Saturday, June 27, 2015

Coventry Patmore rejects his uninspiring ‘vegetables’

The poet who composed the long love poem, The Angel of the House, which appeared in four volumes from 1854, became, like many of his generation, a convert to Catholicism, and so his remarks, voiced in a letter to the editor of the Spectator  regarding a bust of Cardinal Newman by the pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner, come as no real surprise.

The original letter, written from Hastings, was discovered in a pile of similar autographed material.

‘It may interest some of the readers of a Paper which has shewn so special an interest in and affection of Cardinal Newman, that by very much the finest likeness of him in existence is the bust which was made of him some ten or fifteen years ago by Thomas Woolner…I was once in a room containing first-rate busts of all the most famous men of the past generation. That of Newman made all the others look like vegetables,
so wonderfully was it loaded with the great Cardinal’s weight of thought and character.’

Friday, June 26, 2015

Etching of Farringdon Road bookstalls in the 1930s

Photographs exist of the famous bookstalls in Farringdon Road, dating from the nineteen forties and fifties, and the one by Moholy-Nagy that illustrates the excellent London Street Markets, was taken in the thirties. But as far as I know, the stalls were never the subject of an etching, of whatever date. Here, dated 1934, is an etching by the brilliantly talented Nathaniel Sparks (1880 – 1956), one of the most popular masters of this art, which of course became moribund almost overnight as a result of the Wall Street Crash.

During the American-led collecting craze, which began just before the First World War, Sparks produced a huge number of etchings, many of them of notable London landmarks such as Westminster Abbey and Tower Bridge, and it is surely a sign of its fame in the thirties that Sparks regarded Farringdon Road as a fit subject for an etching. At that time he was doubtless a customer at the stalls himself, and it is known that in his last sad months, when poverty and illness had him holed up as a lodger in Somerton, he comforted himself by collecting old books. It is also likely that in the last half of a largely peripatetic life, which saw him living with gypsies and farmers in Somerset and the New Forest, he was forced to jettison many of the books he had picked up over the years, in favour of his paints and paper.

Naturally shy, physically slight, and all too aware of the severe rhinophyma which disfigured his face, Sparks sometimes cut a pathetic figure. He could not help compare his ill luck with the fame and fortune that attended his much older cousin, Thomas Hardy, and recorded his resentment in an unpublished satire. Things came to a head in 1940 when an enemy bomb smashed his printing press and he was forced to abandon etching entirely and eke out a living producing pellucid watercolours of scenery in his beloved Somerset.

The author is grateful for the excellent Nathaniel Sparks Gallery for allowing him to reproduce the two etchings.

Now have proof positive that the etching is of Exmouth Market! (ed.)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

General Jan Christiaan Smuts

From the L.R. Reeve* collection- this (partly) eyewitness portrait of Jan Smuts, South African and British Commonwealth statesman, military leader and philosopher (1870 - 1950.) His fame may have significantly lessened since Reeve wrote this (about 20 years after Smuts' death).Probably he would no longer be up there with Darwin and Milton..


At least half a dozen books have been written about the late General Smuts, and I am certain that more will continue to be published not only in South Africa, but in England, the United States of America and other countries.
Due to his early, unusual environment and a formidable, but attractive personality, Smuts possessed a unique quality and became one of the most remarkable men of his generation. No one will ever be able to render a comprehensive account of his notable service to mankind. The most that can be done will be to collect the evidence of many writers, and portray a composite figure.
I would select for personal interest, the biographies A Sight of General Smuts at Cambridge, and Sarah Gertrude Millen's Life. He was a brilliant scholar, and certainly brought distinction to a great university.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dolf Wyllarde---crazy name, crazy gal

The actress Annie Schletter had a number of enthusiastic correspondents not all of whom were necessarily connected with the theatre. One of these was
Dolf Wyllarde (1871 – 1950), whose real name was Dorothy Margarette Selby Lowndes . A prolific author of adventure and romance novels, she was  popular in her day, but is largely forgotten now, though her books turn up regularly in secondhand bookshops and online at Abebooks. Wyllarde appears to have done well through her writing and at least one of her novels was filmed. By 1927 she was living in some splendour at the seventeenth century Oldmixon Manor, near Weston-Super-Mare. Why Lowndes chose her particular pseudonym will probably never be known. Perhaps she thought a masculine name might attract more readers. However, she could well have been interested in the ramifications of sexual identity. In The Lavender Lad (1922) a talented actress disguises herself as a ‘ragged urchin’ in order to work on a lavender farm.

Post-war British pulps

Found - part of a letter to Peter Haining from W.O.G. ('Bill') Lofts about an intended book on post-war British pulps. Neither WorldCat or Copac show such a book among Lofts's oeuvre.The manuscript could possibly be among Haining's papers which we are still sifting through. Almost all  of the authors mentioned can be found at the Sf Encyclopaedia site but even there details can be quite scant. Some of these pulps are now quite valuable - There Were No Asper Ladies, for example, features an occult detective (Lucian Carolus) and is a full blown vampire novel.

Dear Peter,

Many thanks for your list of fifties books. An interesting little list as well. As I said, I'll return the favour at the top of the list and work my way down (so expect some jumping about!).

I don't; know anything about David Scott-Moncrieff, apart from the act that he had a second collection of horror stories. They were published in 1948 and 1949.

I'm a bit stronger on the next one - good old John Spencer. This was one of their earliest publications, in 1948, one of four pulp size magazines - two more crime and one western mostly written by N. Westley Firth, about whom little is known. He died very young in 1949 of TB, having written for four years, but managed to produce something like four and a half to five million words of material for all all sorts of publications, and used about 100 different names - I'm probably the biggest authority of Firth amongst old gangster collectors, and I don't even know two thirds of them!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Harold P. Webber - bowls king

Found in the papers of L.R. Reeve (see A.J. Balfour and many others) a piece, from about 1970, about the life of a bowls champion Harold P.(Percy) Webber. One of Reeve's more minor characters and well beneath the Wikipedia radar but a sort of 'village Hampden' in the world of bowls and the author of a notable book on the subject, written with Dr John William Fisher: Bowls - How to Improve your Game (Pitman, London 1934.) Apart from his sporting skills ('his length bowling was uncanny') Webber was a fine orator…

Harold Webber's recent sudden death, left the members of his club in a state of bewilderment and shock, and had there been a Wailing Wall like the well-known meeting place in Jerusalem, his departure would have caused a record assembly among the mourners. At the time I was very impressed moreover not only by bowlers of other clubs, but by non-players who never went near a club. One acquaintance declared that he couldn't get the deceased celebrity out of his mind. At last his wife said, "It's no use dwelling on his death; it won't bring him back."
Such was his personality. He was the uncrowned monarch of the Torbay Country Bowling Club, the second largest bowling club in Devon. He had only to walk into the pavilion at Oldway, Paignton, for all to feel that the gathering was complete,

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sir Fred Schonell

Found in the papers of L.R. Reeve (see A.J. Balfour for background on him) this piece about the Australian writer and educationalist Sir Fred Schonell. He was also the author of several books aimed at teaching children to write and spell. The site Old School Reading Books suggests that some of these have become collectable. Reeve, having met the great man, had presentation copies of some of these...


Professor Hamley once stated that the late Sir Fred Schonell was the best secretary the education section of the British Psychological Society had ever had. How right he was.
Hamley, like Schonell, was an Australian, but there was no exaggeration in his assertion, for although Schonell’s unruffled manner was rather deceptive I also, whose knowledge of earlier secretaries is possibly greater than Hamley's, can announce that he was nearly perfect, and his professional career is a record of almost unbroken success. Moreover, although he and I were mutual members of three societies in London and frequently used to have a chat, I have to admit that until I read an obituary appreciation in The Times I was unaware of a great deal of his unusual career. I knew he was born in Perth,

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Edwin Chadwick on sewage farms

Today, it is Joseph Bazalgette, father of the revolutionary sewage system for London that gets most attention from the press. But Bazalgette was really building on the earlier pioneering work done by the lawyer Edwin Chadwick (1800 -90), who pushed for sanitary reform from the 1840s, not just in London, where perhaps it was needed most, but in the non-metropolitan centres, and continued to work for the principle of clean water up to and beyond the 1880s, long after he had retired.

Here we have a letter from Chadwick, dated August 21st 1884, to a James Blackburn, who turns out to be the man who in the 1870s was dealing with the sewage coming from Aldershot Army Camp.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A. J. Balfour

A good piece from the papers of *L.R. Reeve on A.J. Balfour, as a former U.K. Prime Minister he is the highest ranking subject so far (along with Lloyd George.) As usual Reeve is good on his subject's voice and oratorical skills. Reeve's frequent presence at congresses and symposiums of 'leaders of thought' shows him as an almost Zelig-like figure...He ends on a joke, that if not true, ought to be.

Despite his deceptively ornamental appearance, the late Earl Balfour was a worker. Although his attractive manner was unperturbed and casual, he must have experienced periods of unremitting labour through many months; otherwise he could never have written so many theses and philosophical books, added to political publications, parliamentary labours, constituency engagements and university visits.

His career as a statesman, philosopher and eminent speaker, is too well known to need emphasizing in great detail, but a few outstanding phenomena regarding his life should never be forgotten.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

William McDougall, F.R.S.

From the L.R. Reeve papers (see A.J. Balfour).

I repeat my belief that H. G. Wells is the most quoted writer in my reading life, but the late
William McDougall*
William McDougall, F.R.S., must surely be the most mentioned author in the realms of British psychology. The great Lancastrian's name is also prominent in educational and social psychology, not only in Great Britain but in Europe, America and Australia.
The well-known behaviourist Watson may be in the running for supremacy in America, for I believe his reputation is growing, and probably Freud's profile is becoming blurred. McDougall however, has a substantial following in the United States, partly because he was lured across the Atlantic to Harvard University, then to Duke University, Durham, N.C., and due to his authoritative well-written publications. Moreover he was a magnificent lecturer: a man whose attractive voice, commanding presence and deductive powers were irresistible to most people. When I wrote about W. H. R. Rivers and his two assistants, William McDougall and C. S. Myers joining an expedition to the Torres Straits in 1898, I could have added that each of the three men deserved first-class honours in Elocution.

Teddy Edward bears

Found among the boundless Peter Haining papers - this definitive piece about Teddy Edward bears:


Most people want to know how the Teddy Edward story began. The original teddy bear belonged to Sarah the then two-year-old daughter of Patrick and Mollie Matthews. Patrick Matthews, one time manager of Vogue Magazine Studios, had taken a photograph of Cecil Beaton's cat sitting in a flower bed and a framed enlargement was hanging in Sarah's bedroom. One day Mollie suggested that it might be a good idea to take photographs of several soft toys for children's nurseries - or even better do a book about Teddy Edward and his friends.

The present Teddy Edward is not the original bear, who in the early days acted as Sarah's constant companion as well as photographic model ; like all well loved teddy bears the original teddy began to show signs of wear. And so a new bear was found but visually he didn't look exactly like the original Teddy Edward. So the two of them were taken off to the doll's hospital where Teddy Edward Mark 11 had his face lifted

Monday, June 15, 2015

The fate of the Sangorski Omar 2

The second and last part of an article on Sangorski's  ill-fated Omar Khayyam binding. It was found in
Piccadilly Notes: an occasional  publication devoted to books, engravings and autographs (1929).   A contemporary eyewitness account talks of Sangorski's Omar with its 'gold leaf blazing and the light flashing from hundreds of gemstones studding the tails of the peacocks on the cover..' Less commonly known is  the odious role played by New York customs officials in the affair and that the magnificent book was, in fact, making its second trip across the Atlantic when it was lost forever beneath the waves. J.H. Stonehouse writes:

Sangorski made six separate designs for the book; two for each of the outside covers, doublures and the fly leaves. In the front cover, the eyes of the peacock's feathers were jewelled with 97 topazes, all of which were specially cut to the correct shape of the eye, and the crests of the birds being suggested by 18 turquoises; while rubies were inset to form eyes. The surrounding border and corner pieces were set with 289 garnets, turquoises and olivines (peridots);

Thomas Raymont (1864 - 1953)

From the papers of L.R. Reeve* - this profile of Thomas ('Tommy') Raymont,  an unsung educationalist. His Principles of Education is still in print with the bald declaration on the cover 'b. 1864.' He died in 1953 and the book he appears to have written in old age was Modern Education (1935). Reeve, a native of Newton Abbot, refers to him as 'the great Devonian'...


It is a good many years since Thomas Raymont, M.A., wrote the Principles of Education, one of the standard books of its kind, but even today no one could read it for the first time without feeling that he had learned some immutable laws on child guidance; and if any earnest student asked me whether there was one sound book on the market for students in training I should suggest Raymont's sensible contribution which was written when the author was an exceedingly busy educational giant.
Shortly after he ended his two years as student at the Borough Road Training College and was top at the final examination, I believe he was appointed as lecturer at his old college, and there is no need to stress the fact that such an appointment to a young man is rare.
During the very first lecture delivered to a group of freshmen at Goldsmiths' College where he was Vice-Principal, Raymont pronounced the word knowledge as "Nollege".

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Red Priest and the Architect

It might perhaps be guessed that Conrad Noel (1869 - 1942), the 'Red Priest' of Thaxted, whose Socialist views once outraged the Tory faithful of his North Essex parish, would be sympathetic to the Art and Craft movement, whose guru was the Socialist poet and designer William Morris. But an inscription, dated April 1906, in a copy of The Country Cottage, presented to him from its co-author, George Llewellyn Morris, confirms it.

Amazingly, I found this inscribed copy of the little book, a hymn to the virtues of both the humble thatched labourer’s cottage and its much more sophisticated Arts and Crafts imitations in brick, plaster and tile, profusely depicted in photographs, in 2006 among the trashy novels in the ten pence box outside a well known bookshop in Saffron Walden. The book had been given to Noel four years before he became Vicar of Thaxted, and it had somehow found its way from here to that bookshop, just 12 miles away, in the intervening years.

The only facts that can be discovered about George Llewellyn Morris

Friday, June 12, 2015

The fate of the Sangorski Omar 1

The Great Omar*
Found in an offprint from Piccadilly Notes (circa 1930) this article about (possibly) the most lavish binding the world had ever seen. The magazine billed itself as 'an occasional  publication devoted to books, engravings and autographs.' it was edited by J.H. Stonehouse and this article is by him…

It was in 1907 that I first met Sangorski, when he brought a letter of introduction from a church dignitary, and asked to be allowed to show me a lectern bible which the Archbishop of Canterbury had commissioned his firm to bind, previous to its presentation by King Edward VII to the United States in commemoration of the tercentenary of the established church in America. I recognised at once the justice of his contention that there was something more in the design and execution of the work than was usually to be found in an ordinary piece of commercial binding and that the appreciation of it which had been expressed in the press was fully justified.

Sangorski ...showed me other specimens of his work, nearly all of which were set in jewels, each tending to become more ambitious and elaborate than the last, whilst I also began to be influenced by his extraordinary personality, dynamic energy and enthusiasm for his work. Omar Khayyam was his favourite book for binding,

Thursday, June 11, 2015

New Movements in Art 1942

Found - a folding 6 page art catalogue/ booklet for an exhibition in wartime Leicester June 1942. Artists included John Tunnard (who provides the image on the cover) John Piper, Ivor Hitchens, Graham Sutherland, Frances Hodgkins, Edward Wadsworth, Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo, Barbara Hepworth, Hans Erni, Paul Nash, Kurt Schwitters, Eileen Agar, Ithell Colquhoun, Ceri Richards, Michael Ayrton,  John Buckland Wright ,Cecil Collins, Leslie Hurry. Top price was £150 for Two Serpents by Paul Nash. The 3 Schwitters were all less than £30..The curator and writer of the introduction (below) was Trevor Thomas - the subject of another Jot entry, as 21 years later he was the last person to see Sylvia Plath alive. He wrote a slim book on this called Sylvia Plath: Last Encounters (Privately Published, Bedford 1989.)

New Movements in art exhibition: 23 May to 21 June 1942: Leicester Museum and Art Gallery

Trevor Thomas, Curator.

By way of introduction.

The contention that "every picture tells a story" is now recognised as a popular fallacy, just as, Hollywood excepted, nobody now believes that "every story makes a picture." In this way free from the necessity for literary associations, we can approach such an exhibition as this with unfettered intelligence and liberated imagination.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Short Cut to Ventriloquism

Found -an old booklet A Short Cut to Ventriloquism (London: L. Davenport 1934) by one Maurice Hurling. Apparently  ventriloquism has had a slight revival due to reality TV talent shows. The book gives various exercises to improve  ventriloquial skills but starts with the basics which we post below. The two major problems are the 'plosives' that cause the lips to move (B M P V) and the awkward W. Also developing a second voice for the dummy/ figure is essential. Hurling recommends starting with a 'Cheeky Chappy' voice, he also notes that the ventriloquial smoker has an advantage because 'a cigarette placed between the lips will help to keep them perfectly still.'

Preliminary Exercise

Stand in front of a mirror, not too close, and let your lips be slightly apart.

Now try to say each letter of the alphabet without any movement of the lips. With very little practice you will soon find you can do this quite easily except for the letters B, M, P, V and W. 

For these: 
B is pronounced "ge"
M is pronounced "EMG"
P is pronounced "Key"
V is pronounced "VHEE" (breathe it)
W is pronounced "Duggle-you"

You will of course realise you must not blatantly say "Key" for P, but make it sound as near P as you can and so on with the other. Do not slur the letters.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Dr Charles Samuel Myers

Found in the L.R. Reeve papers (see earlier postings) - this piece on Dr Charles Samuel Myers (1873-1946) psychologist, anthropologist and musicologist. Among other things, he wrote the first paper on 'Shell Shock' (1915.) Many of Reeve's subjects were connected to psychology which, with education and politics, was a life long interest. He attended many meetings of the industrial section of the British Psychological Society where he first saw Myers. He gives much good detail about his appearance, voice and character...


"He was a remarkable man," declared a well-known psychologist soon after the decease of Dr C. S. Myers, F.R.S. He was; and the tribute was, if anything, an understatement, for few who knew him would challenge the description 'remarkable'. One day, if the event hasn't yet materialized, a well-documented yet fascinating biography will insinuate itself into bookshops and public libraries, and thousands of people who have never heard of him will learn of a man who might well be described as a determined investigator into the innate possibilities of the human race.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

J. H. Wimms

Another piece by L.R. Reeve, this on the writer and psychologist J.H. Wimms (Joseph Henry.) He is unknown to Wikipedia and his dates are also unknown but a remark by Reeves that his children must by now be grand parents or great grand parents (written circa 1970) puts Wimms birth date at about 1870. He published a paper in the British Journal of Psychology on The Relative Effects of Fatigue and Practice produced by Different Work in 1907 and earlier in 1903 Elementary Biology (Pilgrim Press). Wimms is mentioned in an earlier jot on D. W. Brogan where Reeve describes him as 'the finest lecturer I have ever known' - no mean compliment, as Reeve was a constant attender of lectures throughout a long and busy life. The Brogan piece also has background on L.R. Reeve.


The finest lecturer for any university is the man who can maintain an unbroken interest on almost any occasion. Trite, but true; and the greatest I have ever known was J. H. Wimms, M.A., of Goldsmiths’ College. He was one of those rare scholars who can maintain the attention of students who, even with no desire to learn are, in spite of themselves excited by the magnetic presentation of the lecturer, and find eventually that they have quite a fair knowledge of one or more specific subjects.
I have known the time when Wimms has, at the end of a lecture, been bombarded with questions,

The Literary Cranks of London - Omar Khayyam Club

We could find no further copies of  the 1894 London journal The Sketch which in that year was running a series 'The literary cranks of London.' However the 1899 publication The Book of Omar and Rubaiyat has an essay on the Omar Khayyam Club entitled 'The literary cranks of London' by 'A Member' which is almost certainly reprinted from the series. The book shows a menu card for the society designed by the PRB artist Simeon Solomon. The other club in the series was 'The Johnson Club' - there were possibly more.
Mention is made here of 'The Ghouls' which may pay further investigation... Of the many societies that flourished then the Omar Khayyam is one of the few to have survived and still meets. There is also an American chapter.



The literary cranks of London are as the sand of 
the sea-shore for number, and yet they have 
rather diminished than increased during the last few 
years. The Wordsworth Society no longer collects 
archbishops and bishops and learned professors in the 
Jerusalem Chamber to solve the mystery of existence 
under the guidance of the great poet of Rydal, and one 
is rather dubious as to whether the Goethe Society has 
much to say for itself to-day, although in its time it 
has crammed the Westminster Town Hall with enthu- 
siastic lovers of German literature. The Shelley Society 
one only hears of from time to time by its ghastly bur- 
den of debt, a state which perhaps reflects the right 
kind of glory upon its great hero, whose aptitude for 
making paper boats out of Bank of England notes, if 
apocryphal, is, at any rate, a fair exemplification of his 

capacity for getting rid of money. And as to the 
Browning Society, with its blue-spectacled ladies, deep 
in the mysteries of Sordello, if the cash balance, 
which is said at Girton to have been expended in 
sweetmeats, had any existence, at the London centre, 
one knows not what confectioner at the West End 
has reaped the benefit.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sir Edward Bond—the man who transformed the British Museum Library

There aren’t many librarian superstars. Casanova was one, I suppose, but he was better known for his extra-mural activities. Panizzi of the British Museum was possibly another, but a successor, Sir Edward Augustus Bond (1815 -98), was arguably a greater innovator and was certainly more industrious.

Bond proved that if you had natural talent and were hard working and dedicated, you didn’t need a university education to get to the top in the British Museum at least—though this institution was an exception to the general rule that an Oxbridge degree was de rigueur for a career in the world of Victorian scholarship. Bond earned his spurs and his reputation as a gifted palaeographer, especially in Anglo-Saxon, while in the manuscript department of the Museum, which he had joined directly from school at the age of 17 in 1832. Although he ended up as Keeper of the department in 1867, he was expected to remain there until his retirement,

David Lloyd George

From the papers of L.R. Reeve*. His account of a major figure, much chronicled elsewhere, but with some unique insights as Reeve saw him speak many times, even in parliament.


In some ways Lloyd George is a difficult subject, as so many people have heard the same stories from various sources, there is always the possibility that many have been heard on previous occasions.
I heard him first, in the House of Commons during the First World War, and unexpectedly the topic under discussion was an increase in the charges for alcoholic drinks. I remember little about the speeches except that prices would be increased for the miner who wanted to wash down the coal-dust with many libations, and that for the purposes of the Act Guinness would be in the same category as beer.
Lloyd George was unhurried, spoke well without interruption, to a small attendance of quiet members who were later on somewhat roused, when a Scottish brewer Sir George Younger**, rose and made a really fluent speech which interested me more than any other contribution during that session.

Anonymous book donor revealed

Found in a collection of ephemera this intriguing typed letter from the long vanished New York bookshop Tessaro's. The shop was in Maiden Lane which appears to have been a kind of bookseller's row. The address later housed a rare bookshop called Sabin's. Tessaro's was formerly called Rohde and Haskins who had dabbled in publishing at the dawn of the 20th century.

The letter deals with a request for the identity of the anonymous donor of a book from the recipient - a nurse (presumably) at The General Hospital at Fox Hills.  The shop decided ('we'll take a chance') to reveal the donor's identity. Significantly he was a soldier, as Fox Hills was a very large Army hospital dealing at that time with WW1 casualties. There the story ends. It would be nice to add 'and reader she married him.' The bookshop as go-between must be uncommon and in our cautious times it might not reveal the donor, or possibly send on the request to the donor for permission…

Dear Madam 
Acknowledging receipt of your note of 28th July we would say we do not know that the sender of the book desired it to be known who sent it, but we'll take a chance and say to you, in confidence, that it was mailed to you on the order of Lieut. G.C. Anderson.
Yours very truly,
Fox Hill Nursing Staff (1921) from
Advance Archive Photos (many thanks)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Revolution of the Word - Modernist Manifesto

Found in Transition 16-17 (a double issue that appeared in June 1929 in Paris) this modernist manifesto/ proclamation…some of the signers like Harry Crosby, Eugene Jolas (Transition's editor) Kay Boyle, Hart Crane are well known and some like Leigh Hoffman and Douglas Rigby are almost unknown.

Tired of the spectacle of short stories, novels, poems and plays still under the hegemony of the banal word, monotonous syntax, static psychology, descriptive naturalism, and desirous of crystallizing a viewpoint….
We hereby declare that:

1. The revolution in the English Language is an accomplished fact.

2. The imagination in search of a fabulous world is autonomous and unconfined.
(Prudence is a rich, ugly old maid courted by Incapacity…. Blake)

3. Pure poetry is a lyrical absolute that seeks an a priori reality within ourselves alone.
(Bring out number, weight and measure in a year of dearth…. Blake)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lord Haldane

Found among the Reeve* papers this short memoir of Lord Haldane - i.e. Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane KT, OM, PC, KC, FRS, FBA, FSA (1856 – 1928)  an influential British Liberal Imperialist and later Labour politician, lawyer and philosopher. As with many of Reeve's pieces he had never met the man but had seen him give speeches at congresses and describes his speaking style well. He writes '...many have known have not known me. All of them I have seen, most of them I have heard, and some of them have sought information, even advice from me." For Reeve the unifying qualification all these people have is '… some subtle emanation of personality we call leadership, and which can inspire people to actions  unlikely to be undertaken unless prompted by a stronger will.'


When one begins to delve into the pages of great books of reference, such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, there are times one stops at a certain page and reads with an increasing sense of wonder and respect. I was looking for Haldane, and as I read the wonder grew. So this was the man treated so contemptuously by most of us during the First World War!
I claim no laurels for being among the minority when the bitter controversy was in full flood, for I knew many with a similar opinion. Asquith’s "Wait and See" caused one of the most ridiculous slogans in my memory;

Dr. Alfred Salter

Statue of Dr. Salter in Bermondsey
Found among the Reeve* papers this portrait of Dr. Alfred Salter (1873 - 1945) medical doctor and Labour politician - still famous in Bermondsey - as Reeve says he was 'the salt of the earth…'


Fenner Brockway says that Dr Salter was the most brilliant medical student of his time. He could have had a nameplate proudly displayed in Harley Street, and ended his days a wealthy, outstanding medical practitioner welcomed by the affluent anywhere he sought his leisure moments. Instead he installed his surgery among the somewhat turbulent extroverts of Bermondsey, where the underprivileged masses suffered a shortage of skilful medical talent; and although the borough's alcoholic content may be proportionately higher than many places in England, throughout the district a sense of rightness, perhaps even a touch of gratitude exists for the services of a man whom people knew was a genuine servant of mankind. The dockers, usually fond of their pints, returned to parliament again and again, an ardent teetotaler who loved his fellow men. Bermondsey is like that.

The Secret Places V & VI

Two more chapters of The Secret Places (Elkin Mathews & Marrot London 1929) - a chronicle of the 'pilgrimages' of the author, Reginald Francis Foster (1896-1975), and his friend 'Longshanks' in Sussex, Kent and Surrey. See our posting of the first chapters for more on Foster and this book..



They refused us bread and cheese at the flaunting hotel (though I knew they had both), but told us that we might have luncheon. We left, therefore, and cast the dust of the place from off our feet, vowing never to return thither. For when a man wants bread and cheese with his ale there is nothing that is a fitting substitute.
We had to tramp five miles before we satisfied our need, and after that distance bread and cheese were not enough. But the inn, we found, provided nought else to eat, So were we punished for lack of charity towards those who scorn to provide simple fare.
A diary of vagabondage is necessarily a tale of inns, for one must eat and drink, and uncooked turnips and nuts and berries are indigestible fare.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ronald Searle - Caricature Manifesto

Another manifesto from Jot-- this one still relevant given the atrocities of early this year at Charlie Hebdo in Paris. We found it in La Caricature: Art et Manifeste Du XVI siecle a nos Jours (Skira, Geneva 1974) which was produced by Ronald Searle, Claude Roy and Bernd Bornemann. At the beginning Searle contributes a  piece ('Quelques Reflexions Authentiques..') that is a cross beneath a credo and a manifesto. It has not been translated before (to our knowledge) and our friend Tom A has done a sterling job. There is a pun about a hound's tooth which Tom says works better in French than English. Searle was much admired in France and lived there for the last 50 years of his life. Rave on...

La caricature est un art mineur qui comporte des responsibilites majeures.
Caricature is a minor art which carries major responsibilities.

L'humour c'est quelque chose qui met les gens en colere quand on leur dit qu'ils n'en ont pas.
Humour is something which makes people angry when you tell them they don’t have a sense of it.

La satire est la plus haute forme de la basse intention.
Satire is the highest form of a low instinct.