“Seriously Wacky and Occasionally Mad” – The New Arcadian Journal

I first came across Patrick Eyres and The New Arcadian Journal a few years ago when I was studying the Open University Course “Heritage, Whose Heritage?”. There was a chapter in the book Sculpture and the Garden which is edited by Eyres that particularly interested me.

Then last week at the Leeds Library I noticed an advertisement for a talk at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds :

“Drawings and proofs for the New Arcadian Journal: “The

Blackamoor” Wednesday 7th March 2012

An evening with Dr Patrick Eyres at the Henry Moore Institute Wednesday 7th March

18.30-20.00

Drawings and proofs for the New Arcadian Journal: “The Blackamoor”.

An evening with Dr Patrick Eyres at the Henry Moore Institute.  Enjoy a glass of wine, a powerpoint talk, see the display, talk with the illustrators and look at the Institute’s Library.

This event is £5.00 a head – numbers are limited to thirty.  Please book your place with payment at the Leeds Library.  Contact us for more information.”

I bought my ticket and then by happy chance came across this article in Saturday’s Yorkshire Post : Jottings from the Journal.

Dr Eyres’ entertaining talk celebrating thirty years of the New Arcadian Journal centred on the latest issue entitled “The Blackamoor and the Georgian Garden”. The Blackamoor was the most popular of all lead statues made in Britain during the 18th century which, by coincidence, was the height of British dominance in the African slave trade. Probably very many of the statues were destroyed or melted down following the abolition of slavery and in more enlightened times. Dr Eyres has tracked down 20 including 2 in the Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace, one in Lincoln’s Inn in London, another at Melbourne Hall in Derbyshire and another supporting a sundial at Wentworth Castle in South Yorkshire which is currently under restoration and the topic of interpretation work. The talk was illustrated with photos of the various statues and reproductions of the beautiful drawings and prints (the work of artists Catherine Aldred and Howard Eaglestone who were also present this evening). It seems that the Blackamoor (African) along with the North American Red Indian were used to symbolise their continents of origin. There were emblems for Europe and Asia as well. These were also illustrated in the popular 16th and 17th century Books of Emblems.

After the talk we were shown the small exhibition in the Henry Moore Library where examples of drawings and copies of the Journal itself were displayed.

Catherine and Howard spoke briefly about their own work which as you can see is exquisite. Howard’s pictures also display humour as you can see from the above examples.

A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life – The Leeds Library

Actually, the Leeds Library is my luxury!

I signed up to join The Leeds Library on 5 March 2008 and have never looked back. In fact I don’t know why I didn’t do so decades ago but there were several reasons for this. Membership was a bit more restricted in the old days, one had to buy shares. I thought I would never manage to get into Leeds every week or so. And I thought it would be outrageously expensive. But it’s turned out that none of those reasons apply now.

Each time I push the door open I enter a paradise – the smell, the smiles of the counter staff, the walls and walls of books, the lovely solid polished library furniture all combine to give me the most uplifting feeling imaginable. And I’m there almost every week.

I think there are rules but I have not yet fallen foul of them. I currently have 15 books on loan one of which is a 12 week loan and has been renewed 13 times! If another borrower requests it I’ll take it back straight away but I need time to read these huge tomes – there’s a time and a place for Orlando Figes’ ‘Natasha’s Dance’ and Edna Healey’s ‘Coutts & Co.: a portrait of  a private bank’. I’m still working my way through the 8 times renewed ‘Queen Mary’. I have another 2 books brought up from the depths of the basement stack especially for me: Joanna Cannan’s ‘Little I understood’ and Sarah Orne Jewett’s ‘The Queen’s Twin and other stories’. Waiting patiently to be read are some brand new books (Jane Brown’s ‘The omnipotent magician’ and ‘The Maids of La Rochelle’ by Elinor Brent-Dyer) which I’m the first person to borrow. I have several other books, taken straight from the shelves, (‘Pushkin’s Button’ by Serena Vitale, ‘A literary pilgrim’ by Edward Thomas) or the waiting list has finally got down to me (‘We are Besieged’ by Barbara Fitzgerald, ‘Hidden Treasures of England’ by Michael McNay).

In addition to books we can borrow magazines and DVDs. I’m on the list for The New Yorker which has at least one long article well worth reading alongside a couple of shorter ones and I absolutely love the cartoons. On the back page there is a competition – a new cartoon with no caption, a cartoon with 3 selected captions for readers to vote for and finally the winning caption with its cartoon. Never a dud! The other weekly magazine I’m on the list for is Country Life. This is because they often feature old houses, buildings, gardens and sometimes Landmark Trust properties. It’s almost as entertaining looking at the property pages in Country Life as it is studying the cartoons in the New Yorker!

Who needs Lovefilm? I don’t. On Friday I will be returning ‘Mildred Pierce’. Over the years I’ve caught up with missed TV programmes like ‘Who do you think you are?’, ‘Any human heart’ and the complete ‘Pallisers’ and I see from my Reservations List that ‘Daniel Deronda’ is waiting for me to enjoy on a winter evening next week. Now how civilised is that?

We Will Remember Them

Today a Service of Remembrance was held at The Royal Armouries in Leeds. The Regimental Standards were presented and after The Last Post, the Two Minutes Silence and The Reveille the names of the British servicemen and women from Yorkshire and The Yorkshire Regiment to fall in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the names of all the fallen from The Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire since 1966 were read. At the same time wreaths were laid and poppies floated down from the galleries above the main atrium where the service was held.

Ode to Remembrance

from For The Fallen by Lawrence Binyon

They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old,

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them

We will remember them