Friday, 30 March 2012

Arthur Romney Green's lychgate

Having read Life to the Lees, (Elkin, Susan, Cromwell Press, 1998) I recently made a small detour off the A3 to All Saints Church, Catherington, near Waterlooville.  It is here that Arthur Romney Green was commissioned to make a lychgate to commemorate those that fallen in the First World War.  
Arthur Romney Green's lychgate,

Elkin writes that "Eric Gill procured for Green an important order for a war memorial lychgate...'Inside' the gate, designed into the pleasing geometrical shape of the construction, are four rectangular panels on which are carved the names of the dead.  According to Graham Castle it was from Gill that Green learned how to cut letters.  Each panel is edged with Green's characteristic fine-lined diamond patterning.  The structure includes elegantly angled shelved on which - to this day - Catherington families place wreaths." (ibid).
Arthur Romney Green's lychgate,

There is a lot of detailing in this large wooden structure, and it was fascinating to spot many Arthur Romney Green design traits as I explored the lychgate.  From the carved wording to the diamond patterning and the clover leaf gates, there really was quite a lot to see.  

The wording over the entrance reads "I am the resurrection and the life".  On the beam inside the cross is repeated, and the wording reads "For those who fell in the Great War 1914-1918".  The structure is generally in very good condition.  The gates have some water damage however.  Sadly as most visitors now approach from the car park to the side of the church, the path from the lychgate to the church has been grassed over.  The structure's outline is mirrored in the finial of the Second World War memorial which stands in front of the lychgate.

looking towards the lychgate,

the view from the lychgate,

Friday, 23 March 2012

Works of the Other Haslemere Craftsmen

The Art Journal in November 1906 published an article on 'Haslemere Arts and Crafts' by R. E. D. Sketchley which covered the main craftsmen at the time.  The article contains some interesting photographs of the works of Arthur Romney Green, Luther Hooper and the St Edmundsbury Weaving Works, all of whom had work in situ at the time in St Christopher's Church in Haslemere.

Portiere in Woven Embroidery, designed by
Luther Hooper, woven at the Green Bushes Weaving House,
Art Journal, November 1906

Dining Table of Brown English Oak, designed and made for P. Debell Tuckitt, Esq.,
by Arthur Romney Green, Art Journal, November 1906

Panelled Chest of Brown English Oak, designed and made by Arthur Romney Green,
Art Journal, November 1906

Arm Chair of English Oak, with Laced Leather Seat,
designed and made by Arthur Romney Green,
Art Journal, November 1906

Gothic Tulip Tapestry, designed by Edmund Hunter,
woven at the St Edmundsbury Weaving Works,
Art Journal, 1906

St Paul Brocade, designed by Edmund Hunter, woven at the St Edmundsbury Weaving Works,
Art Journal, November 1906
Gothic Rose Tapestry, in Silk and Aluminium,
designed by Edmund Hunter, woven at St Edmundsbury Weaving Works,
Art Journal, November 1906

Vineyard Poplin, from St Christopher's Church, designed by Edmund Hunter,
woven at St Edmundsbury Weaving Works,
Art Journal, November 1906
Superfrontal in Red and Black, designed by Edmund Hunter,
woven at St Edmundsbury Weaving Works, Art Journal, Noemvember 1906

St Christopher's Church & the Foundry Meadow artisans: Part 2

I would just like to return to St. Christopher's Church to conclude on the items that originated from Foundry Meadow.  There are no identified pieces of work by what I call the Peasant Arts movement - the Kings' Haslemere Weaving Industry and the Blounts' various Peasant Industries.

However we did identify two pieces by Arthur Romney Green: the altar chair and altar table.  Arthur Romney Green had his workshop in Foundry Meadow at the time the pieces were produced.  Both pieces are still in situ.

We also found that there had been a number of Luther Hooper hangings: a wool hanging dividing the choir vestry and chancel and silk altar curtains.  There is no trace of any Luther Hooper work at the church.

Holy table by Arthur Romney Green, altar curtains by Luther Hooper(Nicholson, C., and Spooner, C., Recent Eccelesiastical Architecture, Technical Journals Ltd., London, c.1910)

Altar chair, by Arthur Romney Green c.1903

Luther Hooper wool hanging for St Christopher's Church from
Hand-loom weaving, plain & ornamental,
Pitman & Sons, London, 1920

Curtain of Woollen Tissue, St Christopher's Church,
designed by Luther Hooper, woven by Percy C. Hooper,
from Art Journal, February 1911

Portion of Silk Damask, Side Curtain to Altar,
St. Christopher's, Haslemere
designed by Luther Hooper
from Art Journal, February 1911

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Vineyard - a beginning - Part 4

For completeness I feel that I should include how the first editorial of The Vineyard in October 1910 actually began, which was not with what I have shared so far.  Maude Egerton King begins in 'The Vineyard' itself and with a poem which she presumably wrote herself:

"Between high hills the river windeth on,
    Here washing their sheer pedestals of rock,
There, 'twixt the mountains and its rapid run,
    A little chapel, shepherding a flock

Of humble homes, o'erlooks the dust-white road,
   Where with loud whip the blue-bloused peasant drives
His mild, strong oxen : bearing a like load
    Both man and beast wear out their lowly lives.

And round the homes sweet lawny levels lie,
    Shady with fruit-trees, green with mountain rills,
And there beyond stands dark against the sky
    The pathos of the labour-mantled hills,

Whose every ledge and crag is clad in vines,
    From out the rock with brave toil hardly won,
That now await amid their tiny shrines
     In earnest patience for the ripening sun.

Courtesy of German Wine Institute

"Anyone who has stayed long enough in the Mosel country must have felt the beauty of the vineyards.  Seen, as they always are first seen by the traveller, from the river, terrace rises orderly above terrace, save where the hill-side becomes sheer cliff of rock.  Even there there is no waste if courage and industry can help it, for ever least pocket and ledge has been redeemed from savagery and must grant foothold for an isolated group of vines.  Here and there a path gleams white through the green : one, as nearly sheer as will still leave human going possible, for this is a Kreuzweg leading to the imaged Calvary on the highest headland above the stream ; another more indulgent in its slope, by which folk go to church to Our Lady of the Vineyards.

Beilstein on the Mosel,
Charles Rowbothan from

"That blue or brown speck up there among the vines is little man at his work, and never very far from him is the sign of his comfort and hope; for these labour-mantled hills are set with tiny shrines like jewels.  The traveller who would see both man and work nearer will be rewarded if he leave the tourist-boat and climb the hill.  Up and down the steep ways they go, on toil or devotion bent, the grave laborious decent men and women with their back-baskets and big cotton umbrellas, and the jolly crop-headed little boys and two plaited little maidens - all of them glad to extend to the stranger the old benedictory greeting, "Gruss Gott," that they exchange among neighbours.  Even if he cannot wait for the vintage, he will find the labour that preludes it - the keen-eyed watch that is kept for disease or insect attack, and all the skilful care whose every detail is a bit of ancient earth-craft - very good to see and think about.  He will be glad but hardly surprised to learn that here among others is grown that good wine that once won for itself the proud name of Doklor because it healed the Kaiser Maxmilian when all his learned physicians failed him."

Mosel from the hillside at Pallien
JW Turner

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Vineyard - a beginning - Part 3

Maude goes on to conclude the first editorial with:

by Godfrey Blount, from The Vineyard

"So much for The Vineyard's purpose.  And now, for the sake of honesty from the start, we will try to formulate our faith - and the faith indeed of many contemporary reformers who we hope will some day find us worthy to be numbered of their company.  If we learned it first in the teaching of the prophets of all time, the need of our own day has confirmed it as that by which alone men and nations do really live.

We believe in the soul of man and in the brain of man and in the hand his servant and schoolmaster.  We believe that our day's divorcing of mind from its ancient handicraft, of peasant husbandry from the soil, and of the soul from its native serving, is undoing us.  We believe that what is true can never die, though it be often drugged into sleep and dragged in the mire.  We believe in God ; that the Spirit is supreme ; that Man shall rise from the grave ; that Love is the fulfilling of the Law and the Master of all the Arts."

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Vineyard - a beginning - Part 2

'Peasant Tapestry from Haslemere',
The Artist, May 1901

In the first editorial of The Vineyard, Maude Egerton King goes on to say:

"What, then, is the purpose of The Vineyard?  To encourage and tend the good vine wherever we find it, and to plant it where it is not yet.  To uphold the simple traditions integral in the nature of man over against the powers of petrol and professionalism which are seeking to save him both the labour and the creative joy of living.

"For if Science is saving people from using their arms and legs, Professionalism, the inevitable product of industrial conditions, is snubbing and spoiling the innate power of song, dance, and the handicrafts of every kind.  In Art, Professionalism seeks a monopoly of beauty and fosters the notion that machinery has quite beneficently supplanted traditional handicraft; in Science and Literature it has placed intellect on a throne with the soul for its footstool and teaches us how education should be got by scientifically choking the vine with the weeds.  It follows naturally that we shall be properly suspicious of that modern mere cleverness of phrase and precious choice of word which, to simulate value, sand-paper all hand-hewn roughness, all evidence of the craftsman's vigour of mind, apologising for nature and mocking perfection.

"On the other hand, we mean to attract those who can write with reverent intimacy of peasants and the other labouring poor, with love of little children, animals and all dependent life; chroniclers of great movements and of humble household heroisms; reformers bent on helping the land bring forth her increase; craftsmen whose work is proof of how, when labour and art are one, they redeem our dreary days; and poets who can open unsuspected doors in our prison walls."

from Arbor Vitae, Blount, Godfrey, Fifield, 1910, 3rd edition

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Vineyard - a beginning - Part 1

The Vineyard, No. 1, October 1910, A.C. Fifield, London

I have finally seen the first few volumes of The Vineyard in the library at the Haslemere Educational Museum.  First published in October 1910, the journal was published by Arthur Fifield.  Fifield also published works by Greville MacDonald and Godfrey Blount, and was mentioned in Blount's will.  The contents page requests that all correspondence is addressed to "The Editors of The Vineyard, Sandhouse, Witley, Surrey".

The first contributors included predictable contributions from Maude Egerton King, Rev. Gerald Davies and Peter Rosegger who were linked to the movement, but also included two contrubtions from Katharine Tynan and others from F. Hadland Davies, Philip H. Wicksteed and Grace Rhys.

Maude Egerton King explains the purpose of the journal in the opening editorial "For reasons which I hope our Magazine will ere long explain and justify, we want its name to have a country sound and significance.  Of all such names The Vineyard seems to us the fittingest symbol of the work we would begin to-day.  For here also clear-eyed watch should be kept and here wise pruning done, and faithful planting in barren places of the ancient vine that has gladened the heart of the ages, which can bear wholesome fruit, only when by help of human faith and skill, it grows out of clean earth towards clear skies.  And here too the little shrine must gleam, faithful reminder that the wine of life - this good, commonplace, miraculous, human life of work and play - is sacramental, in earthen mug and consecrated chalice alike, to him who will accept it whence it comes.
The Vineyard, No. 1, October 1910,
A.C. Fifield, London

"This our Vineyard - English name-child of the sunnier hills - faithful to their traditions, seeks to uphold the simpler things of life, believing that the worth of life is not deepened by those mechanical adjuncts of civilisation for which man lays waste his old native power.  Grapes ripened in the sun long before hot-houses were built.  The earth is still full of mystic wonder, even though the learned man declares that taking off of shoes on holy ground is a confession of ignorance, and the practical politician that the smokey factory chimney is more necessary to an enlightened age than the burning bush.

"Certain critics will twit us with adopting such mechanical means as the Printing Press for disseminating our message.  They will remind us that it is quite impossible to print even The Vineyard without the help of that Industrialism against which we inveigh; that we are wise in using it, even though our discretion is more obvious than our sincerity, because we could never make our bow to the public without holding our enemy's hand.  But we claim to understand this paradox better than our critics, and to be quite sincere too.  We know that our printing press cannot give the best work to those it employs, however high their wages may chance to be.   We have seen the devastation now being wrought in the Black Forest, where the young trees, sawn up into countless stacks of six-foot logs, lie ready for transport to the mills that turn them into paper pulp - in order that men all the world over may daily buy for a halfpenny the stuff that lays low their own upstanding vigour and turns that also into pulp!

And yet we believe ourselves justified in using this means: first, because we have no other, and second because we shall use it in protest and warfare against its own attendant evils: "biting, bridling, and spurring the devil himself," as old Samuel Rutherford has it, "for a charge in Hell!""
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