Lighthouses

I love lighthouses and was rather surprised to discover the the Princess Royal (Anne) is a patron and committed to visiting every lighthouse in the UK once a year. Good for her!

Seaside Special:

Eric Ravilious and the genius of 'Newhaven Harbour'

Eric Ravilious Lighthouse

Because of his strong associations with Eastbourne, Eric Ravilious was no stranger to the play of light on water, and with the shifts from sunlight to shadow. It is this sensibility that made his landscape work so unique in the canon of English art between the wars. In what was a relatively short career, cut short by a tragic and untimely death in 1942 whilst on service as Official War Artist, it remains a matter of conjecture as to what impression his work would have made on the emerging generation of the 1950s in Britain, and to what degree his work would have impacted on the new wave of artists and designers of the post-war period.

Despite his short life, the range of Ravilious's work was extraordinarily wide. The dexterity of his watercolour work was equally matched by the skill with with he applied himself to the field of design, be it ceramics, textiles or advertising, and the recent re-interest in all aspects of his work (culminating perhaps in 'Eric Ravilious-Imagined Realities' under the masterful curatorship of Alan Powers, and staged at London's Imperial War Museum in 2006) attests to the enduring power of this quintessential British artist.

Growing up in Eastbourne, Ravilious was very familiar with the surrounding landscape of the South Downs and adjacent coastline. Works such as 'The Downs in Winter' from 1934 and 'The Wilmington Giant' of 1939 are firmly lodged within the English psyche, and immediately transport the viewer to this very particular part of the English countryside.

This lithograph of Newhaven Harbour was one of the first produced under the aegis of the 'Contemporary Lithographs' series, and remains possibly the most elusive of the artist's printed works. The scheme was devised by Robert Wellington of the Zwemmer gallery, in collaboration with the artist John Piper as a way to introduce the work of living artists to school children, much in the manner in which, later, Brenda Rawnsley's School Prints' series did (see earlier post). Many schools had modern reproductions of Old Masters on their premises, but Wellington felt strongly that children should have the opportunity to become familiar with the artists of their own day. In consultation with Henry Morris, and with Marion Richardson, a pioneer in the field of children's art, it was thought that initially the chosen artists would paint murals in the schools, but the notion was rapidly abandoned, as the costs would, understandably have been prohibitive. Therefore, it was decided that each artist would be invited to produce a four-colour lithograph, the subject matter to be chosen by themselves, and the work would be carried out at the Curwen Press. Along with Ravilious, nine other contemporary artists were chosen for the first series; these included Edward Bawden and Barnett Freedman, Clive Gardiner and Graham Sutherland. The abiding stipulation by the publishers was that the prints should measure twenty by thirty inches. Thus, 'Newhaven Harbour' remains the largest of Ravilious's printed works, and the rarest. Devoid of all humanity, with the ghostly, almost transparent steamer silently approaching the lighthouse on the strand, the artist referred to the image as his 'Homage to Seurat'. The delicacy of his technique renders the scene dreamlike, and his skilful choice of colours, from the pea-green surrounds of the lighthouse windows to the rich red of the railway track, seems to lend a seaside sensibility to the serene sense of the surreal with which Ravilious's image is imbued. Look, too, at the scudding clouds, fashioned from the very glow of the paper beneath his familiar cross-hatched sky; they appear almost heavier than the air itself. Its clarity and luminosity is astonishing, especially when one considers that this was the artist's first introduction to the lithographic process. Reporting on the newly-published prints, the 'New Statesman' wrote that 'the first series of ten is extremely promising. There is something, in fact for every sort of taste except bad taste...'

The lithographs were also offered for sale to the general public, at a slightly higher price of £1, 11s 6d. The series was slow to emerge, due to the time and care afforded to their production, finally being published in 1937. The lithographic process was a revelation to Ravilious, opening the door to a world of colour after the black and white landscapes of his wood engravings. The experience gained from his work for the 'Newhaven Harbour' print paved the way for the production of perhaps his most widely-recognised series of lithographs for 'High Street'. Initially, Ravilious had pitched his idea for a book of shops, aimed ostensibly at children, to the Golden Cockerel Press. However, it was Noel Carrington, then the publisher of Country Life Books, who eventually commissioned the book, which finally saw publication in 1938. Ravilious's friend J.M. Richards was invited to write a short linking text to the lithographic images, which comprised a factual account of each of the chosen shops, and also incorporated information gleaned from the shopkeepers and owners themselves. Of interest, Paxton and Whitfield, the renowned Jermyn Street cheese-shop, retains virtually the same fascia as when Ravilious pictured it for the 'High Street' series; other emporiums are sadly no more. What, we wonder, was the fate of the wondrous 'Submarine &...' establishment, replete with the deep-sea diver's outfit, that he and Bawden first noticed in 1930 whilst on their way to and from Morley College when they were working on the murals for the refreshment room there? The Firework Shop, perhaps one of the most successful in the series, is described as 'an extraordinary newspaper shop and tobacconists, but for a few weeks before November 5th every year, it fills its windows with fireworks'. Complete, 'unbroken' copies of 'High Street' remain elusive and expensive, due to the fact that the pages are now more familiar as framed prints, and therefore sold by dealers as such. It is rumoured, however, that a facsimile reprint version of the complete book is soon to be made available, no doubt to satisfy the clamour for the work of an artist that continues to attract such a committed following.

(Thanks to Graham Ward)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me

Anna in Frame

I actually had matching knees in those days!

April

Aren't I lucky to have been born under the sign of the Bull? I think I am!

Art Deco Taurus

Fantastic Art Deco frieze tile from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago

Old Lady born in 1952

Yes, so I'm an old lady but I don't feel like one so the graphic is brilliant - unfortunately only our generation understands how it feels and the younger generation (yes, we were them once as well) only see us as the 'granny' brigade!

Cast Ladies Born in 1952

I know so many 'Cat Ladies' born in April that it must be true!

Proud to have a Polish heritage

Proud to be Polish

Love the colour Purple

Purple Profile

And I definitely consider myself a purple person!

My first accredited artwork :

Radio Times Radio Programme Live in ConcertThe pictures of the school programme of the play Noah by André Obey were my first foray into my future profession and my first accredited piece of artwork at the age of 12. I was amused to see the illustration in the Radio Times for Radio 3s Live in Concert of Peter Grimes. I e-mailed the BBC who told me that the artist was Joe Wilson and the illustration had been especially commissioned by them - anybody else see the similarities?

 

 

Joe Wilson's illustration for Radio Times

 

Original Noah design by J Anna Wariwoda

Front cover of the design for the school play 'Noah' by Andre Obey - this was a class project and my design was chosen - probably in 1964

Programme credit for 'Noah'

Confirmation of my efforts.

Engraved Goblet

I think I'm a bit of a surprise winner of the Spyke Golding Literary Award 2014!

And here is what I wrote :

"My (1st) Close Encounter of the Cyder Kind"

The year is 1964, the location – Lausanne in Switzerland, the venue - a grassy knoll, overlooking the city furnished with comfortable rustic wooden seating and heaving with the humanity who had come to visit and experience the Expo. It was a warm and balmy night ……

Our parents had always encouraged my sister and I to travel, and the Expo in Lausanne seemed like the ideal opportunity to visit Switzerland. As a trainee linguist, my sister came in very useful in both the French and German cantons. For part of the holiday we stayed with the families of our parents’ friends who had not migrated to the UK after the war. This gave us a false sense of economy as Switzerland was notoriously expensive compared with the European countries we had previously visited. By the time we had reached Lausanne we had, in fact, run out of funds and still had several days ahead of us before we could return home. Luckily, the Youth Hostels had been paid for, so we had a roof over our heads – food was another matter. We were subsisting on bread – my treat was a tube of Thomy Moutarde which was like no other mustard I had ever eaten, it was sufficiently nutritious and tasty to use as a spread on the bread. Occasionally we would share a portion of potato salad to go with our meagre daily rations. I would like to say at this point that the potato salad was delicious and cheap! Water was free, but the occasional cup of coffee was considered such a luxury that it was very occasional indeed. Then we found that the local apple juice, the sort that looked like cider scrumpy was cheap, so that became our luxurious alternative to water. Please remember that in 1964 I was many years below the legal age of drinking alcohol and my sister had only just achieved her majority.

Remarkably, we had a double stroke of fortune on the evening of my close encounter. My mother had worked out that we were likely to be running short of funds and risked sending a 10/- (that’s ten shillings or 50 pence) note in an airmail letter to our Youth Hostel address. Unhappily the flimsy, weightless letter fluttered out of her shopping basket and she, overwhelmed by how this loss of money would impact on all of us (her housekeeping, my fathers’ scrupulous accounting and our starvation rations) never mentioned its loss to anyone. Ten bob was a lot of money in 1964!

However, someone had found the envelope and posted it – if you are out there and reading this, then thank you. We had no idea that a letter with money was winging its way towards us as our mother had not mentioned this in the follow-up letter that she had sent. So, three days before we were due to leave, we received this bounty and could afford to live like kings for the remainder of our stay. That evening we feasted on bread, mustard spread for me, jam for my sister, a portion of potato salad each and a cup of coffee for her and a glass of apple juice all for me! Er, that is until the close encounter ……

The two of us were sitting on one of the wooden benches on the grassy knoll munching away in companionable silence, you know, the sort that accompanies the knowledge that you will soon have a full belly and everything is right with the world when a tall and burly lad (beard and sandals and unruly hair) carrying a rucksack, meal and stein of something or other approached us and asked if he could share the table space. I can’t remember what language he spoke but we cordially invited him to sit with us. Like us, he was simply using the facility to have his evening meal and to go on to his next port of call.   He chose my side of the table to enjoy his meal.

I’m not really sure exactly what happened next but it all went into a slow motion nightmarish scenario. As I say, we were munching away and didn’t have a care in the world and then I saw it – this evil, hairy monster of a hand stretching for my precious apple juice which I was hoping would last me the evening ….

My throat was constricted, I couldn’t speak or at least not coherently, my body felt weighed down as I tried to tug at my sisters sleeve to wake her up to the fact that my apple juice was being wilfully stolen when we both heard the ROAR of the lion and a fountain of juice erupting from his throat – that woke her up and sent me into a relapse.

The poor man (I can be generous in a retrospective memory) was gagging on the apple juice which, in his own reverie he had picked up (although how he could have mistaken my glass for his stein I do not know) and the shock of it not being cyder had caused him to spit it out!

When we all returned to a partially normal state, he couldn’t apologise enough and although my sister and I were already dissolving into giggles at the whole incident, we did try to behave with some decorum. He at once went to the kiosk and bought me another apple juice, which of course tasted all the sweeter for being a victorious trophy and the fact that it was a full measure, I had after all drunk some of the original juice before he nicked it!

Had I been a bit older and savvier I might have spat in his cyder when he was away from the table but instead I had a sip (just out of curiosity and not with my sisters’ approval) from his stein and the rest as they say ….. is history.

Post script – as we had returned home full of stories of our adventures the question of the ten bob never came up. As we were both hale and hearty and didn’t look as if we had suffered any deprivation my mother never asked about how we had managed financially – it wasn’t until many years later that this story came up and we actually told our mother how that ten bob had saved us – she went absolutely sheet white – she had never told anyone that she still believed that money had been lost even after all those years!

Thanks to Castle Rock for their kind words (but not the picture!)

2013 - Spyke’s Award

"An intriguing and heart warming tale of cider, people and a visit to Switzerland, not to mention the loss of a 10/- note, has won the 2013 Spyke Golding Literary Award.   The winner, chosen by the panel of independent judges, was Anna Ludlow.

Anna is not new to writing having had articles on her other interests and experiences published in magazines and on-line. Her story was inspired by a deeply affectionate memory of her late mother and was chosen for its positive and life affirming themes".

Literary Award Group Photo

Shown are Anna with her award, and judges Amanda and Mick Bajcar, Castle Rock’s Colin Wilde,  Steve Westby, chairman, Nottingham CAMRA and Amy Naylor-Morrell (third left) from the Waterstones Nottingham bookshop who presented Anna with a £30 book voucher.

Anna says: “I wrote this recollection last year but was unable to submit it due to an unexpected stay in hospital.  The delay made the success all the sweeter.”

2014 - National Numeracy Challenge

The National Numeracy Challenge was a very low key article in the Daily Mail - intrigued (and as retirement looms ever closer) I decided to give it a go for my own amusement as much as anything and was pleased to score 82/100 which placed me in silver position. What was really great was the fact that a certificate was issued :

National Numeracy Challenge 2014

Personalised certificate for the 'Numeracy Challenge' taken on 12th March 2014

2017 - Friend Against Scams

Friend Against Scams Certificate

Personalised certificate for the 'Friend Against Scams' assesment successfully completed on 21st August 2017

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Page updated : 22nd August 2017