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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Jungmannová Cultural Resource Centre Ceiling, Prague, Milan Ressel





Milan Ressel, Ceiling Dome Artwork, Prague Cultural Section Resource Centre, c. 1987,
on the theme of free and unfettered cultural exchange
between Britain and Czechoslovakia.
On Lute, Jim; Bagpipes, Milan; guitar, John Lennon!
(Milan's little joke: the three British cultural representatives were intended to be Shakespeare (or an Elizabethan lutenist), a Scottish bagpiper and John Lennon -with a nod to the significance of The Beatles and the John Lennon Wall in Prague; the less visible Czechoslovak cultural figures were Dvořák, Smetana and Janaček)




"Olga described how, every Friday, her husband would take the tram to the Cultural Section of the British Embassy, an unbelievably dingy first-floor office in the Jungmannova, to read the reviews in the English newspapers."
Robert McCrum, The Fabulous Englishman, 1984

The ceiling painting aroused the interest of the StB (Secret Police) of course.


    We tried to liven things up.                 
                                         

It's probably been whitewashed since then...









With Mark Fryars (on left)


from Riot Police by the Statue of Jungmann:

Let's be proud of our office

In Jungmannova Street,

Though British books have been long suppressed.

Just repeat after John:

"What though the field is lost ?

All is not lost......."


"Cot', ze pole ztraceno ?

po vsem veta neni......"


Josef Jungmann, defiant Czech,

By translating John Milton revived his own tongue;

In spite of the Austrian censors' office,

In spite of censors still to come:

Courage; th' unconquerable will !
***

NOT ALL IN VAIN!



Reading, 24 October, 1989



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