Saturday 30 November 2013

The Snark Hunters on board ship

The Snark Hunters on board ship, an illustration by John Vernon Lord, in Lewis Carroll's 
The Hunting of the Snark, Artists' Choice Editions, 2006.

Friday 29 November 2013

Maggie Hambling's 'Scallop' sculpture at Aldeburgh in Suffolk.

I thought I'd post someone else's work for a change. This is a photograph I took on Monday the 25th of November of Maggie Hambling's 'Scallop' sculpture on the beach at Aldeburgh in Suffolk.

At Snape we enjoyed two concerts during the Britten's final centennial celebrations. Firstly - the Kuss Quartet playing Schubert’s (15th) and Britten’s (3rd) last quartets. Absolutely marvellous.

Then a  concert including: Purcell’s (arranged by Britten) Chacony; 
Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge and his Serenade for tenor, horn and strings 
and finally Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten. The performers were the Aldeburgh Strings with Allan Clayton (tenor), Richard Watkins (horn), and Markus Däunert as the director. This was a rivetting concert from beginning to end. The 'Bridge' piece by Britten was superlative in every away. Never heard a string ensemble quite like it.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Alice tips over the jury-box

Alice tips over the jury-box, an illustration by JVL in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Artists' Choice Editions, 2009.

The text at the beginning of the last chapter: 
  `Here!' cried Alice, quite forgetting in the flurry of the
moment how large she had grown in the last few minutes, and she
jumped up in such a hurry that she tipped over the jury-box with
the edge of her skirt, upsetting all the jurymen on to the heads
of the crowd below, and there they lay sprawling about, reminding
her very much of a globe of goldfish she had accidentally upset
the week before.

Sunday 17 November 2013

'The Dove and the Ant'

'The Dove and the Ant', an illustration by JVL in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989.

The Dove and the Ant
When an ant tried to drink from a stream he almost drowned. Observing this, a dove, perched on a tree above,  picked a leaf from a twig and dropped it into the pool. The ant quickly climbed upon the leaf and was rescued. Sometimes afterwards a bird-catcher was trying to catch birds with a snare. The ant noticed this and stung the man's foot, causing him to make a mess of the snare. The dove noticing all this flew off to safety.

Moral: One good turn deserves another.

Selected Parallels: Caxton, Remicius  11. La Fontaine 2/12. L’Estrange 203. Chambry 242. Perry 235. TMI B362.

Saturday 16 November 2013

'The Lion and the Four Bulls'

'The Lion and the Four Bulls', an illustration by John Vernon Lord in Aesop's Fables
Jonathan Cape, 1989.

The moral of this fable concerns 'strength in numbers' and 'union is strength - divided we fall'. 
It also suggests that the quarrels of friends are the opportunities of enemies, who will divide and rule to gain power. In this illustration our viewpoint is that of the Lion. The fields here are not far from where I live in Sussex, looking at Oldland Manor in the distance

The Lion and the Four Bulls
FOUR Bulls fed in a field together in the greatest peace and amity. A Lion had long watched them in the hope of making prize of them, but found that there was little chance for him so long as they kept all together. He therefore began to spread evil and slanderous reports of one against the other, till he had fomented a jealousy and distrust amongst them. No sooner did the Lion see that they avoided one another, and fed each by himself apart, then he fell upon them singly, and so made an easy prey of them all.

Text: based on Thomas James (151, 1848).
Selected Parallels: Babrius 44. Avianus 18. Caxton, Avianus 14. L’Estrange 1/236. Perry 372. TMI J1022.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

The Vain Jackdaw

The Vain Jackdaw, an illustration by JVL, in Aesop's Fables, Jonathan Cape, 1989

Here is a version of the fable written by Christopher Smart in 1760, 
a verse translation of Phaedrus's fable

The Vain Jackdaw
Lest any one himself should plume,
And on his neighbour’s worth presume;
But still let Nature’s garb prevail -
Esop has left this little tale:
A Daw, ambitious and absurd,
Pick’d up the quills of Juno’s bird;
And, with the gorgeous spoil adorn’d,
All his own sable brethren scorn’d,
And join’d the peacocks - who in scoff
Stripp’d the bold thief, and drove him off.
The Daw, thus roughly handled, went
To his own kind in discontent:
but they in turn contemn the spark,
And brand with many a shameful mark.
Then one he formerly disdain’d,
“Had you,” said he, “at home remain’d -
Content with Nature’s ways and will,
You had not felt the peacock’s bill;
Nor ’mongst the birds of your own dress
Had been deserted in distress.”

Moral: Fine feathers do not make a fine bird.

Text: Christopher Smart (Phaedrus 1/3, 1760).

Selected Parallels: Babrius 72. Phaedrus 1/3. Avianus 15. Caxton, Romulus 2/15.  La Fontaine 4/9. L’Estrange 1/33. Perry 472 and cf 129. cf TMI J951.2.