Archive for June, 2010

Item of the Week: May Morris in Iceland

June 18, 2010

When William Morris first set foot in Iceland in 1870, after several years of studying Icelandic folklore and language, he felt as though he had come home.  After his death, his daughter and fellow artist May made several trips to Iceland with her friend Mary Lobb.

In 1986, the Journal of William Morris Studies published a short memoir by Gudrun Jonsdottir, who recalled Morris and Lobb’s three visits to her family’s home in rural Iceland from 1922-1929.  It is likely that the sketches contained in this sketchbook date from these visits.

The sketches contained are all quite rough and gestural, mainly in pencil with a little pen.  Many have notes about the colors of the landscape that can’t be rendered in pencil alone.

May Morris, [Sketchbook from Iceland]. MS.2010.009

Item of the week: Field Trip!

June 10, 2010

As regular readers of the Clog and fans of the Clark/Center’s chamber music series may already know, Mr. Clark was the founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Founded in 1919 as a competitor to the Los Angeles Symphony (which Clark did not like), the Phil quickly stole that other orchestra’s thunder and sent it out of business.  In honor of his generosity, the city wanted to erect a statue of Clark, but he preferred his favorite composer, Beethoven, be the subject of the statue instead.  The statue by Arnold Foerster was unveiled on October 14, 1932 and is located in Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles.

When the Clark’s technical services department was downtown for lunch this week (celebrating the end of most of its volunteers’ tenures), they also took a field trip to visit Mr. Clark’s Beethoven statue. Relegated to a corner of the park along with multiple war memorial monuments, a security guard had to point them in the right direction.

Thanks, ladies, for all your hard work!  We will miss you!

Item of the Week: Our Lady of Lourdes

June 4, 2010

From Jennifer Bastian, Gill Artwork Project Archivist:

I have recently begun photographing some of the wooden blocks from the Eric Gill Artwork Collection, which he carved and used to make woodcut prints.  Aside from Gill’s mastery of line and composition, there is a less obvious level of technical craftsmanship that is visible when taking a look at the blocks.  Each block must be carved carefully in relief, which means that parts of the wood are cut away below the surface of the block.  Ink is then rolled onto the block with a brayer, and the portions of the surface that have not been carved away will ink the paper and create your image.

For this particular woodcut, Our Lady of Lourdes, Gill carved the block into five different pieces.  This allows for the freedom to print in black as well as in full color.  I have photographed the block altogether, as well as separated, for demonstrative purposes.  How nice, to be able to see the actual blocks that an artist created their prints with!

courtesy Bridgeman Art Library

Above is the block, with pieces connected.  Note the small  holes that would have allowed the block to be pinned into place for printing.

courtesy of the Bridgeman Art Library

Here is the block, with pieces slightly separated.

From Eric Gills Book of Engravings, published by Douglas Cleverdon, 1929

Above,  an example of an Our Lady of Lourdes print with black ink.

And here is an example showing the use of multiple colors of ink.

Images above courtesy of the Bridgeman Art Library.

Black and white print image from