girls in the foreground. Behind them, a door appears to lead into the hillside itself, suggesting some kind of cave dwelling or shelter. It’s not clear where the landscape … Continue reading