Wildeana 9

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Dorian Gray (1968) by Jim Dine; one of a series of prints for an illustrated edition. Rainbows didn’t become a gay symbol until Gilbert Baker’s flag design ten years later.

Continuing an occasional series.

• “…the Public is a very curious thing; it is sometimes perverse, and even obstinate, and it has evidently made up its mind to like the plays of Mr. Oscar Wilde.” Callum at Front Free Endpaper found a sceptical review of The Importance of Being Earnest in The Sketch for 20th February, 1895.

• “Wilde’s vision of Socialism, which at that date was probably shared by many people less articulate than himself, is Utopian and anarchistic.” George Orwell, writing in 1948, looks back at Wilde’s The Soul of Man Under Socialism.

Oscar Wilde between Paris and Brighton: Research at the excellent Charles Ricketts & Charles Shannon blog following Wilde’s travels in the early months of 1891.

Wilde Ride by Anthony Paletta: “Oscar Wilde spent a year in the US and met the likes of Walt Whitman and Henry James.”

• There’s plenty of Wildeana at Pinterest.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Oscar Wilde archive

Cthulhu Labyrinth

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Something I was working on last August when I was putting together new pictures for the Cthulhu calendar, I’d actually forgotten about this until this week. The idea was to do something that was more of an abstract design than the rest of the art; having got this far I was undecided whether I wanted to try and incorporate the labyrinth shape into a larger picture. With time running out and nothing resolved I ended up using the Keep Calm Cthulhu design which, looking back, I feel this alone could easily have replaced. (They both share the same Cthulhu glyph.) As it is I may make this one available as another CafePress design since it’s more suited to T-shirts and things. If it needs a justification then consider the story of The Call of Cthulhu as a labyrinthine investigation which reveals Cthulhu dreaming at its centre.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Cthulhu Calendar
S. Latitude 47°9′, W. Longitude 126°43′
Resurgam variations
De Profundis
Cthulhoid and Artflakes
Cthulhu for sale
Cthulhu God
Cthulhu under glass
CthulhuPress
Cubist Cthulhu

The labyrinth of Versailles

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I ought to have mentioned this last week since a plan of the lost labyrinth of Versailles appears in the William Henry Matthews book. The labyrinth was completed for Louis XIV in 1677, and is unusual for being a series of paths without a central focus, and also a very ornamental affair containing thirty-nine fountains with accompanying statuary which depicted the animals from Aesop’s fables. The latter were a suggestion of Charles Perrault from whose Labyrinte de Versailles (1677) these illustrations are taken. The etchings are by Sébastian Le Clerc whose map shows the route that visitors would have taken in order to visit each fountain in turn. The book may be browsed here or downloaded here.

The labyrinth was removed in 1778 but Wikipedia has a page with more information including some colour prints of the fountains, and also an English list of the fables depicted.

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Continue reading “The labyrinth of Versailles”

La tête de Robert

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I’m working against a deadline this week so I’ll apologise in advance if posts tend to be brief.

I’ve had this picture hanging around for a couple of months, something that good friend Thom sent me (thanks Thom!) to add to the apparently limitless catalogue of Salomé-related pictures. The subject is everyone’s favourite fin de siècle aristocrat Robert de Montesquiou—eccentric poet, waspish aesthete and chiroptophile—posing as the head of John the Baptist in a cyanotype from circa 1885 which may be embellished in the Comte’s own hand.

Meanwhile, Michelangelo writes to inform me of a feature-length Super-8 film on the Salomé theme by Mexican filmmaker Téo Hernandez (1939–1993) which will receive a screening at the Pleasure Dome, Toronto, in February. Sound very Jarmanesque so naturally I’d love to see it. Details here.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Salomé archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Philippe Jullian, connoisseur of the exotic

Weekend links 144

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Ruins 3 by Rachel Thomas and Dan Tobin Smith.

“Dan wanted to do something on a really large scale and was looking at a lot of Piranesi and started talking to me about ruins. I then started looking at modern interpretations of this idea, I was obsessed with the post modern architecture of SITE, Disney fantasy settings, Busby Berkeley, Sotsass ceramics, Art Deco motifs in general, Giorgio de Chirico’s paintings, Arabic temples and on and on…” Rachel Thomas talks to Daisy Woodward about Imaginary View, an exhibition currently showing at Somerset House, London.

• A brief description of The Yokel’s Preceptor (1855), a guide to Victorian London’s gay underworld by William Dugdale. When do we get to see a facsimile of this document? The slang is a treat.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 054, a great selection by Biosphere of doomy ambience from the Post Punk/early Industrial era, 1979–1981.

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Stella (Ernest Boulton) with Fanny (Frederick Park) (c. 1860–1870).

While Stella and Fanny might be the most terrible show-offs, not to mention industrious sex workers, even they drew the line at coupling in public places. Over the course of the subsequent trial, and despite bribing witnesses, the prosecution failed to prove that sodomy had ever occurred, either between the two young men themselves, or within their circle of genteel “sisters”, or even in a dark corner behind the Haymarket with a passing guardsman. Eventually, and only after a second trial a year later, the young men were found not guilty and allowed to slip back into their lives of pro-am theatricals, touring together and separately in such limp pieces as A Comical Countess and A Morning Call.

Kathryn Hughes reviews Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England by Neil McKenna. Related: photographs of the pair.

The Twilight Language of Nigel Kneale, a book of essays and a cassette tape dedicated to the television dramatist.

Sheltered and Safe from Sorrow: “Victorian mourning rituals, tombstones, epitaphs, and other creepy things”.

Crate digging and the resurgence of vinyl. Related: Men & Vinyl, a Tumblr devoted to men and their discs.

• Designer Shirley Tucker talks about her cover for the first edition of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

• More Will Bradley at The Golden Age (formerly Golden Age Comic Book Stories).

The Mirror Reflecting (Part 2), a new track by The Haxan Cloak.

Psychedelic Press UK | Related: Catnip: Egress to Oblivion?

Paris in colour circa 1900.

Twilight (1983) by Pete Shelley | Twilight (2000) by Antony and the Johnsons | Twilight (2005) by Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd