Musings on Poetry Part Three: Australian Poetry and Nonsense Verse

Finally, a look at specific genres of poetry: Australian Poetry and Nonsense Verse.

Australian Poetry

We have two books of Australian poetry: a general tome and one devoted entirely to the poems of Banjo Paterson. As in Parts One and Two, remember that many of the poems mentioned can be accessed online through sites like:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems;

https://allpoetry.com;

https://www.poets.org;  and

https://www.poemhunter.com.

The Illustrated Treasury of Australian Verse, chosen by Beatrice Davis 1984/ 1986

We are very lucky here in Australia to have had some wonderful poets from the anonymous songs of convict times to Dorothea Mackellar, Mary Gilmore, Henry Lawson, Henry Kendall, AB Paterson (Banjo Paterson), PJ Hartigan and CJ Dennis, as well as the more modern offerings of Kenneth Slessor, Ian Mudie, Douglas Stewart, Judith Wright, James McAuley and Max Harris, Randolph Stow and Les Murray. Here are some of my favourites:

Anonymous verses: The Wild Colonial Boy; The Dying Stockman; and Click Go the Shears, Boys;

Henry Kendall (1839-1892): Bellbirds;

Thomas E Spencer (1845-1910): How McDougal Topped the Score, a wonderful poem about our national game, cricket;

Jack Moses (1860-1945): Nine Miles From Gundagai, about the famous dog on the tuckerbox. See: https://www.tripsavvy.com/the-dog-on-the-tuckerbox-1464302  for the full story!;

AB Paterson (1864-1941), who wrote so many famous poems. See below for more details.

Mary Gilmore (1865-1962): Old Botany Bay;

Henry Lawson (1867-1922): Ballad of the Drover; and Andy’s Gone with Cattle;

CJ Dennis (1876-1938): The Intro (‘Er name’s Doreen) and The Play (‘Wot’s in a name) from The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke; and Country Fellows;

PJ Hartigan (1879-1952): Said Hanrahan: A wonderful poem about the pessimistic attitude of some farmers towards the Australian weather with all it’s extremes, ‘We’ll all be rooned’, said Hanrahan..! My brother-in-law knew it by heart and recited it spontaneously off the top of his head at our wedding reception in 1983, which had been moved indoors onto the verandah of our old homestead at the last minute after unseasonal rain and flooding! It made the day!;

Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968): My Country, known by every schoolchild across the country and generations for its famous line: ‘I love a sunburnt country’ at the start of the second stanza. In fact, most Australians would be able to recite just that particular stanza:

I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains,

Of ragged mountain ranges,

Of droughts and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons,

I love her jewel sea,

Her beauty and her terror-

The wide brown land for me!

So evocative of our wide brown landscape with all its vagaries of weather and so so Australian!;

Kenneth Slessor (1901-1971): Five Bells; and his mesmerizing poem, Sleep (Do you give yourself to me utterly, Body and no-body, flesh and no-flesh, Not as a fugitive, blindly or bitterly, But as a child might, with no other wish? Yes, utterly);

Douglas Stewart (1913-1985): Brindabella; and Lady Feeding the Cats. He also wrote a verse play called The Fire on the Snow about the doomed Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica by Robert Falcon Scott 1941;

Judith Wright (1913-2000): Magpies; and Woman’s Song;

John Manifold (1915-1985): The Bunyip And The Whistling Kettle;

James MacAuley (1917-1976): Pastoral; Magpie; Spider on the Snow; and Canticle. James MacAuley was one of the two young poets (the other being Harold Stewart), who were the names behind the Ern Malley hoax, played by AD Hope on Max Harris (1921-1995), the founder of the modernist literary journal, the Angry Penguins. Max was also a poet himself, writing The Tantanoola Tiger, which is also in this treasury;

Randolph Stow (1935-2010): The Ghost at Anlaby. I have only just read this poem and its images and word inventions, reminiscent of Dylan Thomas, like ‘antwaisted, hamsleeved, bellskirted ladies’ and ‘Rosella-plumed sun’ greatly appeal. I studied his novel, The Merry-go-round In the Sea 1965 at school and absolutely loved it. It revolves around a young boy’s coming-of-age in Geraldton, Western Australia. I love reading books about places I know well (though having not visited Geraldton or WA before 2008, it’s more about Australia in this case!) and I particularly loved his descriptions of the beach, the local town and Mrs Maplestead’s old homestead and garden, where Rick’s widowed grandmother and maiden Aunt Kay lived, reminding me so much of old country properties and families, like that of my husband – the Stephens of Cedar Glen; and

Les Murray (1938-): Les has published over 30 volumes of poetry and has been rated by the National Trust of Australia as ‘one of the 100 Australian Living Treasures’! This book includes: The Broad Bean Sermon; Rainwater Tank; and The Future, all areas to which the ordinary Australian can relate!

Complementing the poems are some beautiful artworks and black-and-white photographs and illustrations throughout the treasury, reason enough to buy the book, and at the back are biographies of the poets featured.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (704)

AB ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s Collected Verse: With the Original Illustrations of Norman Lindsay, Hal Gye and Lionel Lindsay 1921/ 1984

Immortalising so much of bush life in Australia in his lengthy poems, it is worth owning a separate copy of all the prolific outpourings of this amazing poet! Andrew Barton Paterson (1864-1941) was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author, who wrote numerous ballads and poems about Australian life, especially rural areas and the outback. Some of my favourite classics are:

The Man From Snowy River, whose first half I have learnt and can quote with the odd mistake!

Clancy of the Overflow, another famous poem, which I have learnt by heart and which typifies the yearning for the bush, when trapped in a ‘dingy little office, where a stingy ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall, And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city, Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all’; A terrific poem! His poems are so humorous and celebrate the ocker from:

The Geebung Polo Club; The Man From Ironbark; Johnson’s Antidote; A Bush Christening; and

Mulga Bill’s Bicycle; and, then there is, of course, Australia’s unofficial and much-loved bush anthem:

Waltzing Matilda (1895):

While many people struggle beyond the first verse of our official Australian anthem, Advance Australia Fair , written by Peter Dodds McCormick in 1878 and replacing ‘God Save the Queen‘ in 1984, most do know and can even possibly recite this wonderful iconic poem!

Based on the story of Samuel Hoffmeister, a shearer, who was part of a strike at Dagworth Station in 1894, three years after the Great Shearers’ Strike in Queensland, which almost brought the colony to civil war and was only resolved when the army stepped in. After the situation turned violent with the burning of a woolshed, killing a large number of sheep in the process, the owner of Dagworth Station and three policemen gave chase to Hoffmeister, who, rather than be captured, shot and killed himself at Combo Waterhole, near Winton.

Banjo Paterson stayed at Dagworth Station in January 1895, when he penned the words, the poem being set to music, played on a zither by Christina Macpherson, one of the family members at the station. It was based on her remembered rendition of the Craigielea March 1890, which itself is based on a Scottish Celtic folk tune, Thou Bonny Wood of Craigielea 1806.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (722)

Nonsense Verse

Another specific genre of poetry and a particular love of mine with its humorous play on words and its imagination and creativity and just plain fun! Defined as: ‘humorous or whimsical verse that differs from other comic verse in its resistance to any rational or allegorical interpretation’ by the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, it often uses coined, meaningless words and strong prosodic elements like rhythm and rhyme. Often written for children, it is an ideal way to finish off this post and come full circle!

Limericks are the best known form of nonsense verse, but some poets have turned it into an art-form, including Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Mervyn Peake, Edward Gorey, Ogden Nash, Dr Seuss, Spike Milligan, Roald Dahl and even our own Leunig, who features in: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/11/09/the-wonderful-world-of-art-part-two-post-1900s/.

Here are some of my favourites:

Edward Lear (1812-1888)

: Edward Lear’s Nonsense Songs 1953: Includes The Owl and The Pussy-Cat, one of my favourite children’s poems; The Jumblies (They went to sea in a sieve, they did, In a sieve they went to sea.); The Dong With a Luminous Nose; The Pobble Who Has No Toes; and the delightfully-titled and quirky poem, The Quangle Wangle’s Hat. I love Edward Lear’s original simple illustrations, accompanying his verse.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (723)

Other nonsense poems, which I love, but do not own are:

Lewis Carroll 1832-1898:  

Jabberwocky , whose brilliant first verse typifies this genre with its nonsensical words

: ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe’  and

The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits 1876, described as the longest and best sustained nonsense poem in the English language. It also cleverly contained an acrostic on the name of his then-favourite child friend, Gertrude Chataway, whose name is also found in the first words of each stanza of the poem: Girt, Rude, Chat, Away.

Lewis Carroll’s verse can be appreciated in his famous children’s novel, Alice in Wonderland. I have two copies: A fragile small hardback from 1899 (first photo); and my childhood copy from 1965 (second photo). It is interesting comparing the illustrations at the front.

BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (725)BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (731) Another difference is the poem at the very front of the 1899 book, which is absent in the later copy.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (726)BlogPoetryBooksReszd40%Image (727)

Here are some of his classic verses throughout the book, which will be very familiar to past readers and display Lewis Carroll’s complete mastery of nonsense verse.

BlogPoetryBooksReszd40%Image (728)BlogPoetryBooksReszd50%Image (729)BlogPoetryBooksReszd50%Image (730)Image (732)Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) is remembered for his The Bad Child’s Book of Beasts 1896 (https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/belloc/hilaire/bad/ ) and Cautionary Tales 1907, which can be accessed at: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/27424/27424-h/27424-h.htm.

Even though this is a modern book, Christopher Matthews only being born in 1939, because his book is a send-up of AA Milne (1882-1926), I am including it here:

Now We Are Sixty by Christopher Matthew 1999 A gift for my husband’s 60th birthday in 2007, this amusing book, written in rhyme, sends up AA Milne’s Now We Are Six for an audience reared on this famous book! There are some very funny poems with titles like: Let’s All Go Mad (after Buckingham Palace), the first line being ‘They’re changing sex at Buckingham Palace’. Definitely NOT a children’s book! Or Cutting Edge, based on Happiness:

Tom had a

Brand New

Personal Computer;

Tom was

Plugged

On the

Internet; Tom had

The Works.

But was

Techno-illiterate,

And that

Was pretty

Much

That.

I also loved Insomnia, modelled on In the Dark: ‘I’ve been to dinner, And over-eaten, And drunk a brandy or three; I’ve taken a couple of Alka-Seltzer, And had a jolly good pee’. Like the children’s version, it’s content is perfect for its target audience. There are just so many witty poems that it really is worth purchasing a copy for any nearest and dearest approaching that magic age! And no, I don’t think you can find them online just yet!

BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (718)

TS Eliot (1888-1965)

Nonsense verse can also includes light verse like Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot, a collection of whimsical poems about feline psychology and sociology, and which was later adapted to the musical Cats, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It contains classics like The Rum Tum Tugger; The Song of the Jellicles; Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer; Old Deuteronomy; (The Magical)Mr Mistoffelees; Macavity: The Mystery Cat; and Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat.BlogPoetryBooksReszd40%Image (723)

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) had some wonderful nonsense verse. For example,

A Word to Husbands

To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.            And

A Flea and a Fly in a Flue

A flea and a fly in a flue
Were imprisoned, so what could they do?
Said the fly, “let us flee!”
“Let us fly!” said the flea.
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.

Dr Seuss (1904-1991)

We were all raised on the books of Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), in turn raising our own kids on them. He is still popular today. Here is our well-thumbed battered copy of one of his famous books:

BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (733) - Copy

Who does not love: Horton Hear a Who 1954; the topical How the Grinch Stole Christmas 1957; The Cat in the Hat 1957 and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back 1958; Green Eggs and Ham 1960; One Fish Tow Fish Red Fish Blue Fish 1960; Fox in Socks 1965; The Lorax 1971; and Oh, The Places You Will Go 1990, a gift from friends on our departure from the family property and the start of our big adventure called Life. I love the introductory lines:

‘Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!’

BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (735)

For more, see: http://www.drseussart.com/.

It even spawned a delightful book, written in a very similar style by Marion Holland  (1908-1989), called A Big Ball of String  1958, one of my son’s favourite childhood books.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (734)

Spike Milligan (1918-2002)

: Silly Verse for Kids 1959. It includes the delightfully-titled On the Ning Nang Nong: ‘On the Ning Nang Nong, Where the cows go Bong, And the monkeys all say Boo! There’s a Nong-Nang-Ning, Where the trees go Ping! And the teapots jibber jabber joo‘. It definitely has a ring to it and was one of the most popular songs on Play School. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SUU1f3Mgpc. To see Spike Milligan reading his poem, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wom1OzwzLw.

Another verse in this book is the delightful Lady B’s Fleas:

Lady Barnaby takes her ease
Knitting over coats for fleas
By this kindness fleas are smitten
that’s why she’s very rarely bitten.

For more, see: https://www.poemhunter.com/spike-milligan/ and http://www.musingsbylizzytish.com/cn/silly-verse-for-kids.htm.

There is a very fine line between nonsense verse and children’s books, and while the next two books from my childrens’ childhoods could have fit easily into Tuesday’s post on Children’s Poetry, I have included them here, as they represent both Australian Verse AND Nonsense Verse! Plus, I used to love reading both of them out loud to the kids. As with children’s film, especially animated films, if a book can entertain both children and their parents alike, then in my book, it is a very successful production!

My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch by Graeme Base 1983

Illustrated and written by Graeme Base (1958-), this lovely chidren’s story is totally written in rhyme and introduces young readers to the Australian bush and life outback, as well as some of our wonderful Australian place-names, animals and birds.BlogPoetryBooksReszd25%Image (737)

Wombat Stew by Marcia K Vaughan 1984

I adored this book. It has such a terrific rollicking verse, especially the chorus, which goes: ‘Wombat Stew, Wombat stew, Gooey, brewy, Yummy, chewy, Wombat stew!’ There is lots of repetition and the illustrations by Pamela Lofts are terrific! There is even a musical score for the chorus at the end.BlogPoetryBooksReszd25%Image (738)

Roald Dahl (1916-1990)

Roald Dahl was a favourite with my children and not only wrote brilliant books, but while researching this post, I discovered that he was also was a gifted comic poet, writing 27 poems. Try this send up for example:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
“I live with my brat in a high-rise flat,
So how in the world would I know.”

I also enjoyed his versions of The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. See: https://www.roalddahlfans.com/dahls-work/poems/. I would love to read his poem, Where Art Thou, Mother Christmas?, which was published as a charity Christmas card to benefit the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in England. In it, he wonders why we never hear of Mother Christmas, who probably buys and wraps all the gifts , while Father Christmas takes all the credit: ‘Down with Father Christmas, that unmitigated jerk!’

And now, because it IS Christmas, I will finish with the old favourite traditional Christmas poem:

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

Wishing you all a Very Safe and Happy Christmas and a Wonderful New Year! Much Love, Jane xxx

Musings on Poetry Part Two: General Adult Poetry Books and Specific Poets

Yesterday, we began the exciting discovery and journey into the world of Children’s Poetry, the forerunner of a continued love of poetry into the world of adult verse.

This next section looks at some of our favourite general poetry books, of which I only possess two, and specific poets including Wordsworth and fellow Romantic Poets, as well as John Masefield, Rupert Brookes, WB Yeates, Robert Frost and Dylan Thomas.

General Poetry Books for Adults

I don’t have many general poetry books, but here are two of my favourites from either end of the scale time-wise! Remember that, as in Part One, many of the poems mentioned can be accessed online through sites like:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems;

https://allpoetry.com;

https://www.poets.org;  and

https://www.poemhunter.com.

The Open Road: A Little Book for Wayfarers 1899/ 1948 (45th edition), compiled by EV Lucas

I treasure my little thin copy of this delightful anthology, as well as its premise:BlogPoetryBooksReszd80%Image (715)The Table of Contents is divided into:

Farewell to Winter and the Town;

The Road;

Spring and the Beauty of the Earth;

The Lover Sings;

Sun and Cloud, and the Windy Hills;

Companions;

Birds, Blossoms and Trees;

Summer Sports and Pastimes;

Refreshment and the Inn;

Garden and Orchard;

Music Beneath a Branch;

The Sea and the River;

The Reddening Leaf;

Night and the Stars;

A Little Company of Good Country People;

A Handful of Philosophy; and The Return.

As you can see, all the good important things of life!BlogPoetryBooksReszd40%Image (714)

I particularly loved:

In City Streets by Ada Smith;

The Early Morning by Hilaire Belloc;

The Joys of the Road by Bliss Carman;

A number of poems simple titled ‘Song’:

Song (also known as Pippa’s Song) and Home Thoughts From Abroad by Robert Browning;

Song  (from Arcadia poem) by Sir Philip Sidney; and

Song by James Thomson;

The Lady of the Lambs by Alice Meynell;

She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron;

Beauty by John Masefield, a particular favourite!;

The Cloud by Percy Bysshe Shelley;

Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats;

Ruth by Thomas Hood;

Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whose epic poem, The Ancient Mariner, we had to learn by heart at school;

The Brook by Alfred, Lord Tennyson;

Night by William Blake; and finally,

Henry VI’s Pastoral Wish by William Shakespeare, the famous bard himself!

All the poems mentioned can be accessed online. I have generally not included old favourites, which appear in other books in this post eg The Lake Isle of Innisfree by WB Yeats or The Vagabond by RL Stevenson. I could not find JW Mackail’s translation of Laus Veneris by Ascepiades, so am reproducing it here:

‘Sweet is the snow in summer for the thirsty to drink, and sweet for sailors after winter to see the garland of spring; but most sweet when one cloak shelters two lovers, and the tale of love is told by both’.

The passage below was another favourite, which exemplified the feeling of joy, freedom and exhilaration felt by my seven year-old son on his conquest of the high sand-dunes at Cloudy Bay at the southern end of Bruny Island, Tasmania on World Environment Day 1992, when we went searching for the extremely rare forty-spotted pardalotes!Image (720)BlogPoetryBooksReszd50%Image (720)I also enjoyed the little introductory spiels, including quotes, at the start of each section; the super-thin paper pages and the beautiful green front and back papers of the book, showing the daytime (sun) at the start and the nighttime (moon) at the end.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (713)BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (721)For more ‘modern’ poetry, we have this small paperback, though it is now over fifty years old!:

The Penguin Book of Contemporary Verse 1918-1960  Edited by Kenneth Allott 1950/1974

This collection contains 175 poems by 86 poets and  divides the poems chronologically by their creators. They include , and please note that I have only mentioned particularly favourites, and more specifically, only those favourites, where I could provide an example of their poems.

: WB Yeats (1865-1939) eg A Prayer for my Daughter, which reminds me of Laurie Lee’s beautiful short story, The Firstborn, in his book, I Can’t Stay Long, in which he expresses his hopes and fears for his newborn daughter. Incidentally, Laurie Lee (1914-1997) is also included in this anthology, with his poem, April Rise;

: War Poets: Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) eg The Child at the Window; and

Edmund Blunden (1896-1974) eg The Pike;

WH Auden (1907-1973) eg Chorus from The Dog Beneath the Skin (Happy the hare at morning, for she cannot read); though I would have also included his poem, Two Songs for Hedli Anderson, immortalized in the film, Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Stephen Spender (1909-1995) eg The Landscape near an Aerodrome;

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) eg Poem in October– more later! and

Philip Larkin (1922-1985) eg Church Going;

Kenneth has a very interesting discussion about the poetry of this time period in the introduction, as well as biographical notes at the start of each grouping of poems. General poetry books are very useful, in that they point you in the right direction for finding your favourite poets.

BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (710)

Specific Poets

In chronological order!

Wordsworth: Selected Poems Edited by HM Margoliouth 1959/ 1980

William Wordworth (1770-1850) An English romantic poet and Britain’s Poet Laureate from 1843-1850, whose house we visited at Dove Cottage, Grasmere, in the Lake District on our 1983 trip. I love his romantic uplifting nature-inspired poetry, including:

Lines: Written at a small distance from my house and sent by my little boy to the person to whom they are addressed (It is the first mild day of March);

To Sleep (A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by, One after one; the sound of rain, and bees Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas, Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky; I’ve thought of all by turns; and still I lie Sleepless…), a perfect poem for my husband at 3am, the witching hour of the Whale of Doom!

The Solitary Reaper (Behold her, single in the field, Yon solitary Highland Lass),

And, of course, the poem, for which he is most famous: Daffodils (I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud).

As with most of these books devoted to one poet, the next one being the exception, there are extensive biographical notes and critiques of their works. But before I progress to WB Yeates, a nod to a few other poets, whose works I do not possess.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (717)

Other English Romantic poets:

John Keats (1795-1821), whose poetry I also love, but alas do not have any books! I didn’t realize that he died of tuberculosis when he was only 25 years old, nor that he was a licensed, but non-practising  apothecary for that matter! Luckily, I can access his beautiful poems on: http://keats-poems.com/. Among my favourites are: Ode to a Nightingale 1819 and To Autumn 1820.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892): The Brook; Charge of the Light Brigade; Crossing the Bar; and The Eagle. See: https://www.poemhunter.com/alfred-lord-tennyson/  and

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861): https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/how-do-i-love-thee-sonnet-43.

Later Poets:

John Masefield (1878-1967)

I should also have a copy of John Masefield poetry, as I love so many of his poems, including: Sea Fever; Cargoes; A Wanderer’s Song; The West Wind; Trade Winds; Roadways and Beauty, one of my favourites:

Beauty

I HAVE seen dawn and sunset on moors and windy hills

Coming in solemn beauty like slow old tunes of Spain:

I have seen the lady April bringing the daffodils,

Bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain.

I have heard the song of the blossoms and the old chant of the sea,

And seen strange lands from under the arched white sails of ships;

But the loveliest thing of beauty God ever has shown to me,

Are her voice, and her hair, and eyes, and the dear red curve of her lips.

They all have such a lovely rhythm, as well as beautiful imagery. For more of his poetry, see: https://www.poemhunter.com/john-masefield/poems/.

Rupert Brookes (1887-1915)

Another later poet, whose poems I admire, but also do not possess a copy, is the First World War poet, Rupert Brookes. Like Keats and Dylan Thomas, he died far too young, from an infected mosquito bite, while on a French hospital ship off the coast of Greek island, Skyros. His most famous and much-loved poems include: The Great Lover and The Soldier. See: https://interestingliterature.com/2016/02/16/the-best-rupert-brooke-poems-everyone-should-read/.

WB Yeats: Selected Poems 1992  Selected by Ian Hamilton for Bloomsbury Poetry Classics

I love my little hardback Bloomsbury Poetry Classic edition, which I bought at the delightful café-bookshop, The Islandman, Dingle, Kerry, back in 1994!BlogPoetryBooksReszd50%Image (712)

Irish-born WB Yeats (1865-1939) is one of my favourite poets and I love a number of his poems, including:

When You Are Old, the poem I read at my Dad’s funeral (Dad’s choice), though I would have also loved to have read his famous poem, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, as it reminds me so much of Dad, his self-sufficiency ideals, his beekeeping and his love of nature, books, silence and a peaceful life! Funnily enough, both poems are from The Rose 1893 and appear next to each other in my little book:BlogPoetryBooksReszd40%Image (722)

An Irish Seaman Foresees his Death (From The Wild Swans at Coole 1919) (I know that I shall meet my fate Somewhere among the clouds above);

And Sailing to Byzantium (From The Tower 1928) (That is no country for old men…), though I would have loved to have seen A Coat and He Wishes For the Cloths if Heaven included:

A Coat by WB Yeates

I made my song a coat 

Covered with embroideries 

Out of old mythologies 

From heel to throat; 

But the fools caught it, 

Wore it in the world’s eyes 

As though they’d wrought it. 

Song, let them take it

For there’s more enterprise 

In walking naked.

He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven (From The Wind among the Reeds, 1899)

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Robert Frost: Selected Poems Edited by Ian Hamilton (yes, the same editor as the previous book!) 1969/1973

Robert Frost (1874-1963) was one of America’s best-known poets and a favourite poet of my generation, as many of us studied his poems at school. Here are some of my favourites:

From North of Boston 1914:

Mending Wall (Something there is that doesn’t love a wall);

After Apple-Picking (My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree Toward heaven still);

From Mountain Interval 1916:

The Road Not Taken (Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..). Possibly THE most famous Robert Frost poem, it is a tricky poem to learn by heart, but we did it! The problem is that you really need to recite it often to retain the correct order of the words, but it is a beautiful poem and so succinct about the choices we make, that influence and determine the direction of our lives and how really, no choice is necessarily the right one, only different.

From New Hampshire 1923:

Fire and Ice (Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice), an even more succinct little poem of only nine lines!

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening (Whose woods these are I think I know) Another poem with tricky word order, it is so easy to start: Whose woods are these I think I know! I love the last verse and its repetition:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

From West-Running Brook 1928

The Rose Family, very pertinent to a rose lover like myself and a lovely little dig at scientific classification:

The Rose Family

The rose is a rose,

And was always a rose.

But the theory now goes

That the apple’s a rose,

And the pear is, and so’s

The plum, I suppose.

The dear only knows

What will next prove a rose.

You, of course, are a rose-

But were always a rose.

And finally, from A Witness Tree 1942:

The Gift Outright (The land was ours before we were the land’s).

His poems are just so lovely and have such a great sound when read out loud.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (709)

The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas: The New Centenary Edition  Edited by John Goodby 2014

Born in Wales, the intense and passionate Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) burned with a fierce light and he died far too young at the age of 39 years old, but he left us some wonderful poems.

For years, I survived with my battered old Everyman’s Library 1978 paperback copy from schooldays, Dylan Thomas: Collected Poems 1932-1952, but it has now been supplanted with a beautiful birthday hardback book (photo at bottom of post). Here is my original copy:

BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (733)

I love Dylan Thomas’s poetry, as so many of my generation do. I love his imagery, his phraseology and his use of invented words, and his stringing together of normally-unrelated words to create perfect visual images eg:

In the mustardseed sun, By full tilt river and switchback sea’ and ‘palavers of birds’, ‘the congered waves’ and ‘the thistledown fall’ in Poem on His Birthday; and

the mussel pooled and the heron priested shore’ and ‘the sea wet church the size of a snail With its horns through mist’, both from Poem in October.

I love his repetition, used to such devastating effect in And Death Shall Have No Dominion and Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night;  his rhythm in Lament and The Hand That Signed The Paper; and his use of tempo to create the required effect.

Fern Hill  literally sings and trips like a burbling brook or a child on the run from dawn till dusk, ‘before the children green and golden Follow him (time) out of grace’, when the tempo slows.

I also love his use of allusion, often quite elusive and well hidden by context. Here is an obvious one! ‘Incarnate devil in a talking snake’ in Incarnate Devil.

Obscure at times, and often quite bleak, these poems are so richly layered and sensuous, that if you haven’t had the fortune of encountering Dylan Thomas, definitely make the effort! All poems are online.

The appendices in the Centenary edition, contain extracts from letters and interviews and some very helpful notes for a full understanding of his poems, especially the more obscure ones!

My favourites are, in order of publication:

From 18 Poems 1934: Especially When the October Wind (1932) ;

From Twenty-Five Poems 1936: And Death Shall Have No Dominion (1933); and The Hand That Signed The Paper (1935);

From Deaths and Entrances 1946: Poem in October (1944) and Fern Hill (1945); and

From In Country Sleep 1952: Poem on His Birthday (1949); Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (1951); and Lament (1951).BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (705)

Tomorrow, I will be looking at two specific genres of poetry, which are favourites of mine: Australian Poetry and Nonsense Verse.

Musings on Poetry: Part One: Children’s Poetry Books

My final book post for the year covers my favourite poetry books, as well as my favourite poets! Poetry is such a personal preference. I’m afraid that I have to admit to being unashamedly conventional in my tastes! A true romantic at heart, though others may say ostrich-like, I love both art and poetry, which promotes positivity and beauty in images, words and thoughts and which makes you feel good! Nothing too deep or heavy or angst-ridden, where you immediately want to go and slit your wrists (or throat for that matter!), though there are exceptions like Dylan Thomas, who strings his words together so beautifully that he is still one of my favourite poets!

Poetry is for reading out aloud! I love the sound of the words and the rhyme, cadence and rhythm of the verse. I enjoy a wide eclectic range of forms from rhyming sonnets to some prose; Japanese haikus and funny limericks, and even terrible doggerel, some of which I have been known to write myself!!!

A love of poetry begins in childhood. Children respond so well to rhyme and rhythm and many of my favourite poetry stems from that time, so I have started with some favourite poetry books for children (today), progressing into some general poetry books for adults, and then, some specific poets, no doubt generational favourites (Wednesday), as well different  genres, including some of our wonderful Australian poems and humorous nonsense rhymes (Thursday). Please note that many of the poems mentioned can be accessed online through sites like:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems;

https://allpoetry.com;

https://www.poets.org;  and

https://www.poemhunter.com.

Poetry Books For Children

Nursery Rhymes

Nursery rhymes are the very start of preparing children for the wonderful world of poetry and rhyme!

In the Old Gum Tree: Nursery Thymes and Verse for Little Kids Illustrated by Cathy Wilcox 1989/1990

This thin paperback contains old traditional favourites like Baa Baa Black Sheep and Ladybird, Ladybird, as well as colloquial Australian verse like Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree and other short rhymes and poems, written specifically for Australian children.BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (736)

AA Milne (1882-1926)

When We Were Very Young, 1924

AA Milne was not only responsible for that wonderful children’s classic, Winnie the Pooh, with all its iconic characters, so loved by generations of children, but also for engendering a love of poetry in children. There are so many wonderful poems in this book, including (with first lines):

Buckingham Palace (They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace-Christopher Robin went down with Alice);

Happiness (John had Great Big Waterproof Boots On);

Puppy and I (I met a man as I went walking; We got talking, Man and I);

The Four Friends (Ernest was an elephant, a great big fellow, Leonard was a lion with a six-foot tail, George was a goat, and his beard was yellow, And James was a very small snail!), a personal favourite;

Lines and Squares (Whenever I walk in a London street, I’m ever so careful to watch my feet). Remember doing this?!;

Market Square (I had a penny, A bright new penny. I took my penny to the market square);

Disobedience (James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree Took great Care of his Mother, Though he was only three), such a wonderful rhyme!;

The Three Foxes (Once upon a time there were three little foxes, Who didn’t wear stockings, and they didn’t wear soxes);

Rice Pudding (What is the matter with Mary Jane?);

Missing (Has anybody seen my mouse?);

The King’s Breakfast ( The King asked The Queen, and The Queen asked The Dairymaid: ‘Could we have some butter for The Royal slice of bread?’);

Hoppity (Christopher Robin goes Hoppity, hoppity, Hoppity, hoppity, hop!);

The Dormouse and the Doctor (There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)); and

Halfway Down (Halfway down the stairs Is a stair Where I sit).BlogPoetryBooksReszd25%Image (724)

We also grew up with AA Milne’s other poetry book: Now We are Six by AA Milne 1927/ 1956, with classics like:

King John’s Christmas (King John was not a good man!);

Busy (I think I am a muffin man…But round about and round about and roundabout I go!);

Sneezles (Christopher Robin had sneezles and wheezles));

Binker (Binker – what I call him – is a secret of my own);

Cherry Stones (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor);

Buttercup Days (Where is Anne?), my poor sister’s bête noir;

Us Two (Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh, There’s always Pooh and me!);

Forgiven (I found a little beetle, so that Beetle was his name, And I called him Alexander and he answered just the same….And Nanny let my beetle out!);

The Little Black Hen (Berryman and Baxter, Prettiboy and Penn And old Farmer Middleton Are five big men);

The Good Little Girl (It’s funny how often they say to me, ‘Jane? Have you been a good girl?), my pet hate, but still memorable!; and

In the Dark (I’ve had my supper, And had my supper, and HAD my supper and all!)BlogPoetryBooksReszd40%Image (716)

I love AA Milne’s repetition, his rhyme, his subject matter so pertinent to children’s lives, even today, although it is a very different time period, and his great sense of fun! It is hard to imagine that anyone would not know his poems, at least in the English-speaking world, but for those of you who don’t, see: https://www.poemhunter.com/alan-alexander-milne/poems/.

I think AA Milne is about to enjoy renewed popularity, with the current release of the film about him and the story behind the creation of Winnie-the-Pooh, Goodbye Christopher Robin. See: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1653665/ for a description and the trailer.

Another lovely poetry book for children aged between six and twelve years of age is :

I Will Build You a House: Poems for Cushla, chosen by Dorothy Butler 1984.

While Dorothy  specifies in the introduction that she tries to avoid dividing her poetry into topics or themes, preferring to surprise her audience, many of the poems chosen are about animals and nature. They include some classic old poems, including:

Hurt No Living Thing by Christine Rossetti;

Four Ducks on a Pond by William Allingham; and

Envoy; Windy Nights; and Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894).BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (708)

When my children were young, we had a book of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poetry titled: A Child’s Garden of Verses 1885, which can be read online as part of the Gutenberg Project. See: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/25609/25609-h/25609-h.htm. Like AA Milne, his poems are short, have rollicking rhyme (eg Windy Nights and My Shadow) and are so rich in imagery (eg Travel and Block City), so wonderful for developing the imagination and a lifelong love of poetry!

Envoy is one of my favourite poems by Robert Louis Stevenson:

Go, little book, and wish to all

Flowers in the Garden, meat in the hall,

A bin of wine, a spice of wit,

A house with lawns enclosing it,

A living river by the door,

A nightingale in the sycamore!

 Another poetry book I read to my children was: A New Treasury of Poetry, Compiled by Neil Philip 1990.

This book does divide its poems into subject matter with the following chapters:

A Child Went Forth;

Days are Where We Live;

Birds and Beasts;

Sing a Song of Seasons;

Children If You Dare Think;

Once Upon a Time;

The Land of Whipperginny; and

Goodnight; with an Index of Poets and an Index of Titles and First Lines in the back of the book.

I loved Neil Philip’s comparison of poetry as ‘most akin to magic’ in his introduction (page 14).

The poetry includes:

Traditional rhymes like ‘Lavender’s Blue’ ;‘I Know Where I’m Going, ‘This is the Key ’; ‘Lord Randal’; ‘How many Miles to Babylon’ ; ‘I Had a Little Nut-Tree’ and ‘Frankie and Johnny’;

and some famous, old, lyrical poems, including:

The Tyger by William Blake 1794 (Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright In the Forests of the night!);

The Cataract of Lodore by Robert Southey 1823;

I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood 1826;

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear 1871 (The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea-green boat), a delightful nonsense poem; and the particularly rousing poem:

The Highway Man by Alfred Noyes 1906 (The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees. The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas. The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, And the highwayman came riding-Riding-riding-The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door);

As well as more modern (as opposed to ancient!) poems like :

The Rum Tum Tugger by TS Eliot (The Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat) 1939

Days by Philip Larkin (What are days for? Days are where we live) 1953;

The Magpies by Denis Glover, one of my favourite poems with the chorus line: Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle, so evocative of their beautiful song) 1964 ;  and

The History of the Flood by John Heath-Stubbs (Bang Bang Bang Said the nails in the Ark) 1971;

Some of the poems are common to adult anthologies like :

The Daffodils by William Wordsworth 1807;

A Thing of Beauty 1818 (A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness…) and To Autumn 1819 (Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness!), both by John Keats;

The Lake Isle of Innesfree by WB Yeats 1888;

Sea Fever by John Masefield 1902 (I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky)

Leisure by WH Davies 1911 (What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare);

After Apple-Picking 1914 and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening 1922, both by Robert Frost 1914; and

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas 1945;BlogPoetryBooksReszd25%Image (719)

The Macquarie Bedtime Story Book 1987, compiled by Rosalind Price and Walter McVitty also contains some wonderful poetry for children. Particularly memorable poems include:

A Rhyme to Jump into Bed With (Bounda-bounda-bounda bump!), a very bouncy fun poem; and Highrise (Do you know what I would build If all the blocks were mine? I’d pile them up And pile them up As high as I could climb), both by Sally Farrell Odgers.

When the King Rides By (Oh, what a fuss when the king rides by And the drum plays rat-a-tat-plan!); and Promises (If I had a needle, a needle, I’d sew you a wonderful cake!), both by Margaret Mahy;

When I Went to Byaduck (When I went to Byaduck, to Byaduck, to Byaduck, My Grandma said to me…!); and Waddle Duck (Ducks in the farmyard, ducks in the dawnlight, Waking up brightly as the day comes back, Waddle-duck, waddle-duck, Quack, quack, quack); both by Colin Thiele;

Stomping Horace by Doug MacLeod (Horace was a stomper In the second grade!); The Ant Explorer by CJ Dennis (Once a little sugar ant made up his mind to roam – To fare away far away, far away from home);

Ten Little Rabbits by Anonymous (Ten little rabbits playing round a mine. One slipped down a shaft, then there were nine);

Three Fleas by Bill Scott (Here are three fleas with powerful knees who can leap as high as the tallest trees – boing – boing – boing!);

M.’s Songs by JS Manifold (Coots eat waterbeetles, Rats eat cheese, Goats eat anything they Darned well please!), one of my all-time favourites;

Miss Strawberry’s Purse by Eric C Rolls (Miss Strawberry has a long fat purse To keep her money in); and

Mulga Bill’s Bicycle by AB Paterson (‘Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze!)

All of them have wonderful rhyme and a great sense of fun and humour and many of them are written by Australian poets.BlogPoetryBooksReszd25%Image (706)

My final poetry book for children, Come Listen: A Book of Poetry for Secondary Schools: First and Second Forms 1966 by Marjorie Pizer and Joan Reed was a textbook we studied in Grade Six of primary school, despite its title, and  I loved the poems in it!  They are divided into sections and I have given a small sample of examples in each grouping:

Story Poems and Ballads eg The Man From Snowy River by AB Paterson; The Minstrel Boy by Thomas Moore; The Listeners by Walter de la Mare; and The Wild  Colonial Boy (Anon);

Fun and Nonsense eg The Triantiwontigongalope by CJ Dennis; Johnson’s Antidote by AB Paterson; The Bunyip and the Whistling Kettle by John Manifold; Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll; and Sad Story of a Motor Fan by HA Field;

Animals and Other Creatures eg Macavity: The Mystery Cat by TS Eliot; The Eagle by Alfred, Lord Tennyson; and  Snake by Ian Mudie;

Old Favourites eg The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson; Abou Ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt; and If by Rudyard Kipling;

People eg Hiawatha by HW Longfellow; and Clancy of the Overflow by AB Paterson;

Background to Today eg The Teams by Henry Lawson; Colonial Fleets by EJ Brady; They’ll Tell You About Me by Ian Mudie, such an iconic Aussie poem; and Old Botany Bay by Mary Gilmore.

Country and City eg A Song of Rain by CJ Dennis; Pippa’s Song by Robert Browning; Cargoes by John Masefield; and From a Railway Carriage by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Thoughts and Feelings eg The Vagabond, again by Robert Louis Stevenson; Tarantella by Hilaire Belloc; Break, Break, Break by Alfred, Lord Tennyson; When You are Old by WB Yeats; and The Great Lover by Rupert Brooke.

This book gave me an excellent grounding in poetry, as well as in Australian verse (more later)!

BlogPoetryBooksReszd30%Image (707)

I hope this post has brought back very many happy memories, as well as given a few suggestions for poetry for today’s children. For more children’s poetry, see my post on Thursday on Nonsense Rhymes. Tomorrow, we enter the world of adult poetry!

The Wonderful World Of Art: Part Two: Post 1900s

On Tuesday, we explored the beautiful art books concerning artists of the period before the 1900s. This post continues our journey into the wonderful world of art through books about the artists of the Twentieth Century.

Even though the next four artists were born in the mid 1870s and 1880s, they came into their own over the turn of the century, a time of great excitement and hope for the future, when photography was in its infancy and Australia became a nation, achieving their peak fame in  the 1920s. They include: Australian printmaker, Margaret Preston (1875-1963); photographer, Harold Cazneaux (1878-1953), and painter, Elioth Gruner (1882-1939), both of whom were born in New Zealand, but grew up in Australia and  Australian artist, Hilda Rix Nicholas (1884-1961).

Margaret Preston by Elizabeth Butel 1985/ 1995

Well-known for her still life paintings and woodcuts of Australian flora and fauna and one of Australia’s leading Modernists of the early 20th century, Margaret was the most prominent Australian woman artist of the 1920s and 1930s, during which time her designs were used in painting and printmaking, as well as interior decoration, fabric design and even floral arrangements. The cover shows her Self-Portrait 1930.BlogArtBooksReszd30%Image (686)Studying in Munich and Paris, and travelling in Italy, Spain and Holland, between 1903 and 1919,  Margaret was heavily influenced by Japanese art and the Post-Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism movements of the time. She also attended Roger Fry’s Omega workshops in decorative art in Britain during the First World War. Below is a photo of her, taken in 1930, by my next artist, Harold Cazneaux, titled: Margaret Preston in the Garden, from page 43 of this book.

BlogArtBooksReszd4017-07-30 13.37.02Her works display a love of asymmetry; pattern as a dominant element of design; simplified composition, where natural patterns are so closely observed that they can be broken down into discrete units, as seen in the photo below of The Brown Pot 1940 from page 57; a degree of primitivism; and a great appreciation and love of Australian flora and fauna, as well as the small things of life. BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.37.14 Her earlier works show an emotive and sensual use of colour, as seen in the photo below of her hand-coloured woodcut Anemones 1925, from page 32 of the book:BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.36.31 but as she progressed, she adopted a more restricted colour range, with a major emphasis on blue and a graphic use of black and white, as shown by this photo of one of my favourite oils: Implement Blue 1927, from page 38:BlogArtBooksReszd3017-07-30 13.36.45This detailed book discusses her early life and the three major phases in her work: the periods from1875 to 1920; 1920 to 1930; and 1924 to 1963; accompanied by a comprehensive bibliography of all her works; newspaper and journal articles; and books and monographs, as well as a catalogue of all her oil paintings; prints (etchings; woodcuts; masonite cuts; screen prints; stencils; and monotypes); fabric designs; ceramics and wood blocks. Here is a photo of one of her works on the cover of the October 1926 issue of magazine, Woman’s World, from p 42:BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0027We feel very lucky to have one of her framed prints,  a hand-coloured woodcut, titled Christmas Bells 1925.BlogArtBooksReszd5017-07-30 13.40.18 For more information  on Margaret Preston, see: http://www.margaretpreston.info/ and https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/?artist_id=preston-margaret.

The Cazneaux Women by Valerie Hill 2000

Another lovely book featuring the monochromatic works of early Australian photographer, Harold Cazneaux (1878-1953) , with their beautiful women subjects , romantic compositions and a wonderful use of light and shade. The book cover features his photo of British artist and theatre designer, Doris Zinkeisen with Her Brushes 1929.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (683)

I have always loved black-and-white photographs for their focus on design and composition, line and structure (form and shape), pattern and texture, contrast and tonal variations and the play of light and shadow, without the distraction of colour. These elements are superbly illustrated in the dramatic work of contemporary German photographer, Maik Lipp: See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/maik-lipp_n_4019302.html.

While it was the only medium in Cazneaux’s day, when used today, it also lends a timeless or vintage aesthetic to the work, as can be seen in the work featured on this website: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/06/beautiful-black-and-white-photography/, although I still think the subject matter and treatment plays a big part of it too.  Compare the previous two links with  the work of Imogen Cunningham: https://www.imogencunningham.com and Endre Balogh at: http://www.endresphotos.com.

But back to Harold Cazneaux!

While Cazneaux also photographed historic cityscapes, and industrial and landscape aspects, this particular book is devoted to 36 plates of Cazneaux’s women – his wife Winifred and small daughters, Rainbow, Jean and Beryl, as well as stylish portraits of well-known women in the 1920s and 1930s including artist, Margaret Preston, writers Ethel Turner and Theo Proctor, performers, Dame Nellie Melba and Anna Pavlova; and a large number of Sydney social belles. I adore this photo: Bathing Baby 1909 from p 50:BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.38.14The plates show the developments in camera art,  as well as women’s fashions and the changing role of women, from the formally posed wet plate images of the 1870s (and earlier albumen prints), through the Pictorial period to the start of Modernism, where Max Dupain and Olive Cotton (see later) made their mark. Here is another favourite photograph by Harold Cazneaux: The Sleeping Child 1914 from page 64.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.38.37We also learn about Harold’s life, his relationships with women and his artistic influences from his parents, Pierce and Emma, both early photographers; stepmother Christina, who nurtured his talent; his wife, Winifred, who trained at the first photographic studio, where he worked; John Kauffmann, who introduced Pictorialism to Australia, and the Sydney Camera Circle of the early 1920s. Harold’s photograph, Rainbow in the Cosmos 1916, from page 62, is delightful!

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.38.30

His photograph Pergola Pattern 1931, from page 100 shows such a superb mastery of composition, pattern and contrast and the play of light and shadow!BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 13.39.30

The Cazneaux Collection, containing 272 exhibition prints; 200 working photographs and 4300 glass negatives, mainly from 1904 – 1940, as well as his personal papers and letters from 1903 – 1953, is held at the National Library of Australia: See: https://www.nla.gov.au/selected-library-collections/harold-cazneaux-collection.

BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0023I loved the background of the these two photographs: Doris Zinkeisen: New Ideas Portrait with Leaf Background 1929 from page 91 (above); and A Study in Profile 1931 from p 104:BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0025There are also significant collections of his photographs at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, and the Mitchell Library and Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. See: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/?artist_id=cazneaux-harold.

The Art of Elioth Gruner: The Texture of Light by Deborah Clark 2014BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (689)

This cover features Elioth Gruner’s oil painting, titled Thunderstorm 1928.

Elioth Gruner (1882 – 1939 ) was also a master of light and shade, as seen in his very famous painting, displayed in the Art Gallery Of New South Wales: Spring Frost 1919, which introduced me to his work, seen in the poster below. The shafts of sunlight and the steam rising from the bellowing dairy cows can probably be better appreciated by viewing this link: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/6925/.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.48.48We were also lucky enough to attend an exhibition of his work, Elioth Gruner: The Texture of Light, at the Canberra Museum and Gallery in 2014, many of his landscapes painted en plein air from the Sydney to the South Coast of New South Wales, including Cooma and the Monaro; the Canberra region, Yass and the Murrumbidgee River valley and the Southern Highlands, all part of our new home! Is it any wonder that we brought the book based on the exhibition home with us!!BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0032There is even a painting of our old stamping grounds in Northern New South Wales with his painting Shelley Beach, Nambucca Heads 1933 (photo above from page 86), and Winter Afternoon, Bellingen, NSW 1937 , the latter held by our old home art gallery NERAM , which also owns his paintings: Beach Idyll 1934 and The Beach 1918, another personal favourite (seen in the photo below from page 21 of the book)!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.55.28I adore his landscapes depicting pastoral life and the rural homesteads of the period, like Manar, a large cattle and sheep property between Bungendore and Braidwood, seen here in his oil painting, Manar Landscape 1928, the first photo below from page 52 of the book and Autumn, Manar 1939, 2nd photo below, from page 53.BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0028He was obviously very popular in his day, enjoying the support of both conservative and progressive elements of the Sydney art scene, as well as winning the Wynne Prize for landscape painting seven times between 1916 and 1937.BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0031 It was wonderful to see his paintings so closeup, to examine and admire his techniques for reproducing light and shadows, using short, choppy brush strokes and different tones of greens, as exemplified by Morning Light 1916, his first painting to win this award, shown in the photo above from page 26. Spring Frost 1919 was his second Wynne Prize.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.06.21Hilda Rix Nicholas: The Man For the Job by the Bendigo Art Gallery 2010

We were also very fortunate to see an exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery in 2010 of the works of Australian artist, Hilda Rix Nicholas (1884-1961), who also came to fame in the 1920s, the second Australian artist after Rupert Bunny (who I discussed in the first part of this post last Tuesday) and the first woman to have a solo exhibition in Paris in 1925.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (690)

She too painted many lovely paintings of life in rural Australia, especially her family property, run by her second husband, Edgar Wright, at Knockalong near Delegate, on the Southern Monaro. I love this painting of His Land 1922-1923 from page 30.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.34.14 Other favourites are:  In the Bush 1927, from page 41; BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.35.04 Bringing in the Sheep 1936, held by our local art gallery, Bega Valley Regional Gallery, shown on page 54 of the book;

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.35.43 and The Homestead of Tooraloo 1945 from page 60.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 14.36.05The book also chronicles her brilliant early career, from 1907 to 1918, in France, Morocco and Italy, marred by the desperate loss of her travel companions, her sister and mother, from illness and the untimely death of her new husband of six weeks on the Western Front in the First World War. For more about Hilda Rix Nicholas, see: http://knockalong.com/?page_id=664.

No discussion of the art world of the 1920s is complete without reference to the Bloomsbury Group, the subject of the next two books:

Charleston: A Bloomsbury House & Garden by Quentin Bell and Virginia Nicholson 1997

The Bloomsbury Group was a very famous name in the British art world, and while most of its members were born in the 1880s, their main flowering came during the 1920s after their move to Charleston in 1916 to escape the horrors of the First World War.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (696)

This lovely book is an ode to Charleston and all its inhabitants: Vanessa Bell and her husband, Clive (temporarily),  their sons Julian and Quentin, the co-author of this book; Vanessa’s lovers, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant, to whom she bore a daughter, Angelica; David Garnett, Duncan’s homosexual lover, and Clive’s lover, Mary Hutchinson, as well as other members of the Bloomsbury Group: Vanessa’s sister, Virginia Woolf, and husband, Leonard, who lived nearby; Lytton Strachey; Desmond MacCarthy; EM Forster and Maynard Keynes, not to mention chief cook and housekeeper, Grace Higgins.

Starting with a map of the garden and ground plans of each storey of the house and an  introduction with its highly appropriate title: A Vanished World, a chapter devoted to Charleston’s golden age from 1925 to 1937, which was shattered by the death of Vanessa’s son, Julian in the Spanish Civil War, just before the Second World War.

Through the following chapters featuring each room : Clive Bell’s study and bedroom; Vanessa’s bedroom; the spare bedroom; and those of Maynard Keynes and Duncan Grant; the green bathroom; the dining room and kitchen; the library; the studios; the garden room and finally the beautiful garden, Angelica’s ‘earthly paradise’, including the productive Walled Garden and numerous old photographs, we get to know all about their unconventional lives and their art.

It is backed up by the following small paperback:

Charleston: Past and Present  by Quentin Bell, Angelica Garnett, Henrietta Garnet and Richard Shone 1987/ 1993

BlogArtBooksReszd30%Image (697)

This official guide to Charleston also describes the contents of each room, and includes essays on Life at Charleston, including personal letters and memoirs, like the childhood memories of the garden, written by Quentin Bell; and the memoirs of Vanessa’s daughter Angelica and her daughter Henrietta, who recalls her grandmother, ‘Nessa’. It is possible to still visit Charleston. See: https://www.charleston.org.uk/ for details of opening times.

1930 to 1960s

The Boyds by Brenda Niall 2002/ 2007

The Boyd family is a very famous artistic dynasty in Australia, founded by Emma Minnie à Beckett (1858-1936) and her husband Arthur Merric Boyd (1862-1940), whose children also pursued art: William Merric (1888-1959) became a potter; Theodore Penleigh (1890-1923); and Helen à Beckett (1903-1999) were both painters and son, Martin à Beckett (1893-1972) became a writer.

William married a painter, Doris Gough, and raised five talented artists: a potter, Lucy (1916 -2009); sculptor, Guy (1923-1988); and three painters: Arthur (1920-1999); David (1924-2011); and Mary (1926-2017).

They in turn have raised artists like Lucy’s potter son, Robert; Guy’s sculptor daughters, Lenore, Sally and Charlotte; Arthur’s children, Polly, Jamie and Lucy; David’s daughters, Amanda, Lucinda and Cassandra; and Mary’s children by her first husband, John Perceval: Matthew, Tessa, Celia and Alice Perceval, as well as musicians and writers.

BlogArtBooksReszd30%Image (681) - Copy

In her fascinating book, Brenda Niall traces the family biography from 1840s Melbourne with convict heiress Emma Mills, who married William, the son of Victoria’s first Chief Justice; her daughter, Emma Minnie, and son-in-law, Arthur Merric Boyd; their children, who grew up at Open Country, Murrumbeena, and  Boyd grand-children, all of whom were famous, especially Arthur.

See the Table of Contents of this book at: https://web.archive.org/web/20060618070355/http://www.mup.unimelb.edu.au/catalogue/0-522-84871-0.html.

This book is so well-written and hard to put down and features many photos of the family and their homes, as well as colour-plates of their artworks!

Open Country, now obliterated by Melbourne suburbia, was the meeting place for many prominent Australian artists in the 1940s and 1950s. See : http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/boyd-familys-murrumbeena-gatherings-a-fount-of-inspiration-for-australian-artists-20141124-11ss2n.html.

Another famous Boyd landmark , which can still be visited, is Arthur Boyd’s property at Bundanon, on the Shoalhaven River, near Nowra, which he bought in 1979 and donated to the Australian people in 1993 and which we visited years ago. It is well worth making the effort to visit, even though opening times are limited and there is a long narrow drive in. It’s wonderful to see his house and studios and the landscape, which inspired him.

It  also includes a huge art collection of over 3 800 items, with more than 1 300 works by Arthur Boyd, over 1 200 works from five generations of the Boyd family dynasty and a number of works by Arthur Boyd’s contemporaries, such as Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Joy Hester and Charles Blackman, from which regular exhibitions are held,  as well as hosting an artist-in-residence program each year. See: https://bundanon.com.au/ for visiting times.

Olive Cotton by Helen Ennis and the Art Gallery of New South Wales 2000

I love Olive Cotton’s work! Olive Cotton (1911-2003) was one of Australia’s leading twentieth century photographers, whose career spanned six decades from the 1930s to the 1980s. The front cover of the book shows her delightfully titled photograph: Only to Taste the Warmth, the Light, the Wind 1939: BlogArtBooksReszd40%Image (682) This small book, which was produced to accompany an exhibition of her work by the Art Gallery of NSW in 2000,  contains photographs from the 1930s to mid 1940s, when she worked with her first husband, Max Dupain, at his studio in Sydney, as well as work from the 1980s, when she revisited her negatives and her passion for ‘drawing with light’. I love this photograph of a dandelion head, titled: Seedhead 1990 from page 59.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.53.50Her photographs display her great love for nature, as seen in her landscapes and flower studies; her keen observational powers; her wide range of subject matter; her fluidity of style, moving freely between Pictorialism, the style perfected by her predecessor, Harold Cazneaux (see above), and Modernism; and her great love of the photographic medium.

BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.55.03Her photographs are so beautiful and almost like paintings eg Interior (My Room) 1933, shown above, from page 13, and Cardboard Design 1935, shown below from page 25:

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 17.54.46

I also love Tea Cup Ballet 1935, a different take on the same subject matter of Margaret Preston’s  Implement Blue 1927, shown below, from page 24;BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.54.50

Jean-Lorraine By Candlelight 1943, from page 37;

BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.54.24

and The Sleeper 1939, shown below from page 31:

BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-30 17.54.32

Margaret Olley by Barry Pearce 1996

BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (687)

Another famous Australian artist, Margaret Olley (1923-2011) came to fame from the 1950s and 1960s on and is still very popular today. The book cover features one of her early works: Portrait in the Mirror 1948. The photo below is of one of her very famous paintings: Afternoon Interior with Cornflowers 1990, from page 103.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.06.33 I adore her still-lifes and rich, cluttered interiors, full of colour, vases of flowers and vintage objects and furniture. I just love the colours in her painting Chianti Bottle and Pomegranates 1994-1995 (photograph from page 112):BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.05.59 This book traces her life, her travels and her work, reproduced in the numerous full colour plates in this lovely book. The mask in the photo below, painted in her Interior IV 1970, page 59 of the book, bears testament to her three trips to Papua New Guinea between 1965 and 1968.

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.07.50 I love the lemons tumbling out of the basket in  Lemons 1964, the photo from page 51. BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.08.23 They were such comfortable homey interiors too like Yellow Tablecloth with Cornflowers 1995, photograph taken from page 126 of the book.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.05.27 In fact, I could own any one of her works. They are all so beautiful, as well as probably being very pricey these days! Another favourite for its rich warm colours is Clivias 1984, photograph from page 97 of the book. I just love that kelim!!!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.06.53Fortunately, she left her possessions to the Tweed Regional Gallery at Murwillimbah, so we were able to visit the Margaret Olley Art Centre during our recent trip to Brisbane, a wonderful treat! The first photo below is The Chinese Screen 1994-1995 from page 10, while the last photo is Yellow Room with Lupins II 1994-1995 from page 122.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.08.47 The centre also includes a recreation of key areas of her famous home studio at 48 Duxford Street, Paddington, Sydney : the Hat Factory (living room, dining room and  kitchen) and Yellow Room, all built to scale, with original architectural elements like windows, doors and fireplaces, and over 20 000 items, collected by Margaret over many years as subject matter for her paintings. See: http://artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au/VisitUs and http://artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au/MargaretOlleyArtCentre.

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.05.17Finally, some books about some contemporary artists among the Baby Boomers, all of whom have a deep affection for Australia and its amazing flora and fauna!

Criss Canning: The Pursuit of Beauty by David Thomas 2008BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (688)

The book cover above features Still Life with Poppy Cedric Morris 2007.

Criss Canning’s art is very similar in style, talent and subject matter to Margaret Olley. In fact, Margaret Olley was a close friend and supportive mentor and in 1999, Margaret actually bought one of Criss’s paintings : Waratah in a Green Jug 1999, seen below from page 139 in the book and donated it to the Art Gallery of New South Wales.  See: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/4417688/olleys-living-legacy/ and https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/61.2000/.

BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.01.42I first discovered Criss Canning, when she visited my garden club in Armidale with her husband David Glenn, of Lambley Nursery fame. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/03/08/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-nursery-gardens-in-victoria/.

Her love of native Australian flora can be seen in her painting titled: Winter Banksia 2001 from page 155.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.02.09This beautiful coffee table book was written and published to coincide with her retrospective exhibition at Ballarat Fine Art Gallery in 2007 and it certainly does justice to all her wonderful sumptuous paintings with full page colour plates in glossy paper. Below is another ode to Australian flora: Gum Blossom 1995, photo from page 123.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.01.25David Thomas traces her life from her birth in 1947, exactly one month before my husband (!), and childhood in Laburnum, near Blackburn, a suburb of Melbourne, which was then rural acreage; her struggles as a single mother of two young children; her sojourn on the island of Rhodes in Greece, inspired by Charmaine Clift; her marriage and life with David Glenn in Ascot, near Ballarat, and her later more minimalist works, influenced by  her love of  Japanese artseen in Freesia’s and Japanese Tea Service 1996 from page 175 and the geometric designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.01.11I adore her beautiful floral studies: their rich colour; bold composition; strong patterns and dramatic contrast and flowing textile backdrops, as can be seen in her paintings titled: Black and White 1999, the first photo below from page 77 and Arthur Merric Boyd Coffee Set 2003, the second photo below from page 160.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.00.52BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0044I love her talented portrayal of metal surfaces and her patterned backgrounds, as seen in the first photo below: Silver Reflections 2003 from page 162 and the silver tray in the second photo below: Native Flowers and Silver Tray 2001 from page 149,BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0045BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-31 11.01.54As well as her wonderful sense of colour, as seen in Poppies 1987 from page 43.BlogArtBooksReszd25%IMG_0047 To see more of her work, visit her site at: http://crisscanning.com.au/.

Salvatore Zofrea: Days of Summer by Anne Ryan 2009BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (693)

This lovely book features the work of Salvatore Zoffrea, an Italian-Australian printmaker, who produces beautiful woodcuts of Australian flora and the bush. The book cover features his woodcut: Mountain Devil Grevillea with Eggs and Bacon Pea, Native Iris and Kunzea, while the photo below shows Bowerbirds with Native Irises and Eggs and Bacon Pea from page 43.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.59.57 Like Criss Canning, he was also influenced heavily by Japanese art, especially its traditional Japanese woodcuts, as well as European art. I love his delightful work: Tea Tree with Bronze Pigeon in the photo below, taken from page 39.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.00.06 I love his attention to detail, the busyness of his designs, his use of colour or lack of colour, his sense of wonder at the beauty and abundance of the Australian bush and his underlying message of the importance of conservation and sustainability. The photo below is a closeup of a double page spread, page 62 and 63, featuring his large woodcut, 3 metres long, titled: Bellbirds at Kurrajong, which was made by carving nine blocks of marine plywood and was his artistic response to a local incident at Mandeni, near Merimbula, where a bellbird population was culled due to their destruction of eucalyptus trees. Little did we realize that five years later we would be living in the area!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.00.25 We felt so lucky to see these wonderful prints by chance when passing through Wagga Wagga in 2010. See: http://www.wagga.nsw.gov.au/art-gallery/exhibitions-landing/past-exhibitions/exhibitions-2010/salvatore-zofrea-days-of-summer); http://mrag.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ZofreaProposal_sml.pdf and http://mrag.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ZofreaEdKit_11_01_10.pdf.

Byron Portfolio: An Artist’s Response to the Byron Shire  by Karen Wynn-Moylan 1989BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (691)Another environmental artist, whose work I love is Karen Wynn-Moylan, also known as Karena Wynn-Moylan. Her book cover features her watercolour, View From Honeysuckle to Tallows Beach, a familiar scene from coastal holidays in the area many years ago.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.58.11Karen works in a variety of media: watercolours, oils, acrylics and pastels – to record and celebrate the beauty of the unique flora and fauna of her subtropical home environment in the Byron Shire, as well as encourage an appreciation of the environment and the need for conservation. Her love of her local rainforest can be seen in the photo above of her watercolour painting, The Clearing, page 43, while her pastel, Sunsoaked, on page 7, portrays a subject matter typical of the local area!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.59.35 I love The Flowering Beach, a mixed media painting on page 21, the fine dots of colour so typical of the Australian bush.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.59.11 Nasturtiums (Mullumbimby Laneway), labelled The Nasturtians in the book on page 29 and seen in the photo below, reminds me of our holidays at Hat Head with its old-fashioned dirt lane ways, lined with bougainvillea and frangipanis, wooden sheds and garages and leaning wooden fences, trailing with nasturtiums.

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 10.58.56 For a look at her work, see: http://www.karenawynn-moylan.bravehost.com/.  As a Tasmanian, I really loved her new oil: Summer Above the Snowline: Mt Wellington, at: http://www.karenawynn-moylan.bravehost.com/newwork.html.

The final artist in this post, Michael Leunig, also has much to say about our treatment of the environment, as well as each other, as can be seen in the following book:

The Michael Leunig Collection: Favourite Paintings and Drawings by Michael Leunig 1991BlogArtBooksReszd30%Image (695)Born in 1945, Michael Leunig is a much-loved and well-known cartoonist with delightfully quirky characters, who highlight the absurdities of life, and wonderfully whimsical poetry. The book cover features his well-known cartoon, The Kiss 1985.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.04.10His work is just so much fun and he addresses serious issues with a humorous light-hearted approach, which is very effective, as seen in the photo above of his cartoon, Plastic Shopping Bags in Autumn 1989 from page 22, though we are only just starting to address the issue in 2017! BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.03.57I love his characters, Mr Curly and Vasco Pyjama, as well as the small things of life:  his ducks, houses, teapots and angels. The photo above is Mr Curly Comes Home 1973, from page 30, while the colour photograph below is the book cover for The Travelling Leunig, published by Penguin in 1990, and reproduced on page 112 of this book. BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-31 11.04.58This book is a taster to some of his most famous drawings. We own a number of his books, and his work also appears regularly in the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, as well as a free annual calendar. For more on his work, see: http://www.leunig.com.au/.

I will finish this post  with one of his delightful prayers from his website :

Dear God,

We rejoice and give thanks for earthworms,
bees, ladybirds and broody hens;
for humans tending their gardens, talking to animals,
cleaning their homes and singing to themselves;
for rising of the sap, the fragrance of growth,
the invention of the wheelbarrow and the existence of the teapot,
we give thanks. We celebrate and give thanks.

Amen.

 

 

The Wonderful World of Art: Part One

Now for a visual treat: a post on some of my favourite books about both art and artists, many of which we have bought after attending a wonderful exhibition!

Art is such a personal concept and performs many different purposes from representing our world to exploring personal ideas or beliefs. Being a romantic at heart and a bit of an ostrich, I tend to be drawn to works of beauty, as I feel our world has enough ugliness in reality, without perpetuating it in our art! A typical example is one of my most favourite paintings: End of Dinner by Jules-Alexandre Grun 1913 https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-end-of-dinner-jules-alexandre-grun.html.

I will start with two general books on art, then introduce you to some books featuring of my favourite artists and art periods in chronological order. Note: This selection is based solely on my art library and is a very incomplete representation of my favourite art and artists! For example, I love Impressionism, but do not own any books on it or its proponents in my art library, so they are not included in this post. Because this is quite a long post, I have divided it into two parts: Part One: General Art Books and Pre-1900s; and Part Two: Post 1900s.

In my last book post on Architectural Books, I discussed one book, which covered both the architecture and art of Islam, so I thought I would begin with:

The Orient in Western Art by Gérard-Georges Lemaire 2000BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (680)

For over 2 000 years, the Western imagination has been excited by the world of the Orient from Egypt to Palestine and Greece to Turkey with its exoticism and mystery, its domes and minarets and harems of beautiful women, as depicted in the art of :

Bellini, Carpaccio, Veronese, Tintoretto, Rubens and Rembrandt (15th to 17th Centuries);

The beautiful women of Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Jean-Étienne Liotard and Antoine de Favray and landscapes of Jean-Baptiste Hilair in the 18th Century;

The battle scenes of Jean-Léon Gérôme, François Watteau, Baron Antoine-Jean Gros, Anne-Louise Girodet de Roussy-Trioson and Alexandre Bida;  and

Egyptian scenes, painted by David Roberts, Frederick Goodall, William James Müller, Adrian Dauzats, Prosper Marilhat and Rudolf Ernst of the 18th Century.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.09.00

I particularly loved Private Conversation by John Frederick Lewis (p 134; photo above); Odalisque by Natale Schiavoni (p 150; first photo below), Jewish Girl in Tangiers by Charles Landelle (p 169; fourth photo below) and Algerian Woman and Her Slave by Ange Tissier on the book cover (first photo of this post).BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.09.13 Constantinople featured in The Slave Market by Sir William Allen 1838 and View of Constantinople by Germain-Fabius Brest 1870.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-24 17.10.09 Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres was entranced by the women of the harem, with some beautiful sensuous nudes like Odalisque (p 202, photo above); Little Bather; Grand Odalisque and Turkish Bath (see: http://www.jeanaugustedominiqueingres.org/), as was Théodore Chassériau – I love his Dance of the Kerchiefs 1849 (p 226).BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0018 Jean-Léon Gérôme painted some lovely river scenes, while Gustave Moreau was fascinated with classical mythology and especially, Salome. Auguste Renoir’s Odalisque 1870 and Seated Algerian 1881 are also favourites.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.09.32While the book also features the work of more modern artists, to my mind, none match the beauty and romance of the earlier period. It is a lovely dreamy book and does credit to these beautiful artworks!

Now for something totally different, yet still close to our heart:

A Brush With Birds: Australian Bird Art From the National Library of Australia Introduction by Penny Olsen 2008BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (685)

Being keen bird-lovers, we had to buy this book! With  full-page colour reproductions of bird art and brief notes on each artist’s life, it showcases bird art from 1788 to the present and a wide variety of styles from the rather stilted representations of the early colonial artists in an attempt to record these strange new birds for scientific purposes (John Hunter, George Raper and Sarah Stone) and the more realistic etchings of John Lewin and the Goulds (John and Elizabeth) to the bird identification guides by the Neville Cayleys (father and son), Ebenezer Edward Gostelow (front cover of the book), Lilian Medland and Betty Temple Watts and the hyper-realistic bird portraits by William Thomas  Cooper, a particular favourite. I love his attention to fine detail like the feathers and his stunning use of colour, seen in the photo below, from page 101 of the book.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.01.43

Lars Knudsen’s Australian Birds by Lars Knudsen 1995

Another bird artist, who loves colour, but was not in the above book, is Lars Knudsen.BlogArtBooksReszd40%Image (697) - Copy Born in 1931, so this book is definitely not in chronological order (!), Lars grew up in North Queensland, where he fell in love with the amazing bird life. He spent many years working in advertising in Sydney, before setting up a studio in Spain in 1977 and painting birds full-time.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.10.28 Since returning to Australia in 1985, he has produced numerous limited edition prints and now has a studio and gallery at Hampton in the Blue Mountains. In fact, I bought this lovely little book, showcasing 29 of his best Australian bird paintings, along with detailed comments about each bird, at Everglades, Leura in the Blue Mountains.BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-24 17.10.44 They are stunning paintings, full of movement and colour and really capture the essence of each bird. I particularly loved the Orange-Bellied Parrots (p 30); the Whiskered Terns (p 38); both photographed above, and the Regent Bowerbird (p 53); and the Australian King Parrots (p 56), both photographed below.

BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-24 17.10.53

I love his slightly abstract style, the colours of the backgrounds complementing the birds so well and his love and passion for birds and their environment really shines through. A delightful little book!BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-24 17.11.10A Vision of Eden: The Life and Work of Marianne North by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 1980BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (694)

Marianne North (1830-1890) is a great favourite of ours! An intrepid traveller, contemporary of Charles Darwin and Sir Joseph Hooker and highly talented artist, she produced over 800 oil paintings, now housed in the Marianne North Gallery at Kew (https://www.kew.org/mng/marianne-north.html). Her paintings show such accuracy and attention to detail and introduced the pre-photography public of the day to the huge diversity of life and natural wonders of the world.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.11.58

I love her botanical studies (Page 26 North American Carnivorous Plants in the photo above; and Page 68 Flowers of a Coral Tree, Brazil, in the photo below, BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.11.46

as well as her exotic landscapes like the Taj Mahal at Agra (above) and the Road Up To Naini Tal, India (below) from page 126 :BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.11.25and her painting of Distant View of Mount Kinchinjunga, from Darjeeling, India (p 132):BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.11.34This book follows her life from her early days and home life to her travels in Canada and the United States; Jamaica; Brazil; Japan; Indonesia; India and Ceylon; Australia and New Zealand; South Africa and Chile in South America. I love the simplicity of this painting: A Road Near Bath, Jamaica, Lined With Palms, Bread-Fruit and Cocoa, from page 46:BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.12.11

As an Australian, it is fascinating to read her travel diary notes and descriptions of the native flora and fauna,  though she could be quite ascerbic:

Brisbane in 1880  is described as: ‘a most unattractive place- a sort of overgrown village, with wide empty streets full of driving dust and sand, surrounded by wretched suburbs of wooden houses scattered over bare steep hills’ (p 158)

and Tenterfield as: ‘what Australians call “a very pretty place”, meaning that there was not a tree within a mile of it, and that it had a little water within reach’ (p 161).

As she travelled south, her mood improved! Armadale (her spelling, but really spelt Armidale) was ‘a considerable place, with some stone houses in it and a bishop’ (p162), where hotel rooms cost 10 shillings a day and meat, a shilling for 10 pounds.

Bendemeer was ‘a pretty green meadow with a clear river running through it, bordered by casuarina trees’ (p 162), though the accommodation was flea-ridden and noisy!

She was very comfortable in Sydney, staying at the Prime Minister’s house in the Blue Mountains; Elizabeth Bay; and Camden, so by the time she reached Melbourne, she was positively rapturous, declaring the city to be: ‘a noble city, and its gardens are even more beautiful than those of Sydney, with greater variety of ground, and lovely views over the river. It is by far the most real city in Australia, and the streets are as full of quickly-moving people as those of London’ (p 168).BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0019 She even visited Perth and Albany in Western Australia and Hobart in Tasmania, where she raved over Mt. Wellington, as seen in her painting: View in the Forest on Mt. Wellington; p 181; photo above). I had to laugh at her assertion that: ‘Cherries, raspberries, every kind of fruit which grows at home grew better than at home. Half the jam in the world is made in Tasmania.‘ (p 178).

The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites by Steven Adams 1988

While well-connected Marianne was very much part of the establishment, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were much more controversial, rejecting the conservatism of the Royal Academy and aspiring to the era before Raphael, hence their name.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (675)

This book examines the academic tradition, against which they rebelled; the inception of the group in 1848 and the famous works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin, John Everett  Millais, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, William Holman Hunt and Ford Maddox Brown. They certainly produced some beautiful art, especially Millais’ family scenes (Autumn Leaves 1855-1856), as well as his famous Ophelia 1851 and Rossetti’s classically inspired ‘Stunners’ with their heart-shaped faces,  full lips, hooded eyes, unrestrained flowing hair and extravagant robes, like Proserpine 1874 and The Beloved 1865 (book cover). See: http://preraphaelitesisterhood.com/rossettis-models/ .

The Pre-Raphaelites also led very unconventional (and messy!) lives, recounted superbly in Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites by Franny Moyle 2009, as well as the accompanying BBC TV production.

BlogArtBooksReszd30%Image (681)

It is a fascinating read! I think William Morris was very forbearing, as well as being a fascinating character and a real Renaissance man, gifted with so many talents! I adore his work and ethos, so it is not surprising that I own two books about his life and work!

William Morris & Morris & Co. by Lucia Van der Post 2003

Father of the Arts and Crafts Movement and one of Britain’s greatest and best-known designers, whose wallpapers and textiles are still enormously popular, William Morris was born into a wealthy family in 1834 and studied art and literature at Oxford University, where he developed his passion for medievalism and the Gothic and met his lifelong friend, Edward Burne-Jones, through whom he came into contact with the Pre-Raphaelites .

He hated the mass production , pastiche, excessiveness and ugliness of Victorian industrial society, espousing a return to the medieval guilds, simplicity  and true craftmanship, as seen in the ceramic tiles, metalwork, woodwork, furniture, glass, textiles, embroideries, carpets and wallpapers, produced by his firm Morris & Co.

I have always loved his famous quote:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’.

I also love his intensely personal involvement with all these crafts and the way he taught himself the necessary skills, whether it was stained glass; clay modelling; illuminating manuscripts; calligraphy; book production; carving wood and stone; wood engraving; mural and tile painting; natural dyeing or tapestry weaving and hand embroidery.

This lovely small book examines the key components of his work under the chapter titles of: Craft; Colour; Honesty; Pattern; Nature; and Legend, with colour photographs of his beautiful work  and patterns throughout. By incorporating Morris designs in a wide variety of settings and modern contexts, the book also provides inspiration for contemporary homeowners.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (677)

And if you still haven’t had your fill of his designs, another excellent book about his life and work is:

The Art of William Morris by Christine Poulson 2004, in which the chapters are more chronologically-ordered, following his early life and university study, his establishment of the Firm, his involvement with the Pre-Raphaelites; his marriage and family life; his homes; his political beliefs, public speaking and writings, published through his Kelmscott Press.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (676)

The Arts & Crafts Companion by Pamela Todd 2008/ 2011

The ultimate guide to the Arts and Crafts Movement (1880 – 1920), it begins with its philosophy and background; its proponents including William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, Walter Crane,  CFA Voysey, William Lethaby, Ernest Gimson, the Barnsley brothers,  Philip Webb, MH Baillie Scott and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and that is only a small portion of the British Arts and Crafts movement. It was also occurring simultaneously in the rest of Europe and the United States of America.

The main section of the book is devoted to lengthy and detailed  chapters about all aspects of the Arts and Crafts Movement: Architecture, Interior Design, Furniture, Textiles and Wallpaper, Stained Glass and Lighting, Pottery and Ceramics, Metalwork and Jewellery; the Printed Word and Gardens, the latter being the subject of my main assessment during my garden history studies.

I loved reading about these gardens, especially those created by Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens (Munstead Wood; Hestercombe; and the Deanery); I would love to visit them one day, as well as Red House, Kent (Philip Webb and William Morris) and Kelmscott Manor (William Morris) in the Cotswolds; Standen, West Sussex (Philip Webb), Snowshill Manor (Baillie Scott), Rodmarton Manor (ErnestBarnsley), both in Gloucestershire and Blackwell, overlooking Windermere in the Lake District (MH Baillie Scott). The famous gardens of Hidcote Manor, Sissinghurst and Great Dixter have also been heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement. See: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/our-arts-and-crafts-houses-and-gardens.

I also love the simplicity, subtlety and harmony of the wallpapers, textiles and furniture designed by CFA Voysey, who described his ideal interior as:

a well-proportioned room, with white-washed walls, plain carpet and simple oak furniture’ with a simple vase of flowers and repeated decorative  motifs and symbols like stylized hearts‘.

His houses had low roofs, wide eaves, low horizontal windows, white roughcast walls and exposed beams and brickwork.

It was also very interesting to read about the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement on embroidery (including the Glasgow School of Art); Morris’s mastery of indigo discharge printing and natural dyeing; early electric lamps from the 1880s on; and stunning jewellery, inset with moonstones, amethyst and mother-of-pearl, as well as pearls, opals, coral, turquoise, malachite and lapis lazuli.

At the back of the book is a Source Book with key addresses and websites for the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as an extensive bibliography.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (679)

Now for books about four more artists, born during the 1860s, who were developing their artistic styles over this first half of this period: Alphonse Mucha ( 1860-1939) from Czechoslovakia; Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) from Vienna, Austria and two Australian artists, Bertram Mackennal (1863-1931) and Rupert Bunny (1864-1947), both of whom achieved their fame in Europe. All of them produced stunningly beautiful art, reflected in the colour-plates of these gorgeous books.

Alphonse Mucha by Sarah Mucha 2005

Alphonse Mucha was most famous for his Art Nouveau posters (advertising and art posters) with their sinuous lines, pastel colours, beautiful women and decorative motifs, but like other artists of the day, he was also interested in a wide variety of other artistic endeavours from pastels, drawings and oils; sculpture; photography; stained glass; architecture and interior design; furniture; tableware and cutlery; jewellery; tapestry and books. The book cover shown below features his colour lithograph Dance 1898.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (674)

This lovely book explores his life, influences and beliefs, the history of the time and the birth of Art Nouveau, and includes his wonderful photographs of his models and family. We were introduced to Mucha, when we bought one of his prints, Music 1898, on our second trip overseas and were delighted to see all his other beautiful designs in this book. I can honestly say that I love them all!BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-30 13.40.49 Compare the colour of our print with the same design, shown in the photo below (p 25), showing the way his designs could be reproduced in a large number of different formats.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.07.26

His women are so sensual, romantic and feminine, and I adore his backgrounds with abstract and naturalistic patterns and strong flowing lines, as seen in Reverie 1897 (p 38).BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.08.07Mucha used floral and botanic details, as well as Byzantine, Celtic, Japanese, Rococo, Gothic, Judaic and Czech folk elements in his work, as can be seen in his mosaic backgrounds, extravagant robes and jewellery and arabesques, all embellished with strong stylised outlines. I love the photo below his lamp titled La Nature 1899 (page 14).BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.07.02 He used his designs in decorative panels and murals; posters; paintings; jewellery and haircombs; Moet and Chandon labels and menus; packages and postcards; and in 1902, produced a handbook for craftsmen, Documents Décoratifs , containing 72 plates, drawn in pencil and highlighted with white pigment, of all the necessary patterns for creating an Art Nouveau lifestyle, as well as being an encyclopaedia of all his decorative work. They include a realistic study of nature, the designs becoming increasingly stylised for metal, leather, glass and lace work; studies of nudes and women’s heads, showing how the human body has decorative elements; and abstract ornamental framing with repetition of stylised motifs. Below is a photo of two designs for hair combs and jewellery for Documents Décoratifs in Plates 49 and 50 (page 73).BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.08.25Mucha had a strong philosophical background to his work. Believing that art influenced all aspects of human life and was instrumental in uplifting the soul and promoting peace, harmony, beauty and a sense of moral goodness, he also was a strong proponent in art for the masses, creating strong stylized and often heavily symbolic designs (both explicit and hidden), which could be used repetitively to beautify goods of common consumption and utility, which could be afforded by the ordinary man. Here is Zodiac 1896 (p 28).BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.07.37His idealism is epitomised by his later Slav Epic, 20 huge canvases, representing the last 1000 years of Slavic history, in which he celebrates the Slavic virtues of peacefulness; piety and devotion to learning and the arts; chronicles the oppression of the Slavs by their militaristic neighbours and laments the weakness, born of Slav disunity. The photo below is: The Apotheosis of the Slavs 1926 from page 18.BlogArtBooksReszd20%IMG_0020With his wonderful ideals and sensitivity, it is little wonder that he died not long after interrogation by the Nazis in 1939 and his work was then largely forgotten in his homeland until the 1990s.

The Mucha Foundation was established in 1992 by his grandson John Mucha and daughter-in-law Geraldine Mucha, following the death of their father/ husband and Mucha’s son Jifi. Its aim is to preserve and promote Mucha’s art for future generations and to this end, has an  ongoing program of exhibitions all over the world. See: http://www.muchafoundation.org/. His work can also be seen at the Mucha Museum, which was opened in Prague in February 1998. See: http://www.mucha.cz/.

Gustav Klimt: Art Nouveau Visionary by Eva di Stefano 2008

Klimt is another favourite Art Nouveau portraitist and landscape painter. I have always loved his sumptuous gilded artworks, full of eroticism, symbolism and mystery, and his beautiful nudes, abstract colourful geometric patterns and gold leaf spirals. The book cover features his painting called Water Serpents I 1904.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (673) Like Mucha, he too had a thorough grounding in mosaics, metalwork, and painting, even preparing his own paints, as well as the symbolism and decorative motifs of many different eras and cultures from Greek ceramics and Egyptian and Assyrian reliefs to Slavic folklore. While specialising in painting, he also designed fashion and jewellery. This is one of his very famous paintings, The Kiss 1907-1908 from page 199:BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-24 17.05.52This lovely book discusses his early life and Fin-de-siècle Vienna; his artistic creed; his landscapes and allegorical friezes; the women in his life, his scandalous paintings and his secession years, having been a founding member of the Vienna Secessionist movement. Another very famous erotic painting is The Virgin 1912-1913 from page 227 of the book:BlogArtBooksReszd2517-07-24 17.06.22For more about Klimt, see: https://www.klimtgallery.org/ and http://www.klimt.com/. Also read  ‘The Painted Kiss’ by Elizabeth Hickey (http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Painted-Kiss/Elizabeth-Hickey/9780743492614) and the film, Woman in Gold (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2404425/).

Bertram Mackennal : The Fifth Balnaves Foundation Sculpture Project  by Deborah Edwards 2007

One of the earliest Australian- born artists to seek fame and achieve success on the international stage, especially France and Britain. He was the first Australian artist to exhibit at the Royal Academy, London; the first overseas artist (and first Australian) to be elected to the Royal Academy; and the first Australian artist to have work purchased for the Tate Gallery and to be knighted. The book cover features a closeup of an exquisite bronze Circe 1893, the statuette from 1902-1904 appearing on page 31.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (684)Travelling to Europe in 1882, aged 19 years old, he was heavily influenced by Art Nouveau and  the avant-garde aspirations of the British ‘New Sculptors’, creating beautiful naturalistic figures in bronze and marble, based on symbolist themes. By the early 1900s, he had become a prominent civic sculptor and a master of Edwardian style and elegance. I love this bronze Morning (Woman Dressing Her Hair) 1902 from p 110:BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.03.58Despite being highly successful overseas, he is less well-known here in Australia, so this book was produced, along with an accompanying CD-ROM, to educate the Australian public about his life,  showcase his smaller domestic sculptures and complement a retrospective exhibition, held in Sydney and his home-town of  Melbourne, where we were introduced to his work. I fell in love with his work- so beautiful and so tactile, the full-page colour-plates of this gorgeous coffee-table book really do justice to his amazing sculptures! Here is a delightful small marble statue, Sappho 1909 from page 70.BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.04.20Rupert Bunny: Artist in Paris by Deborah Edwards 2009

While Mackennal was the most internationally successful Australian artist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Rupert Bunny was Australia’s most successful painter in Paris, both men finally eclipsed by Sidney Nolan in the 1950s and 1960s.BlogArtBooksReszd25%Image (692) Arriving in Paris in 1887, just as PostImpressionism and Symbolism were emerging, he was heavily influenced by these movements, as well as the art of the Pre-Raphaelites and French Realism. The book cover features his dreamy oil painting titled Dolce Farniente 1897, seen in full in the photo below from page 60.

BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.02.21 This beautiful book, also produced to accompany a wonderful exhibition at the National Gallery Of Victoria, describes his life in France; his successes and his sumptuous paintings from biblical and literary paintings (1889-1905), for example:  his beautiful oil painting A Summer Morning 1897, the photo taken from page 63 of the book;BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.02.31 the beautiful women and fashions of the fin-de-siècle (1896-1911);BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.03.26 the works for the Ballet Russes; and his later landscapes and mythological paintings in the decorative modern style (1913-1930). I loved his oil  The Sun Bath 1913 (page 105):BlogArtBooksReszd2017-07-24 17.03.40It was wonderful seeing the large artworks closeup and this book is a lovely reminder of his beautiful romantic and sensuous paintings.

On Thursday, I will continue this post on Art Books with more wonderful artworks from the 1900s on.

Architecture Books: Part Two

The second part of this post features six wonderful books for people planning to build their own home, with lots of practical information on materials and building techniques and styles, as well as plenty of inspiration and useful and helpful advice! There is so much to consider and so many decisions to make when building your own home, as well as so much time, physical work and cost, so prior research and planning is essential!

The Natural House Book: Creating a Healthy, Harmonious, and Ecologically Sound Home Environment by David Pearson 1989/ 1992

Given all the effort involved in building your own house, it would be awful if your new home had deleterious effects on your health and this is one of the key tenets of this book, along with the need to be environmentally aware and have as minimal impact on our planet as possible!

The book is divided into three parts:

Part One describes the interaction between you, your home and the environment. It compares the Natural House, defined as providing ‘health for the body, peace for the soul and harmony with the environment’, with dangerous dwellings, full of indoor pollutants and toxic chemicals, and based on wasteful environmental practices.

Part Two examines life systems for comfort and climate (energy efficiency, renewable energy, cooling, insulation, fuel and power, the dangers of radiation and electricity and energy conservation); water (use, pollution and conservation; air (air quality, pollution and air control systems); scent (aromatherapy and herbs); sound (noise pollution and acoustics in the home) and light and colour (daylight, artificial lighting, energy-efficient lighting and colour therapy); and the attributes, costs (health and ecological) and use of a variety of building materials (stone; glass; plaster; metals; earth; timber; reeds and bamboo; canes and grasses; natural fibres, paints and varnishes; and plastics).

Part Three applies all the principles gleaned from the previous parts to the design of spaces within the home: Living Spaces; Sleeping Spaces; Kitchen Spaces; Bathing Spaces; Health Spaces and Green Spaces. It includes a large section on health and ecological hazards in the kitchen, bedrooms and bathroom, as well as lovely illustrations and photographs of  beautiful rooms and spaces.

I loved the window seating area, which doubles for sleeping, in the section on Living Areas; the simplicity of  Japanese and Scandinavian bedrooms; the passive solar greenhouse attached to the kitchen, outdoor sunrooms and pools, as well as the deep Japanese bath or furo, in which you sit and soak with water right up to your neck!

The appendices include charts featuring sustainable timbers; natural fabrics, grasses and canes; natural paints, varnishes and finishes; household cleaners (their personal and environmental risks and alternatives); household waste; rating your home and indoor air pollution. There is also a list of resources, including materials, organizations and architects, and a glossary and bibliography in the back.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (651)

Earth to Spirit: In Search of Natural Architecture by David Pearson 1994

Also written by David Pearson, this book features a large number of vernacular and traditional architecture throughout the world and their influence on modern architecture.

It starts by examining Ancestral Archetypes, before exploring Healing Architecture, the Art of Living in Harmony with the Land, Vernacular Wisdom, Cultural Identity and Living the Dream, all supported by beautiful and inspiring photographs of examples.

In Architectural Archetypes, he gives examples of the original human dwellings: Caves, yurts, hogans, pit houses, roundhouses, pueblos, and kivas.

In Healing Architecture, he discusses the growth of movements like Baubiologie, Organic Architecture and Anthroposophic Design (Steiner), with their use of wood and other natural materials, flowing lines and curves and romantic and spiritual emphases.

The chapter on Harmony with the Land stresses the importance of environmental awareness, energy efficiency, recycling and the inter-relatedness of all living things, as propounded by James Lovelock’s Gaia Theory, giving many examples of different architectural projects, including Australia’s Permaculture, designed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren.

Vernacular buildings also hold many ecological lessons for today’s architects and builders, as they display many ingenious and low-energy-use solutions to living in difficult climates, as well as harmonizing with their local landscapes through their use of local materials.

Authenticity and Cultural Identity are also important concepts in modern architecture, especially with regards to modern developments and finally, in Living the Dream, there are examples of individuals and groups, who are incorporating all the ideas, propounded in this book, into actual practice, like the Centre for Alternative Technology, which we visited in Wales in 1994 and Crystal Waters, Australia’s first intentional permaculture village, in Maleny, Queensland.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (654)The Good House Book: A Common-Sense Guide to Alternative Homebuilding by Clarke Snell 2004

An excellent  guide to all the different aspects of alternative home building with chapters devoted to

1.Philosophy and Definitions;

2.Building Materials:

Traditional:

Earth : Stone; Mud (cob, rammed earth, adobe, brick, wattle-and-daub, earth plasters and concrete); Metal and Glass;

Plants: Grasses (straw, bamboo, sod roofs using living grasses) and Wood; and

Animal Products (skins, whalebone,dung, blood, milk and urine)

Modern : Plastics and synthetic polymers

Alternative: Recycled and Waste Materials: Used tyres (earthships), byproduct straw (strawbale houses), wood-based waste (cellulose insulation), and recycled plastics and concrete;

: Local Materials: Earth; and Plants;   and

:  Natural Materials;

3.Structure: Loads; Foundations; Floors; Walls; and Roofs;

4.Temperature: Heating; Cooling; Insulation; Thermal Mass; and Traditional/ Modern and Alternative Approaches to Temperature like masonry stoves;

5.Separation: Forces of Decay (water, sun, wind and life) and House Skins (integrated; applied: walls and roofs), including flashings, breathable walls, stucco and plasters; and green roofs;

6.Connection: Exchange of light and sun, water, air and power, including discussions of rainwater tanks, wells, waste water and compost toilets, septic systems, air quality, and renewable energy;

7.Applications: Examples of six alternative homes: their experiences, decisions and advice. They include: an earthship, a strawbale home; a breathable hot-climate house; a tiny earth-plastered office; a health-conscious home and a conventionally-constructed ‘alternative’ wooden, energy-efficient, passive solar home. Brief notes about all these buildings are detailed in a table at the end of the chapter, according to the previous chapters: their materials, structure, temperature, separation and connection.

8.Reality Check: Cost factors, building codes and considerations and advice for owner-builders.

Throughout the book are countless examples of traditional, modern and alternative approaches with hundreds of photographs, interviews with alternative builders and side bars and detailed drawings, helping to explain concepts.

The final chapter, Going Deeper, lists useful resources (hard copy, internet and buildings) for each chapter.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (653)

Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Buiding Methods by Clarke Snell and Tim Callahan 2005

A similar, but much thicker  and even more practical book, with lots of detailed suggestions.

Part One: The Basics covers the reasons behind green building (low construction impact; resource efficiency through the life of the building, durability, nontoxicity and aesthetics); and alternative building fundamentals and building strategies, according to structure, temperature, separation and connection) and design (patterns and pattern language).

Part Two:

Building : Examines siting (in relation to sun, water, wind and earth- soil and contour); site work (required to seat the building and ensure good drainage: clearing land, mapping site contours, excavation, retaining walls, layout and digging foundations) and structure (the basic framework – its foundation, wall and roof structures.)

The latter has a huge amount of practical information, with step-by-step photographs on piers and drains, gravel trenches, stem walls, post-and-beam framework, moving heavy objects, tools, termite barriers, preparing and setting posts, building roof trusses, framing the roof, roof decking, living roofs and porches.

Temperature: Discusses the use of cob and other earth mixes, cordwood, strawbale and modified stick-frame to cocoon the building and maintain a stable indoor temperature. Again, lots of practical information on the advantages, disadvantages green credentials of each, as well as how to determine if your soil is suitable, how to build with cob, shaping niches and shelving and using glass bottles (cob); choosing and processing wood, mixing mortar, laying cordwood and round buildings (cordwood); types of strawbale construction (infill vs. loadbearing), bale dimensions, designing with bales, drainage planes, laying bales, water considerations and  rendering (strawbale); and wall trusses, wooden laths, insulation, prepping for plaster and use of bamboo (stick framing).

Separation: Covering the walls, roof and floor with skins to protect the building from the forces of decay: covers plastering and stucco and finishing the skin or trim (walls); living roofs; lapped or seamless roof skins, finishing the roof skin, gutters, insulation, drainage, rainwater catchment, and shingles (roofs); and raised or on-grade floors, gravel beds, grouting and hydroponic floor heating (floors); and

Connection: Creating connections between indoor and outdoor spaces via doors and windows; transition zones; and systems (plumbing, heating and cooling, power, lighting and waste disposal). of the topics covered include salvaging windows; building doors from scratch, outdoor work spaces, and patios and courtyards.

The four different alternative building methods and many of the concepts in this book are incorporated an actual construction project and the completed energy-efficient green building is shown in the final chapter and is quite delightful.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (664)

Small Strawbale: Natural Homes, Projects and Designs by Bill Steen, Athena Swentzell Steen and Wayne J Bingham 2005

Strawbale construction is a particular favourite of mine, because of its energy conservation, insulation, fire retarding qualities, soundproofing, low cost, thick sills, sculptural and recessing potential and the total look and feel!

This lovely book features a collection of small houses, studios, meditation spaces, outbuildings and landscape walls.

While serving primarily as an inspiring showcase of ideas, it also includes many practical suggestions from basic guidelines for small buildings, roof slope and pitch, shading devices, round buildings, greenhouses, plastering hints, and  carving murals to  making window seats, built-in furniture, lofts and mezzanines, dormers and alcoves, earthen baking ovens and pantries, as well as numerous house and room plans. It’s a lovely little book for dreamers!BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (650)

And finally, one book on interior decoration, which complements many of the buildings described in this post:  simple, organic, natural, imaginative, creative and highly original!

Ethnic Style: From Mexico to the Mediterranean by Miranda Innes 1991

This beautiful book showcases ethnic interiors from around the world from the carved fretwork and richly embroidered fabrics of Eastern Europe, the simple elegance of Scandinavian wooden houses with sod roofs, the whitewashed plaster walls, blue doors and window shutters, terracotta roofs of Greece to the decorative Moorish partitions, colourful mosaic tile work  and the African mud hut walls, painted in abstract patterns with earth and mineral pigments in ochre, brown and black; the decorative arches, cooling courtyards and exquisite brightly coloured textiles of India; the simplicity, harmony, serenity and minimalism of Japanese homes with their paper screens, bamboo matting and sense of order; the Australian bush style and in the Americas:  the Shaker furniture; Native American artefacts; brilliant Haitian shutters; and bright Mexican colours!

The second part of the book explores how to create the ethnic look using wood (natural and  decorative: painted and carved); rattan, wicker, bamboo and rush; plaster; paint, textiles and  ceramics and tiles. There are so many lovely ideas and interiors in this book! It is a real feast for all the eyes alone, though no doubt in practice, it satisfies all the senses and creates a comfortable and highly personal home!!!BlogArchitectureBooksReszd25%Image (665)

Next week, I am exploring some of the beautiful Art Books, which we have in our library…. a visual treat indeed!!!

Architecture Books: Part One

Following on from previous posts on books about our natural environment and the world we live in, as well as our own historical background, it is now time for a post on books about our built environment and the homes people have created.

I have always been interested in architecture, especially vernacular, traditional and alternative owner-built dwellings, so it is not surprising that we own a number of books on this fascinating subject. Here are some of my favourites!

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein with Max Jacobsen, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King and Shlomo Angel 1977

Second in a series of books about a totally different approach to architecture, this book is a bible to all those interested in architecture and  town planning, especially those who believe that people should design their own communities, houses and streetscapes.

The book provides a language for building and planning, describing detailed patterns for towns and neighbourhoods, houses, gardens and rooms. Each pattern describes a common widespread problem, as well as the core to the solution of the problem, allowing for a multitude of different responses.

Each pattern has the same format:

Black-and-white photograph, showing an archetypal example of the pattern;

Introductory paragraph setting the context for the pattern and its role in larger patterns, which are numbered;

Three diamonds denoting the start of the problem;

Headline in bold type giving the essence of the problem;

Body of the problem: the empirical background of the pattern; the evidence for its validity;and the range of different ways the pattern can be manifested in a building;

Solution in bold type, describing the field of physical and social relationships required to solve the stated problem in the stated context. The solution is always expressed in the form of an instruction, so you know exactly what you need to build the pattern;

Diagram, showing the solution with labels indicating its main components;

Three diamonds, marking the end of the main body of the pattern;

Final paragraph, linking the pattern to all those smaller patterns in the language, which are needed to complete the pattern.

This format presents each pattern in context to all the 253 other patterns in the language as a whole, so an infinite variety of combinations can be selected. The patterns are presented in a straight linear sequence, ranging from the largest pattern for regions and towns, then concentrating on increasingly smaller elements: the neighbourhood; clusters of buildings; buildings; rooms and alcoves; and finally details of construction. All the patterns are related to and support other patterns, like the web of nature.

While this all sounds rather complex, an example might make it clearer:

When my children were smaller, we lived in a large old house and each child had their own room like conventional Western practice, however we found that the kids never slept in their own beds each night, but moved around, sharing each other’s rooms. They liked being in each other’s company, a natural instinct described in Pattern Number 143: Bed Cluster, which is illustrated with beds, inset into the wall of a shared room.

The introductory paragraph sets the context within the larger patterns: Couple’s Realm (136) and Children’s Realm (137), as well as Sleeping to the East (138). The bold type headline discusses the balance between a need for privacy and the problem of isolation for young children in many cultures if they sleep alone. The body of the problem examines the possible configuration of children’s beds in shared rooms; isolated rooms and a cluster of alcoves, complete with a diagram, and the problems associated with each scenario. The solution in bold type suggests the placement of children’s beds in small individual alcoves around a common playspace, again illustrated by a simple diagram.

The last paragraph looks at smaller patterns, which should be examined to complete the pattern like Communal Sleeping (186); Bed Alcove (188); Children’s Realm (137); Dressing Room (189); Closets Between Rooms (198); Child Caves (203); Light on Two Sides (159); and The Shape of Indoor Space (191).

It is a fascinating book, which looks at basic human needs and how to fulfill them, an approach so different to our materialistic money-driven architecture, where the houses are so large with multiple bathrooms to ensure a good resale value, rather than being a home or taking the environment or our basic needs into account. It’s a lovely book to dip into and really make you think and question.

BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (649) - Copy

Dwellings: The Vernacular House Worldwide by Paul Oliver 2003/ 2007

This is a terrific book for showing the huge diversity of vernacular buildings throughout the world and the ways indigenous peoples cope with local issues like climate, migratory lifestyles and symbolic and cultural expression.

Vernacular architecture is defined as: Owner-built or community built dwellings, utilising traditional technologies and local resources to meet specific needs and accommodating cultural values, economies and ways of life.

Each chapter examines the environmental considerations and problems and the buildings and method people use to handle these problems.

In addition to discovering different architectural and building styles, I learnt so much from this book about different peoples, their traditions, beliefs, cultures and ways of life, as well as the problems they face and how they have dealt with them. For example, while every child is familiar with Eskimo igloos, I was unaware that the Inuit also have communal clubhouses called karigi, nor that some Inuit built houses with whalebone frames (quarmang) or that there were different types of iglu like the anegiuchak and killegun.

Ancient dwellings, like the longhouses of late Bronze Age farming communities or the stilthouses of lake dwellers, are also described, as well as the wide variety of dwellings created from different building materials like earth (mud and clay), stone, wood, bamboo, and reeds and grasses.

I love the cave dwellings of Saumur, France, and the tufa pinnacles of Cappadocia, Turkey; the adobe abodes of Syria and Turkey with their parabolic corbelled domes; and the stone trulli in Apulia, Italy; the wattle-and-daub houses in England and sod-roofed timber log houses in Norway; the floating reed dwellings of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, and the whitewashed walls and blue paintwork of the houses of the Greek islands.

In an increasingly urbanised Western world with mass uniformity in modern housing developments with brick venereal disease, it is wonderful to see the creativity, sense of place and attention to detail these traditional houses and settlements display.

In the back is an extensive bibliography and glossary of architectural and building terminology.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (652)Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter by Lloyd Kahn 2004

Another wonderful book, which celebrates the creativity and individuality of hand-made shelters, as encapsulated by his introductory quote:

Shelter is more than a roof overhead’.

I also totally relate to Phillip Moffat’s quote on Page 31:

A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul’.

A sequel to his best-selling book, Shelter, written in 1973, it contains 1 100 photographs and over 300 drawings and includes the homes of builders, photographers, dreamers, farmers, travellers, traditionalists and campers.

The common features of the handmade homes featured include: Good craftsmanship; Practicality, economy and simplicity; Efficient use of resources; Tuned to the landscape; Aesthetically pleasing and radiated good vibes; Integrity in design and execution; and/ or Wild Creativity! The book and these buildings are so inspiring!

There were some really interesting and individual buildings from Louie Fraser’s shop, a Mandan earth lodge with curved white-plastered walls, a curving shingled roof and hand-crafted furniture to his Japanese polehouse, accessible only by riding a bosun’s chair on a 500 feet cable across a river; Ian MacLeod’s circular stone houses with gauze windows in South Africa; Bill Coperthwaite’s yurts; and Jack William’s beautiful simple wooden home to the tiny dwellings of Archilibre in the French Pyrenees (http://www.archilibre.org/) and strawbale houses, made famous by builders, Bill and Anthea Steen (see later) and photographer, Catherine Wanek.

There were also many photos of vernacular dwellings and communities throughout the world, including Native American shelters; American barns; stone buildings in Northern Italy; Tibetan monasteries, shrines and cabins; the Greek monasteries of the Meteora; Hungarian timber framed buildings; the Hallig homes of Northern Germany (a certain casualty of global warming and sea level rises!); Mongolian cloud houses; tropical tree-houses; colourful gypsy wagons and handmade house-trucks and house-buses. Some of the fantasy dwellings were amazing and quite ingenious: Michael Kahn’s Eliphante with windows composed of old car windshields, silicone together with stained glass incorporated on the inside; Ma Page’s Bottle house and Steve Kornher’s lightweight concrete sculptural forms at Timolandia. They are all labours of love, relatively cheap in monetary terms, though costly in time and a wonderful testament to their builder’s creativity and uniqueness.

Like the previous book, it has an excellent list of recommended reading matter.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd25%Image (658)Homemade Houses: Traditional Homes From Many Lands by John Nicholson 1993

This is a lovely little book about architecture and regional building styles for children.

It covers:  Mobile homes (Moroccan tents; Afghan yurts; and Inuit igloos;) and a wide variety of dwellings built from :

Reeds, grass and bamboo: Madan Mudhif; Sulawesi Tongkonan; Samoan fales; and Venezuelan huts;

Earth and clay: Dogon village; Cappadocian cave; New Mexican pueblo; and Syrian mud domes;

Wood: Australian Queenslander; Japanese minka; timberframed houses in England; and

Stone: Cotswold cottage; Apulian trullo and Irish thatched farmhouse.

Like all children’s books, it is a great way to get a quick condensed and simplified view of an unfamiliar subject. It has a simple glossary and a world map marking the locations of featured buildings at the back.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd25%Image (657)

The next two books concentrate on the vernacular architecture of the United Kigdom.

The Illustrated Handbook of Vernacular Architecture by RW Brunskill 1971/ 1978

A simple, yet comprehensive guidebook to all the different vernacular building styles in Britain, though there is a small section on the English influence in North America. There are detailed chapters on :

Walling : Frame and cladding: Construction and materials, including stone, cobbles and pebbles, flint, brick, earth and clay, timber, wattle-and-daub, shingles, weatherboard and plaster;

Roofing : Shape, construction and materials, including thatch, slate, stone flags and tiles, clay tiles and pantiles; as well as notes on dormers, eaves and chimneys;

Plans and sections, including notes on halls, hearths and fireplaces, storeys and staircases;

Architectural details : All the different styles and shapes of windows and doors throughout time; and external (bay windows, porches, wrought iron, barge boards, plaques and sundials) and internal ornament (partitions, built-in cupboards and moulded ceiling beams);

Farm buildings : Haysheds, stables, pigstys, threshing barns, cow-houses, granaries, dovecots and oast houses; and

Urban vernacular and minor industrial buildings, including the terrace houses of the Industrial  Revolution; windmills and watermills; and smithies, kilns and textile mills.

In the back are distribution maps and notes on all the different types of building materials: stone; flint, pebble and cobble; brick; clay; timber; thatch; stone flags and tiles; plain tiles and pantiles; and building techniques: cruck timber frame construction;  fireplace type; as well as time scales showing the different styles of windows, doors and roofing over time.

There are black-and-white photographs and diagrams illustrating patterns, forms and floor plans, as well as appendices on the different methods of studying  vernacular architecture; glossary notes; and suggestions for further reading.

BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (649)

Village Buildings of Britain by Matthew Rice 1991/ 1992

While the black-and-white photographs of the previous book lend an historical feel to the vernacular architecture, the delightful watercolour renditions of this lovely book are equally suitable.

This book also has a different format. Whereas the previous book was divided into sections according to the elements of the building (roofing, walling, decoration etc), this book is divided geographically with chapters devoted to the typical style of building and building materials in the West Country (Cornwall Somerset and Devon), Wessex (Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire), the Weald (Surrey, East and West Sussex and Kent), East Anglia (Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire), the Shires (Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire), the Cotswolds (Gloucestershire and parts of Wiltshire and Oxfordshire), the West Midlands (Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Warwick), Wales, the North of England (Northumberland, Cumbria, Durham and Yorkshire), the Borders, and the Highlands and Islands.

There is a regional map on page 15 and a resource distribution map on page 9 (random rubble, granite, sandstone, brick, limestone and chalk or flint), which determines the building materials used.

I loved the paintings of the individual houses, particular features like doorways and windows or brick patterns; regional maps and general landscapes, complete with chooks, turkeys and sheep. There are also interesting notes on the Arts and Crafts movement, Norfolk churches and Welsh chapels, and model villages and farms, as well as an illustrated glossary in the back.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (656)A Home in Provence: Interiors, Gardens, Inspiration by Noëlle Duck 2014

A sumptuous book showcasing the beautiful stone houses- the bastides, mas and mazets, bories and cabanons and townhouses of Provence on the Mediterranean coast. I love the blue wooden shutters, the terracotta tiled roofs and  the ochre and burnt sienna walls. The interiors are so beautiful from the terracotta tiled floors and stone staircases with wrought-iron railings to the  ornate plasterwork, rustic exposed wooden ceiling beams and distempered walls in ochre, sienna and azure.

The shady paved terraces, outdoor furniture, water features, earthenware pots and vases and gardens full of lavender and roses are also discussed, as well as the decorative features of Provencal style: the polished and painted wood furniture;; gilded mirrors; rush-bottomed chairs; Provencal fabrics like Souleïado (http://provence.souleiado.com/souleiado-story/ and https://www.french-nc.com/shop/Fabrics/French-Fabrics/Souleiado-Fabric.htm; boutis and matelassage quilts; ceramics and glassware; and tableware and kitchenware.  This is a beautiful dreamy book for francophiles and homemakers alike.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (661)Planning the Australian Homestead by Kenneth McConnel 1947

Written the year my husband was born, this book belonged to his mother and I am including it in this post, as I love the old black-and-white photographs of the houses and gardens of famous old Australian properties like Camden Park and Harben Vale in New South Wales and Cardross and Cressbrook in Queensland.

After a brief discussion of Australia’s early bush tradition, the book follows a logical order with chapters on:

Site and Setting: Water; Access; Aspect and Prospect; Wind Protection; Associated Features; Slope; and Soil;

Plans: Verandahs; Site Placement according to sun, wind and aesthetics;  and

Plan Types: Simple Rectangle; L or T Plan; U Plan; Courtyard Plan (which I particularly liked!); and Open Plan, all accompanied by scaled house plans, like the example of the courtyard plan, shown in the photo, taken from page 30, seen below;BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (668)

Planning the Parts:

Front Entrance: Porch, Verandah, Driveway and Front Door;

Living Room: Fireplace, Ingle Nooks, Windows, Verandah; and Ceiling;

Dining Room: Placement and Lighting;

Kitchen, Pantry and Servery;

Laundry;

Sleeping Wing; and

Bathrooms.

It is so interesting reading this section, as it represents a time capsule. Many of the essential items mentioned are now obsolete in modern homes. How many contemporary entrance halls, if indeed they still exist, contain a hall cupboard for coats and hats, a sofa, an occasional table, telephone and grandfather clock? There are also many references to the beliefs of the time, making for some amusing reading like:

‘ There is, however, something to be said for being able to shut young children out of the living room in the daytime, provided there is somewhere else for them to carry on their activities’!

How times have changed! The contents of the living room have also changed. While we still have sofas or armchairs and possibly a table in our contemporary living rooms, many modern houses no longer have bookcases, desks, wireless sets or pianos. And how many people these days know what an ingle nook is? See photo from pages 50 to 51 below.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd20%Image (669)BlogArchitectureBooksReszd50%Image (670)

I love the idea of a two-way cutlery drawers (see dining room photo above, from page 61) and kitchen dresser, built into the wall between the kitchen and dining room, accessible to both rooms, which can also take the form of a drying rack, a ‘real boon to the lady of the house, if she is also the cook and dishwasher’, as seen in the photo below, from pages 68 to 69, though most kitchens and dining rooms are open plan these days and the dishwasher has replaced washing dishes by hand!BlogArchitectureBooksReszd25%Image (671)I also laughed at the assertion that: ‘a bath is almost as out of date and insanitary as an antimacassar’, whatever the latter is (!), but that ‘being a conservative people, I suppose that we shall stick to it for quite a long time’, written 70 years ago by an obviously non-bath lover!!!

The book then discusses Associated Features and Services: The garden; water and drainage; rain water tanks; sanitation and septic systems; stables and horse yards; and milking sheds, all of which could still be relevant to country homesteads, though more really an indication of the age of this book!

There is a separate chapter, written by Rex Hazlewood, on Garden Design, followed by chapters on heating and cooling; lighting; building materials: stone and brick; pise; timber; concrete and cement; wrought iron; and paint; and the use of these materials in walling, posts and columns, verandahs, roofs, ceilings, floors, paving, gates and railings.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd30%Image (659)The Australian House: Homes of the Tropical North by Balwant Saini and Ray Joyce 1982/1993

The traditional timber Queenslander house of tropical Northern Australia is a classic example of vernacular domestic architecture in Australia during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The author examines the origins and influences upon the development of the tropical timber house and its components: verandahs, stumps, roofs, interiors and fences. He discusses their renovation and restoration, the pitfalls and things to look out for.

There are over 200 photos of houses from large wealthy city mansions to the humble cottages of factory workers and miners. Having lived in Toowong, Queensland, I was familiar with many of the houses and streetscapes photographed in this book.

I love these old houses: their old verandahs, the decorative awnings and brackets, cast-iron work, roof ventilators and finials, roof lookouts and curved corrugated iron bullnose verandah roofs, as well as their internal features: fretwork door panels, pressed metal ceilings and stained glass window panes. The photographs are delightful and the book provides plenty of inspiration for renovators. It finishes with a bibliography and glossary of terms.BlogArchitectureBooksReszd25%Image (660)

Islam: Art and Architecture Edited by Markus Hattstein and Peter Delius 2004

Islamic architecture is also highly distinctive and recognizable and another one of my favourite architectural styles. This book is a wonderful guide to the fundamentals of Islamic architecture and showcases many beautiful examples throughout the world, their locations depicted in the introductory world map, as well as different historical time periods

Introductory chapters cover:

World Religion and Cultural Power: History; Beliefs; the Koran; the Five Pillars of Islam: the public profession of faith (shahada); the obligatory liturgical prayer (salat) five times a day at fixed times; the giving of alms (zakat); ritual fasting (saum) in the holy month of Ramadan; and the pilgrimage to Mecca and its surroundings (the hajj); and Islamic Law;

Art and Culture in the Islamic World: Early Arabian art; Islamic attitudes to art; Mosques; Philosophy and Science (astronomy, physics and medicine); and Literature.

The book continues with a discussion of the different time periods and places: their history, trade and trading routes; architecture and architectural ornament;  and decorative arts, including mosaics and  tile work; sculptural ornamentation, reliefs and frescoes; textiles and carpets, ceramics and glassware, woodwork and metalwork; artifacts made from ivory and rock crystals; calligraphy, book illustration and miniature painting; and garden design. Comprehensive chapters, complete with timelines, maps, diagrams, architectural plans and wonderful photographs, are devoted to:

Syria and Palestine: the Umayyad Caliphate

Iraq, Iran and Egypt: the Abbasids of Tunisia and Egypt: the Aghlabids and Fatimids;

Syria, Palestine and Egypt: the Ayyubids, Mamluks and Crusaders;

Spain and Morocco: Spanish Umayyads; Almoravids and Almohads; and the Nasrids of Granada;

The Maghreb: Morocco to Tunisia, including the Berbers;

Early Empires of the East: Ghaznavids and Ghurids;

Central Asia and Asia Minor: the Great Seljuks, the Anatolian Seljuks and the Khwarazm-Shahs;

Islamic Mongols: From the Mongol Invasions to the Ilkhanids;

Central Asia: the Timurids; the Shaybanids and the Khan Princedoms;

India: From Sultanate to Mughal Empire; Iran: Safavids and Qajars;

The Ottoman Empire;  and

Islam in the Modern Age.

It is a really lovely book, with so much information and so many beautiful buildings and artworks!BlogArchitectureBooksReszd25%Image (666)

On Thursday, I will be discussing Part Two of this discussion of Architectural Books.