Sunday, 31 May 2009

Grandma's album 10

This little pastel drawing is situated near the end of the album (meaning there are only a few more of these left to post). It's glued into the book with a sheet of tissue paper to protect it. Underneath is written ‘Yours affectionately, Helen F. Warren, 1912.’ Helen must have been one of the stars of the art class.
Lacking anything else to say here’s a funny poem from the middle of the book:

Give us our Votes
with apologies to Longfellow

The women’s rights were falling fast,
When to the House of Commons passed,
A maid who bore as of great price,
A banner with this just device,
“Give us our votes.”

Her brow was knit, her eye beneath
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of her cultured tongue
“Give us our votes.”

In many homes she saw that right
And sway of women had taken flight,
Instead of men with power shone,
But still she cried & not alone
“Give us our votes.”

“Try not to pass” an old man said,
Grim looms a policeman on ahead,
His clinging arms are open wide,
But still that maiden’s voice replied
“Give us our votes.”

“Oh stay” the policeman said and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast.
A tear stood in her gleaming eye,
But still she answered with a sigh
“Give us our votes.”

Beware the judge’s awful glance,
Beware or he will make you dance.
This was the bobbie’s last Goodnight,
A voice replied just on the right
“Give us our votes.”

At break of day as prisonwards
In ‘Black Maria’ to do her ‘hard,’
Passed this ‘Suffragette’ so fair,
Her voice cried through the startled air
“Give us our votes.”

The maiden when the morn came round
Half-witted in the cell was found,
But grasping still as in a vice
The banner with this just device
“Give us our votes.”

Then in the dim light, cold and grey,
Voteless but resolute she lay,
Vowing that she would be a match
For any M.P. she could catch

This is a clever parody of Longfellow’s ‘Excelsior.’ It’s signed very untidily at the bottom by someone who could have been Nellie Field. I can’t find any reference to it online so there's a chance that Nellie, or whatever her name was, made it up herself. If you want to read and compare the original you can find it here.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Grandma's album 9

This wacky drawing (I love that horse), by Lily Lyons, illustrates a nonsense verse, which, with the exception of the ever-increasing exclamation marks, is a quote from a dramatic satire called ‘Chrononhotonthologos,’ written by Henry Carey in 1734:

Go, call a coach, and let a coach be called,
And let the man who calleth be the caller,
And in this calling let him nothing call
But “Coach! Coach!! Coach!!!
O for a Coach, ye gods!!!!

According to Wikipedia this passage is a parody of ‘A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!’ from Shakespeare’s Richard III. Carey was a poet, playwright, and songwriter who spent a good part of his life writing and composing anonymously for other people before emerging from the shadows in his later years. I have to admit that I’ve never heard of him, or ‘Chrononhotonthologos.’ Perhaps he was well-known a hundred years ago, or maybe it was just these lines that were remembered as something to write in autograph albums.

Friday, 29 May 2009


This idea comes from a series I started to think about years ago called ‘Withdrawings.’ At the time I was slightly obsessed with prepositions (I was young - don't blame me for it) and 'with' seemed like a good place to start.
I didn’t get very far. In fact I only came up with two or three interesting ideas and a great deal of rubbish, so I put it to one side thinking it might be a long term project. Naturally I forgot all about it and it went under a pile of other ‘long term projects.’
Now I’ve redrawn this one rather badly, but I’m posting it anyway to interrupt grandma, who’s been hogging this blog for too long.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Grandma's album 8

This little watercolour of a lady with big hair and big hat, presumably in the Edwardian style, is one of the more serious efforts in grandma’s autograph album. It was painted and signed by Grace Ittner, 19th February, 1908. I can tell you no more about it or about Grace Ittner. However, about a month after she painted it the fourth modern Olympic Games opened in London and the length of the Marathon was fixed at 42.195km or 26.2 miles, the distance between Windsor Castle and the Royal Box in the Olympic stadium. You heard it hear first (if you haven't heard it before).

On the next page is this little ditty:

A little fun, a little play,
A little laughter day by day,
A little school and we’ll confess
A little bit of waywardness,
A little grief, a little woe,
As down the later years we go.
A little love, a little strife,
A deal of hope, and this is life.

Yours sincerely
Mabel Green, Avery Hill College 1908-10

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Grandma's album 7

This rather crude painting of a bulldog is more than likely a ‘quote’ from a postcard, but it might not be. Down the side is written: ‘Instead of a gem, or even a flower, cast the gift of a lovely thought into the heart of a friend’ (a quote from George MacDonald). Then under the dog it says: ‘What’s the use? – We’re pets today and sausage tomorrow’. It was drawn by Olive F.G. Lindsay on the 23rd of October, 1912. I'm guessing Olive was probably a bit of a comedian.

On the next door page is another 'lovely thought':

It is the little rift within the lute,
That by and by will make the music mute,
And ever widening slowly silence all.
Yours very sincerely, Flora G.E. Barnes, 12.iv.10

(It’s from Tennyson’s ‘Idylls of the King; Merlin and Vivien’, if you care about such things.)

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Grandma's album 6

This silhouette of a pastoral scene is signed A. Scott, A.H.T.C. April 1909. It may well be copied from a postcard or illustration, or parts of it at least. The boy and girl with one-and-a-half dogs and the neat little row of trees in the background somehow seem more accomplished than the rather dodgy cows in the field. One of them in the distance appears to be lying on it's side and may be dead or dying, and another in the foreground looks as if it’s trodden in its own cowpat. Despite the mutant cattle, though, it’s quite an effective image.
Here's a poem from the neighbouring page:

What will you do for England,
Dear Little English maid?
You may be poor, weak, and obscure,
Still you can lend your aid.
It matters so much to England
What you will try to do;
You can if you will, make her greater still.
It lies, little child, with you.

In a child’s small hand lies the fate of our land.
It is hers to mar or save;
For a sweet child, sure, grows a woman pure,
To make men good and brave.
We English shall ne’er kiss the rod,
Come our foes on land or sea,
If our children be true to themselves and to God,
Oh! Great shall our England be.
Philip Trevor

With best wishes for the future,
Yours very lovingly –
Nellie Stafford

The Girl Guide movement was founded in 1909 and this was one of the poems the girls would have been indoctrinated with. Only the second verse appears in my grandmother's album, but I thought I'd include the full horror.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Grandma's album 5

“The boy all blushing gave the maid a kiss, etc.” And they lived happily ever after. Yours sincerely F. Thomson.

I’ve actually managed to find out something about this one. The quote comes from a popular Music Hall song called ‘I’ll Be Your Sweetheart’, most popularly sung by Lil Hawthorne, and composed in 1899 by Harry Dacre (best known for writing the even more popular song, ‘Daisy Bell’). Here’s how it went:

Once there was two lovers in a garden,
A little boy and girl with golden hair.
At first I thought of asking them their pardon;
On second thoughts, I watched the loving pair.
The boy, all blushing, gave the maid a kiss
And passionately murmured this:

I'll be your sweetheart if you will be mine;
All my life I'll be your valentine.
Bluebells I've gathered,
Take them and be true.
When I'm a man, my plan
Will be to marry you.

The bluebells were accepted by the maiden,
Who said, "I'll keep them safely all my life.
But, suppose that you should meet some other lady,
Then I should never be your loving wife."
The boy, all blushing, took another kiss,
And tenderly he murmured this:

Chorus: etc.

They were a sentimental lot back then. My grandmother's friends clearly didn't take such things seriously, which is why I like this drawing.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Grandma's album 4

This could be three Dutch girls in a row – they’re definitely wearing clogs and they might be carrying tulips. It’s signed by Ethel L. Wenden, 27th June 1909, as you can probably tell if you look at it. What you probably can’t tell, and I can’t help you, is why she was called Babs. There may be some significance in the three Dutch girls in a row, but I can’t help you there either. Anyway, this drawing wasn’t drawn in the book but attached in the way photographs used to be attached in albums with four slits for the corners.
Written on the opposite page is this cheery poem:
"Enjoy the spring of love and youth,
To some good angel leave the rest;
For time will teach thee soon the truth –
There are no birds in last year’s nest.
With best wishes from Babs.
Ethel Louise Wenden"

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Grandma's album 3

There are plenty of little paintings of flowers, of varying quality, in my grand-mother’s autograph album. This is one of the better ones and is by Winnie, dated 30th September 1912. Drawing and nature study were both part of the syllabus at Avery Hill Training College. As well as the usual academic subjects they were also taught music and the theory of education. Science, however, was not taught to girls until the 1930s.
On a nearby page is this poem:
“Never trouble trouble
Till trouble troubles you;
It only doubles trouble
And troubles others too.
Yours affectionately
Kate Bradley
AHTC 14.6.1910”
Such sage advice from one so young.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Grandma's album 2

UP-TO-DATE HARE: “When you joined the Air-Gun Club I became a member of the Snow Shoe Society; so; ta-ta, Johnny!”

This accomplished drawing is signed by Lucy Prytherch, March 1908. This could be an original joke or it could be a copy of a cartoon, maybe from Punch or somewhere. Even if it is a copy it shows some drawing skill. Prytherch, by the way, is a Welsh surname. That’s all the information I can give you, but isn’t there enuff of the stough on this internet thing. Why add to it?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Grandma's album 1

Those who follow Non-stick may recall that, back in April, I posted (on the blog) some postcards that belonged to my grandmother. In the shoebox that contains the postcards is an old autograph album that my grandmother kept between the years 1908 and 1912. During that time she was attending Avery Hill Training College, a residential female teacher-training college established in 1906 at Eltham in South East London, now part of Greenwich University (there's a postcard of it here).
There are no famous autographs or anything like that in it; just poems, quotes and drawings added by her friends and fellow students - an early version of Facebook. As a change from posting work by the professionals (and me) I thought it would be interesting to show some drawings made by normal people, albeit from middle class Edwardian England just before the First World War.
This first image is the first image in the book, spelling out my grandmother’s name, Hilda, using the letters as an acrostic:
Happy thoughts and bright ideas,
In this little volume see;
Look on all that here appears,
Deem them friendship’s gifts to me,
And a page remains for thee.
Under it is a scratched-out name and the date 1908. I don’t know whether she drew this herself. The scratched out name begins with a D so it could have been done by her friend, Doris Speight, who has signed a similar typographic design on the last page. Also I don’t know whether it’s original or quoted from somewhere - such rhymes were fairly common at that time. Also I don't know anything else about it.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Gone with the weaned

This one is
for Dave who
a bad pun,
and this is
a-viary bad

Monday, 18 May 2009

Off the shelf: Hoffnung 9

This tour de force ensemble is from the endpapers of ‘The Hoffnung Symphony Orchestra’. You’ll need to click on it to see any detail, and even then you may have difficulty. The book is fairly small so much of the detail is fairly obscure anyway. Among those fairly obscure details are: a bird nesting in a bassoon; a double bass being played by two short people, one bowing, one fingering; three trombonists that have got their slides tangled up; and a very long flute being played by twins.
Hoffnung was born in Berlin and came to London as a refugee in 1939 at the age of fourteen. He was difficult to control as a schoolboy and his drawings caused concern because they were full of violence and destruction. But if you judged the state of the world from his cartoons you might think there was no such thing as violence and destruction. It turned out to be the fact that he was drawing that was important, not the content.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Off the shelf: Hoffnung 8


Not many
more of
these left.
I'll have
to wake my
brain up
soon, and
get it to
think of
else to

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Off the shelf: Hoffnung 7

From the section on Brass.

As well as being a cartoonist, tuba player, prison visitor, etc. Gerard Hoffnung was also a raconteur. In 1958 someone recorded him giving his famous ‘Bricklayer’s Lament’ monologue at the Oxford Union. This takes the form of a letter from a bricklayer to his employer explaining why he needs to take sick leave. I first heard it when a friend played it to me when I was at school and it was only later that I discovered he was a cartoonist. You can listen to it here on YouTube - it starts rather abruptly.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Off the shelf: Hoffnung 6

Another couple of woodwinders.

I’m way to lazy today to write any biographical stuff, so if you’re interested in knowing all about Mr Hoffnung you can read lots of biographical stuff at this site, and even buy his books if you’re so inclined (there’s no obligation).

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Off the shelf: Hoffnung 5

This wonderful drawing is another one from the String section, though I seem to remember, from my days in the school orchestra, that we referred to the piano as a percussion instrument – perhaps that was a joke to upset the pianist.

I won’t be posting anything tomorrow as I’m off to the funeral of my uncle David, who died last week, and a very early start is required. He was a musician and teacher of music at Nottingham University and wrote several books on the subject.
He was kind-hearted with a good sense of humour and a very loud laugh. I think he would have enjoyed these Hoffnung drawings.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

On going to the dogs...

… the hard way.

Back in March I posted some drawings from a book I did at college on Pavlov and his dogs. Since then I’ve been given the opportunity to have it published but it all needs to be rethought, rewritten and redrawn, as it was all done very hurriedly first time round. I’ve been working on it for over a month and seem to be making little progress, apart from amassing a roomful of research.
Here’s a drawing of ‘someone’ looking at the problem from the wrong direction. Who could it be?

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Off the shelf: Hoffnung 2

Here’s what it says inside the dust jacket of ‘The Hoffnung Symphony Orchestra’:

‘This is a collection of highly individual line drawings of musicians and their instruments extraordinaire. It is doubtful that a ‘tum-drum’ or a ‘yo-bo’ will ever be found in any orchestra other than the one featured in this book, and these, together with numerous other ‘Hoffnungisms’ make the HSO unique. We are certain that this little book will appeal not only to musicians and music-lovers but also to the totally unmusical. To those these line drawings will no doubt confirm their belief that music is purely for the delight of the mad, who find pleasure in meaningless sounds.
Mr Hoffnung describes himself as a musical failure, but it may be worth noting that this virtuoso of the pen was also a musician with serious intent. His knowledge of concert music and opera was wide, and he played the tuba conscientiously in a London orchestra. We believe that it is because of this, his humour, unlike that of other artists, is etched with love rather than acid.’

This penny-farthing harp comes from the String section.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Off the shelf: Hoffnung 1

One of my favourite cartoonists is Gerard Hoffnung. Over the next few days I thought I'd post some cartoons from one of my favourite books of his called ‘The Hoffnung Symphony Orchestra.’ This book was first published in March 1955 by Dobson Books. My copy is an eighth impression from 1962, but most of his books are still in print.
Hoffnung lived a short life, dying of a cerebral haemorrhage when he was only thirty-four in 1959 - fifty years ago. I’ll write more about his life later, but you can tell what he was like from his drawings, which exude the kind of warmth and humour you don’t usually see outside the pages of children’s books now.
This, in case you need telling, is the cover.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

From the files: Roman birdbath

In my early teens I was dragged off to Italy by my parents to visit Rome and Florence. [I just typed this in Word and this is what it suggested I should write instead: ‘My parents to visit Rome and Florence dragged me off to Italy’]. My dad was obsessed by Michelangelo and the Renaissance in general, but two weeks of being Michelangeloed left me cold. I preferred the other turtle, Donatello, whose sculpture seemed much more human and easier to relate to.
Anyway, I came away from the trip with only two (physical) souvenirs. One was a print of a drawing of an old man’s head by some old master or other, which long ago curled up and fell off the wall, and the other was this postcard, from the Musei Capitolini, of four pigeons having a drink from a silver bowl. It’s called the 'Mosaic of the Doves' and was dug up (the mosaic, not the postcard) at Hadrian’s villa, Tivoli by Cardinal Alessandro Furietti in 1737. It’s said to be a Roman copy of an original 2nd century BC Greek mosaic from Pergamon, attributed to Sosos.
I didn’t know at the time that it was famous; I was just struck by the movement in it, which I hadn’t seen anywhere else, and wondered how it had been achieved, so I bought the postcard to copy. It remains one of my favourite images.
You might think that I’ve scanned it at an angle but in fact it’s just a low quality, slightly wonky postcard. There’s a better version of it here, which perhaps I should have used instead.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


I have nothing to say about this one either. Perhaps I should have stuck to posting other people's drawings.

Monday, 4 May 2009


I don’t think
there’s much
to say about
I didn’t do it
on purpose.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Off the shelf: Ungerer 10

As you can probably tell this is the last drawing in The Underground Sketchbook of Tomi Ungerer, and it’s also the last of my selection. Someone else might have picked a different selection. The best thing is to find the book and enjoy the accumulating horror for yourself. It’s difficult to find these days – time for a reissue.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Off the shelf: Ungerer 8

Another extraordinary 45 year old drawing from the pen of Tomi Ungerer. It looks so much youngerer. Only a few more of these left, then… something else.