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Wednesday’s woman wood engraver …

July 23, 2014


Dipping into English wood-engraving, 1900-1950 by Thomas Balston I came across some nice images by Gwenda Morgan (1908-1991).Who was a wood engraver born in Petworth, Sussex an area frequently depicted in her work. She attended Goldsmiths’ College of Art until 1929, after that at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art under Iain Macnab learning to wood engrave. After this she was introduced to Christopher Sandford at the Golden Cockerel Press where she illustrated books. She exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Redfern Gallery and for the Royal Society of Painters and Printmakers as a member. She was best know for a books and illustrations, especially Gray’s Elegy (1946)  and Grimm’s  Other Tales (1956) ( a new selection by Wilhelm Hansen ; translated & edited by Ruth Michaelis-Jena and Arthur Ratcliff : illustrated with ten wood-engravings by Gwenda Morgan.   

I managed to find a nice copy of  Grimms’ other tales. It would seem that among the treasures sent out of Berlin for safety during the Second War War were the notebooks of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Some of the manuscripts were many fairy tales collected by the brothers.  For various reasons many of these tales are not available for the general reader.  Fifty of them are presented in the replica of the famous Golden Cockerel edition.  All the tales compiled were either not used by the Grimms in the editions of their, or were ejected after the first edition.  The reasons for the shabby treatment seem to be twofold, and on the surface contradictory : some were left out because Wilhelm judge their story interest insufficient to hold attention, or the incidents to fragmentary, but others because they were too exciting; sometimes horrifying, for young readers.  while others.  Jacob the purist scholar, thought too ‘improved’ and embellished and therefore lacked  authenticity.  


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Weekly Photo Challenge …. The Container or is it?

July 22, 2014

2014-07-20 16.27.55

I am a fool for stuff ; but I have learned the hard way to be discerning as what I ‘collect’. First each item must be useful; there many be varying degrees of this rather ambiguous term.  If it is not so useful it should be contained or carefully disguised as something else.  Or edible, therefore will not take up valuable space for too long.  There are of course many variables of the the above criteria. I have been around much longer than the ‘space saving’ police so I have learned some cunning tactics.

So, yet another attractive jug is a container for pens, more tobacco tins always useful for pins. How many pins or tins does a lady need? Buttons too, need containing.  You just never know, until this odd little thing came a long.  Left among my mother’s belongings it needed a home.  I and not even sure what it is.  Such a shame not to put it to use.  So when I am left with some pretty but prickly teasels this seemed a likely container!! Also in my defense, it would not do to leave the little blighters in my garden to spill their ferocious seeds!! While they are so stately on the roadside in my little garden they are demons.

Monday and the un-sorrow

July 21, 2014

Depression is cruel.  Even those who suffer from it are taken by surprise but its insidious ways to chuck us into disrepair.  So it it more difficult for those we love and love us who don’t understand our confusion and therefore help us.  

For instance as I prepare for my trip to Brazil, I should ‘be happy’ and of course I am. I have be preparing for months.  I have enjoyed it and have no regrets; my trip will be wonderful.  

But this morning I have woken; sad, anxious and hopeless, wondering ‘ what next?’ and ‘Where am I going?  All the emotions and pointless questions that sap my energy and waste time … I weep and grieve about my lost hair.

But then as I consider not writing a post … to grissle once more about the ‘What ifs? and ‘the has been’

I notice a little fan …. waiting to be packed.  A present from a friend bought on a recent trip; she thought it would be nice for me to take to Brazil … I hadn’t looked at it closely … until now it really is quite beautiful!


Silent Sunday

July 20, 2014

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Saturday … with Thanks

July 19, 2014

It is Saturday, in one week’s time I will be on the way to Brazil. It is the fruition of many thoughts over the last 6 months.  I am beginning to feel excited; but I can wait. I have things to do; things I enjoy and those I don’t find so pleasant.  Nonetheless the anticipation for this long awaited trip to my beloved in South America has been as it should be; doing and being a separate mum, a woman enjoying (and sometimes not) the empty nest.  Experiencing a wide gambit of emotions it has been a roller coaster; a bumpy ride, endured only with the support of loyal friends and family.  

But I can say with hand on heart, I would not have missed it for the world but is not over yet … until the fat lady sings, Brazil and all it holds it not yet mine! So while my heart flutters and I hold back the foolish excitement …

I look at my latest works; they ARE works in progress mere tokens of preparation (life). Over the last few days I have bound together sheets of papers ‘marked’ sort of strategically to be used (to add more marks) over the next few days and during my stay in Brazil and after … as moving memento of this journey.

I would like to thank those who have been there for me over the last 6 months it has been a nightmare.  This is not a term I use lightly as a sufferer of nightmares this has been ghastly.  I have heard people suggest that to break a fingernail is a nightmare! However,without my work colleagues, friends and family I would not have made these books or anything else … So thank you all!


Friday’s Library Snapshot …

July 18, 2014

I don’t often get the opportunity to work with new and shiny books; this was a nice experience especially as many of the images were from here at Special Collections.

Russian-born American Jewish artist Max Weber (1881-1861) is widely recognised for introducing Cubism to New York.  Max Weber: an American Cubist in Paris and London, 1905-15 is the first publication to examine his career and influence with a European rather than an American context.  It accompanies the first major museum exhibition of Weber’s work in the UK at Ben Uri showcasing the University of Reading’s rare collection of 14 works (c1910-1912), formed by Weber’s champion in England, American émigré photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882-1966). Following his formative years in Paris (1905-1908), as a founding member of Matisse’s art class, Weber played a crucial role in the significant cross-cultural dialogue between Paris and London. He was included in Roger Fry’s inaugural Grafton Group Exhibition in 1913 exhibiting alongside artist including Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Percy Wyndham Lewis, C.R.W. Nevinson, Helen Saunders and Wassily Kandinsky.

Alphabe Thursday

July 17, 2014



There are not so many nursery rhymes beginning with ‘I’ but my favourite is:-

Ipsey Wipsey Spider (Incy Wincy)

Climbing up the spout :

Down came the rain

And washed the spider out:

Out came the sunshine

And dried up all the rain:

Ipsey Wipsey spider

Climbing up again

Not sure of its origin but at least it is a happy Nursery Rhyme or at least has a happy ending … and involved a bit of role play!

alphabet thursday


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