Friday, November 21, 2014

Albert Wainwright Illustrates Castle in the Sun by Hilda Brearley



Hilda Brearley was a teacher, poet and author of just one novel for children, Castle in the Sun (Thomas Nelson, London: 1947), from which these illustrations by Albert Wainwright are taken. Brearley first met Wainwright twenty years earlier when they were introduced by a mutual friend and this novel and its illustrations were long in the production, so much so that the book wasn't published until after Wainwright's death. Unusually for Wainwright's book work, these are actually illustrations of the story as opposed to many of the books he 'decorated' for Sydney Matthewman at The Swan Press were his contributions did tend towards the decorative rather than the illustrative. The real added joy of this book is the colour dustjacket design, also by AW, the copy in front of me at the moment doesn't have a jacket but I have one on the way and no doubt I will share it here in due course: couldn't wait to show these off though. 

And for those of you with an interest in Wainwright who may have wondered what he looked liked, at the bottom of the post is a snapshot of him cutting quite a dashing figure taken from a page in one of his notebooks.





Vintage Swimwear: Beach Buddies


It's been a while since I have added any bona fide vintage swimwear photos to my physical collection so when these two sexy chaps dropped onto the mat this morning I felt you all might like to share them too.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Diary of a Dead Officer by Arthur Graeme West (1918)




WEST, Arthur Graeme. The Diary of a Dead Officer. The Office of the Herald, London: 1918. 

Posthumously edited by C. E. M. Joad, a contemporary of West both at school and at Oxford, the book consists of an introduction by Joad, extracts from this young officer’s diary and then his poetry, often thought to be the first realistic poetry of WW1 including titles such as “God! How I Hate You You Young Cheerful Men.” and “The Night Patrol.”. According to the sketch by Joad, West was an unhappy schoolboy on account of his conspicuously un-athletic nature and his love of caterpillars which he kept in his room and which created quite a stink, both of which things rather alienated him from the general schoolboy populace. At Oxford, however, he found life much more congenial but again Joad paints a picture of a young man with a sensitive nature that, like so many others, would be damaged beyond repair by the experience of war. "He was so devoid of push and advertisement, so quiet, tranquil and unassuming, so eminently companionable, and above all, such a good listener, that, though these things did not constitute his charm, they went some way to explain it... he was... one of those few people who really liked being alone, not so much because other people bored him, as because he did not bore himself."  

Beginning with his enlistment in a fever of duty and patriotism, the diary charts how the experience of war took away those beliefs and eventually even his belief in God. Although it has been reprinted, including in a beautifully illustrated edition by The Old Stile Press just this year, the first edition is very scarce. It was produced by the left-wing paper The Herald and printed by Francis Meynell’s Pelican Press, whose press mark is at the back of the book and this was in 1918. By 1919 publication had been taken over by George Allen & Unwin and most institutional copies bear their imprint on the title page. Some authorities even give 1919 as the year of first printing. Meynell also published Siegfried Sassoon’s Protest

[Francis Meynell was the son of Wilfred and Alice Meynell, both of whom were considerable forces in the world of publishing. Wilfred was the Managing Director of the catholic publishing house Burns and Oates and his son Francis, after an education at Downside and University College Belfast joined the company and showed a very high level of aptitude for the design of books. But Francis was something of a political radical and became a Director of the left-wing paper, The Herald, was involved in the suffrage movement and was rapidly becoming slightly embarrassing to the rather conservative Burns and Oates. It wasn't long before he went off on his own, or rather until he went off with his assistant at Burns and Oates, Stanley Morison, and the two designers/typographers set up The Pelican Press. They were exactly the kind of outfit that were going to take on an anti-war and rather anti-establishment piece like these works by West.]





Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Paintings by Alfred Waagner


These intricate and beautiful paintings are by Alfred Waagner and I am grateful to their owner for allowing me to photograph ans post them here. Waagner (1886-1960) was an Austrian painter and illustrator who looked set fair, as a young man to be a chemist or an engineer but he took a swerve in his education and began studying art under Berthold Loeffler at the Vienna School of Applied Arts until 1912. in 1913 he was an exhibitor at the Vienna Secession and continued to be associated with the Secessionists. His work is in a number of styles but he is best represented by the top two paintings in this post with their strong colours and patterns and sense of almost illustrative design. 

(These images were photographed when framed and so had to be tilted a little to avoid too much flare on the glass)



Monday, November 10, 2014

How To Be An Edwardian In The Snow


I've been photographing and scanning a huge pile of photographs of an Edwardian party in some, as yet, anonymous Alpine resort ready to put them all up for sale but some of them are just such great images I thought I would share a few here.






Sunday, November 09, 2014

Vintage Swimwear on a Sunday


I thought, it has been a little while since we've seen any vintage swimwear here so this is a Sunday Swimwear treat for us all. I don't own any of these, all come from the Internet: many but not all from the sold lots of a great Ebay seller called Chuck who lists such things on a weekly basis and is well worth a visit.










Saturday, November 08, 2014

1958: The Atomium


Those who follow me on Twitter will know that I've been at the ABA Chelsea Bookfair today in Chelsea Town Hall. I don't go to buy but to help on the stand of a shop I work with, but every now and again at these things something catches my eye. So I was delighted to come away with this set of photographs from "Expo 58", one of the last of the great world trade fairs, this one in Belgium. The Atomium is still something of an icon of that moment of technological optimism in the 1950s and 60s when we honestly believed that technology held the answers to all the worlds problems: it's a representation of a basic iron crystal.

These photographs, although about 8" x 6" don't have ink stamps on the verso just some handwritten captions, which makes me think that these are by a talented amateur who took them and then developed and enlarged them him/herself in a home darkroom. Very evocative I thought. 








Friday, November 07, 2014

Sydney Matthewman and Albert Wainwright


The poet Sydney Matthewman who was, at various points a founder of the magazine Yorkshire Poetry and an editor of The Poetry Review in the 1920s, and through the agency of his father's printing business, using the imprint The Swan Press, he put out a number of pamphlets of his own and other's work. There is a very good and concise overview of Matthewman's life and writing on the Lesser Known Writer's Blog. Many of Matthewman's publications were illustrated of decorated by Albert Wainwright and I was delighted the other day to be shown the most complete collection of Wainwright's work for publication I've ever come across and I was grateful to be allowed to take these photographs to share here.







A. J. A. Symons and his Musical Boxes


A. J. A. Symons (1900-1941) will be known to most readers of this blog as the author of the first and only biography of Frederick Rolfe to catch the public's attention, The Quest for Corvo. Although Rolfe was a serious obsession from Symons it was not his only one by far. He was an accomplished and respected bibliophile, a connoisseur of fine wines and fine dining and, perhaps least known among his passions: a serious collector of musical boxes. This Pathe Newsreel film is from 1938, five years after the publication of The Quest and has Symons showing off his collection. Sadly he does not speak.
 
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