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Valentine for Ernest Mann

Valentine for Ernest Mann You can’t order a poem like you order a taco. Walk up to the counter, say, “I’ll take two” and expect it to be handed back to you on a shiny plate. Still, I like your […] 

The Road Ahead

The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road. Before the advent of motorways in the UK (first section of the first – the M1 opened in 1959) it was true that almost any straight road you found in England […] 

The Darkest Hours -1940 and 2018

1940 has been well served by blockbuster movies this past year. Last summer there was Dunkirk as legendary saga and then this winter Darkest Hour focussed on the Westminster drama of the political backdrop. Dunkirk tells the story of the evacuation of the […] 

Women Artists of WW1: Mary Riter Hamilton

This is one of those “nevertheless she persisted” stories. The Canadian artist Mary Riter Hamilton had studied in Europe before having to return to Canada to care for her ailing mother. At the outbreak of the war in 1914 she […] 

Women Artists of WW1: Norah Neilson Gray

When Norah Neilson Gray (1882 -1931) taught at St. Columba’s School for Girls in Kilmacolm her students called her “Purple Patch” because she was always urging them to look for the color in the shadows. You can see that she […] 

Women Artists of WW1: Nellie Isaac

There isn’t much to learn about Nellie Elizabeth Isaac online and some of it’s inaccurate. But as always with the string of magic beads that is the internet – there is always something to discover. Isaac was born in 1886 and […] 

A Perfect Match

Some paintings are made to pair with a poem. Read Edward Thomas’s As the Team’s Head Brass and then take another look at A Winter Landscape, 1926 by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (1889–1946) As the Team’s Head Brass As the team’s head-brass flashed […] 

Women Artists of WW1: Iso Rae

In 1918 Australia appointed sixteen official war artists. All were men. Iso Rae – who had lived in France throughout the war – was not included. The Australian impressionist painter Isobel Rae (1860-1940) moved with her mother and sister Alison […] 

Night Patrol

All agreed that 1917 had been a sad offender. All observed that 1918 did not look promising at its birth. At midnight on New Year’s Eve 1918 the poet Edmund Blunden looked out over the whole Ypres battlefield: It was […] 

Images for Winter and a Winter Robin

I found this on the London Library Advent calendar. Just the perfect image for anything a little Christmassy with a touch of vintage thrown in. This robin was for day 10.   It was the perfect pic for the home-made […] 

Holiday Greetings from 1917

Time for some seasonal greetings from the front. The traditional Christmas message of charity, reconciliation, and peace on earth now ensured through violence and exploding Christmas puddings. These first are from Fergus Mackain – an advertising illustrator who grew up in […] 

Marching Men

Literary reputations come and go, rise and fall like food fads and fashion. Marjorie Pickthall – once so highly regarded that she was considered the best Canadian poet of her generation – is now mostly forgotten. Pickthall was something of a […] 

On the Disadvantages of Central Heating

Hard to think of a better example of misplaced romantic nostalgia than yearning for the days before the era of modern central heating, double glazing, insulation and hermetically sealed homes. The fretwork of ice on the inside of the bedroom […] 

What The Living Do

I’ve been reading the quite wonderful Tirzah Garwood memoir Long Live Great Barfield – a book that deserves several posts all its own. For now, here is her wood engraving Winter “1927 to accompany Marie Howe’s affecting and life-affirming poem […] 

It’s December

It’s December and the full onslaught of the cultural waterboarding of commercial Christmas is about to roll out. Before it takes its full toll, here are a few vintage seasonal illustrations. First – to the right – Edith Holden from […] 

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