french-kitchen-6

Here is an old French country kitchen (the lovely string of garlic by the fire is a give-away). But the similarities between this and English cottage kitchens are many: the wooden furniture, the basket of apples, the copper pots, the slightly chilly light coming in through the window…

Tuesday copy

Many of us have had a lot of domesticity recently: deckchairs and buckets and spades and supper in the garden swatting away midges. And Persephone Books prides itself on its focus on what we call, in shorthand form, domestic feminism – yes, we are trying to write that book or article or even academic paper on the subject; we all know what it means intuitively but it is not so easy to define. For now, weary as we are from cooking and tidying the kitchen: here are some country kitchens from a marvellous 1989 book called English Cottage Interiors by Hugh Lander and Peter Rauter. This is a Cornish kitchen, the cast-iron range ‘is of Redruth manufacture and is late 19th century. It is in working order and has been adapted to heat water as well. The glazed earthenware sink, brass bib taps and wooden draining board all accord with the satisfying sense of texture and substance which the cottage proclaims.’ Hear hear.

Brooks, Brenda, b.1932; Bank Holiday

Bank Holiday Brenda Brooks 1992 is again at Worthing. (Here in the UK it is a Bank Holiday on Monday and Persephone Books is open today and tomorrow but closed on Monday.)

Burleigh, C. H. H., 1869-1956; The Oak Dresser

The Oak Dresser by CHH Burleigh  (1869-1956) is also at Worthing: funny that nowadays we would find the dresser faintly depressing and would paint it grey or blue.

Cattermole, Lance, 1898-1992; Lady Stern

Lady Stern in 1941 by Lance Cattermole (1898-1992) is at Worthing Museum of Art. Does anyone have any details about Lady Stern?

Addison, Eileen, 1906-1977; The Causeway, Horsham

Eileen Addison (1906-77) The Causeway 1960s Horsham District Council. One amazing and amazingly neglected female painter after another….

Walker, Ethel, 1861-1951; Iris and Kathleen

Iris and Kathleen (1935) is at the Harris Museum. It’s by Ethel Walker, details here; 107 of her painting are on ArtUk and 100 at the Athenaeum site (another very good resource, where the images are uploaded by volunteers). Dame Ethel Walker had a ‘reputation as one of the outstanding British women artists of her period’ (ArtUK) and decades ago there was an exhibition of her work along with that of Frances Hodgkins and Gwen John. O tempora o mores!

Lee, Dick, 1923-2001; Gillie

Gillie is at the Southampton Art Gallery. It’s by Dick Lee (1923-2001), whose obituary is here: he had ‘an eye for values that enabled him to tune in, on a tiny scale, often to such diverse subjects as cricket at the Oval, an afternoon on a Normandy beach, or his wife, Gillian, at the piano, and to summarise them in startlingly fresh and exact notations.’

Dutch (Haarlem) School; A Young Boy Wearing a Red Beret with Feathers

A Young Boy wearing a Red Beret (thought to be a portrait of John Thurbarne) was painted in the mid-seventeenth century in Holland. It’s at Chequers Court, Buckinghamshire which is the Prime Minister’s country ‘retreat’. The house and its contents, including this painting, were presented to the nation by Lord and Lady Lee in 1917. An inscription on one of the windows explains: ‘This house of peace and ancient memories was given to England as a thank-offering for her deliverance in the great war of 1914–1918 as a place of rest and recreation for her Prime Ministers for ever.’

Gertler, Mark, 1891-1939; Near Swanage, Dorset

Mark Gertler’s Near Swanage was painted a hundred years ago, in 1916. It’s at Pallant House.

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