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.

30 October 2014

Signs for Signs Of Every Description

L'Enseigne de Gersaint, or "The Shop Sign of Gersaint", (1720-21) is a painting by Jean-Antoine Watteau, which is considered to be his last masterpiece. It was painted as a shop sign for the marchand-mercier, or art dealer, Edme François Gersaint. 
- Wikipedia : here

In 1985, your correspondent stayed a long while in front of this picture at the Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin.

As the packers box away a sign of the passing régime, a fashionable [ fickle ) young couple enter the Gersaint image store. Madame pauses at the grave but Monsieur stretches out his hand to hurry her to the new, un nu.

Fashionable friends are already there, closely examining une scène de nombreuses nus commended to them by an assistant of Gersaint.

M & Mme Gersaint are themselves showing another couple another well-presented something. Perhaps un intime nu for their private chambers, or a splendid mirror, even.

Outside, as we depart, a street dog bites at a flea. 

.  .  .  .

What brought the L'Enseigne de Gersaint to mind again was the recent acquisition, by one of our hot metal setters, of this large abbreviated enamel meta-sign for Signs Of Every Description.

click image to enlarge
A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something ...