We had half an hour's decent daylight last Sunday. So I took a break from the festive housework...
Thanks for looking,
Some people have expressed interest in the pictures in the background.
The Japanese picture in V1 is one of three that I bought in a bric-a-brac shop in Durham in 1971. They cost £28, my annual grant as a postgrad was £480; I must have been mad, but I have always loved them.
I have found out a certain amount of information about them. They are early 19th Century wood block prints on rice paper, mass-produced and sold cheaply – the colouring is very simple, just black ink, blue, a soft grey-green and terracotta. They quite probably came to the UK as packing in tea chests.
One depicts elegant couples walking among chrysanthemums, by a river – that is the least interesting of the three.
One shows the interior of a brothel, with traditional paper screens dividing the rooms, and a girl in a state of semi-undress running out of a bedroom. From looking into this one I learnt that you can recognise a Japanese prostitute by the way she ties her sash...
This one is the most interesting though. A lord is seated at a meal, attended by his geishas. A number of tiny, transparent, faceless beings are climbing all over the figures, plucking at their garments, trying to attract attention. You can see two of them in this detail.
A Japanese friend of our daughter explained that they are the souls of aborted babies.
V2: Some years before Bill retired, his school staged Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and Bill played viola in the orchestra. A local artist, Hilary Feeney, whose children attended the school, made some sketches at rehearsals. She later worked these into large-scale paintings for sale, but she left a montage of little sketches at the school and Bill appears in three of them. When he retired he asked if he could keep it as a leaving present.
Tags: Black and white
Specialist and abstract