Thursday, 27 August 2015

Ever drifting down the stream- Life, what is it but a dream?”

Dearest Emily,

We are moving shop- I expect Mummy told you.

Also- it has been raining- A LOT.

Our soon to be old/old shoppe, suited us well as we set out our stall, and tested the water.

Our new old/shoppe is opposite a stream- with a lovely view for us from its big windows...

You may have picked up here Em, that a theme is coming up in my train of thought...


Water and books don't mix.

Our new shop, has water running from the tap, and water in a stream across the road.

That'll do us nicely.

Our old shop- had water coming up through the foundations, seeping in through the back-door that was plonked in without any threshold to prevent it. Soaking wet joists rotted and fungus grew on rotting floorboards. Three de-humidifiers changed daily- merely elevated the situation to a dry-rot one.

Enough said.

We slip off down the stream, to our newly refurbished shop- with sound floorboards, and leave our de-humidifiers behind!

See you on the other-side of the Green dear Em,

Your ever-loving Grandmother,

GiGi xxx

Friday, 21 August 2015

Grotesque Sovreignity

Dearest Emily,

This week's Carrollian pensive is such a simple one- I really don't know why it hasn't crossed our path before.

Picture this-

A rather exquisite publication comes into my shop from the 1920's. It's called The Bookman. It would cost a fortune to produce these days, and very few preserved copies remain in circulation today. My new/old copies were rather mildewed, so in the process of drying them out- one by one (and a collector snapping up two 'Annual Specials', I popped a Pre-Raphaelite Special into my basket to read whilst Grumpa was at the Chiropractor. My interest was to read contemporary critiques and reviews on the PRB's from the literati of the next generation (the old inter-textuality stuff again Em, I find it helps me to get a feel of the zeitgeist at the time.)

Being rather a fan of the Grotesque cariacature, I was delighted to find that Rossetti had dabbled in this genre in 1846, with these Comic Court cards,

Something started bubbling. These were drawn fifteen years before Alice In Wonderland was penned, and very much in the Charivari (French Satirist publication to become a contemporary of Punch.)
The P.R.B's and Bohemian types of the day of course all hung out together- and the language of squib and parody was almost a secret language at Oxford and amongst the Literarty.

William Rossetti was one of the very few who tackled Dodgson on his squibbbing in the Alice's, and as we see here Dante Gabriel toyed with the Dark Art of Cariacature.

So- when a Chap comes into the Bookshop yesterday and after requesting Science and Railway books, and holding a book entitled 'How to Read Maps'- he asks'

"Do you have any Lewis Carroll?'

I point him to the relevant shelves as he tells me that he wants an edition  of Alice and Through the Looking Glass, with Tenniel illustrations- as he finds the illustrations curious.

This transpires to be because the previous day he had gone to Osborne House, and been struck by a small Bust of Queen Victoria. It was apparently with a collection of gifts given to the Royal family by Indiginous peoples.

He said he was struck by an impression that this made Victoria look like Tenniel's Queen of Hearts.

Well, you know me Em, ever on the trail. I started looking up some stuff I'd read before- which had begun a muse about the whole of the Trial and garden scene being an impression given to Dodgson when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Christchurch Deanery in 1860, following the Prince of Wales going to Christ Church as an Undergraduate.

Then, a bit more ferreting in my notes and here we have another Playing Card reference- this time from 1836...

Excerpt from Queen Victoria first Media Monarch by John Blunkett-

Followed by this-

Tenniel's trademarks in cariacature for me- always begins with the nose- he was quite particular when drawing noses- they became the first point of reference for my 'clues' in Through the Looking Glass/Freshwater Circle characters.

Here's young Victoria in profile-

And here's Tenniel's grotesque-

Considering the possibilities is still fun for me Em- could Dodgson and Tenniel have concocted such a Punk-like anarchy in a little Children's book?

And would it have been 'Off with their Heads', if Queen Victoria had not been bemused, by Lewis Carroll?

These things cross my mind, dear Emily. 

Looking forwards to coming to  stay with you in your new house!

your ever-loving Grandmother,

GiGi xxx