Showing posts from August, 2013

A Review of Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield


Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget . . .

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born. 

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books (November 5, 2013)Language: EnglishISBN-10: 147671195XISBN-13: 978-1476711959
Bellman & Black …

Author Interview with Bob Cotton and his book Julia Margaret Cameron & The Allure of Photography

Julia Margaret Cameron & The Allure of Photography (ebook) by Bob Cotton About This Edition: ebook (iPad iBooks format), 135 pgs Publish Date: August 08 2013, 04:03 PDT
This book attempts to answer the questions: Why did Julia Margaret Cameron become so besotted with Photography? What did she bring to the art? Why is her work important? Julia Margaret Cameron and the Allure of Photography is an introduction to, and an overview of Julia and her work, and provides the art historical and technological context for her work.

Author Biography

Bob Cotton is a media historian. He is currently a visiting senior lecturer at Arts University Bournemouth, visiting practitioner professor at University of the West of England, co-director of the Visioneca Festival of Experimental Film, and a trustee and chair of the Development Committee of the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust. He was recently Research Fellow at University of the Arts, London, and has written several books on the media arts,…

Jane Morris (Burden) photographs by Emery Walker from National Portrait Gallery

Here are a few photographs of Mrs. William Morris, Jane Burden Morris, wife of William Morris, mother of May and Jenny Morris.
National Portrait Gallery, London, has several photographs of Jane Morris taken two years after the death of her husband, William Morris, which I can only guess is the reason she is dressed in a black dress and what looks like mourning garb. Her friend Emery Walker is the photographer listed and it looks as if the house may be their home, Kelmscott Manor.

 Jane Morris (née Burden) by Sir Emery Walker
whole-plate glass negative, May 1898, NPG This one just might be my favorite photograph of the series Jane Morris (née Burden) by Sir Emery Walker
whole-plate glass negative, May 1898, NPG  Jane Morris (née Burden) by Sir Emery Walker
whole-plate glass negative, May 1898, NPG
  Jane Morris (née Burden)
by Sir Emery Walker
whole-plate glass negative, May 1898, NPG   Jane Morris (née Burden)
by Sir Emery Walker
whole-plate glass negative, May 1898, NPG  I'm sure…

Dimbola's Grande Dame comes to New York City: Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Entrance wall to Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit
I have been researching the life of Alfred Lord Tennyson for two years now going on three and I have admired and been enthralled by the nineteenth century photographs of photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron. To me, she and Tennyson are enigmas; therefore, undefinable. Mere mortals who walked this earth over one hundred years ago. Yet, when you look at Cameron's distinctive portraits of her friends, Tennyson, Watts, Carlyle, Holman-Hunt, her husband Charles Hay Cameron, her personal staff, including her maid, Mary Hillier, her family members, May Prinsep and Julia Duckworth Stephens, all you notice is how distinctive and timeless they are. 
These men and women look as if they could be found today walking down the street. There is nothing significant about any aspect of their physical self except when dressed in Victorian era clothing or costume garb when posing as Shakespearean or mythic representations.  For me, they are as real toda…

Julia Margaret Cameron and The Signor 1857 Album

"The Signor 1857 album is the earliest of eight recorded photographic albums that Cameron compiled before she took up photography for herself. It contains work by several different photographers (some unattributed), including 15 unique images. It anticipates the photographs Cameron would later make for herself. In addition to portraits of the ‘great men’ of her acquaintance, Henry Taylor (no. 13), Alfred Tennyson (no. 15), George Frederic Watts (no. 1) and John Herschel (nos 12 & 31), it contains photographs of her children and her nephews and nieces; this mixing of the famous and the familial would become a hallmark of her photography. The album begins with a previously unrecorded and unattributed photographic portrait of Watts by Earl Brownlow followed by a sequence of photographic copies after portrait drawings Watts made during the 1850s, some of the originals for which are currently untraced. 
Signor 1857 photographic album is unique because of its ‘back to front’ sequenc…


Just a quick update letting you all know that I have been lucky enough to receive an ARC or advanced uncorrected proof of Diane Setterfield's novel, 'Bellman & Black!'  Known for her best loved novel, 'The Thirteenth Tale.'

Remember this:

Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father’s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise — she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.

Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the sto…

My review of The Sacred River by Wendy Wallace

'The Egyptians had written their magic for the dead. But Harriet wanted assistance now. It was life she longed for.'
Harriet Heron's life is almost over before it has even begun. At just twenty-three years of age, she is an invalid, over-protected and reclusive. Before it is too late, she must escape the fog of Victorian London for a place where she can breathe. 
Together with her devoted mother, Louisa, her god-fearing aunt, Yael, and a book of her own spells inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Harriet travels to a land where the air is tinged with rose and gold and for the first time begins to experience what it is to live. But a chance meeting on the voyage to Alexandria results in a dangerous friendship as Louisa's long-buried past returns, in the form of someone determined to destroy her by preying upon her daughter. 
As Harriet journeys towards a destiny no one could have foreseen, her aunt Yael is caught up in an Egypt on the brink of revolt and…

A review of Wives and Stunners by Henrietta Garnett

With their sensual style, startling realism and ravishing depictions of feminine beauty, the Pre-Raphaelites -- Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman-Hunt and John Everett Millais -- turned the conservative Victorian art establishment on its head. But it is the women who inspired their paintings who made their work truly 'romantic'. 

From Effie Gray, Lizzy Siddal and Janey Morris to later muses Georgie Burne-Jones and Mary Zambaco, their images were immortalized on canvas, while their extraordinary lives remained largely unexamined. Yet these 'stunners' and their artists wove a surprisingly modern web of friendships, romance, envy and betrayal. Alongside younger artists such as Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, their bohemian existence shocked and thrilled nineteenth-century England in equal measure, and the relationships they formed transformed British art for ever.

In the words of author, Henrietta Garnett, "a 'stunner' is a nineteenth-century slan…

The Lady of Shalott: The Immersion of Poetry and Painting

The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, 1888, oil on canvas, Tate, London

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right
The leaves upon her falling light
Through the noises of the night
            She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
            The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
            Turned to towered Camelot.
For ere she reached upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
            The Lady of Shalott.
I’ve been meaning to write a piece about Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, ‘The Lady of Shalott’ for some time now while somehow working in John William Waterhouse’s beautiful painting. Well, it appears I’ve found my reason or catalyst. Earlier this week, Waterhouse’s painting made the rounds online in…