Apr 19 2012: Painting Sunsets by Violet Parkhurst (Walter T Foster Publications, 1960s)

Although it’s something of a cliche to claim the general public neither understands nor likes conceptual art, or contemporary art that doesn’t show evidence of traditional skill, seeing such work as a species of charlatanry, I’m not sure the theory stands up when it’s examined in more detail. The guide to painting sunsets seen above … Continue reading

Apr 12 2012: A Portrait of Harry Wheatcroft (Illustration on Celluloid for an Unknown Magazine, 1970s)

A curious item, this image reproduces as best I can the image on a reddish-tinted celluloid sheet containing a photographic transfer of a watercolour portrait of Harry Wheatcroft, the Nottingham-born celebrity horticulturalist and 70s media entrepreneur whose name became synonymous with commercial rose-growing, and whose garden centre, Wheatcrofts, still trades on the edge of the … Continue reading

Mar 24 2012: Four Colour Illustrations Showing Circus Life By Edward Mortelmans (Girl Annual, 1958)

For¬†the first of four galleries of images culled from two different editions of Girl Annual – dating from 1958 and 1961 respectively – it seemed appropriate to single out this particular sequence of colour illustrations looking at circus life for their intrinsic interest. There’s something in Edward Mortelmans’ paintigs that reminds me of similar fine … Continue reading

Mar 23 2012: Aerial View Of A Crowd In An Unknown City Centre (Possibly Nottingham, c.1920s)

There’s something intriguingly elusive about this image, which both looks like the Market Square in Nottingham, viewed from somewhere near the dome on the roof of the present Council House while it was still under construction (if so, this would place the image at some point between 1927 and 1929), and, well, doesn’t look like … Continue reading

Mar 13 2012: Beyond The Suspension of Disbelief (Surface Gallery, Nottingham, March 2012)

Baldassare Castiglione, a diplomat at the Italian court of Urbino in the late 15th and early 16th century, began writing¬†The Book of the Courtier around 1508, as a kind of aspirational lifestyle guide for those intent on making their fortunes and careers in the field he had succeeded in himself. When the book was published … Continue reading

Mar 8 2012: Twenty-One Random Snapshots of Unknown Women (c.1910s – 1970s)

Since March 8th is designated International Womens’ Day by the Fawcett Society, it seems kind of appropriate to simply gather here a whole bunch of snapshots – ranging in date from the early twentieth century to the 1970s – united only by being portraits of women, either individually or in groups, in youth or age, … Continue reading

Mar 7 2012: Five Portraits Featuring an Unknown Dark-Haired Woman (c.1970s)

Ahead of a planned gallery of portraits to mark International Womens’ Day, I noticed that this particular lady turned up in several of the photographs I’d set aside to scan, creating her own sub-group of pictures within the larger group of female photographs: the odd thing is that I don’t recall these arriving together, or … Continue reading

Mar 4 2012: Group Portrait by J.F.M Photographic, King Street, Nottingham (1970s)

When I was younger, the idea that the past happened in monochrome – whether the greys of black and white film and photography, the sepia of Victorian street scenes and portraits, or the blues, greens and reddish tints that dominated silent film footage – was hard to shake. Somehow, the Second World War looked wrong … Continue reading

Mar 3 2012: A Gallery of Twenty-Nine Postcard Collages and Portraits (i.m. Wislawa Szymborska, 1923 – 2012)

When I heard news of the death of Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska on the 1st February 2012 it can’t have been too much of a surprise, given her advanced years and the presence of a cigarette in pretty much every photograph I’d ever seen of her. But, in an irony she’d perhaps have appreciated, a … Continue reading

An Interview With Yelena Popova (Primary, 2013)

Yelena Popova is a Russian-born painter based in Nottingham, and the following interview took place at her studio at Primary in the winter of 2013. An abridged version appeared in LeftLion magazine in November 2013. This full transcript of the conversation is published here in advance of the opening of her exhibition After Image at … Continue reading