Tuesday, 14 February 2017

May Morris's Valentine to GBS

great little news item about Alice McEwan's discovery in the British Library:

article here

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

WM on the World Market

the 1880s and going forward: prediction from News from Nowhere  

"The appetite of the World-Market grew with what it fed on: the countries within the ring of civilization (that is, organised misery) were glutted with the abortions of the market, and force and fraud were used unsparingly to open up countries outside that pale.  This process of opening up is a strange one to those who have read the professions of the men of that period and do not understand their practice; and perhaps shows us at its worst the great  vice of the nineteenth century, the use of hypocrisy and cant to evade the responsibility of vicarious ferocity.  When the civilized World-Market coveted a country not yet in its clutches, some transparent pretext was found - the suppression of a  slavery different from, and not so cruel as that of commerce; the preaching of a religion no longer believed in by its promoters; the rescue of some desperado or homicidal madman whose misdeeds had got him into trouble amongst the natives of the 'barbarous country' - any stick, in short, which would beat the dog at all.  Then some bold, unprincipled adventurer was found (no difficult task in the days of competition) and he was bribed to 'create a market' by breaking up whatever traditional society there might be  in the doomed country, and by destroying whatever leisure or pleasure he found there.  He forced wares on the natives which they did not want, and took their natural products 'in exchange', as this form of robbery was called, and thereby he 'created new wants' to supply which (that is, to be allowed to live by their new masters) the hapless, helpless people had to sell themselves into the slavery of hopeless toil so that they might have something with which to purchase the nullities of 'civilization."

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Fanny Eaton - latest

A F Sandys, study of Fanny Eaton, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Thanks to ongoing research by descendants, it has been ascertained that Fanny Eaton's final resting place is Margravine Road cemetery in Hammersmith.   She had probably moved to the area with her last known employers and in 1911 was living there with her daughter and son-in-law.  She died on 4 March 1924, aged 89, thus outliving nearly everyone else involved in the Pre-Raphaelite circle of the 1850s and 60s, and was buried four days later. 

A memorial gathering at the cemetery is planned for the forthcoming anniversary on 4 March.  The cemetery lies between Charing Cross Hospital and Queen's Club and the grave is unmarked - if I learn when and where exactly the gathering is to be I'll post details.

It's a curious fact that so lately the death and burials of both Fanny Eaton and Fanny Cornforth have been found.  Fanny E has many descendants, so this is the latest element in their family history.

Both these drawings here are by Frederick Sandys, one of the younger group of artists for whom Fanny posed in the early 1860s - possibly at the same time as she was drawn by Simeon Solomon, Albert Moore and W Blake Richmond.

Caribbean Beat, the flight magazine for Caribbean Airways has a nice article on Fanny Eaton by Judy Raymond, in the current issue   here 

A F Sandys, study of Fanny Eaton, thought to be for Morgan Le Fay, V&A Museum

Saturday, 4 February 2017

PhD on WM Legacy

The William Morris Gallery is collaborating with Sheffield Hallam University to offer a funded PhD studentship examining ‘the content, value and significance of William Morris’s legacy’.

According to the pitch,

William Morris’s legacy is all around us, embedded in the ubiquitous presence of his surface pattern work; reoccurring interest in independent, radical publishing; and bons mots about the relationship between art and life, amongst many other contributions.  However Morris continues to have a paradoxical relationship to national heritage discourse.  While his work is often the source of multiple commercial exercises, he was a romantic and a radical.  To explore the contemporary value of his work, we offer the opportunity to engage with the collection of the William Morris Gallery London.  The collection covers many disciplines and encompasses the arts and humanities…. 

And so on.  Of course, Morris’s  career and writings encompass an extraordinary range of subjects and activities – though surely his oft-quoted slogans were and are more than bons mots?  And the issue of his co-option by the ‘national heritage discourse’ is eminently worth examining.   The implied conflict between the commercial exploitation of his designs and Morris’s (here unspecified) romantic and radical politics is potentially of great interest, in regard to the way the business success of Morris & Co facilitated the Socialist League and Commonweal as signal contributions to political action in Britain.  These ‘contradictions’ have been continually discussed ever since Morris’s lifetime, though it often feels as if the analysis remains stuck in the 1880s, with debates about what WM ought to have said/done/not done..

The SHU studentship is actually aimed at candidates with ‘a growing, active presence in visual art  or design’ rather than any other relevant academic discipline, and the supervising staff are heavily into multi-media curatorial practice and computerised design history. Full details of the studentship are found about half-way down this document...

Friday, 13 January 2017

May Morris Exhibition in October

Here, hopefully

is the official announcement of the MAY MORRIS exhibition scheduled for October 2017 at the William Morris Gallery.

Two accompanying publications are also in the pipeline:  the papers from the 2016 May Morris Conference, which are being edited by Lynn Hulse, and a fully illustrated book being produced by Thames & Hudson for the V&A and WMG.

There is truly a great deal of new information about May's career and artworks, and great scope for future researches and assessments.    

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Spitalfields Nippers at WMG

on 19 January the Gentle Author is giving at talk on Horace Warner's photos of East End children which he discovered.   As he says, it's very appropriate location, owing to the direct links between William Morris   and the Warner wallpaper business where Morris & Co papers were printed.

Details:   http://spitalfieldslife.com/2017/01/07/nippers-at-the-william-morris-gallery/

Friday, 11 November 2016

BILL RICHMOND prizefighter

as evident from the date below, I intended to publish this post in September, but failed, because I intended to write more fully.
Bill Richmond will probably feature in the next instalment of BLACK & BRITISH FORGOTTEN HISTORY on BBC2 on 16 November, so here is a partial preview...
The memorial plaque (alas temporary) is under the black cloth

an unusual gathering at a central London pub on 13 September - although a very apt location, as the Tom Cribb pub marks the district between Haymarket and Leicester Square where pugilists were to be found in the Regency years, when prizefighting and sparring were cross-class [male] attractions.