Friday, 5 December 2008
The fall in New England is, with good reason, regarded as one of the great natural sights, and sure enough I was not disappointed when I was fortuante enough to witness first-hand the the iridescent foliage at the peaceful dwelling of Gennady Spirin. Delighted to be invited once again for tea to the home of this awe-inspiring artist I headed by train out to the New Jersey countryside to be welcomed with black tea and several hearty Hа здоровье!
Feeling slightly light-headed a most pleasant afternon was spent surveying Gennady's stunning artwork which is featured in our current Winter Exhibition at the gallery here in London. The Night Before Christmas and Jack and the Beanstalk show the sheer vituosity of this classically trained Russian and are worthy of a trip to see these alone. I recall the words of top illustrator Michael Foreman as we studied this artwork on the gallery walls at the opening night. 'Proper stuff that' he muttered. With or without vodka, I can little more than concur. (Photo courtesy of Tatiana Popova)
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
There’s more of gravy than there’s grave about you
Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the most iconic fictional characters, so much so that his name not only evokes the spectre of miserly self-interest but has effectively fallen in to the canon of common parlance as an utterance of denigration. For this we love him.
I recall well a scratchy crackling record that we would play as children on my parent’s gramophone (literally) every festive season. Hearing this atmospheric recording is one of my earliest memories and has given me a life-time attachment to this old humbug and his ghoulish tale of morality and destiny. As such Robert Ingpen’s freshly-released artwork for the new publication has superbly tapped into the essence of this story. His page and double page spreads are a fantastic evocation of a Dickensian world through which glide Scrooge and the spirits of Christmas past, present and future.
These pictures display Robert’s enduring interest in things scientific and architectural . He is in his element. The watercolours display a virtuoso handling of architectural and perspectival drawing, and coupled with the impressively detailed research into our nineteenth century metropolis, its architecture and fashion we are presented with an unrivalled almost theatrical presentation of Victorian London. As with all great illustrators there is more. With his imagination Robert has infused an eerie other-world quality which gives the artwork such vibrancy. It is immediately engaging and draws the viewer into silent contemplation of this by-gone era. The spectral luminosity of the unfortunate Jacob Marley is all too real. If Munch’s Scream is an evocation of existence then Ingpen’s seated Marley is its opposite. The seemingly quivering figure is a horrific vision of a ghastly unresolved fate, reminiscent of Bacon’s Screaming Pope currently on view at Tate Britain.
But there is humour too. ‘I fear you more than any spectre’ moans Scrooge in the presence of the ghost of things to come. Yet when confronted by his own cold and lonely death we see Scrooge cringing from behind the ghoul, peeking around like a child as the pale light illuminates the increasingly inevitable amongst the gathering gloom. This is one of my own favourites for sure.
In almost fifteen years of The Illustration Cupboard this is surely one of the best books I have had the pleasure to work with and exhibit. It has been enormous fun for us all here at the gallery. The artwork does not disappoint and I warmly invite and encourage any and many to visit. See for yourself or share this with those who, like me, will gain and enjoy a lifelong friendship with this loveable curmudgeon - the wonderful Ebenezer Scrooge.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Sitting beside my desk passing books across whilst Jane signed them can only be regarded as a close second. Taking time out of her busy working schedule it was a pleasure to catch up with Jane as she signed, amongst others, our copies of the king of the aforesaid island.
Furthermore we discussed future plans and laid some ground-work for some interesting projects in the new year. A happy ending for sure.
Friday, 10 October 2008
Friday, 3 October 2008
A livley evening was had by all with a tremendous turnout of well-wishers, fans, supporters, family and publishers. Author Max Eilenberg was in attendance, and publisher David Lloyd of Walker Books said a few well-spoken words in praise of this talented illustrator which echoed the thoughts of everyone present.
Last seen heading for a buzzing Mayfair cocktail venue with family and friends we look forward to Niamh's return to the gallery on Saturday for her workshop and book signing. Needless to say she left her slipper on the stairs ...
Friday, 26 September 2008
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Monday, 22 September 2008
What do you like?
Congratulations to the House of Illustration with their new exhibition entitled What Are You Like? at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Inspired by a victorian parlour game many of the best-known illustrators and some interesting celebrities have drawn images expressing themselves and their favourite things. I particularly enjoyed Brunce Ingman's colourful representation and was intrigued to see Eric Clapton's graphic artistic talent.
Hosted by the superbly elegant Dulwich Picture Gallery I would heartily recommend a visit to this fascinating show. How refreshing to see our leading illustrators sitting cheek-by-jowl alongside many of the most stunning old masters of the past five hundred years!