Friday, November 29, 2019

buttons and bows

East is east and west is west
And the wrong one I have chose
Let's go where they keep on wearin'
Those frills and flowers and buttons and bows
Rings and things and buttons and bows.
Don't bury me in this prairie
Take me where the cement grows
Let's move down to some big town
Where they love a gal by the cut o' her clothes
And you'll stand out, in buttons and bows.
I'll love you in buckskin
Or skirts that you've homespun
But I'll love ya' longer, stronger
Where yer friends don't tote a gun
My bones denounce the buckboard bounce
And the cactus hurts my toes
Let's vamoose where gals keep a-usin'
Those silks and satins and linen that shows
And I'm all yours in buttons and bows.
Gimme eastern trimmin' where women are women
In high silk hose and peek-a-boo clothes
And French perfume that rocks the room
And I'm all yours in buttons and bows.
Buttons and bows, buttons and bows
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jay Livingston / Ray Evans
Buttons And Bows lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Monday, November 25, 2019

pantheon of fine wimmin ... mary sidney herbert

Psalm 51

O Lord, whose grace no limits comprehend;
         Sweet Lord, whose mercies stand from measure free;
To me that grace, to me that mercy send,
         And wipe, O Lord, my sins from sinful me.
         Oh, cleanse, oh, wash, my foul iniquity;
               Cleanse still my spots, still wash away my stainings,
               Till stains and spots in me leave no remainings.
For I, alas, acknowledging do know
         My filthy fault, my faulty filthiness
To my soul’s eye incessantly doth show,
         Which done to thee, to thee I do confess,
         Just judge, true witness, that for righteousness
               Thy doom may pass against my guilt awarded,
               Thy evidence for truth may be regarded.
My mother, lo, when I began to be,
         Conceiving me, with me did sin conceive:
And as with living heat she cherished me,
         Corruption did like cherishing receive.
         But, lo, thy love to purest good doth cleave,
               And inward truth: which, hardly else discerned,
               My truant soul in thy hid school hath learned.
Then as thyself to lepers hast assigned,
         With hyssop, Lord, thy hyssop, purge me so:
And that shall cleanse the lepry of my mind.
         Make over me thy mercy’s streams to flow,
         So shall my whiteness scorn the whitest snow.
               To ear and heart send sounds and thoughts of gladness,
               That bruised bones may dance away their sadness.
Thy ill-pleased eye from my misdeeds avert:
         Cancel the registers my sins contain:
Create in me a pure, clean, spotless heart;
         Inspire a sprite where love of right may reign
         Ah, cast me not from thee; take not again
               Thy breathing grace; again thy comfort send me,
               And let the guard of thy free sprite attend me.
So I to them a guiding hand will be,
         Whose faulty feet have wandered from thy way,
And turned from sin will make return to thee,
         Whom turned from thee sin erst had led astray.
         O God, God of my health, oh, do away
               My bloody crime: so shall my tongue be raised
               To praise thy truth, enough cannot be praised.
Unlock my lips, shut up with sinful shame:
         Then shall my mouth, O Lord, thy honor sing.
For bleeding fuel for thy altar’s flame,
         To gain thy grace what boots it me to bring?
         Burt-off’rings are to thee no pleasant thing.
               The sacrifice that God will hold respected,
               Is the heart-broken soul, the sprite dejected.

Lastly, O Lord, how so I stand or fall,
         Leave not thy loved Zion to embrace;
But with thy favor build up Salem’s wall,
         And still in peace, maintain that peaceful place.
         Then shalt thou turn a well-accepting face
               To sacred fires with offered gifts perfumed:
               Till ev’n whole calves on altars be consumed.

her epitaph ...

Underneath this sable hearse,
Lies the subject of all verse,
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother.

Death, ere thou hast slain another
Fair and learned and good as she,
Time shall throw a dart at thee.

Monday, November 11, 2019

cecil harrison, an old soldier, remembered

there is an excellent memoir of cecil harrison on my brother david forward's blog

i'd like to add a few notes about my own memory of him

below you can see the war office records of his medals, earned as a soldier with the Worcesters in France and then as a pilot with the Royal Flying Corps in Egypt

cecil's name also appears on an old boys' list printed at the time ...

and this list of those who served in the worcestershire regiment ...

my father, colin forward, was a labour party member, an artist, a very hard worker, and everyone's friend

people from all walks of life came to our shabby council house to enjoy conversation with my parents

as a small boy, easily dominated and very sensitive to peer pressure, i was aware that some neighbours were contemptuous of my father's non-conformity and his pacifist views ... and during the cold war i often heard him denounced as a communist ... which he never was ... he was overly class-conscious, too sensitive about his social status ( as were many ) but was without malice ... at that time i began to wish that my family had zero interest in politics

people who were new to the town often came to knock at the front door, not realizing that the back door was always open

one such was a man on an old bicycle who seemed prematurely aged and wore agricultural clothes, yet spoke with the utmost gentility of an officer and a gentleman

cecil had come to live in croome house in ingram street, having previously spent many years struggling to live off  a small holding at sandridge, between melksham and bromham

i would hear Cecil and my father talking about politics, which only interested me in a superficial way, and i took very little notice until this happened ...

the neo-nazi National Front were hitting the headlines ... in the middle of england, they were trying to form a para-military force ...their leader was a man called Colin Jordan who was living in Coventry

cecil harrison, then an emaciated "old" man in his late sixties disapproved of fascists

he cycled from Malmesbury to Coventry overnight and found his way to Colin Jordan's doorstep in time to knock on the door before the lights came on

there was a discussion of views, there was no disturbance of the peace, and Lieutenant Harrison left and cycled back to malmesbury, having spoken his piece

over a period of a couple of years it became clear, even to a child, that cecil had been traumatised by his war experiences and by his decades-long social isolation

yet i was incapable of sympathy, only seeing him as an embarrassment

on remembrance sunday in malmesbury, maybe 1963 or 1964, dressed in his old clothes, he stood up on the steps of the war memorial in the triangle after the ceremony and asked the departing old soldiers to tarry and listen whilst he briefly and cogently warned them of the dangers of social conflict and militarism ... i don't think anyone there acknowledged his presence, let alone stood to listen properly ... surprisingly, he didn't once mention his own military service or his rank ... i only found out today, Armistice Day 2019, when I went online and payed £3.50p to check the record

i am sad and ashamed that i never showed an interest in his history or his plight until i was as old as he was when he hanged himself

Friday, November 8, 2019

rubens and velasquez met in madrid in 1628

rubens stayed for eight or nine months, 22 years older than velasquez, they became well acquainted and looked at titian's paintings together

rubens painted this whilst in madrid ... and much more ...

velasquez was working on this picture at that time ...

they must have seen titian's worship of venus together ...

rubens copied it ... brilliantly ...

and re-interpreted the theme more than ten years after ...

both painters were commissioned to provide numerous works for this project ...

e.g. ...

Rubens' The Rape of Prosperine

and ...

Velasquez' El Bufon Don Diego de Acedo

the ruins of la torre de la parada are located to the north-west of madrid

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

paleography ... how people wrote

am currently plodding through the excellent shane mccausland's massive book about the chinese calligrapher and artist and top civil servant zhao mengfu

it all started when i was watching rain falling on the roof of a japanese temple and wondered if chinese artists had been good at depicting falling rain

the short answer is NOPE, but whilst searching for images, i found zhao mengfu's portrait of a windswept mongol ?warrior? and his horse

when i did some superficial research about the artist, it soon became evident that he is a key figure in the history of chinese "culture"

as a talented administrator he was obliged to serve the conquering mongolian rulers

they appreciated the sophistication of southern chinese culture and valued his services

one of his main interests was calligraphy ... please remember that chinese was written with a brush rather than a pen

in chinese culture, good calligraphy is thought to be inextricably co-dependant on the personal and public virtues of the man who holds the brush

zhao mengfu was greatly skilled, but he was also the most respected expert on the history and the aesthetics of classical brushwork

much of the brushwork he admired was already ancient ... it is hard to summarize his views but as far as i've got then it seems he liked artists who combined expressive gestural brush strokes with clear design and legibility and with techniques that could be modified according to the context and gravity of the task

mccausland's  book is a long one, i'll let you know how it turns out  but in the meantime i need a wider knowledge base of the history of writing so i'm starting a little scrapbook

cuneiform ...

cuneiform was written by highly trained scribes who impressed lines in to clay using an edged stick or stylus cut from the stem of a large reed

chisels and stone ...

digitised lettering has left many people no longer needing a pen to write ...

when were pens first used ?

reed pens ?

most of the Dead Sea Scrolls were written with reed pens on parchment ...

feathers ?

a thousand years later, the Domesday Books were written with feather quills on parchment ...

feather quills were still in use when jefferson drafted the US declaration of independence in 1776 ...

a hands-on revolutionary of german origins, jacob shallus, "engrossed the United States' first constitution ...

this was written on parchment with a goose quill

jane austen used goose quill nibs ...

steel pens came in to popular use about 1830 ......

Thursday, October 24, 2019

tobias and the angel ... being a choirboy in the church of england, this was a story that passed me by ... i'd seen paintings but never really engaged with their narrative until i came to tenby and began to think about fish ... but only now have i learned there's more to the story ... there's a woman !

This book tells the story of Tobit, a righteous Israelite of the tribe of Naphtali, living in Nineveh after Sargon II had deported the northern tribes of Israel to Assyria in 721 BC. In the two Greek versions, the first two and a half chapters are written in the first person; in the Vulgate version, they are written in the third person.[17] Tobit, raised by his paternal grandmother, Deborah, remains loyal to the worship of God at the temple in Jerusalem, refusing the cult of the golden calves that Jeroboam, king of the northern kingdom of Israel, set up at Dan. He is particularly noted for his diligence in attempting to provide proper burials for fallen Israelites whom Sargon's successor, Sennacherib, has slain. For this behavior the king seizes his property and exiles him. After Sennacherib's death, Tobit is allowed to return to Nineveh, where he buries a man who has been murdered on the street. That night, he sleeps in the open and is blinded by bird droppings which fall into his eyes. The blindness caused by this injury strains his marriage and, ultimately, he prays for death.[18]
Meanwhile, in faraway Media, a young woman named Sarah has prayed for death in despair. The demon of lust, Asmodeus ("the worst of demons"), abducts and kills every man Sarah marries on their wedding night before the marriage can be consummated. God sends the angel Raphael, disguised as a human, to heal Tobit and free Sarah from the demon.[18]
The main narrative is dedicated to Tobit's son, Tobiah or Tobiyah (Greek: Τωβίας Tobias), who is sent by his father to collect money that the elder has deposited in distant Media. Raphael presents himself as Tobit's kinsman, Azariah, and offers to aid and protect Tobias. Under Raphael's guidance, Tobias journeys to Media with his dog.
Along the way, while washing his feet in the river Tigris, a fish tries to swallow his foot. By the angel's order, he captures it and removes its heart, liver and gall bladder.[19]

Tobias and Sara Sleep, 1860 woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld
Upon arriving in Media, Raphael tells Tobias of the beautiful Sarah, whom Tobias has the right to marry because he is her cousin and closest relative. The angel instructs the young man to burn the fish's liver and heart to drive away the demon when he attacks on the wedding night.[20] The two marry, and the fumes of the burning organs drive the demon to Upper Egypt, where Raphael follows and binds him. Sarah's father had been digging a grave to secretly bury Tobias under the assumption that he would be killed. Surprised to find his son-in-law alive and well, he orders a double-length wedding feast and has the grave secretly filled. Since the feast prevents him from leaving, Tobias sends Raphael to recover his father's money.[20]
After the feast, Tobias and Sarah return to Nineveh. There, Raphael tells the youth to use the fish's gall to cure his father's blindness. Raphael then reveals his identity and returns to heaven, and Tobit sings a hymn of praise.[20]
Tobit tells his son to leave Nineveh before God destroys it according to prophecy (compare the Book of Nahum). After the prayer, Tobit dies at an advanced age.[21] After burying his father and mother, Tobias returns to Media with his family.

the FULL story via this link ...

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

some of francis barlow's illustrations for aesop's fables, originally engraved c.1665 but this edition printed in amsterdam c.1714

i'm not sure how Barlow's plates found their way to Amsterdam  ...  you can read the french version on the gallica site of the bibliotheque national de france ...

barlow's images were often used as decoration for ceramics

come to think of it ... the amsterdam publisher recommended barlow as a copying source, presumably as a key selling point ...

for a general guide to books of aesop's fables ...

John Kirk re-created Francis Barlow's designs around 1760

Kirk's copies are meticulous
he used etching techniques as well as engraving
the copies are all reversed left-to-right

John Kirk even produced a set of Aesops fables playing cards in 1759