Sunday, 22 February 2015

Pre-Raphaelite to Aesthetic

I’ve just finished preparing a presentation for an evening of poetry, music and art at Leighton House on Wednesday evening entitled An Aesthetic Soirée, and can’t resist posting some images.

Just to  catch up retrospectively: it proved a very well-planned and enjoyable evening, interweaving music - Faure, Delius, Schumann - exquisitely played by Prach Boondiskulchok, with poems by Morris, Meredith, the Rossettis, Swinburne and Tennyson, read by Christopher Naylor, myself on paintings and Barrie Bullen heroically reading the account of late-Victorian poetry prepared by Peggy Reynolds, who had to pull out at the last minute. Barrie stepped in with about two hours' notice, and chaired the short Q&A session also.   Daniel Robbins, the house curator, described how Leighton's famous music soirees took place in the very same room, and overall the synaesthetic atmosphere successfully evoked  a true 19th century experience, happily with less of the high plutocratic evening-dress element. Music, verse and visual art complemented each other.    Compliments to the organisers Poet in the City.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Anti-Arts & Crafts

Prof Linda Hughes, of Texas Christian University, has uncovered this great comic poem on Morris & Co. products, published in the Scots Observer 7 December 1889, at the time of the second Arts & Crafts Exhibition at the New Gallery. It takes off from Anne Taylor's much-parodied poem "My Mother" and deserves wider circulation:

Playnte Dolorous

Who clothed my chairs with coloured chintz,
In arabesques of pear and quince
That make the very bravest wince?—
My Morris!

Who on my curtains told the tale
Of Arthur and the Holy Grail,
Yet built my bath of Chippendale?—
My Morris!

Who made my rooms (like chimney-shafts)
A mighty colony of draughts,
And then let loose the Arts and Crafts?—
My Morris!

Who smiled an earnest smile, and took
My one and only decent book,
‘That Saunderson might have a look’?—
My Morris!

Who caused me such atrocious pain
With dinner plates (by Walter Crane),
The paint whereto no man may chain?—
My Morris!

Who built me in with painted glass
So that, by daylight or by gas,
My closest feres do call me Ass?—
My Morris!

My couch me-seemeth full of stones;
Forth from my flesh protrude my bones;
Were we designed by Edward Jones,
My Morris?

Who sent me that preposterous bill?
And ah! who waiteth for it still?
Before you get it you may grill,
My Morris! 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Yinka Shonibare @ WMG

I'll post more on this after the opening; meanwhile 
the opening.  Meanwhile, : a taste

and an image