Thursday, 30 June 2011

Winter by Doris Twinn

Winter by Doris Twinn

I am standing still by a little wood,
And a throstle sings as I wish I could,
And a robin hops where I mean to pass,
And a rabbit bobs in the long brown grass -
Oh, winter-sweet is the little wood;

I have found a lane, between hedges bare,
With a house so small it is hardly there.
The diamond-windows are eyes, I suppose;
The beams in the middle, its pointed nose;
The door its mouth, and the thatch its hair.

Mow I go along by the hawthorn hedge,
And I came to a dark pool, ringed with sedge,
In a field where a flock of peewits were -
For they flew away at my footfalls stir
With sweeping flight to the sunset-edge.

Now the sky has faded from winter-blue,
To a tender grey that is pearly too,
And the great low sun is behand a veil
Of ridges of cloud that smokily sail,
Letting the blaze of the gold shine through.

Tales have ending in the west.
See ! A hare speeds home to his evening rest;
I, too, will set out on the homeward way,
A-dream with those things I can never say -
Maybe 'tis silence fits the best.

These illustrations are pen and ink by the artist C Marjorie Hardie and for a childrens' story book called "Our Girls Gift Book 1929" This was for sale at the time of posting - see -

Friday, 24 June 2011

Jean Vernon (1897-1975)

If you like art deco design them this artist is for you. He created some of the best decorative bronze medal of the mid 20th century and is amongst my favourites. However, I did not really know any thing about the man and his career. So here I have tried to piece togother the story from various references on the net.

First a few pictures -

Jean Vernon (1897-1975) also known as Jean De Vernon was a French artist who specialised in designing medal and small works in bronze. He studied in Paris at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He earned many awards during his career including; the Honour, Gold and Silver medals at the Salons des Artistes Français and the Taylor Prize (1957). He served in the army during WW1 being awarded the Croix de Guerre 1914-1918.

His medallic works include a medal struck for the maiden voyage of the French Liner Normandie from Le Havre to New York in 1935 and a series of ten? medals illustrating the fables of Jean de La Fontaine (1937-42). Among his other works were "Our Lady of the Wings" for Le Bourget airport and a number of ceremonial swords for members of the Academie Francaise.

From the series of fables.

The medals I have had and seen have all been signed "Jean Vernon" in an art deco script.

To return to the "20thC Medal Artists" index - CLICK HERE
This blog is "free to all" with no joining fees - financed by the few clicks on sponsored adverts.

Internet references include;

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Anyone for Tennis

As we are currently saturated with coverage of the Tennis at Wimbledon I thought I might share these with you.

A pair of original pen and ink originals, for illustrations in a 1920's Girl's book. I think this was for Our Girls' Tip Top 1929 published by Renwicks of Otley..

I guess the slightly perplexed look on the girls face is because her racket would appear to be without strings !! --  You can imagine all the girl's busily cutting their string out hoping that it might improve their game.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

E A Sallis Benney

The other day I walk in out of the rain into one of my favourite antique bazaars in Lewes. The picture below just shouted at me from across the room. At first I thought Hesketh-Hubbard but on nearing it the signature was new to me. At first difficult to decipher and then all came in to focus as E A Sallis Benney !! who ?

Time to hit the books and internet and the result ?? the sort of story I love and a cross over from my love of prints to applied design – more of that later – so read on.

Ernest Alfred Sallis Benney (1894-1966) was a painter, printmaker and leading art teacher. He studied at the Bradford School of Arts and Crafts and at the Royal College of Art. He went on to be head of various art schools including Northwich School of Art, Salisbury School of Art and principal at Brighton College of Art from 1934. His son Gerald Benney was a world renown silversmith and designer.

He exhibited his works of art widely including at; Royal Academy 10 works, Royal Society of British Artists 30, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 4

His time at Brighton is regarded as the most important era in it's history. He arrived with new ideas and an ambition to turn the school into a college with an international reputation. As well as leading innovations in visual arts, he introduced departments in theatrical and cinematographic arts and instruction in set design, scene painting, stage lighting, theatrical model making, wig making and make-up.

Ernest Alfred Sallis Benney died in 1966 but thanks in no small part to him the school continued to grow and in 1967 a brand new College of Art building was opened on Grand Parade on the site of the old Municipal School of Art. 

Designed by Percy Billington the iconic, curved building comprised a department of fine art, library, refectory, and a hall which would become the focus of theatrical productions.

My version of the print was not dated but came with a note stating "
This is a lino-cut given to Dorothy Avery as a wedding gift by E A Sallis Benney, August 1947". I was able to find another version for sale at Charter Prints and his is dated 1927. Another version can be found in the Aldrich Collection of Brighton City Art Gallery.

The cross over with applied design is to Ernest youngest son Gerald (1930-2008) the well respected and influential designer and silversmith. I think I will have to write a separate posting on Gerald - so remember to register as a "friend" to avoid missing the next instalment.

Internet references include;

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Roger Guerin - Belgium Pottery

A recent purchase prompted a bit of research.

I found this interesting art pottery vase in a local shop at a reasonable price and bought it wothout knowning any thing about it. Initially I thought if might have been by Alphonse Cyteres; a French pottery working at Rambervillers in the early 20th C, but I soon realized that whilst the style of signature was similar it was not the same. Looking in my books, many French potters had similar script marks with long tails.

My first stop for continental pottery and faiences is always my friend Alan at he always has a selection of interesting pots for sale. Yes, straight away I found pottery marked Guerin which looked very similar. A bit of googling later and I'm sure it is by the pottery Roger Guerin 1896-1954.

Roger Guérin was Belgian potter from the village of Bouffioulx. He started his own workshop in 1918 with his son Jules Guerin taking over in about 1945. Dating seems to be a problem, generally accepted that incised "R Guerin" marks are earlier with simple Guerin signatures, some impressed, are after c1925. Items marked Gres d'art R. Guerin Bouffioulx are probably about 1930. Roger appears to have exhibited his pots Paris during the 1930's and he was a member of the Socieate des Gres d'art de Bouffioulx.

Here are a few more found on Google.

These are beautifully made pot and some are quite large and impressive looking. The prices on some of the American site are staggering $500-600 for larger ones else where like at Mayfield Pottery the prices for smaller examples are typically £30-50 each. I would guess that these would not be to current UK tastes as large brown pots are not a colour currently in vogue. Bring back the enthusiast who buys for the artistic and technical merit.

Internet references;

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Dr Christopher Dresser - Designs

A simple posting today and more on one of my all time favourite industrial designers - Dr Christopher Dresser.

Nothing contentious, no attribution problems, just good original designs. These designs were originally published in his book Principles of Decorative Design (1873) and later reproduced in the encyclopaedia "The Technical Educator" published by Cassells c1887. Sadly I only have volume 1 from which these illustrations are taken.

The articles are titled Principles of Design by Dr Christopher Dresser Phd, FLS etc - Introduction -Value of Art Knowledge - Meaning conveyed by Ancient Ornamentation, Egyptian Ornament - Early Christian Symbolism, Truth, Beauty, and the Power of Ornamentation, Employment of the Grotesque in Ornament, Colour in Design - General Considerations - Contrast - Harmony - Qualities of Colours - Teachings of Experience - Analytical Tables of Colour, Harmonies and Contrasts of Colour, Some General Art Principals and finally Art Furniture.

Dresser used this design as an example of power. He wrote "I have sought to embody chiefly the one idea of power, energy, force or vigour, as a dominant idea; and in order to do this, I have employed such lines as we see in the bursting buds of spring, when the energy of growth is at it's maximum."

These wonderful creatures were used to illustrate the "Employment of the Grotesque in Ornament" . You may notice a familiar motif in figure 13, which I have used for over 10 years as my logo - see about me. 

Dresser - "A chair, I have said is a stool with a back" thanks Chris, very helpful !! "There is not one chair out of fifty that we find with the back so attached to the seat as to give a maximum of strength" "Our illustrations (figs. 20-25)will give several modes of constructing chairs such as I think legitimate." I think there maybe too much form over function with these. Very strong but devilishly uncomfortable looking chairs.

Fig 20 - Dresser design .
Fig 21 - Variation on a design by Mr Eastlake.
Fig 22 - Dresser design for an armchair in a Greek style.
Fig 23 - in the manner of an Egyptian chair.
Fig 24 - Dresser design for a high backed lounging chair.
Fig 25 - A lady's chair in early Greek.

Fig 27 - a chair shown by Messers Gillow & Co in the Paris Exhibition of 1867. In many respects it is admirably constructed (he liked that one)
Fig 28 - a Gothic chair by Mr Talbert.
Fig 32 - an improved Eastlake table (presumably improved by Dresser !)
Fig 33 - End elevation of a sideboard by Mr Talbert.

I assume that Dresser's Mr Talbert is the designer Bruce James Talbert (1838-1881) and his Mr Eastlake is Charles Locke Eastlake (1836–1906).

See my earlier post - Christopher Dresser - Intro

There are many beautifully illustrated books on the subject - here are just a few.


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

John Hall Thorpe - Landscapes

We all know the work of John Hall Thorpe, we have all seen the multitude of floral woodblock prints he published. However, his landscapes and views are often over looked by the collector. Here I have tried to collate all the views I could find on the internet, which was not as many as I thought.
Bluebell Wood

There seems to be a love hate reaction to the work of Hall Thorpe. Some people love his work and are prepared to pay want it takes to own them others just can't understand what all the fuss is about and why they are so highly valued.

I have a foot in both camps on this one. They are technically excellent examples of the art of woodcut printmaking, very precise, complex compositions and beautifully printed. Rare to see a slip in the register.

 The Caravan and Haymaker

 As to value I don't think anyone really knows what they are worth - for example - an ordinary common small flowers in vase say Primroses will sell on eBay every time almost without fail for between £140 - £175, sometimes more but rarely less. The condition doesn't seem to matter, framed or unframed, clean or dirty. I will price the same picture, cleaned if neccessary, new mount and frame for £250-260. I then usually sell it on to another trader, who will replace the frame for "his" style and price it £395.00 and then sell it to a collector ? which price is correct. I don't know. I have never managed to sell one to a collector. Is it all speculation?


Old Thatch

Opengate and Summer

Sky Parlour and  Piccadily


 The Lane.

Having seen lots of these prints over the years, I more regularly do not try to buy them than try to buy, as generally their condition is poor. I have no worries about browned paper or those horrid foxing spots as these can be cleaned out (at an additional cost and not without risks). What does surprise me is the prices paid for faded examples. Like the examples of The Lane above or The Haymaker below. This fading also effects the flowers, but is less obvious to see because of the heavy black background which doesn't fade. Some of his colours are quite stable, like black and reds, others including blues and green seem to fade badly.

All his work is excellent, although sometimes a little too precise and as a result lacking a bit of life, good beautiful pictures in excellent condition should be worth a lot and probably if buyers look more closely the poor examples relatively less than they often are bought for.

This was not meant to be some sort of rant or outcry against Hall Thorpe but more of a warning to fellow enthusiasts, another factor to consider when deciding whether to buy or not to buy and your assessment of relative values.

Internet references

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Jane Camp - Artist

I was reminded of this artist after watching the horse racing at Royal Ascot on the television. She is not my usual type of artist, as this one is known only for her paintings.

Training the Youngsters

Jane Camp was born in Clapham in 1932. She is a self taught artist who did not start painting until she was nearly 50. That's some latent talent hidden for too long ! She usually paints in oils or gouache with her subjects ranging from peaceful gardens, children playing to the sporting subjects that I particularly like. I have seen cricket, rugby, football, fishing as well as equestrian subjects.

In the Paddock

And how did I find her ? I had noticed a few of her works cropping up at local auctions and I was surprised to find that she lived near Dorking, where I have my retatil gallery space, I seem to be drawn to Dorking artists. The printmaker Winifred Austen was also a Dorking resident.

Her work was good enough to be accepted for exhibitions at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and at the Society of Women artists. She also held a series of one women shows at the Westcott Gallery, near Dorking. If the style looks familiar it is because her painting were reproduced by the Medici Society as greetings cards; nearly printmaking !

So, watch out for her work. It is pleasing on the eye, usually quite loosely painted, arty enough to be different but still easy to understand. I don't know whether she is still painting.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

W Wonall - Glastonbury Tor

Here are two recent purchases. Bought together and assumed by the same artist. One is titled Glastonbury Tor and signed W Wonall whilst the other is unsigned. Both are very strong images although quite simple in technique, probably woodblock.

My problem is - who is or was W Wonall.

At the time of purchase my reaction was that these were relatively recent, maybe 1970's or even newer, good bright colours and fairly clean paper. The vendor's opinion was that they were 1930's mainly based on a couple of foxing spots and very slight mount shadow mark. This method is never that reliable I have had 1980's prints covered with spots and mount marks.

No references in the usual texts - so a bit of googling was required. Any hits ?? A few but not too many, I did find out where the dealer had bought them in 2009 ! perhaps he gave up looking after 2 years.

The main reference was to the University of Victoria Art Collections. Yes, they have one !! Their version was described as "Block print or aquatint representing the tor at Glastonbury. The tor is faint and in the central background. Trees and bushes are in the foreground. Use of five shades of blue suggest the cool atmosphere of early morning or early evening." It had been purchased new in 1927 by Katherine Maltwood from Butleigh Court for £12/5/0. That was a vast amount in 1927 and can't be correct. 

At least we have a date. However, no biographical details are listed. So if any reader can help then please leave a comment and remember to become a follower to keep up with developments.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Frank Martin - Variations

There currently seems to be a lot of interest in the prints of Frank Martin. I can see from the statistics of this blog that my first posting on his Hollywood subject is my second favourite post after Devonware pottery !! I will give the prize to Frank as the most popular single subject posting.

Two recent acquisitions highlight the diffierences in his publised prints. His impressive and enormous work titled "Fontaine" was published in a edition of 8 !! a tiny numbered, especially when you consider the complexity of the picture.

Each image is made from 4 different plates each separated by a raised area like you would see at the edge of a normal etching. In addition it is hand coloured and as you can see some were also coloured differently. Possibly each was virtually unique - perhaps this explains the low number - too time consuming.

Another variation I had not considered was the question of clothing !! Yes, strangely some of the published editions have more clothes than proofs !! Here are our two versions of Glenda Farnell. The one one the left is titled 1st State i/vi whilst the other is from the published edition of 40. Now she is wearing a natty pair of shorts and a little bit more make up. If there was a 3rd state I guess she would be fully clothed and ready to party !

And here are two version of Ida Lupino

See for our current stock of pictures by Frank Martin. We are also looking to buy pictures and prints by this artist.

For more pictures of his work, try his books;
Shadowland, Pictures from a Silent Screen, Woodcuts & Drypoints
Frank Martin: Hollywood - Continental