Monday, 30 June 2014

Unexpected Alphabets No 23

 
 
Yesterday saw our annual village show, named after the next village for some still unexplained reason. I've gone on about it in blog posts passim, and you've only got to change the title of Philip Larkin's poem Show Saturday to Show Sunday and you'll know exactly what it's like: ...horse-boxes move; each crawls / Towards the stock entrance, tilting and swaying, bound / For far-off farms. 

This year was no different, except that I took more notice of what was going on in the main ring from my straw bale seat, rather than over-indulging myself in the hospitality tent of the show sponsors. So I know a bit more about ladies riding side-saddle, which was nice, but am still nonplussed by JCB digger formation dancing. I had a lovely chat with a bloke who had brought old tools for sale from near Bawdsey in Suffolk and who told me about playing inside Martello Towers when he was a child, but inevitably got drawn to the ranks of restored, partly restored and still wrecked old tractors. Towering over them was a vehicle used to haul timber, also from Suffolk, and I stared for a long time at the hand wrought lettering 'ticked-in' on the door. I wondered at which point the artist realised he wasn't going to get all of 'Suffolk' in before the door edge was reached. Of course he or she knew. If you draw lettering you know instinctively.

And just as inevitably I got drawn into the secondhand book tent where I nearly got into a scuffle with a pal who had, I confess, seen a C.Henry Warren book illustrated by John Aldridge before I did. But I did alight successfully on the 1920 Dairy Farming book. I had to have it just for the cover, which pleased me immensely. Although I don't doubt that I shall benefit at some time by knowing that cows calving between October and January give the highest yields. It says on page 80. I've just made it into a big A3 print and it looks even better. Perhaps I'll do the same for Mr.Cooper's red door.



10 comments:

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Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

You somehow sum up a wonderful lazy day summer fair atmosphere - a little nostalgic. Though as your first picture unfolded, I initially thought that Sweffling was some kind of obscure, long dead, agricultural practice.

Peter Ashley said...

Sweffling: The now forgotten art of making love in haystacks.

Philip Wilkinson said...

The central black splurge on that cow is so nearly the shape of England, spoiled only by the fact that this particular beast lacked the Cornwall and Kent genes.... So the search is now on for the perfectly marked British Holstein.

Peter Ashley said...

Ah yes Philip. These cows are perfect for graphic designers. I included a Friesian with England & Wales on it in my Uppingham print, with a white dot for the town. Which if I knew how to put a link here for the Goldmark Gallery I would, just to show it off.

Stephen Barker said...

I very like the Mr Cooper's lettering. I recently purchased a very attractive handbill dated 1827 in support of Foreign Missions at Framlingham. It has 11 different typefaces, in a well balanced layout.
It includes the line 'One of the Strangers will preach in the evening at seven o'clock'

Peter Ashley said...

Lovely stuff Stephen. I am about to get some really big pieces of woodtype inked up.

Stephen Barker said...

Good luck with the woodtype. I must do something with the woodtype I have sitting in boxes. Unfortunately the most attractive type has woodworm.

Jon Dudley said...

On the nail again Mr.A, especially on the art of the sign writer...something rang a bell...yes! Dave Peacock (of those talented Rockneys, Chas and Dave) restores Gypsy wagons as a hobby; he's damned good at it too - here's his take on the lettering and painting side of the craft -

"There are still loads of wagon painters too, but lettering by hand is dying out. It’s all vinyl lettering now. The sort of lettering I do, which is from the turn of the century, called blocking and blending, isn’t available on transfers. Even if it was available, I doubt the horse-drawn fraternity would want them. They won’t have a sprayed vehicle or transfers. In their world, it has to be painted by hand. It has to be traditional. That suits me. I’m a wagon nut."

And good for you with the dairy item celebrating, yet again, the work of what were once known as 'commercial artists', the forgotten heroes of brochures booklets and pamphlets.

Stephen Barker said...

Have a look at the site for Carter's Steam Funfair. All the rides and vehicles are painted by hand in the traditional manner.