Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Old School Book

Just in, a superb revised edition of The School Prints book by Ruth Artmonsky. Produced to the exacting standards of the Antique Collectors' Club, this is a beautifully produced hardback. Are there any drawbacks? Not really, only that Peter Ashley has elbowed his way in and written a postscript. But at least it's at the back. Buy the prints from Goldmark, buy the book from Goldmark too.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Collage Education

Apologies for being so lax with this blog. It's just that Mr.Goldmark has had Lord Carrot running about delivering and picking up art all over the place. Everywhere from Maldon in Essex to Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire. Anyway, as is so typical here, your back's turned for five minutes and you find there's even more people wandering about the corridors. One of them is Alex J.Wright (don't ask about the 'j') and he's installed in the Red Room making films. Of course I grind what's left of my teeth because film is one of my passions, but Mr.Wright is right on the snap of a clapper board. I've spent this morning having a butcher's at his film of Francis Davison, and have to say it was a real eye opener. Being a lover of collage it's made me look again at his work, much of it gathering together on the gallery walls for a show starting here this Saturday. Francis Davison (1919-1984) had a major exhibition at the Hayward a year before he died, and didn't give them titles. So it was his wife that called the above Green, Black, Yellow, Pink & Blue. He was also averse to explaining his work, and the only clue those near to him had as to which way up they were supposed to be, were the position of drawing pin holes in his studio wall. But something he did say was: "People often ask what is the aim, what is the meaning of the collages, instead of looking to see what has been made with paper instead of paint". Exactly. Come and see what he means.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

A Right Pair

There's an exhibition coming up at the Goldmark Gallery that's a real must. A great flurry of activity has attended a show of paintings by Dylan Waldron. I'm knocked out by his still lifes of fruit and veg., so reminiscent of those seventeenth century pics of lobsters and dead hares. And there's something companionably erotic about this row of pears. Or is it just me? Of course I find out that he lives in the same village as that Peter Ashley, so there's obviously been some collusion going on. However, I do urge you to get a Butcher's Hook at his work. It starts this Saturday in the Gallery and there's an accompanying catalogue in enticing colour and indeed a film that shows Mr.Waldron walking his patch of country. Probably thinking about what vegetable to paint next.

Friday, 26 March 2010

High on High Street

The latest online Goldmark catalogue is out now, and Lord Carrot is very pleased to see in it a selection of original Eric Ravilious lithographs from the inestimable High Street. Widely recognised as being amongst the finest illustrations of their kind in the 20th century, the walls of Carrot Hall would have the lot up there. The stories they tell of High Streets gone by is one thing, but of equal interest are the idiosyncratic choices of shops, chosen as much, one suspects, for their extreme drawability and, well, fun. As much as I like Edward Bawden, Eric's best friend and companion-in-arts, he could be a bit of a curmudgeon (to say the least) but Ravilious appeared to never take himself that seriously. Often photographed with a fag on (I wish someone could tell me what brand- I imagine untipped Gold Flake) he seemed to really enjoy his life before sadly losing it so prematurely in cold Icelandic waters during the Second World War. The family butcher and hardware shops are here, but also a plumassier, firework seller (Ravilious loved fireworks) and the inevitable undertakers. Does Lord Carrot have a favourite? That's very hard, but I keep going back to those scrumptious hams.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Poster Post

These posters really do have to be seen to be believed. All too familiar from reproductions in books, they are as close to the original large posters that got stuck up on those ubiquitous advertising columns (colonnes Morris) on the Paris streets of the 1890s as it's possible to be. In fact, they're even better. The print runs of the large posters were extended so that collectors could eagerly buy them for their truly awesome designs. But because you needed a fairly large salon to show them off, the original printers, Imprimerie Chaix, sent four reduced copies every month to subscribers, from December 1895 to November 1900. The gallery has a first set here now. The man behind it all deserves to be in the pantheon of graphic designers that these days would include Milton Glaser, Saul Bass and Alan Fletcher. Jules Cheret (there's an acute accent on the first 'e') was not only a formidable artist in his own right, but his three-stone lithographic process meant that designers were quick to recognise that their work would be displayed for everyone in rich, vivid colours. And it wasn't just Parisien or indeed French designers that benefitted. Alongside the instantly recognisable Lautrec and Mucha are the Beggarstaff Brothers and Maxfield Parrish. You can find out more here, but be quick, I'm trying to find a way of smuggling them out round the back where's there's an easy climb over the wall to the car park.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Market Daze

Every Friday we have an open-air market just around from the corner from the gallery in Uppingham's square. (Mike's round there now, getting the fish.) Which means we all enjoy a fabulous source for fresh fruit & veg, local cheeses, trilby hats, nail brushes, olives, watch batteries, pork pies and the added bonus of not being able to park anywhere. So if you're thinking of coming and seeing what's on offer at Goldmark's, make it a Friday. If you don't all come at once you can join us for lunch, where you'll find those same cheeses, charcuterie and a box of Carr's Melts (you have to be quick to get your hand in that). The only trouble is, being surrounded by such colourful art everyday, you can't help seeing it everywhere else, hence this abstract. I'm calling it Orange, Limone, Blue & Green Study. With 'Orange' pronounced 'Orraahnge' obviously.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


I don't know. No sooner has my erstwhile neighbour Peter Ashley insinuated himself in here with Mike Goldmark, (both of them going into huddles in the corner talking about the Unmitigated County Guides they're going to do AND books about folly towers and fag packets), than he waltzes in here with this. I knew he was a 'railway buffer' or whatever it's called (trainspotter), but it looks like he's been clearing out his drawers of all the stuff he's undoubtedly nicked out of 1950's waiting rooms. Oh yes, it's all in here- tickets, luggage labels, cigarette cards, bits of torn timetables AND I don't doubt the wrapper off a Brief Encounter rock cake. Of course everyone falls over themselves and it all gets done up as a 'Mixed Media' limited edition print called Shunt With Care. I'll mix media with him if he does it again. Although as I've got his lawnmower in bits in my barn I suppose I ought to keep quiet about it. For a bit.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A Passion for Colour

We've recently had seventeen original coloured etchings come in by Georges Rouault. I can never get my tongue round pronouncing him correctly so just say 'George Renault' to everybody. When I first saw them I thought 'Blimey' but on closer inspection they're really growing on me. There's also a series of wood engravings. But it's the etchings that I keep going back to, and in particular The Tramp, pictured here. We're still wondering how exactly they were done, but the likelihood is that all the colours were applied on one plate, the whole process for each print being incredibly labour intensive. Rouault (1871-1958) worked on the etchings (and woodcuts), collectively called Passion, during 1934-6, and they were eventually printed by Roger Lacouriere and issued by Ambroise Vollard in 1939. All those French names and me not knowing how to put an accent on letters when I'm writing blogs. But don't worry, we speak anglaise here when you phone us with your order- 01572 821424. And you can look at them all here. Au revoir!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Pot Shots

Saturday saw the opening of 24 British Potters, a new show at the Goldmark Gallery that everyone here has been beavering away at for weeks. The van's been out on the road continually, picking up pots from Peckham workshops, Bow railway arches, an old piano factory in Camden, and, memorably, from halfway up a snow-bound Welsh mountain. It's been an eye-opener for me, I can tell you, as one who hitherto had thought of pottery as something to keep leftover bubble and squeak in in the fridge. Many of the very top potters were here, dusted down for the occasion, and I welcomed nine of them at Kettering station. "Have you all come on the Harry Potter Express" I asked, and when the eight seater taxi turned-up there was a fight so as not be the one that had to come with me to the gallery. Which by the time we arrived was already heaving with ceramic cognescenti and our girls rushing about putting 'sold' red dots on the white plinths. From far and wide they came (hello John from Long Melford) to look, admire, chat and drink cold champagne in warm company. I can't tell you very much about the two dogs that came along, except they'd look nice with just their heads poking out of a pair of urns. But I do know that after all this I'll never look at my Colman's Mustard pot in quite the same way again. Do come and take a look in the next three weeks; word's getting around it's one of the best shows for years.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

McCool Aid

There's a corner of the gallery that's been very quiet recently. Men hunched over computers, discussions about leading and indents, and reams of galley proofs marked-up in red ink spilling out on the floor. This has all been in aid of McCool, more from the pen of poet and Kings Cross psychogeographer Aidan Dun, and another simply beautiful book produced by Goldmark's (it says here). Actually, I have to say it looks stunning. You can buy a reading copy for a tenner, or, if your books line-up on mahoghany shelves and you talk about them in a low whisper with your spectacles on the end of your nose, there's a highly desirable hardback that comes not only in a handmade slipcase but with three CDs of Mr.Dun intoning into a microphone. Goldmark has made just a hundred of them at £100 each plus a bit for posting and packing. I'd buy one now if I hadn't got an equally impressive gas bill to pay, just for the decent typography. And if all this wasn't enough, I came across Mike Goldmark staring at a computer yesterday like Stanley Kubrick over a Moviola, directing the final edit of a film we've made of the poet and his table lamp. McCool is launched today in the German Gymnasium opposite St.Pancras railway station. Mr.Dun'll like that.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Inky Fingers

Welcome to the post war school- high windowed times table inculcator, baby boomer incubator. Wooden floors, stale milk, chalk dust and inkwells. And not much to look at except 'teacher', a scratchy blackboard and a sepia picture of the Holy Land. If you were lucky. Thank God for Brenda and Derek Rawnsley, who thought enough is enough and brought the concept of contemporary art to the school wall. Brenda didn't hang about, and immediately cajoled leading artists to get down to the Baynard Press and start drawing backwards on limestone to produce a stunning series of original lithographs. She even flew to see Picasso, drinking champagne in the cockpit. I like that. And so the School Prints found themselves pinned-up in Bash Street in the 1940s. Michael Rothenstein's Timber Felling, Kenneth Rowntree's orange Tractor and good old John Nash's mouthwatering Window Plants and Harvest (above), which graces the baronial fireplace at Carrot Hall if the butler's not flogged it. Whatever happened to them? Torn, drawing pinned, used to make heavyweight paper darts? Possibly, but then Mike Goldmark finds a cache of them hidden away in Germany (of all places). As fresh and newly-minted as if they'd just come off the litho stone. He may get some more, but the first lot are a rapidly diminishing pile. Lord Carrot speaks to the nation: Buy some now, here, before the bell goes for playtime.