Monday, 9 January 2012
To be accurate, he didn't knock this morning. He rang the doorbell.
As I struggled into my dressing gown and rushed downstairs, I ignored the cries from Pat of "There is no bug! The doorbell didn't ring! Don't go outside with no clothes on!" I leave you to decide which of us was the more awake.
I admit I 'm prone to hearing phantom doorbells which have more or less replaced the catalogue of nightmares I've listed before, but this time I knew there was a book on it's way from Amazon and I was anxious to avoid having to go to the depot to collect it tomorrow.
The book in question was the volume published by Palant House in connection with their exhibition of Edward Burra's work. Although my interests in painting extend well beyond these shores, I have an abiding fascination for the work of British painters of the 20th century, and there was a distinct gap in my knowledge of Burra.
Never in good health, he chose to work mainly in watercolour on a large scale and the book captures the remarkably vivid colours he was able to achieve with his chosen medium by constantly overlaying with thicker and thicker paint. I was familiar with the paintings of bars and Harlem low-life (see the cover above) and the Surrealist tendencies (he was a friend of Paul Nash and showed with the Englsih Surrealists in the 1930s) but the landscapes were a real revelation in their pared down simplicity.
Valley and River, Northumberland, 1972
(Pencil and watercolour on paper, 40 x 27 ins)
A lovely book. I'd love to have seen the exhibition.