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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Koloman Moser bookplates

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Ex libris Fritz Waerndorfer (1903).

I could happily post things by the indefatigable Koloman Moser (1868–1918) all the time but he’s not exactly an unknown figure even if his work does get overshadowed by his colleague in the Vienna Secession, Gustav Klimt. This handful of ex libris plates almost all date from the Secession period, and include one for Adele Bloch-Bauer, a woman whose name is familiar these days for her being the subject of a very well-known Klimt portrait.

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Ex libris Fritz Schwartz (1900).

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Ex libris Rudolf Steindl (1900).

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Bookmark: Mervyn Peake

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Another not-so-old TV documentary. It’s good to keep finding these as I have no means at the moment of viewing all the video tapes I’ve kept. Bookmark is (or was) a BBC series about the lives of various writers. This edition concerns author and artist Mervyn Peake, and was broadcast in 1998, shortly before the BBC screened their flawed dramatisation of the Gormenghast books.

Peake’s three children—Sebastian, Fabian and Clare—all recall life with their father, while other contributors, Quentin Crisp among them, discuss his work, his experiences during the Second World War, and life on the island of Sark. The narrator is Julian Glover, and the readings are by Simon Russell Beale. The catastrophic collapse of Peake’s health that occurred when he’d barely reached middle age means a journey through his biography is always a sombre business, but it does make the scale of his achievements seem all the more remarkable. The film is 48-minutes long, and may be viewed here.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
The Web by Joan Ashworth
Peake’s glassblowers
Mervyn Peake in Coronation Street
The Worlds of Mervyn Peake
A profusion of Peake
Mervyn Peake at Maison d’Ailleurs
Peake’s Pan
Buccaneers #1
Mervyn Peake in Lilliput
The Illustrators of Alice

 


Dunsany’s highwaymen

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The Pledge.

As mentioned last week, the BFI’s DVD of Schalcken the Painter includes as extras two short films by other directors. Edward Abraham’s The Pit (1962) is an adaptation of Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum which is creditable but lacks the sustained malevolence of Jan Svankmajer’s version. The second film is The Pledge (1981), a 21-minute adaptation by Digby Rumsey of The Highwaymen, a short story by Lord Dunsany. This is unusual for being one of the very few film adaptations of Dunsany, Rumsey being responsible for two others: Nature and Time (1976), and In the Twilight (1978). Since this is a low-budget work it’s no surprise that the story is a historical piece rather than one of the florid fantasies so beloved of HP Lovecraft. A trio of highwaymen decide to rescue the hanging body of their former comrade and inter it in a bishop’s tomb. (The bishop’s bones, they decide, can go in the earth.) The story is so slight it’s more of a curio than anything, and would probably be better seen along with with the other Dunsany adaptations. Of note is a typically jaunty score by Michael Nyman, while Nyman’s later collaborator, Peter Greenaway, assisted with the editing. If nothing else, Greenaway would have appreciated the film’s macabre nature.

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Illustration for The Highwaymen by Sidney Sime.

The original story appeared in Dunsany’s 1908 collection The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories. The Internet Archive has a scan of the entire book with illustrations from Sidney Sime’s prime period. The depiction of the scene at the gibbet is a lot more atmospheric than in the film but then that’s the advantage of the illustrator: there’s no need to worry about a budget.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Schalcken the Painter revisited
The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope
Sidney Sime paintings
Haschisch Hallucinations by HE Gowers
Sidney Sime and Lord Dunsany

 


The art of A. Reinheimer

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Who was A. Reinheimer? That’s a good question to which I have no answer other than telling you that he or she was an illustrator for German humour periodical Fliegende Blätter circa 1900. These drawings caught my eye for being rare examples of the Art Nouveau style deployed for comedic purposes. The intent was no doubt to poke some fun at the style itself—most of these pictures depict contemporary scenes in the “modern style”—but they’re also good compositions which could easily work as more typical Art Nouveau illustrations if their cartoony qualities were reduced. All the pages are from the University of Heidelberg digital archives which has a complete run of the magazine from 1844–1944.

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Weekend links 187

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Delia Derbyshire (2007) by Iker Spozio.

Whatever you think of Doctor Who, Delia Derbyshire’s recording of Ron Grainer’s theme tune is a landmark piece of electronic music. Those glassy electronic tones still sound unique today, not least for their having been created using rudimentary oscillators and much laborious tape editing. In Radiophonic Workshop: the shadowy pioneers of electronic sound, Joe Muggs looks at the history of the BBC’s electronic composers. If you’re a Radiophonic-head then the Alchemists of Sound TV documentary from 2003 is essential viewing.

There’s more (there’s always more): Delia Derbyshire – Sculptress of Sound: part one of a seven-part radio documentary about the great electronic music composer, and Blue Veils and Golden Sands, Martyn Wade’s radio play about Delia. Related: Delia-Derbyshire.org, Delia Derbyshire: An audiological chronology and A History of the Doctor Who theme. And don’t miss: Silence Is Requested In The Ultimate Abyss (1969) by Welfare State and White Noise, an incredible slice of electro-psychedelia from the John Peel Presents Top Gear album.

• “Why don’t books for grown-ups have illustrations any more?” asks Christopher Howse. Some of them do, this past week I’ve been finishing a new series of illustrations for a story anthology.

• From 2006: Ian Penman on cigarettes, espionage, and the masterful (and superior) television adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

It was Malcolm [McLaren] who suggested that the main characters be a boy who looks like a girl who looks like a boy and vice versa. What was strange was that, actually, in 1985 this was nobody’s vision of the fashion industry. Since then, fashion and fascism have crept closer: you’ve got John Galliano doing his promotional bits for the Third Reich, you’ve got Alexander McQueen killing himself, you’ve got Versace and that horrible, violent stalker coming for him. Since it was written, almost all of it has come true apart from the nuclear winter, but I think we’re working on that. The actual society that the story happens in is much more like the society we have now than culture was in 1985.

Alan Moore on Fashion Beast, Situationism, and why he hates superheroes.

• KW Jeter talks about his latest novel, Fiendish Schemes, and the “cultural juggernaut” that is steampunk.

• Grit and Social Dynamics in Smoke Ghost: Elwin Cotman on the weird fiction of Fritz Leiber.

The Secret Lives of the Vatican’s Gay Cardinals, Monks, and Other Clergy Members.

Don Cherry & Organic Music Theatre, live in the RAI TV studios, 1976.

• Otherworldly Art and Photography: Mlle Ghoul finds the best things.

• From 1998: Rahma Khazam on composer Bernard Parmegiani.

• Mix of the week: Marshland: The Mix by Hackneymarshman.

• “Let’s colonize the clouds of Venus,” says Ian Steadman.

J. Hoberman on David Cronenberg’s Visual Shock.

The Delian Mode (1968) by Delia Derbyshire | Tom Baker (1981) by The Human League | Doctor Who? (1984) by Doctor Pablo & The Dub Syndicate

 


 




 

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Below the fold

 

The Crackdown by Cabaret Voltaire