Morris’s Horace

Is this a silly fantasy, or is it deeply valuable? William Morris: The Odes of Horace, written and decorated by hand.

‘We seem to have been granted access to a treasure: vulnerable, threatened by the very transience that Horace’s odes resist and lament, and therefore all the more highly to be prized’ Clive Wilmer

The genius of William Morris found expression in many different media. Here, for the first time, we have reproduced one of his gems of manuscript illumination: The Odes of Horace, a treasure of the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Produced by the Folio Society.

Production Details: • Limited to 980 copies • Facsimile volume • Printed on Tatami paper in coloured inks with gold and silver foil • Bound in Indian smooth-grain goatskin with 5 raised bands on the spine • Gold blocked on spine, edges and doublures • Shuffled pages • 192 pages • 6¾” x 5″ (I’m not sure what “shuffled pages” means. Cards, yes. JT)

The Mewar Ramayana

Welcome to one of the world’s most beautiful Ramayana manuscripts. The original was prepared for Maharana Jagat Singh, the ruler of the Rajput kingdom of Mewar in Rajasthan, in the middle of the seventeenth century.

Most volumes of the manuscript are now in the British Library. They were presented by Maharana Bhim Singh of Mewar to Colonel James Tod who brought them back to Britain in 1823. Other parts have remained in India, held today in three separate institutions and one private collection.

Digitisation has made it possible for this long-divided manuscript to be brought together again for the first time in almost 200 years. The majority of text pages in the manuscript have been digitised as well as the paintings so that Valmiki’s work can be read in the original Sanskrit.

Link here:

Parmagianino: Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror, circa 1524.


The painting John Ashbery was referring to in his 1975 poem “Sef-portrait in a Convex Mirror”…

Of the origin of Francesco Parmigianino’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror,” 16th century painter and art historian Giorgio Vasari wrote: “He began to draw himself as he appeared in a barber’s convex glass. He had a ball of wood made at a turner’s and divided in half, and on this he set himself to paint all that he saw in the glass. Because the mirror enlarged everything that was near and diminished what was distant, he painted the hand a little large.”

Four centuries later, poet John Ashbery took up the painting in the title poem of his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror:

As Parmigianino did it, the right hand
Bigger than the head, thrust at the viewer
And swerving easily away, as though to protect
What it advertises.

Ashbery’s ecphrastic poetry is unique because, as poet David Lehman has remarked, Ashbery uses specific paintings “as points of departure that discover themselves by meditating on objets d’art, and thus displacing them. . . . Gazing at the painting, the poet comes virtually to inhabit its room, to make its quarters his own.”

– See more at:

Not sure about the hair… but: Nice Jacket!!

MONA Hobart lawn

An open-air concert put on free at MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, photo by John Tranter, 2013.


Norman Rockwell and Richard Nixon

Norman Rockwell had also met with the Republican nominee, Vice President Richard Nixon. As much as he admired President Eisenhower, Rockwell did not care for his vice president. In his studio, he worked on the portraits of Senator Kennedy and Vice President Nixon side by side. Scrupulously objective, he made sure that neither candidate flashed a millimeter more of a smile than the other. It was tedious work, not least because Nixon’s face posed unique challenges. As Peter Rockwell recalled, “My father said the problem with doing Nixon is that if you make him look nice, he doesn’t look like Nixon anymore.”


From: The Smithsonian magazine, October 2013, “Inside America’s Great Romance With Norman Rockwell”, by Deborah Solomon, at

Artist Roland Wakelin, 1887-1971


From the painting’s label at the Auckland Art Gallery:

Roland Wakelin (1887-1971), New Zealand, Wellington Rooftops c1925

Oil on Board, Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki
purchased with assistance from the friends of the Auckland Art Gallery, 1978

After arriving in Sydney [Australia] in 1912, Roland Wakelin developed theories about the experimental use of colour. He called these paintings ‘synchromies’. Created in Wellington during a brief trip home, this work’s broad colours mix angles and curves, reflecting what the artist had learned fromPost-Impressionism.

‘All will agree that a work of art should possess balance in its design, should be a cosmos, the total of whose parts make a unity. Everyone knows that 5 + 2 + 3 equals 10. To the colorist Yellow + Blue + Violet in the right proportions similarly constitute a unity.’ Roland Wakelin.

Roland Wakelin, together with his friend Lloyd Rees, taught John Tranter drawing, composition and art at the University of Sydney Architecture Faculty in 1961.


Art about The Vivian Girls, by Henry Darger (Chicago, 1892-1973), at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania. Ashbery has written a book of poetry about this art. See: , where they ask you to “Please buy something from our shop. There is all sorts of shit in here.”

Dargher painting.

Electric Bath

Ah, 1967! I once had a copy of Don Ellis’s LP “Electric Bath” … dozens of songs, huge orchestra, none in 4/4 time, every tune in an odd time signature. Boy! Here’s the (Ingres) cover.

And here’s the Tracklist: Indian Lady 8:06, Alone 5:33, Turkish Bath (the title of the Ingres painting on the cover) 10:18, Open Beauty 8:28, and New Horizons 12:22. Drop the needle on track one, turn up the volume, take a toke, and float awayyyyyy…

… Dozens of songs? There are only five! I must have been… hallucinating!