Patrick, James McIntosh, 1907-1998; A City Garden

A City Garden 1940 by James McIntosh Patrick is normally at the Dundee Museum but in Edinburgh for a few months. This is how cities should be – industrial buildings and gardens. What a great exhibition! We sell the catalogue in the shop.

Brockhurst, Gerald Leslie, 1890-1978; By the Hills

By the Hills by  Gerald Brockhurst was painted in 1939 and is normally at the Ferens in Hull, it’s on the front of the exhibition catalogue. It would of course be an excellent illustration for To Bed with Grand Music.

Matania, Fortunino, 1881-1963; Blackpool

Blackpool by Fortunino Matania (1937) is in the Edinburgh  exhibition, this painting was used on a railway poster which is, curiously, for sale in an Onslow’s auction this very Friday, details here (scroll down).

Bateman, James, 1893-1959; Haytime in the Cotswolds

So the Edinburgh exhibition contains paintings like these – the 1930s Haytime in the Cotswolds by James Bateman (1893-1959). We haven’t used this to illustrate one of our books but goodness knows why, it would be so perfect for eg. The Country Housewife’s Book.

Tucker, James Walker, 1898-1972; Hiking

‘This exhibition invites us to look at art that has long been scorned or ignored’ (Frances Spalding): on the Post this week, paintings newly on display in Edinburgh. They are in an exhibition (which is on until the end of October) called True to Life – British Realist Painting in the 1920s and ’30s. And there is an important parallel between these kind of pictures and the kind of novels we  publish. So it is no coincidence that several of the paintings now in Edinburgh appear on our website as visual illustrations of the books, for example James Walker Tucker’s Hiking illustrates Diana Athill’s short stories.

whistler copy

Laurence Whistler in 1971, the year he designed the Eastbury Window. And in the same year he was on Desert Island Discs, here.


Helen and Edward Thomas in 1905, a picture taken from a gallery of fourteen photographs on a BBC R4 page about Helen, put up after a 2014 programme called And You, Helen (alas not apparently ‘available’ at the moment). Edward would live until April 1917, Helen until April 1967.

right panel

And this is the right-hand panel in detail, the tree is gnarled and leafless, and higher up the trunk is an officer’s Sam Brown belt and army helmet: to remind the viewer that this poet of the English countryside found his great gift as a poet  in war time; and on the left is the thatched cottage at Hodson Bottom, Witlshire where the family had lived happily long before the war.


This is the entire window. It’s certainly worth making a special trip to Eastbury to see it (although the church probably isn’t always open), and let’s not forget that this amazing window was paid for by public subscription – over 600 people.

left panel

At St. James, Eastbury (in Berkshire) there is a stunningly beautiful memorial window to Edward and Helen Thomas (whose memoirs As It Was and World Without End we publish in the near future.  The window In Celebration of the Lives of Edward Thomas, Poet, and Helen his Wife was engraved by Laurence Whistler in 1971; through it may be seen trees and the lines of the Berkshire Downs. The design shows a symbolic landscape framed by two trees, one budding, one bare: between them formal hands of sunlight confer a blessing on their names. This is the left-hand panel showing a tall tree in full leaf with quotations from nine of Edward Thomas’s poems.

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