Monday, October 05, 2015

Callum James Books: Short List #20

I can't quite believe that I am saying this but I have sent out in the last few days my 20th Short List! The first one was sent out in May 2011 I see now, looking back through my files. The Short Lists go out only to those on my mailing list (not an overwhelming proposition as you can see by the roughly five a year pace suggested by the above!). The lists contain mainly gay-interest literature and ephemera but also lots of other things that appear on Front Free Endpaper and similar.

If you would like to be on the list simply click on the email link at the top of this page to the right and let me know.

Vintage Swimwear...

The top photograph in this post is one which I bought recently and now resides in my collection. The two below however are much more interesting and thank you to Per Anderson, correspondent of Front Free Endpaper for thinking of us all and scanning these two that he found in his father's photo album. They were two friend's of Per's father who worked for the Danish resistance during WW2 and the photographs are taken in the garden of an aunt where they hid while undercover. The two young men pictured here became policemen after the war and remained friends their whole lives.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Howard Hardiman - Mythology

Tonight is the opening night of an exhibition on the Isle of Wight (just over the water from Callum James Books HQ) of a series of drawings by Howard Hardiman called Mythology. Howard first came to the attention of Front Free Endpaper through the graphic novel The Lengths which tells a love story among London's rent boys, with all the characters drawn as dog-headed men, and based on interviews with real sexworkers.

For some time now, through ill-health, Howard has been based on the island and these meticulous drawings are, on one level a meditative exercise, making thousands of tiny and repetitive marks provides as an escape from otherwise constant pain. On another level, that same turning inwards that is a result of such meticulous work is reflected in the subject matter which links universal myths to the artist's own world.

The exhibition is at The Brading Roman Villa and runs until 31st January 2016.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sultry Young Man

Today has been an excellent buying day and the results will be in upcoming catalogues as soon as I've had a chance to catalogue things but we have ranged from 1980s goth/post-punk lyrics back a hundred years to 1880s sketchbooks. An alongside those things and others, this solitary postcard came to my attention at the back of a junk shop today and, given the sultry good-looks I thought he ought to come home with me: taken in Coney Beach Studios in Porthcawl...

Monday, September 14, 2015

1940s Hand-painted Patterned Papers

Readers with long memories may recall eighteen months ago, this post, in which I showed off some stunning hand-painted patterned papers I had bought by one Gwendoline K. Young, whom I assume to be an art student in the 1940s. It's only now, digging around under a chair (!) that I have discovered a whole batch more of these great period designs. It's possible I didn't include these in the previous post because they are bigger, some of them over 20" on the long side and therefore not amenable to scanning. These images here are photographs, always slightly duller and not as crisp as a good scan, but I hope they give something of the measure of the collection.

...And to answer the email questions that I know will come, yes the collection will be for sale in my next Short List in a few weeks time so if you are not signed up to my mailing list please click immediately on the email link at the top(ish) of the right hand column and ask me to add you on!

1960s Penguin Illustrated Book Covers

I have been scanning some mainly 1960s Penguin book covers, a period in which they used a lot of line illustrators, so I thought I would share some of them here. From top to bottom the illustrators are Robin Jacques, Enzo Apicella, Adrian Bailey, 'the author' (i.e. Sandy Wilson), Osbert Lancaster, Adrian Bailey again, Ronald Searle and Charles Raymond.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Karmic Astrology and Naked Planets

Hard to resist these cards which are marketed as "Tarot Astro Karmique" although they are a long way from either divinatory Tarot cards or the continental European playing cards also called Tarot. These were published by Editions Dusserre in 1991 (despite their rather 1980s vibe) and are intended for use as divinatory cards relating to a rather niche brand of astrology which attempts to link your past lives and karmic debts to its telling of your future path in this life. That said, what great cards! There are a few women featured on some of the cards that I haven't scanned, but overwhelmingly this is a homage to the sinuous, naively painted male form. Is it just me or does the gaydar ping somewhat browsing through these images? Strangely, although the accompanying booklet is given as by Eric Jansen, the images are nowhere signed nor credited and so we might have to assume that the author is also the artist.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Jean Cocteau: Church Decoration II

The chapel of St Blaise des Simples is set in a garden in the small town of Milly La Foret a short distance from Paris. This series of black and white postcards arrived today and show the amazing decoration of the interior by Jean Cocteau in 1959. The garden is dedicated to growing medicinal and healing herbs and plants, which explains the tall flowers as part of the scheme in the chapel. There are, of course, colour photos easily discoverable with your favourite search engine.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Jean Cocteau Decorates a Church

Most people's knowledge of Jean Cocteau as a visual artist is related to his films and to his simple line drawings of nude men with often very homoerotic themes. It comes as something of a surprise to some therefore to discover that he also created mural decorations for a number of churches. The book above was reprinted in 1994 to mark the 30th anniversary of his death and includes a series of photos of the unique and peculiar decorations at St Pierre, Villefranche-sur-mer on the Riviera. The actual murals have colour in them and Google will help you find hundreds of photos of them if you want to see them in that way but I think the black and white of these reproductions actually has something rather fine about them.

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