Guide aux Ruines d’Angkor


These photographs of Angkor Vat (sic), Angkor Thom, and some of the smaller Cambodian temples show the difference between the overgrown ruins of 1912 and today’s domesticated tourist attraction. Guide aux Ruines d’Angkor by Jean Commaille contains many more photos plus maps of the grounds and plans of the temple construction. The depredations of the jungle would eventually have destroyed everything but I still prefer to see the walls and statues festooned with foliage.




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Angkor Wat street view


The ruined temple complex of Angkor Wat is another of those places for which I maintain a cult fascination despite never having been there. I’ve posted links to panoramas of Angkor Wat in the past but Google recently added the complex to their Street View catalogue, so you now have the opportunity to see the fabled Nagas in their natural habitat: surrounded by garishly-clad tourists.

A large part of the attraction of places such as this involves the promise of deterioration and isolation, two qualities kept remote by the site’s World Heritage status. I imagine a visit to Angkor would be like the visit I paid to the ruins of Hadrian’s villa outside Rome, the well-tended bones of a formerly splendid construction. Hadrian’s villa is still worth a visit even if you won’t ever see it overgrown by foliage the way it was in Piranesi’s day.




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Two steps forward, two steps back


After less than a week of stability I again find myself without a functioning phone line. The company responsible assures me that it will be repaired by June 2nd. I’ve been rewatching Deadwood recently so rather than pen a useless rant you may imagine me fulminating à la Al Swearengen. Service may be restored sooner than the 2nd, of course (although knowing BT I wouldn’t bet on it), so stay tuned. Again.

Update: Phone line is back again so normal service will resume.

The Passionate Shepherd To His Love


More Marlowe, and something else for the month of May while it lasts. This embellished collection of poems by Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh dates from 1902, and is another limited edition. The embellisher was PA Schwarzenbach who provides suitably florid decorations.



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RS Sherriffs’ Tamburlaine the Great


I would have posted this by now if it hadn’t been for the recent unpleasantness. Robert Stewart Sherriffs (1906-60) was a Scottish artist who I confess I hadn’t come across before until Nick H (thanks, Nick!) drew my attention to this book at silver-gryph’s eBay pages. Sherriffs’ illustrated edtion of The Life and Death of Tamburlaine the Great by Christopher Marlowe was published in a limited edition in 1930.

The drawings are black-and-white throughout, and of such a quality you have to wonder why Dover or someone hasn’t done a reprint. The general approach owes much to the usual suspects, notably Aubrey Beardsley and Harry Clarke, but there’s a development of these earlier styles that you also find in the work of Ray Frederick Coyle and Beresford Egan. In addition to the full-page plates Sherriffs also provided a number of insect vignettes, the last of which is a Death’s-head Hawkmoth.




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