David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

23 January 2012

Re. some French stamps

We don't have a philatelist among our staff but we do all take an interest in the contents of the IN TRAY. For stamps and their arrangements, it is our French correspondents who delight us most often. Here are just a few recently received.

The first is by the artist Ben (Ben Vautier). A gentle mind sharpener in the French manner, is it not. Not a bill of post - there are other stamps for that.

Under Ben's stamp are two 2008 definitive 'Head of Marianne'. Designed and engraved by Yves Beaujard, these are also known as 'Marianne and Europe'.

Two more...

2011.12_two french stamps_Dali & Excoffon_sRGB_FLAT_400

At the top is another version of 'Head of Marianne', designed for La Poste by Salvador Dali, 1979. (There's an interesting website here with a history of Frances's 'Head of Marianne' stamps, including the one above by Dali and another by Jean Cocteau, from 1937.)

The stamp beneath Dali's is from 1977, by the French font designer Roger Excoffon.

Fonts by Excoffon : Chambord (1945), Banco (1951), Mistral (1953), Choc (1955), Diane (1956), Calypso (1958), Antique Olive (1962–66).

These two stamps, with their free-flowing calligraphy in common, have obviously been brought together by a thoughtful, creative and generous sender.

As if to emphasise, this morning these arrived. One celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the other, a meta stamp, celebrates the French Republic's JOURNEE DU TIMBRE.

2012.01_journey of stamps_two French stamps_sRGB_400

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/

someone looks at something ...