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COLENSO BOOKS: A selection of titles

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Monday, 27 January 2014

The Scandinavians and Scotland

From The Guardian

BBC Radio 4 (iPlayer):  Does Scandinavia Want Scotland? 

"Some in the SNP dream of an independent Scotland aligned with the Nordic Pact. But is it a realistic geopolitical strategy or a Scandinavian pipe dream? Allan Little investigates".

Swedish Inspiration?

Arctic Role Model? Alan Little

The Swedish Economy

Scotland's Bitter Civil War

Scotland: A Messy Divorce? (The Economist)

It's more than a decade since "Scotland in Sweden", a year-long programme of Scottish events around Sweden.

Dark Lands - or Sour Grapes? Michael Booth in The Guardain

Roland Barthes On The Blue Guide (1955), Monuments, People and Picturesque Landscape

Some excerpts from Roland Barthes' essay in "Mythologies"

First published in French (in book form), in 1957.

Le Guide bleu appeared in Les Lettres nouvelles, 31 (October 1955), 501-04.

-The promotion of the "bourgeois" taste for picturesque hills and mountains against flat ground, plains and other types of scenery.

-The over-emphasis on monuments instead of human life.

"Only mountains, gorges, defiles and torrents can have access to the pantheon of travel".

"For the Blue Guide, men  exist only as 'types'... they are a mere introduction, they constitute a charming and fanciful decor, meant to surround the essential part of the country: its collection of monuments.... To select only monuments suppresses at one stroke the reality of the land and that of its people"

Corfu Conference on the Union of the Ionian Islands with Greece, 150th Anniversary


Corfu, 14 and 15 May 2014 

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the joining of the Ionian Islands to Greece in 1864, a conference is to be hosted at the Ionian University on 14 and 15 May 2014. 

The conference will be of particular interest to students of Greek history, as well as to colonial historians of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Topics may include: Greek expansion - Britain’s image in Greece - Greece, Russia and Britain - Corfu v Cyprus - Self-determination v union - The effects of the Ionian union with Greece.

Final details by the end of April.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Strong Earthquake and Aftershocks, Cephalonia (Kefalonia)

5.8-6.00 on the Richter Scale

State of Emergency


Two videos, at the time of the earthquake (

More aftershocks

Further report and background

Another kind of earthquake, November 17th

Hans Holbein The Younger in England

An exhibition of note (Tate, 2006-2007)

First visit, 1526-1528

London, 1532-1543

Totendanz, complete, online

"Die erste datierte Ausgabe der Todesbildung kam bei den Brüdern Trechsel im Jahre 1538 zu Lyon heraus und trug den Titel »Simulachres de la mort« oder »Imagines mortis«. Die Entstehungszeit dieser Folge aber fällt in die Jahre 1524–25, wo Holbein in Basel weilte. Probedrucke der Originalstöcke befinden sich im dortigen Museum. Hans Lützelburger, welcher schon 1526 starb, hatte das Schneiden in Holz besorgt". Hans Ganz

Two woodcuts from the Dance of Death/Totendanz series (first dated publication 1538):

Verzeichnis der Tafeln.

Project Gutenberg

Edward Lucas on Edward Snowden

An alternative point of view (The Telegraph)

The Snowden Operation

The Limbourg Brothers, Dutch Illuminators

The Belles Heures of the Duke of Berry




Saturday, 25 January 2014

Fanny Burney in Dorset, August 7-8, 1791, Milton Abbas to Lyme Regis; Sublime Landscape

From the Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, Volume 2 (edited by her niece, Philadelphia, 1842)

Page 312

Page 313

From CUP Edition, Vol. 5:

Slightly clearer text

A slightly clearer text (continued)

Her observations on Milton Abbas, Dorchester, Bridport, Lyme Regis and the sublime coastal scenery.

On Milton Abbas, Sunday August 7, 1791:

"After an early dinner we set off for Milton Abbey, the seat of Lord Milton. We arrived, through very bad roads, at a village built by his Lordship, very regularly, of white plaster, cut stone fashion and thatched, though every house was square and meant to resemble a gentleman's abode, a very miserbale mistake in his good Lordship, of an intended fine effect; for the sight of the common people and of the poor, labouring or strolling in and about these dwellings, made them appear to be reduced from better days than flourishing in a primitive or natural state".

(See also Sir Frederick Treves, Highways and Byways in Dorset, 1905, pp 95-97), about Joseph Damer's decision to remove the "offensive" village of Milton, "squatted indecently near to the spot where he intended to build his mansion", and to build the new Milton Abbas "well out of sight of the great house", in 1786).

In Dorchest, Fanny was diverted by the town's "comic, irregular odd old houses". She thought Bridport "a remarkably clean town, with the air so clear and pure, it seemed a new climate".

August 8, 1791

She was overwhelmed by the sublime scenery encountered on the road between Bridport and Lyme: "the most beautiful to which my wandering destinies have yet sent me...diversified with all that can compose luxuriant scenery...with just as much of the approach to sublime as is the province of unterrific beauty...the vales of the finest verdure, wooded and watered as if to give ideas of finished landscapes". She loved the high, noble hills- "the whole from time to time rises into still superior grandeur, by openings between the heights that terminate the view with the splendour of the British Channel".

On the fate of the village of Middleton (Milton)

On "New Topographics" and Photographs of Man-Altered Landscapes

A reminder of this 2010 exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art- A Fresh Look at Seminal 1975 Photography Exhibition

"Unlike their predecessors, such as Ansel Adams or Minor White, the photographers featured in New Topographics did not use their work to express transcendent personal experiences of untrammeled nature. Rather, they used a more seemingly neutral approach to depict the ordinary landscapes that surround us, including aspects of the built environment that are often overlooked and considered eyesores: cheap motels, gas stations, tract homes, trailer parks, and parking lots"

The 1975 (New York) New Topographics Exhibition

Sean O'Hagan On Photography (The Guardian)

On Robert Adams. J P Getty Museum

For comparison:

The Ansel Adams Gallery

Friday, 24 January 2014

Greece and the Troika: Barriers to Competition

Kathimerini report on dismantling barriers


"Stournaras discussed the matter over the weekend with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos in a bid to reach an agreement that satisfies the troika without fueling political tensions. Kathimerini understands that the government is prepared to adopt 80 percent of the recommendations while rejecting or offering alternatives for the rest" (Kathimerini).

Further update

and an article in The Irish Times by Richard Pine

Lord Byron, Greek Islands and The Fate of Migrants, Nick Malkoutzis

From Macropolis

Some appalling reports:



David Cameron, Davos Speech

From World Economic Forum

Burgled Britain: Property Most at Risk

From The Telegraph

I used to live in one of the most vulnerable London postcodes.

Nice to be in the Top Twenty!

Three burglaries in London; three burglaries in Bridport.

Bill Brandt, Photographer of Social Contrasts; Maiden Castle; Pulpit Rock; Hardy's Wessex

Victoria and Albert Museum, Bill Brandt Biography

Parlourmaids, coal-miners, coal-searchers in the 1930s.

Related photographers

Kensington Parlourmaid

Ear on the Beach

Social documentary photography

Checklist (see Landscape Section, p. 28, Thomas Hardy's Wessex, Lilliput, May 1946)

Bill Brandt photographed Pulpit Rock, Portland (1948); and Maiden Castle (photographed 1945), Lulworth, Shaftesbury, Tess's Cottage Marnhull, Egdon Heath and Corfe Castle for Thomas Hardy's Wessex (as well as Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral):

Bill Brandt, Maiden Castle, Near Dorchester, 
one of eight images for Thomas Hardy's Wessex, Lilliput, May 1946

V and A:

Maiden Castle, Dorset
1945 (photographed)
1976 (printed)
Gelatin silver print
Purchase, 1978
Museum number: PH.99-1978
Gallery location: Prints and Drawings Study Room, level H, case X, shelf 911, box Q

Art Institute Chicago

Compare with Paul Nash's photograph (1935/36)

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Journal of Mary Frampton (The Years 1779-1846)

The Journal in full

Particularly interesting re 1830 events (rural unrest and riots)

Thomas Bastard, Dorset Poet (1566-1618), Epigrams (1598)

Text of Chrestoleros, Seven Books of Epigrams (1598)

Thomas Bastard was born in Blandford Forum in 1566, and was for a while Vicar at Bere Regis. "He died impoverished in the debtor's prison at Allhallows parish, Dochester, and was buried in the parish churchyard" (Wikipedia)

All Hallows or All Saints Church, Dorchester, is not in use as a church, but I was pleased to locate his stone slab in the graveyard there today. At least I thought I had found it. The inscriptions are difficult to read. They all need a good clean and some restoration. Douglas Greenwood, in "Wessex Has Their Bones" (1985), says his gravesite is no longer traceable.

On Thomas Bastard

I knowe where is a thiefe and long hath beene (Liber Tertius, Epigr. 22)  continued

Sheepe have eate up our meadows and our downes (Liber Quartus, Epig. 20)

Rubens in England; King Charles I; English Landscape, St George and the Dragon

Rubens arrived in England in June 1629, and spent ten months in the country, on a diplomatic mission.

An article by C.V. Wedgwood in History Today (1960)

Landscape with St George and the Dragon (1635; Royal Collection Trust)

Information from the Royal Collection Trust:

Acquirer: Charles I, King of Great Britain (1600-49)

Probably acquired by Charles I from the artist through the agency of Endymion Porter c. 1634-5; sold during the Commonwealth and re-acquired by George IV in 1814.


"This work was described in 1630 as one executed by Rubens ‘in honour of England’, which he sent home to Flanders as a ‘monument to his abode & employment here’ (Rubens stayed in England as a diplomat from 1629-1630). The painting was later ‘bought back’ for Charles I by his ambassador to the Spanish Netherlands, Endymion Porter, probably in 1634-5. Roger de Piles was the first to suggest (in 1677) that the setting and characters here are specifically English; since then it has been generally agreed that the river is roughly-speaking the Thames (perhaps showing the view from York House where Rubens lodged in London) and that St George is a portrait of (or at an allusion to) Charles I. The Princess does not look anything like his Queen Henrietta Maria as has also been suggested.

As with almost all Rubens’s landscapes this one grew in the making; the many joins in the canvas are visible to the naked eye. The original composition sits in the left middle of the final one, its left edge just including the tower, its right edge just two complete tree-climbers, its top edge just two angels and its bottom edge just the base of the truck of the left-hand tree.... 

If the middle bit was painted as Rubens left London the outsides could have been added in Flanders when Porter acquired the work for Charles I (perhaps to make it grander and more royal). However the whole process is typical of Rubens’s ‘expanding’ landscapes (of which there are many examples) and corresponds to the way in which he (and indeed any artist) works on a sketch: beginning carefully in the centre and becoming more summary towards the margins. The unusual thing about Rubens was that his sketches were generally executed in oil paint on panel (as opposed to chalk on paper) and that he preserved the fresh ‘evolving’ character of a sketch in his finished paintings".

Landscape with St George and the Dragon

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Exploring Dorset's Local Plans: The Inspector Calls (West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland Local Plans).

Today I attended the three-hour exploratory meeting about these local plans.

Dorset Echo Report

It cannot be an agreeable experience to have a strategic plan subjected to public and external scrutiny and inspection, especially after so much hard work has gone into its development.

It cannot be easy to balance the interests and needs (present and future) of different stakeholders, landowners, developers, the unemployed, the under-employed, the retired, part-time workers and young job-seekers, the NIMBYs and environmentalists, the immigrants and emigrants (international and internal).

Is it better to be cautious or over-optimistic in assessing the country's or the county's rate of economic recovery? How can a planner be sure that the numbers and data are reliable, that the evidence is robust, comprehensive and up-to-date?

How about the soundness and objectivity of the assessment, or judgement, of economic and social trends, levels of household debt and the sustainability of planned developments in the longer term? What about changes in the housing market?

It sounds very scientific, a "Strategic Housing Market Assessment". Can one claim to promote economic growth without prioritising working-age households and affordable housing, employment opportunities and good transport facilities?

Is it better to be realistic and pragmatic? I don't know, but it's certainly a good idea to be transparent and democratic. An important meeting in these respects, whatever the outcome of this complicated iterative planning process. I was glad to be able to participate, and to be exposed to all these pressing issues.

Update: This question concerning affordable housing at the Charles Street development (Phase 2) was also raised at the meeting.

Dorset workers struggle to earn living wage (Update)

Monday, 20 January 2014

Dorchester, Dorset, Traffic Scheme, Residents' Views

From the Dorset Echo by Harry Hogger

Badger Cull Likely in Dorset

According to the BBC

Peter Henry Emerson, 1856-1936; Early Landscape Photography

Ricking the reed

from Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads (1886)

Article, Amateur Photographer

In the Barley Harvest (National Media Museum)

Pictures from Life in Field and Fen (National Media Museum, images)

Science and Society Picture Library

Compare with the wonderful "River Scene- France" (1858) by Camille Silvy  (1834-1910)

Greece: "Unconstitutional" Pay Cuts?


From Keep Talking Greece

Government Rattled

A new thorn for negotiations with the Troika

Fears of a domino effect

"Special cases"



Other claims

Cyprus, Russia and the British Bases

I haven't been following this story, but this Cyprus Mail article is surprising.

"A complete reshuffling of the entire deck of geopolitical cards is in motion, prompting some commentators to scream that Cyprus is falling into a Russian orbit, whilst others celebrate what they see as the beginning of Britain’s long march home. Whichever way you look at it – recent events mark a monumental crossroads in Cyprus’ relationship with two major powers."

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Richard Payne Knight, "The Landscape", 1794; Uvedale Price, An Essay on the Picturesque (1794)

Read the poem here (pdf) (Second Edition, 1795)

"Whether the scene extends o'er wide domains,
Or lurks, confined, in low sequester'd plains,
Whether it decks the baron's gorgeous seat,
Or humbly cheers the rustic's snug retreat...
'Tis still one principle through all extends,
And leads through different ways to different ends.
What'er its essence, or what'er its name,
What'er its modes, 'tis still, in all, the same:
'Tis just congruity of parts combined
To please the sense and satisfy the mind....
Curse on the pedant jargon, that defines
Beauty's unbounded forms to given lines!
With scorn eternal mark the cautious fool,
Who dares not judge till he consults his rule!"

See also, Uvedale Price, "An Essay on the Picturesque, As Compared with the Sublime and the Beautiful, and in the Hope of Studying Pictures for the Purpose of Improving Landscape"

Lafcadio Hearn

Information here

The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn: His Spirit from the West to the East

International Symposium in Greece to Commemorate the 110th Anniversary of Lafcadio Hearn’s Death

July 4—6, 2014
Lefkada, Greece

On Lefkada and the Lefcadio Hearn Historical Centre (Wikipedia)

Update, 21.2 2018:

Lafcadio Hearn: The Writer who Merged Greek and Japanese Cultures, Greek Reporter

Saturday, 18 January 2014

On Renovating a House in Greece

From Neos Kosmos


Thanks to June Samaras for the links

The Greek Cafe in Australia; Roxy Theatre, Bingara, New South Wales; Books by Peter Prineas

ABC Report and video

The Roxy Theatre Cafe, Bingara, NSW, and the Museum of Greek Settlement in Country Australia

Peter Prineas kindly sent me details of the Grand Opening of the Bingara Roxy Greek Museum and other events on Saturday and Sunday 5-6 April. Wish I could be there! Peter on the Roxy Story
and from Neos Kosmos

Britain's Greek Islands- an outstanding book by Peter Prineas. More information

Katsehamos and the Great Idea - also truly fascinating

'I found the book fascinating because it contains the dreams and aspirations of all Greek immigrants of my father's generation, a world that has faded from the collective Greek consciousness as much as the Great Idea. Most of all, however, I was struck by the literary quality of the book which is far superior to almost all works of this type that I have read.'

— Nicholas Gage, celebrated Greek-American journalist and author of Eleni

Shell Removal and The Impact of Tourism on Sea Life, Diversity and Habitat in the Mediterranean

From Plos One


Multi-decadal increase in shell removal by tourists, a process that may accelerate degradation of natural habitats, was quantified via two series of monthly surveys, conducted thirty years apart (1978–1981 and 2008–2010) in one small embayment on the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Over the last three decades, the local tourist arrivals have increased almost three-fold (2.74), while the area has remained unaffected by urban encroachment and commercial fisheries. During the same time interval the abundance of mollusk shells along the shoreline decreased by a comparable factor (2.62) and was significantly and negatively correlated with tourist arrivals (r = −0.52). The strength of the correlation increased when data were restricted to months with high tourist arrivals (r = −0.72). In contrast, the maximum monthly wave energy (an indirect proxy for changes in rate of onshore shell transport) was not significantly correlated with shell abundance (r = 0.10). Similarly, rank dominance of common species, drilling predation intensity, and body size-frequency distribution patterns have all remained stable over recent decades. A four-fold increase in global tourist arrivals over the last 30 years may have induced a comparable worldwide acceleration in shell removal from marine shorelines, resulting in multiple, currently unquantifiable, habitat changes such as increased beach erosion, changes in calcium carbonate recycling, and declines in diversity and abundance of organisms, which are dependent on shell availability.

Who really owns the land? Land reform and ownership in Scotland, the shared inheritance

BBC Radio 4 this morning, the Reverend Richard Frazer on spiritual aspects of landscape, land ownership, the common good, identity and a sense of belonging. BBC iPlayer.

"Who could own this?" asks Germaine Greer.

Friday, 17 January 2014

France and Greece: Cultural Exchanges, Greek EU Presidency

Kathimerini report

About 100 shows, exhibitions, concerns, discussions, conferences and festivals will be held in cities across Greece and France over the next six months. The aim is to highlight the ties between the two countries and promote Greek contemporary art to the world. The program is being held under the aegis of the two countries' foreign ministries.

Charles Street Development Costs, Dorchester, Dorset

Dorset Echo report

"WEST Dorset District Council could be forced to shell out a further £2million" to support the second phase of the Charles Street development.

Burton Bradstock, Dorset: Another Huge Rockfall

Dorset Echo report

"THERE are renewed safety warnings after a huge rockfall onto the beach at Burton Bradstock.
Massive boulders crashed down to the Hive beach in one of the largest falls this winter along the stretch of coastline".

More warnings, BBC

Ethiopian Art, Däräsge Maryam Church Paintings; Kidana Mhiret, Lake Tana.

Extraordinary paintings: article by Jeremy Harding, in London Review of Books 

The Mystery of Ethiopian Iconography, Jonathan Pageau

George Morland, Paintings

Here's a good resource

BBC Your Paintings

UK Housing Crisis: Where Shall We Live?

James Meek, London Review of Books. 9 Jamuary 2014

A fascinating letter, in reply, by James Clark, LRB 23 January.

His answer? "In low-cost shacks, since we are all precarious now and may lose our jobs at any moment".

"Shacks are creative; caravans are not".

UK: "Poverty Porn", "Weather Porn" and "Eco Porn"

Every other journalist and reviewer seems to be using these phrases now.

If TV News broadcasts appear to exaggerate the wildness of storms and the size of the waves, it's "weather porn".

If documentary programmes like "Benefits Street" appear to be provocative and unbalanced, it's "poverty porn".

Other variations?

Rod Giblett, in Landscape and Photography (2012):

"Landscape photography was born out of the embrace and intercourse of landscape and photography that also produced 'eco-porn'".

Greece: A Return to Utopia?

The political situation and state of the parties, Greek Reporter

Elites feel the pain, NY Times

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Greece, Land Registry and Land Deed Confusion

On ongoing saga

Kathimerini report

Greece's Dragon Lakes

Visit Greece, the Dragon Lakes

Purbeck Literary Festival, Poetry Junction, Swanage - and "Dorset Voices" (26 February)

Purbeck LitFest’s 'Poetry Junction' at L'Artishe Gallery, Swanage

The first Purbeck Literary Festival will take place between 17th February and 2nd March 2014. Covering all of Purbeck, with venues as diverse as village halls, schools, pubs, cafes, and hotels, there is something for everyone in the varied programme, which has been put together to appeal to both readers and writers. There are opportunities for adults, teens and children to meet writers from crime to comedy, poetry to the paranormal. It is hoped the whole festival will bring the area alive with creativity for everyone with a passion for words.

Midway through the two weeks an evening event will be hosted at L’Artishe Gallery, Swanage in conjunction with local publisher Roving Press. This will take place on Wednesday 26th February.

Participants will be able to hear poets perform their work, and are encouraged to bring along their own written piece to try out, and discuss what makes poetry ‘work’. A panel of established poets will be on hand to answer questions and ensure a lively discussion. Led by award-winning poet and playwright Peter John Cooper, anyone taking part will get invaluable advice as well as having a thoroughly enjoyable creative evening sharing poetry.

Peter John Cooper is an acclaimed British playwright, poet and theatre director. With over forty years’ experience, he has written for companies throughout the UK and has specialised in writing for small casts and unusual venues.

Includes a copy of the 128-page anthology Dorset Voices: A Collection of New Prose, Poetry and Photographs, courtesy of Roving Press, as well as a complementary glass of wine. Julie Musk from Roving Press says: “Dorset Voices was an opportunity for new and established writers and photographers to have their work published in something long-lasting – a professionally produced local book. The result is an original collection of work to inspire others. The Poetry Corner has this same ethos, to share and celebrate local talent. We hope anyone who writes poetry will take part. Or you can just come to listen and enjoy.”

The event starts at 7pm with tickets £6

Tickets available from

L'Artishe Gallery

71 High Street Swanage

BH19 2LY or:

Discover Purbeck Information Centre, Wareham, Tel 01929 52750

Swanage Tourist Information Centre, Tel 01929 422885

Visit for updates on the programme, information on tickets, accommodation and more. Or

For PR enquiries contact Emma Fernandez, Violet PR, tel 078 497 48 434.

Dorchester, Dorset: Workhouses and Alms Houses

Fanny Robin in Front of the Casterbridge Union
Helen Paterson Allingham illustration (1874)
 for Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd

Hardy describes the South Street Alms House

"A wall bounded the site of Casterbridge Union-house, except along a portion of the end. Here a high gable stood prominent, and it was covered like the front with a mat of ivy. In this gable was no window, chimney, ornament, or protuberance of any kind. The single feature appertaining to it, beyond the expanse of dark green leaves, was a small door...Upon the whole, the door seemed to advertise itself as a species of Traitor's Gate translated to another sphere. That entry and exit hereby was only at rare intervals became apparent on noting that tufts of grass were allowed to flourish undisturbed in the chinks of the sill..."

Books and Textbooks: Rent or Buy?

This is one option for students who don't want to buy books or e-books.

Rent this book!

Better value to buy, in most cases.

Alexander Pope in Sherborne, Dorset, 1724

Fascinating account of Pope's visit to Sherborne Castle and gardens in 1724.

From his correspondence

See his letter to Mrs Martha Blount, of June 22

See also Open Plaques:

Pope "was so impressed with the gardens that he wrote a long description of them. He particularly liked the shaded walk to the 'venerable broken walls' of the Old Castle by the river, the 'natural cascade, with never-ceasing murmurs' and the views of the 'glimmering waters'. Here there was a 'rustic seat of stone, flagged and rough, with two urns in the same rude taste upon pedestals on each side'."

Monday, 13 January 2014

2014: 150 χρόνια από την Ένωση της Επτανήσου (150th Anniversary of Union with Greece; Corfu; The Ionian Islands)

Watch this space- especially on 21st May!

150 χρόνια από την Ένωση της Επτανήσου

Robert Young, 'Rabin Hill', Dorset Dialect Poet

The engine gied another scream,

The speed began to slacken now.

"T'is strange to I," zed Rabin Hill,

This hoss should kick up such a row.

"If my old 'ooman did but know

That I had gone so vur from home,

that I had ventured in the train,

I warn't she'd kept I zafe at home."

Greece, the EU Presidency- and more interesting news links

Wall Street Journal article

Yanis Varoufakis

Above link alerts from EuroIntelligence

Moving Up the Value Chain (Observing Greece)

Competitiveness (Kathimerini)

Skouries Gold Mine (Kathimerini)

Lagarde List (Keep Talking Greece)

Lagarde List 2 (EnetEnglish)

Hellenic Postbank Loans

Zakynthos, Earthquake

I always feel the shock-waves when I read anything about Zakynthos and earthquakes, however small.

Australian Art: Aboriginal "Tourist Tat" in Hobart

Jeremy Eccles sets the record straight and responds to some sadly uninformed British critics of the Royal Academy "Australia" exhibition.

An exciting new exhibition in Hobart, Tasmania.

I might just pop over to see it. I love the Queenie McKenzie paintings, for starters.

Try this one

and this

Some truly great art on show.

Well done, Art Mob, well done Jeremy.

UK: The Debut Novelists of 2014

The Observer introduces us to some exciting new literary talent

Well done, Anna!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Avebury, Stonehenge, Maumbury Rings, Woodyates, Lyme, and Nine Stones, Winterbourne Abbas; Dr. William Stukeley (1687-1765)


Reminiscent of Australian Aboriginal patterns
Published 1743
Perhaps Stukeley was aware of the voyages and discoveries of William Dampier!

Stukeley on Stonehenge

Maumbury Rings

Nine Stones Circle, Winterbourne Abbas


Prospect of Lyme

From Salisbury Museum, Ancient Landscape Exhibition

Barrows in Dorset (Jo Draper)

From Dorset Life

Henry Joseph Moule; Gwen Yarker Lecture

At Dorset County Museum

30 January 2014

Kourelou: Greek Music, A Patchwork Of Sounds, Styles, Rhythms, Instruments

Video on Kourelou, Greek Music

'Kourelou' is a Greek word meaning 'patchwork'; material made from pieces of torn cloth that would otherwise go to waste. The band reflects the broad, complex, colourful and wonderful picture of traditional Greek music; a synthesis of multiple styles, rhythms and instruments ranging from bouzouki to Thracian bag-pipes, Epirus violin and Cretan Lyra.

More music

Chesil Beach, The Aftermath; Storm Surge, West Bay; Videos; Dorset

YouTube, Chesil Beach Aftermath video

On 'media exaggeration' and "weather porn":

How man and nature did battle on Chesil Beach, Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

Storm Surge, West Bay

More from West Bay

Cleaning Up Chesil Beach

Friday, 10 January 2014

Samuel Marsh Oram of Shaftesbury, Dorset: Poet and Topographic Artist (1765-1791)

Samuel Marsh Oram was born in Shaftesbury Dorset in 1765 . He died in his 26th year, in 1791. He was an Attorney at Law, an artist (topographer and drawer) and a poet. His topographical drawings, such as his "View of Shaftesbury" (which was engraved) were much admired.


What ample scenes and prospects lie around,
That rich with nature's vivid beauties glow!
The eye delighted views the vale below,
Whose wide extent the azure mountains bound.
Innumerous fields, and woods, of darker shade,
And villages diversify the view;
Obedient all combine, to fancy's aid;
Each varied object, and each varied hue.
But turn thine eye where sorrow's faded form
Leans o'er the narrow mansions of the dead,
And mourns the ills of many a bitter storm,
The fate of friends from her embraces fled!
Fair mourner cease ! Death hovers o'er the scene,
To close thy weeping eyes on every thing terrene!

On Samuel Marsh Oram, by Reverend Percival Stockdale:

"That most amiable young man was born at Shaftesbury, in Dorsetshire ; where he passed his life ; which, unfortunately to his friends, and to the publick, terminated, in his twenty-sixth year, and in 1791. During the time of his clerkship to an attorney, he acquitted himself, in that station, with diligence, and fidelity ; — and for the few years of his own practice in his profession, he was loved, and esteemed by all persons with whom he was connected, for industrious application ; and for the mildness, and integrity of his manners. Great were the obstacles to the spirit, and flow of poetry, with which, I trust, the judicious, and generous reader will allow that the following poems are animated, and characterized.

I doubt not that Shaftesbury has its lovers of literature; it's men of critical judgement, and taste ; from whom our poet might receive useful information ; and whose influence might give a strong impulse of intellectual activity to a youthful, and ardent mind. But he had not the good fortune to be educated at one of our two most respectable, and great universities".

Concerning Oram, it was said that “the beautiful and romantic scenes in the environs of his native town were his poetical academy, his tutor the genius of the groves, &c.; he had made great progress in the art of drawing, and his " View of Shaftesbury " was engraved and much admired”.

OLD SHAFTESBURY AND ORAM. The Rev. S. E. V. FILLEUL showed a fine aquatint engraving of Shaftesbury, and read the following interesting note on an artistic and poetical celebrity of Shaftesbury in the 18th century :

This old aquatint, by Pollard and Jukes, very scarce in colours, has some interest in being, I believe, the only view of any consequence published of Shaftesbury. It is taken from the west, i.e., from the Dorchester or Blandford side. At the time of its publication, 1785, this old royal city was of greater importance than now, but ignobly famous for the bribery and corruption of its elections. Hutchins gives a long account of the celebrated petitions of that time, the result being, in the case of one displaced member, fines amounting to 12,000. The picture has additional interest in being the copy of a drawing by Mr. Samuel Marsh Oram, a solicitor of the town, who died before reaching the age of 26. Mr. Ehlvers, the Rector of Shaftesbury, has kindly given me the record of his baptism from the registers.

He is entered as the son of an Archelaus Oram, baptised October llth, 1765. He also tells me that the name of the present town crier is Mr. W. S. Oram. Hutchins mentions that the artist of this picture was celebrated as the author of a little collection of sonnets and odes ; this was published by Percival Stockdale in quarto in 1791, after the premature death of the author. By the kindness of Mr. H. C. Forrester, of Shaftesbury, I am able to exhibit a copy of this collection. There is an extravagant and laudatory introduction of 12 pages to the 13 pieces by Mr. Stockdale, with allusions to Parnassus, Demosthenes, etc., prefaced by four lines of epitaph :

" The sylvan nymphs with flowers adorned his hearse,
Ere time and culture had matured his verse ;
Yet had his breast inhaled Sol's purest ray,
His morn of life announced a beauteous day."

The odes are addressed to the nightingale, the redbreast, the wood lark, morning, evening, night, etc. Two are of local interest to the River Stour, with allusion to Fielding; and another upon Eastbury, the huge mansion of Bubb Dodington.

About 500 copies were subscribed for, and the book was considered worthy of a pretty vignette by Stothard. I cannot be audacious enough to question the opinion of such a literary celebrity as Percival Stockdale on the merits of the poetry. On page 5 of the introduction it is stated that the beautiful and
romantic scenes in the environs of his native town were his poetical academy his tutor the genius of the groves, etc., and it mentions in this connection that he had made great progress in the art of drawing, and that his " View of Shaftesbury " was engraved and much admired. I have gathered these few notes of "In
Memoriam," thinking that some of our Members would appreciate this bringing together of the finest samples of the brush and pen of a little known Dorset artist and poet.

from Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, Volume 28, 1907

On Pollard and Jukes (engravings and aquatints)

On Samuel Marsh Oram

"The poems of Oram were published, with an introduction, in 1794, by the late Reverend Percival Stockdale, at the request of Mr. Loggan, who was a friend of the deceased poet".

Wenceslas Hollar in England (Wenceslas/Wenceslaus/Vaclav Hollar)

Brilliant University of Toronto Wenceslaus Hollar Digital Collection

Wenceslas (1607-1677) made it down to Glastonbury, Salisbury and Devon

Nothing local here:

Procession of the Dance of Death