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Wednesday
Jun262013

A Conversation Piece

"A Conversation Piece"
Oil on Canvas - 1941
Charles Neil Knight
‘I shall miss you, Jeeves.’
‘Thank you, sir.’
‘Who was the chap who was always beefing about losing gazelles?’
‘The poet Moore, sir. He complained that he had never nursed a dear gazelle, to glad him with its soft black eye, but when it came to know him well and love him, it was sure to die.’
‘It’s the same with me. I am a gazelle short. You don’t mind me alluding to you as a gazelle, Jeeves?’
‘Not at all, sir.’
Thursday
Jun202013

Miss Flyte Introduces the Wards in Jarndyce to Krook, the Lord Chancellor

"Miss Flyte Introduces the Wards in Jarndyce to Krook, the Lord Chancellor"

Watercolor on Canvas - 1860

Sir John Gilbert

"Tom Jarndyce was often in here. He got into a restless habit of strolling about when the cause was on, or expected, talking to the little shopkeepers and telling 'em to keep out of Chancery, whatever they did. 'For,' says he, 'it's being ground to bits in a slow mill; it's being roasted at a slow fire; it's being stung to death by single bees; it's being drowned by drops; it's going mad by grains.'

--from Bleak House, by Charles Dickens

Monday
Jun172013

Sailboat

Oil painting by an unknown Artist 


Peasant Family in a Cottage Interior
Oil 1661
Adriaen van Ostade, 1610-1685

"It was such a strange scene to me, and so confined and dark, that, at first, I could make out hardly anything; but, by degrees, it cleared, as my eyes became more accustomed to the gloom, and I seemed to stand in a picture by Ostade. Among the great beams, bulks, and ringbolts, of the ship, and the emigrant berths, and chests, and bundles, and barrels, and heaps of miscellaneous baggage--lighted up, here and there, by dangling lanterns; and elsewhere by the yellow daylight straying down a wind sail or a hatchway--were crowded groups of people, making new friendships, taking leave of one another, talking, laughing, crying, eating and drinking; some, already settled down into the possession of their few feet of space, with their little households arranged, and tiny children established on stools, or in dwarf elbow chairs; others, despairing of a resting place, and wandering disconsolately. From babies who had but a week or two of life behind them, to crooked old men and women who seemed to have but a week or two of life before them; and from plowmen boduly carrying out soil of England on their boots, to smiths takin gaway samples of its soot and smoke upon their skins; every age and occupation appeared to be crammed into the narrow compass of the tween decks." 

An excerpt from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Monday
Jun032013

PRR Passenger Train Alongside Edgar Thomson Steel Mill

"PRR Passenger Train Alongside Edgar Thomson Steel Mill"
Oil on Canvas - 1927
Harrold M. Brett

"I say it again, thank God, the railways are trenches that drain our modern marsh, for you have but to avoid railways, even by five miles, and you can get more peace than would fill a nosebag. All the world is my garden since they built railways, and gave me leave to keep off them."

--Hilaire Belloc, The Path to Rome

 

Monday
May202013

A Foggy Night in London

A Foggy Night in London

Oil on Canvas - Year Unknown

James Abbott McNeill, 1834-1903

  "London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snowflakes—gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another's umbrellas in a general infection of ill temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if this day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.

Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little 'prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon and hanging in the misty clouds.

Gas looming through the fog in divers places in the streets, much as the sun may, from the spongey fields, be seen to loom by husbandman and ploughboy. Most of the shops lighted two hours before their time—as the gas seems to know, for it has a haggard and unwilling look.

The raw afternoon is rawest, and the dense fog is densest, and the muddy streets are muddiest near that leaden-headed old obstruction, appropriate ornament for the threshold of a leaden-headed old corporation, Temple Bar. And hard by Temple Bar, in Lincoln's Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High Court of Chancery.

Never can there come fog too thick, never can there come mud and mire too deep, to assort with the groping and floundering condition which this High Court of Chancery, most pestilent of hoary sinners, holds this day in the sight of heaven and earth."

 

--Charles Dickens, Bleak House