Monday, February 26, 2007

Leighton's mirror image

As I prepared Chris’s tribute I thought to check on a note I had read recently in a book about a sketch Leighton had done supposedly for his Painting entitled “The Music Lesson”. Something wasn’t quite right.

On closer inspection it appears that the sketch is a mirrored version to the painting. I have never seen the painting in the flesh but I believe it to be the right way round here.

This sketch from a book of some of his drawings and studies (published in 1896 by The Fine Arts Society) one assumes is the right way round too.

Here we have the two seated together in another painting equally well known but this way round in the sketch Daphnephoria and in the painting:


Venus of Berekhat Ram

Could this be the earliest work of Art? The experts think Africa may have it so;
Throat of Olduvai in Tanzania.

and the others

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Sunday, February 25, 2007


Wild Cherry Dorset 25th February 2007

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For Chris and Nabeel my Swallow.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A little tribute to Chris Miller

Chris’ contribution to opening up the untimely buried figure sculpture of the 20th and 21st centuries is awesome;

but what of his “own contribution” as he puts it?

Literary expression is not my strong point but instead I will just draw your attention dear reader, to Mr. Miller the sculptor.

It would be easy just to say I like Mr. Miller’s work and leave it at that, but of course that is not me!

I will choose three, using Chris’ own format “The Good, The Pretty and The Ugly”.
I think he said that no art is bad; in his case this is true.

One eminent contemporary artist once said to me “Robert you need to study more anatomy”. So I did a lot more and he was right, there was a little improvement, at least I thought so. Drawing and sketching the human form was intensified and much paper and many pencils broken in frustration were shredded and binned in the recycling box.

The few drawings that Chris has allowed us to see on his website show that he too has done his home work. The first one here shows simplicity, an economy of line and hatching which portrays the form effortlessly; a warm, cuddly, sensuous sketch. (a larger version is here )

This one of a man is again to the point; proportions and form are useful and instructive; nothing warm and cuddly here but a firmness of purpose.

Both these are useful to the process of creating sculpture and are works of Art in their own right.

The results of all this preparation is of course his real love Figure Sculpture. Here you can see the results of his passion for creating the human form. It simply cascades from him.

I will allow the reader to analyse these I have chosen.

Good face, classic pose,

(A larger version is here )

Commanding presence, well proportioned

An Eastern influence?

And more as a bonus…

another reclining

I like this portrait

and one for the girls,!

great pose and a good male bottom,

The rest of his work can be found here:

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Ode to a Toad

I know the foxes and crows clean up before day break by which time few people have seen our annual slaughter.

Our love sick toads just can’t resist the approach to our village, hundreds died each year on rainy nights between January and March. There must have been 20 deaths there tonight.

A sad Valentine.


Saturday, February 17, 2007


Chris Miller showed us his Christmas Meal so I will show you our lunch today in tribute to Blue Genes and her egg diet en France and my daughter who is having trouble with a parrot which will not let her fill his water trough.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snowy Weather Friends

This is in tribute to my e friends in The States who seem to be having some trouble with snowy weather. Now Mountshang finds his portraits snow capped giving them an appearance of Marge Simpson. Marly has to dig herself out like The Mole in "The Wind In The Willows" and Blue Genes has hoofed it to Paris in an attempt of a jollier time. Now have a look at this from Norway. Pictures courtesy of the Official Guide Book; Snowy Gate, Frosty boy and Two Men with a sinister hair do. Gustav Vigeland, Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo, well worth a visit.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

E Roscoe Mullins

I have never really liked statues of old men in town centres. Aesthetically they do not appeal and as they tend to be the only sculpture in most towns in England I have without thinking become disinterested. We lived for a short time near Paris when I was about 13, sculpture there was rather more varied and some much more interesting!

So in my own county town, a statue has, for 30 odd years, meant nothing to me. I was irritated that there seemed to be no signature and no one seemed to know. I had another look at it today and found a mark this time! So Mr Barnes was done by;

Edwin Roscoe Mullins.

He did some great stuff too. I will put it on my English Sculpture Blog in due course. I will have to bury some more prejudices. It looks as if his wife may have been quite a force in Education as a joint founder of King Alfred's school.

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Monday, February 12, 2007


Now while we are on wine, I love decanters and this one especially. I hope Blue genes' shrinks to not now attempt an analysis!

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I spent a little time in the wine trade, but times changed and the fun when out of it in the early 1980’s. However I do still enjoy wine (in moderation of course!!). Well we had a celebration last night; I won another commission so a bottle was called for. Now our budget for things unnecessary is non existent so when it comes to buying wine great cunning and some knowledge is useful in avoiding mistakes!

Here is one I can honestly say was very good value. Someone has spotted it before from “Decanter magazine” and given it a silver award. Few wines of any worth can, in my view be drunk young and this is a 2005 and it is February 2007. Rioja, pronounced re-o(short) -ca has always been the fine wine area of Spain and some fabulous stuff can be found there. But as is so often the case, prices have increased so one has to look elsewhere when times are hard! 13% vol, vanilla on the nose, good body (even has legs) fruit evident!, colour deep, and tannin soft, perfect acidity; “quaffable” a delight for an every day alternative to less expensive Rhone wines. Under £4 !


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Norwich 2005

At the 400th anniversary of Sir Thomas Browne's birth, I took these pictures which included my Niece looking at a memorial to a very ancient aunt in St. Thomas Mancroft,

and a long shot of my Grandfather's painting "Wist ye not". (I will post a better image of it up on in due course.)

Here also is a picture of Alfred Bertram Pegram's 1905 statue to Sir Thomas Browne on the occasion of his 300th birthday. See more on my English Blog at

My attempt is a little standing version 7 inches high for the 400th birthday see:

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Monday, February 05, 2007

The Barber Institute (Art Gallery)

The Barber Institute (Art Gallery) has a great exhibition on Parrots in Fine Art until April. Highly recommended.

Buzz is a good magazine from Birmingham University. I recommend the article above which appears on the back page of the January issue and is writted by a celebrated academic. Click on the image and it should then be readable! (sometimes it works some times not.)

Back issues can be found at

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Topuddle Martyr

Offended here by the smelly socks the late Mr Lovelace, of Tolpuddle Martyr fame, was created by the sculptor Thompson Dagnall from Lancashire (north of the Thames!).

Good looking chap, wonder what he would have thought?

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Religious Icons

As with so many religious icons this image of motherhood caused much of a “stir” in Merry England when it was erected in Bladon Valley Briantspuddle.

Marly's connection with “the washing of feet” in Cassatt's painting here on Chris Miller's blog was a connection I had not made before.

As the father of four children I witnessed and the trials of Motherhood and shared some of them. Probably the easier ones! I recommend all would be fathers to attend the birth, it will set them up for “life”.

I had gone down to the village to take a picture or two in the “sun” and as you can see it was shining for a change. I have no intention of getting into a political or moral debate but as I looked at this war memorial it saddened me, not just for the two great world wars but for the fact that our countries are again at war. When will it ever end.

If you have the time, you may find this article about a chap I knew in the Army in the 70s. He was a lot older than me! He was “different” then and one may not have agreed with him on everything, but he seems to be doing some things right in Africa now.

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