Friday, 7 November 2014

Hollar, Wenceslaus/Vaclav, Mulierum 1643.....etcher supremo!

Etchings from Hollar's Mulierum 1643. This is a fashionable woman from Naples.
Etchings from Hollar's Mulierum, London 1643.  This is a fashionable woman from London.
This is the title page of the 1643 edition of Hollar's Mulierum. Wenceslaus or Vaclav Hollar was a Bohemian etcher.       Born in Prague 13th July, 1607, he died in London on 25th March 1677, buried at St.Margaret's Church, Westminster. His earliest works are dated 1625-6. He was greatly influenced by Durer. In 1633 he moved to Cologne where he produced some his best works. In 1636 he attracted the notice of the famous nobleman and art collector Thomas Howard the 21st Earl of Arundel . He travelled with Arundel to Vienna and Prague and returned with him, and  remaining in the Earl's household for many years. After 1646 he earned his living by working for various authors and publishers. Hollar created  "View of Greenwich" during his first  year in England. The plate measured nearly 3 feet long, and he was paid 30/- for this. Throughout the English Civil War he worked in Antwerp where he produced some of his best known works. he illustrated many books. After the Great Fire of London he produced some of his famous "Views of London". The King sent him to Tangier in 1668. He lived for a further 8 years still working for booksellers including a large plate of Edinburgh dated 1670. He died on 25th March 1677, and was buried at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, London in 1677  sadly, in dire poverty.
Etching from Hollar's Mulierum 1643, a fashionable woman from Prague.

Fashionable woman from Bohemia. Etching from Hollar's Mulierum 1643.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Cranes migrate South over France November 2014

Cranes fly South across France early November.

A Wood Tiger moth.

A colourful wood tiger moth rests on a geranium leaf on my bedroom windowsill. Usually seen from May to July on heaths scrubby grassland and in open woodland. It's food is a wide range of low growing plants.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

St Benoit du Sault, some images of a beautiful ancient French village in Indre.

This is a 16th century building altered in the 1920s, now a lovely deco style cafe in St. Benoit du Sault, France, Indre. The interior surprisingly  now in the 1970s' style!  This village is noted as one of the most beautiful in France. Situated in the department of Indre (central France) it is full of 15th/16th century buildings. The town is not spoilt by posh little boutiques or any signs of having 'arrived', it was built on a hill and has spectacular views of the Indre countryside, and looks like a fairytale town as you approach it.
House for sale in village!

Very old dog belonging to the Billards cafe takes his morning walk!.

Street,  St. Benoit du Sault.
Street St Benoit du Sault.

Ancient doors St Benoit du Sault, and mixture of red brick and stone wall.

Ancient painted door, St Benoit du Sault.

Lovely old window with shutters St Benoit du Sault.

Narrow stone passageway St Benoit du Sault.

Ancient tiny stone window St Benoit du Sault.

3 storey house St Benoit du Sault.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A great spotted woodpecker my garden!

This is a photograph of a juvenile great spotted woodpecker.  Great spotted woodpeckers have a vivid black and white pattern with a  flash of red feathers under the tail and the juvenile has a red forehead that is replaced by black in Autumn.

Monday, 30 June 2014

A hoopoe in my garden!

This bird is a hoopoe, and it is feeding in my garden!     Hoopoes are quite exotic birds.  They have a crown of feathers on their  heads,  a long tapering bill that can be opened when probing into the soil due to a strengthened head musculature , and an undulating flight rather like that of a large butterfly. Their diet includes insects, small reptiles and seeds and berries, and is a solitary forager.    Hoopoes were sacred in Ancient Egypt. 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Painting by Claudius Denis of a garden with urn.

This is an oil painting on a wooden panel by Claudius Denis, a French artist born 1878 in Lyon. He was seriously injured in his foot during the lst World War, and was also badly affected psychologically. He died in 1947 and is buried in the grounds of his country house in Hauterive (Yonne) in France.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Edwardian Scottish Girl's Fashionable Dress and Hair c1910

Attractive Scottish young girl dressed in the fashion of the day - c1900.    In the larger complete photograph she stands next to her dog (a black scottie) and in front of her front door probably in Edinburgh.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Peevers - Hopscotch, an ancient game for children.

A rare 19th century peever made out of stoneware and found in Scotland.  Hopscotch has been played by children across the globe for hundreds perhaps thousands of years.  It a has different name in every country.
 In Scotland poorer children filled shoe polish tins with small stones and used them as discs to slide across the paving stone grid.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Cobblestones and setts, what is the difference?

These smooth mixed pebbles are cobblestones.

These are ancient granite setts.

These are ancient granite setts.

This is a narrow uphill road, the centre is laid with cobblestones and edges are laid with setts.

 The above photographs give an illustration of the difference between setts and cobblestones. Setts were cut to size and laid so that they made a smooth and level surface, and often laid in a zig zag pattern for strength. Cobblestones on the other hand are naturally smooth pebbles, rounded lumps of stone of all sizes. A cobbled area was known as a "causey", "cassay ", or "cassie" in Scots, from causewayside.  Cobbles were always laid on roads on steep hills to stop horses from slipping. 
 Macadam first, then tarmac roads took over. They were often laid on top of setts.  

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Mouseman, Robert Thompson, the wood carver extraordinaire.

Above are pictures of three different Robert Thompson cheese and bread boards.   Robert Thompson The Mouseman  -1876 - 1955, lived in Kilburn, North Yorkshire. He was nicknamed the Mouseman because he nearly always included the carving of a mouse on his furniture etc. He started using mice as his signature when, in 1919  another worker mentioned that he and Robert were 'as poor as Church mice'. His mice have important characteristics: No front legs, always whiskers, and a long tail. The wood Robert Thompson  used was a rare type of Yorkshire oak, a wood that is strong  and sympathetic and turns a wonderful golden colour when waxed.  His workshop is run now by his descendants,  it is located next to the Parish Church where the pews fittings and other furniture were made by The Mouseman  and adorned with his  mice. There is a Mouseman Visitor Centre.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014