Monday, August 30, 2010

Vernon Hill - The Arcadian Calendar for 1910

Vernon Hill's illustrations for the Arcadian Calendar for 1910 accurately describe the progression of the months and seasons here in our part of the northern hemisphere. His two characters, male and female, seem fairly at ease with the sometimes terrifying appearance of the presiding deity. It has been suggested that the presentation of the child in January is somehow blasphemous or peculiar but I would have thought that this is not a depiction of the Christ child but merely of the New Year, as an aged figure turns up in December being led away upon what seems to be a donkey. (hmm, maybe this isn't helping)

One of the things that I like is that there is the depiction of much sound in the illustrations. The deity plays bagpipes and other forms of wind instruments which the couple sometimes respond to by dancing. In another we can almost see the sound of a gun going off and in August the deity seems to be regaling the couple with stories of some sort. We can hear the sound of the wind screaming in many of the others.

The deity also appears affected by the weather, as in June he lays under a tree to rest in the shade from the hot sun and in October he blows upon his hands to warm them up against the weather. He often wears bells so that a tinkling sound would accompany him, though in March the bells become apples, windblown and then spiked upon his pointed garb. In January his mouth forms the sound of surprise. The two figures have been described as being stock characters but there is nothing stock about his depiction of the deity which seems to be a figure of singular invention.

Born in Halifax in 1887 Vernon Hill's career in illustration seems to last only about two years. The Arcadian Calendar of 1910, The New Inferno and Ballads Weird and Wonderful is all there is to see of it, although there are other later drawings. In this short period of time his style changes from these linear and decorative post Beardsley pictures into something that seem to me much less powerful and more like designs for woodcarvings, which is appropriate, as he appears to have spent the rest of his life working on carvings for the churches and cathedrals across England, so that from this slightly unusual beginning he went on to find a place for himself in the structure of the orthodox Christian church in England.


the Silverfish said...

Hey John, I just flew back home for the weekend to do the garden harvest thing and to do some business in the city that needed my attention,(drat).

Tomorrow I will be heading back to the cottage for another week of basically doing NOTHING constructive and then it's back to the workaday world of doing that which I do which is incidentally
NOTHING important besides taking care of the Swallow's Nest and all those who share that lofty perch.

It's been a fantastic summer John, Sailing, fishing and living on Eskimo time which is defined as living in nothing but the moment. No counting seconds, hours or days,No calendar just eating when hungry, sleeping when tired and tweaking the tan when the mood hits. But soon enough it will be time to haul the boat out for the winter, wrap her up nice and snug and then to say Thank you ole grrrrl for taking me where I needed to go. In the 2.5 months that we have been out sailing this summer we have seen a great deal of a place called Lake of the Woods Ontario, which is a lake some 150 miles long and 80 miles wide with some 1500 islands both big and small, many of which have never before felt a human footprint. I think that it has been a good education for both Skye and her offspring, I know that it has been one for me.

But for now there is the garden to collect and the bounty to larder into the root cellar,work work work, damn I hate that word.

Take care John, and until next
time John, have a good one willyuh.

john said...

Hi and thanks Silverfish. The lake sounds great and I like the sound of all those islands, lots of exploring to do there. You sound like you're quite busy when your doing nothing.

All good here as we are enjoying a bit of late summer sunshine. It's a nice time of the year here,the leaves on the trees are just beginning to fade and the temperature is lovely, with the sun lowering in the sky now. good luck with the harvest and cheers for now.

john said...

Oh and if anyone is interested, I have been able to start recording music again and have a new tune up. My acoustic guitar playing can be heard here. The new tune is at the bottom and is called Riders.

su said...

well i too enjoyed an unexpected journey of an audio type.
enjoyable - how can one buy the music without a credit card - please let me know.

Looking at the calender one is reminded of how much the seasons held us captive or freed us. We seem to have forgotten of the tempestuous nature of climate.
I believe Russia is continuing their ban on wheat exports, to safeguard crops for their own people.
There is plenty to go around when the sun and rain are playing gently but when the planet undergoes what she is currently experiencing well then.....

So let us listen to good music, feast our eyes on beauty where possible - and ........

john said...

Cheers and thanks su

Russia used to get a lot of grain from the Ukraine, I think. Russia and the Ukraine seem to have fallen out lately if the coverage of the Ukraine on Russia Today is anything to go by. prices of food have already risen a lot here in the last couple of years and we wait and see about the availability question and then there is also the matter of trading and speculation on food resources, a bad business.

I don't have a credit card but have bought things on the internet with my bank card. I have a paypal account that money can be put into. Failing that, if the money thing gets too complicated, I say give a donation either to a useful charity or to the first person you meet who looks like they need some money.

I can send mp3's as email attachments, which can take a long time to download, or I can send a physical cd to the address of your choice.

I have sent cd's to America and they have taken about a week to arrive but the cd's I send to friends in the South Pacific take 2.5 months to get there, if they get there at all. I am happy to send them either way. The cd's don't have any fancy labels and are a bit handmade but they do contain lots of guitar playing.

If anyone else is ever interested i can be contacted via the email address on my profile page here.

thanks again su and cheers for now.

reem said...

Hi , john , I have enjoyed your music , that is nice to be photographer ,and playing guitar ,I am waiting for your new photos , have good time .

nobody said...

Thanks John that was brilliant. I used to think I kicked illustrator arse but here's another chap I never heard of. And wasn't he good? Beardsley-esque obviously, but who wouldn't be? Half your luck if you can pull it off.

And thanks for the music John. I had no idea. It's the kind of thing I could listen to all day. Would you take it astray if I said it reminded me of Leo Kottke? But without the showing away, I'm thinking. Lovely Lovely. Anyway John, nobody says - next time you fill in one of those government forms asking about your employment you should declare yourself renaissance man. I have spoken.

john said...

Hi Evat and thanks, it is nice to play the guitar and be able to do what I do. I hope you are getting on with your drawing ok. I will put some more photos up soon when I sift through them and see what I have. Many thanks.

john said...

Hi nobody. I sometimes think it would have been nice if Vernon Hill had produced a bit more work but I expect he had his reasons for not doing so and he covers a lot of ground in the calendar, so I am grateful that there is this nice example of his drawing.

I am glad you enjoyed the music, I enjoy playing it and now need to polish up a number of tunes that I have to record them. I haven't heard any of Leo Kottke's playing yet but I will have a look around for some to give it a listen.

I'll tell the people at the dole your idea. Maybe then I can find work with a minor european royal family. I would get to paint a bit, discuss philosophy and build curious mechanical devices to amuse folk on festival days and suchlike. It doesn't sound too bad really and as long as I get a big hat to wear I'll be reasonably happy. cheers for now.

reem said...

Hi ,I think , everyone has special thing to do in his life , even , it is not professional .

you told me onetime " you should like your work " you are all right , I like my work now more , so i enjoy it .

and you will be so glade ,if somone likes your work and gives you advices to get better .

at last , I do not know much about you , but i think you are quiet man , is that right ?

all good time for you .

john said...

Cheers Evat

I don't mind that I am not professional in what I do as I do have the pleasure of being able to create things which is a nice benefit in itself.

I too am always glad to have a bit of advice on my work as it can help to move it along a bit.

Yes, you have guessed right Evat, I am quite a quiet person and I very much enjoy peace and quiet these days.

Cheers for now and all the best to you Evat.

reem said...

Hi , I am sorry , I did not mean you are not professional , your work is very nice . I mean myself ,I am not . mybe i have said that in wrong way . all good time for you .

john said...

That's ok Evat, I didn't read your comment that way, you said it fine and no offence was taken, so all is good. I think your english is very good.

We had some lovely birds arrive this morning, long tailed tits I think. They were singing away and bouncing about in our little trees. We don't have a lot of birds here so they are always welcome. We also have a robin again now but no blackbird as yet.

I hope all is good with you Evat and that your drawing is going good.

cheers for now and the best to you.

reem said...

Hi , thanks john , and enjoy singing of lovely birds .