"Angels playing instruments are common in English art, appearing in a range of contemporary works, including embroidered vestments, sculpture and illuminated manuscripts. Angels on horseback can be found on wall paintings and in earlier manuscripts, representing Christ's holy army as described in Revelation. However the Steeple Aston Cope is unique in its conflation of these two elements." English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum.
I made a special trip to London yesterday to see the Opus Anglicanum exhibit at the V&A, and I'm so glad I did; if medieval embroidery is your thing, then go forthwith! I doubt you'll find queues stretching round the block, but in its own quiet* way this is an astonishing show. Photography is not permitted, hence the souvenir postcard showing a detail from the Steeple Aston Cope, one of the many highlights; the piece dates from 1330-40, and what you see there is believed to be the earliest English depiction of a lute.
*Quiet until we reached the later sections when rock music from the museum's own shop next door to the exhibition galleries seeped in to break the medieval spell - pity the angel couldn't have amped up his lute...
Angie Lewin's work is known to and loved by many who visit here, and a forthcoming exhibition of hers will be of great interest, I'm sure. A Printmaker's Journey, curated by the artist herself, will include not just her own work but pieces which have inspired and influenced her throughout her career - ceramics by Eric Ravilious and Paul Scott, wallpapers by Edward Bawden, textiles by Ashley Havinden, and woven willow work by Lizzie Farey among them.
"The exhibition includes work selected by Angie from a wide range of disciplines and periods which leads the visitor through the inspirations and affinities which have influenced her journey as a printmaker and designer. A very personal selection, A Printmaker’s Journey is very much Angie reflecting on her own work and career as she shares with visitors the works and artists she has looked to for inspiration or personally loves."
The fruit of 36 years of work by Richard Ormond - John Singer Sargent's great nephew - and others, Yale University Press' series John Singer Sargent: The Complete Paintings has reached its end with the publication of Volume IX.
If you're a Sargent fan and feel like a splurge, Yale are offering a generous 20% discount on the books (UK orders only) until the 24th. of December - you'll find the code here.
This interview with Richard Ormond casts light on what must have been a fascinating if daunting project, and if you'd like to know more about the Sargent portrait above, Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, click here for a short video from Edinburgh's National Gallery of Scotland where the painting is part of the permanent collection.
I've talked about Bluebellgray before (here, for instance), but as they've just brought out a rather nice looking notebook - and so many of us are stationery fanatics - I'm mentioning them again. A point to note: postage is pretty steep if you're ordering just one item, but they do occasionally offer free shipping, so keep an eye out for that.
The Goldfinch has taken a pre-Christmas perch at The National Gallery of Scotland. Apparently Carel Fabritius' masterpiece doesn't leave its home in The Netherlands very often, and during its last outing - to the Frick in 2014 - 200,000 people saw it, many of them queuing in sub-zero temperatures. Here in Edinburgh it was a bit nippy this morning, but there were no queues whatsoever at the gallery and only two or three people viewing the painting at any one time while we were there, so going early was a good move.
The painting featured in Friday's edition of Front Row, and if you fast forward to the 8.17 mark there you can hear it discussed along with Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring, the novels they both inspired, and "narrative mystery".
If you keep up to date with Angie Lewin's news you'll know about the annual Art Workers' Guild auction. This year's takes place on Monday, 31st. October, but there's still time to bid if any of the lots - not least Angie's (nos. 59 & 109) - should catch your eye.
According to the catalogue of the National Museum of Scotland here in Edinburgh where the garment is on display in the Fashion & Style gallery, it dates from 1910, but Cursiter painted his picture in 1923. Did he borrow it from the collection for the purpose? I'd like to know more about the painting's backstory (and I love the blue scarf).
On the subject of Fair Isle knitting, I recommend the Fruity Knitting podcast presented by Andrew and Andrea. While Andrew is fairly new to the needles, his wife Andrea is a highly accomplished knitter, and her Alice Starmore colourwork in particular is awe-inspiring.
To mark the 150th. anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, here is Delmar Banner's 1938 portrait of the naturalist, artist, writer, conservationist, and farmer, whose books are loved the world over.