In Edinburgh there is a beautiful, newly-restored 1930s mural at a school, but someone has complained because of a golliwog (in the painting with a red background, in the middle of the mural, there is a golliwog at the top right):
This raises exactly the same issues we face when, as sometimes happens, people complain about the slightly anti-semitic remarks in Miss Pettigrew. We feel that just because Winifred Watson said that Joe had something of the Jew about him, this does not mean we should be horrified or edit it out. Times were different then and this was a shorthand way of saying that Joe was dark-featured. We would not say it now. But we should not be offended retrospectively.
The picture below is from Twenty Hipster Home Trends we Love – in Easy Living, and it is true that Persephone books make a table if stacked neatly since they are all precisely the same height –
He was a superb and influential designer and his death led us to his book: Adventures with Letters ‘offers valuable descriptions of the life of a freelance book jacket designer from the 1950s through the 1980s, as well as that of a teacher in British design schools in the turbulent 1960s.’
Virginia Woolf’s Garden
is a very enjoyable book and we sell it in the shop. At the other end of the literary spectrum StoneRing Books has a downloadable e book by Keith Detloff called Unravelling Rowling which is about the Harry Potter books. It has several paragraphs finding apparent synergies between them and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day: apparently the names Pettigrew, Twycross (the Preface writer) and Ronan (Winifred Watson’s school) all appear in the series.
Alfred Brendel was extraordinarily wonderful on Desert Island Discs. One of the most memorable things he said was that ‘my memories of the war time have been decisive for my whole life – they have prevented me from being credulous, from fanaticism, from nationalism, from creeds of any kind.’ This is rather what one hopes fiction does for people.
The painting of Proserpine/Persephone by Rossetti, which has just been sold, is a portrait of Janey Morris. The National Portrait Gallery has a small exhibition about her and there is a lunchtime lecture by Jan Marsh on January 23rd.
Stanley Spencer’s Sandham Memorial Chapel paintings are now at Somerset House. Here is an article about them and this
is how they look and here is a detail of Tea in the Hospital Ward 1932:
Finally, the Guardian had a good piece by the excellent Phil Baines about the different covers for The Outsider by Camus over the years – fifteen different covers are reproduced and it is interesting to compare them – here.
59 Lambs Conduit Street