Wildeana 10

wilde.jpg

Illustration from The House of Pomegranates (1914) by Jessie M. King.

Continuing an occasional series. Recent Wildean links.

• It’s a measure of a writer’s success if the characters or stories they create resonate sufficiently with future generations to be subject to new interpretations. Among Oscar Wilde’s contemporaries this has happened to Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker, both of whom Wilde knew. Increasingly it’s been happening to Wilde’s own fiction, especially in the case of Dorian Gray whose tragedy assumes the status of a modern myth. At Cannes this year, Clio Barnard premiered a contemporary retelling of Wilde’s The Selfish Giant. Bleeding Cool has some clips. The social realism is a long way from Wilde’s tale but that shows how flexible these fables can be.

• Jessie M. King’s illustrations for Wilde’s The House of Pomegranates have appeared here before but the copies posted at The Golden Age are the usual quality scans.

Rick Gekoski: “Visiting the US, I am reminded of Oscar Wilde’s tour there in 1881, which allowed him to become an orator and a celebrity.”

Paper Dolls by David Claudon based on the characters from The Importance of Being Earnest. (Thanks to Gabe for the tip.)

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Oscar Wilde archive

Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #15

dkd15-01.jpg

Continuing the delve into back numbers of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, the German periodical of art and decoration. This week there’s another jump in the running order, from volume 12 to 15, and it’s impossible to avoid feeling frustrated by this when some of the previous editions have been so good. Volume 15 covers the period from October 1904 to March 1905, and includes work by the Wiener Werkstätte whose rectilinear designs mark the transition from Art Nouveau to what would eventually be called Art Deco. There’s also another feature on the Glasgow Arts and Crafts movement based around Charles Rennie Mackintosh with a look at the designs for Hill House in Helensburgh, Scotland. As usual, anyone wishing to see these samples in greater detail is advised to download the entire volume at the Internet Archive. There’ll be more DK&D next week.

dkd15-02.jpg

dkd15-03.jpg

The peculiar Symbolist paintings of gay artist Sascha Schneider are featured once again, and typically for this artist there’s a profusion of male flesh on display.

Continue reading “Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #15”

Weekend links 49

ceranic1.jpg

Star City by Tomislav Ceranic.

• Noted in the blogosphere this week: A Journey Round My Skull underwent a transmutation into 50 Watts; a blog devoted to artist, designer & illustrator Jessie M King; “The arts and musicks of the supranatural” at Secret Lexicon; From the Farm, Railroads, Sewing Machines & Beyond, lengthy reminiscences from a long life in America.

Barney Bubbles in Wonderland, in which the designer and his chums indulge in some Carrollian shenanigans somewhere in the 1960s. The resulting footage is now a promo video for Balloon Race by Bear Driver.

HP Lovecraft’s favourite words, the desert island books of Jorge Luis Borges, a profile of Christopher Isherwood, and Edward Gorey again.

[Arthur] Machen explicitly talks about the strength of London, as opposed to Paris, in that London is more chaotic. Although he doesn’t put it in these words, I think what partly draws him to London is this notion that, in the absence of a kind of unifying vision, like Haussmann’s Boulevards, and in a city that’s become much more syncretic and messy over time, you have more room to insert your own aestheticizing vision.

China Miéville in a great interview at BLDGBLOG.

Matryomin is “the unique, original erectronic [sic] musical instrument invented by Masami Takeuchi in 2000”. Yes, a theremin inside a Russian doll. The Mable ensemble playing Duke Ellington’s Caravan is, well…I’m still speechless. And there’s also this.

Conductor turns the New York subway system into an interactive string instrument.

ceranic2.jpg

Discordia by Tomislav Ceranic.

Amazingly enough, prostitution was legal during the Victorian period. There were tons of brothels all over the major cities of England, and of all different kinds. There were lots of flagellation brothels; these were places where primarily men would go to be whipped by women or by men. There were also gay male brothels. You could go to a park in London at night, pick up what were called the “park whores” and give them a very small amount of money to have sex openly in the park. I also write about gay “cruising,” which was quite common. If you knew the right place to go and knew the right signals, you could pick up a man on the street and have sex in an alley.

Deborah Lutz is interviewed about her book Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism.

Cult-ure: Ideas can be dangerous, a book by Rian Hughes.

Chernobyl: Europe’s strangest wildlife refuge.

The Eadweard Muybridge Online Archive.

Aubrey Beardsley at Tumblr.

Caravan (1959) by Martin Denny | Caravan (1961) by 80 Drums Around The World | Caravan (1962) by Sir Julian | Caravan (1965) by The Ventures | Caravan (1973) by Enoch Light & The Light Brigade | Caravan (1997) by Jimi Tenor (I could go on and on, yes I could…)

Echoes of Aubrey

life2.jpg

More of Aubrey Beardsley’s posthumous influence and more of the delightful collision between the 1890s and the 1960s. Monsieur Thombeau turned up this striking fashion shoot from LIFE magazine for 1967 showing a model posed against one of the Salomé drawings. A couple of days after this was posted, a reader wrote to point me to this list of films featuring Beardsley artwork. Most of those I knew about already but I certainly hadn’t heard of Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977), a low-budget horror film about which we’re told:

A large, black, four-poster bed, possessed by a demon, is passed from owner to owner. The demon was a tree, who became a breeze and seemingly fell in love with a woman he blew past. The demon then took human form and conjured up a bed. While he was making love with the woman she died and his eyes bled onto the bed, causing it to become possessed. Those who come into contact with the bed are frequently consumed by it (victims are pulled into what is apparently a large chamber of digestive fluids beneath the sheets). The bed demonstrates a malevolent intelligence as well as some psychokinetic and limited telepathic abilities to manipulate dreams. A running commentary or chorus is supplied by the ghost—if that is the correct word—of an artist (who would appear to be Aubrey Beardsley, though this is never stated directly) trapped behind a painting on the wall.

That’s a posthumous fame Aubrey never would have anticipated. If anyone has seen this, let us know what you thought.

carryon.jpg

Carry On Loving (1970).

Absent from the list of films is Ken Russell’s Salome’s Last Dance, which features the Salomé pictures again in its title sequence, and Carry On Loving, one of the dreadful British sex comedies which has an entire scene set in a modish pad decorated with Beardsley prints. Watch the scene in question here, if you must.

galleryfive.jpg

The prints were produced by a London company, Gallery Five, in the late 60s, and their ad shows they were also selling works by Kay Nielsen (seen in the Carry On clip), John Austen, Charles Ricketts, George Barbier, Jessie King and others. Gallery Five did much to popularise Beardsley’s art among people who might otherwise have never noticed his work, and their products turn up in many films and TV dramas of the period. Finally—although it’s by no means the last word on this subject—the V&A has two great Beardsley-derived ads for Elliott Boots by Paul Christodoulou here and here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
After Beardsley by Chris James
Illustrating Poe #1: Aubrey Beardsley
Beardsley’s Rape of the Lock
The Savoy magazine
Beardsley at the V&A
Merely fanciful or grotesque
Aubrey Beardsley’s musical afterlife
Aubrey by John Selwyn Gilbert
“Weirdsley Daubery”: Beardsley and Punch
Alla Nazimova’s Salomé

Edinburgh, 1929

edinburgh1.jpg

2A Arthur Street.

Samples from a collection of photographs by Alfred Henry Rushbrook at the National Library of Scotland’s Flickr pages showing the St Leonards area of Edinburgh. These were taken in 1929 but the age of the buildings and the curiously fogged appearance of the prints makes them seem a lot older. The City of Edinburgh Improvement Trust commissioned Rushbrook to record views of the area before slum clearances took place. In that respect his photos are like a Scots equivalent of the famous views of Paris taken by Atget before Hausmann’s demolition teams set to work.

edinburgh2.jpg

2–4 Lothian Street and 3–5–7 Potterow.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Old Bunker Hill
Inondations 1910
Berenice Abbott
Jessie M King’s Grey City of the North
Eugene de Salignac
Luther Gerlach’s Los Angeles
The temples of Angkor
The Bradbury Building: Looking Backward from the Future
Edward Steichen
Karel Plicka’s views of Prague
Atget’s Paris
Downtown LA by Ansel Adams