Monday, 21 July 2014

Summer Exhaustion

Hello my darlings and I must apologise for my absence.  I have been working my little socks off for my day job, including a stint at History Live! (The exclamation mark is part of the title of the event, I wasn't getting over-excited).  Anyway, I am now absolutely knackered, having spent the weekend in a marquee being slowly boiled to death in the humidity.  I thought, as I recline on my sofa at home, I ought to show you some nice pictures of summer, just to remind myself that it is a beautiful season, even if you are wearing a polyester corporate polo shirt...

Flaming June Frederic Leighton
No discussion of summer collapse can begin in anyway other than Flaming June.  I used to think the lady's name was June when I was little and that possibly the painter was cross with her.  Flamin' June!  She must be the archetypal woman who can no longer cope with summer, but she does it so elegantly and with only a hint of nipple flash.  I am going to pretend I look this elegant, sprawled on my sofa.  You can't see me and therefore can't point out that I am more of a disorganised heap of womanhood rather than a gorgeously curled goddess.  Moving on...

Midsummer Albert Moore
If you want images of summer heaps, then Albert Moore is definitely your man.  This is such a lovely image and always reminds me of Flaming June.  I wonder if Moore had seen Leighton's orange-y masterpiece when he produced this?  Anyway, I want to be the one in the middle of this picture, gently fanned by my loyal handmaidens who really aren't muttering 'lazy cow' under their breaths.

A Summer Night Albert Moore
I like to think the one in the middle is laying there thinking 'Why does it always end up like this?  Three bottles of Lambrini and a boob contest!'  Actually, I find the palette he used for this one rather chilly, compared to that of Midsummer.  Maybe someone turned the air-conditioning on?  I really like the pale gold of the furniture, with the white drapes and the black lacquer.  Albert Moore always seems to do jelly-mould boobs, it's most peculiar.  They are solidly set, that's for sure.  Incidentally, I have a boob jelly mould; it was a present and they also gave me some gold leaf to gild the nipples.  Nothing says decadent jelly like a gilded nipple.  Moving on...

Summer Pleasures (1890) Hugh Cameron
 I get to go to the seaside on holiday in a few weeks time, I can' wait.  I used to live by a beach and there is no more lovely feeling than cool water over your toes in the heat of a summer's day.  Look, even the dog knows it in the picture above.  Glorious.

July Sun (1913) Henry Scott Tuke
I have a soft spot for Tuke as he evens the score for the endless nudey ladies there are in art.  Well done that man!  He does a great line in collapsed young men in the sunshine too, so it's good to know it's not just the fairer sex who just can't cope.  The man in the picture above is looking at the sea while sitting on a rock.  Now, I don't mean to be picky but he can't be very comfy and surely he'd do better to go into the sea and cool down.  Maybe he's waiting for someone?  Hang on...

Noonday Heat (1903) Henry Scott Tuke
That's good.  If you are going to recline in sunshine, do it with a friend.  At least you have someone to talk to.  One of these gentlemen is still vaguely dressed.  What's that all about?  Really, that's not in the spirit of it at all.  How did he get into a Tuke painting with his clothes on?  The water looks rather splendid behind them, all twinkling and clear, but they are too absorbed in each other. I do hope they are wearing suntan lotion.

Summer Morning Interior (1917) Ernest Townsend
This might win as my favourite image of summer as it is just beautiful.  It is awfully Vermeer-y, and also reminded me of some of William Paxton's pictures of this era, although Townsend is at the far end of it.  The parasol is delightfully furled against the wall, waiting to go out.  It is an image of summer which is joyous and sensible.  The woman looks happy as the sunlight streams on her face.  She is literally all lit up.  However, she is dressed sensibly, with a parasol to hand and is not venturing out in the heat, merely observing the glory of it from a window.  Sensible lady.

When Apples were Golden and Songs were Sweet but Summer had Passed Away
(1906) John Melhuish Strudwick
Strudwick's catchily titled ode to the passing of Summer is my endnote today. However hot and floppy I feel, it will soon be autumn.  I will endeavour to enjoy the sunshine, probably from indoors, while it lasts, liberally sprayed with my rum and clove mix to keep off the mosquitoes.

 Remember to take care in the sunshine, m'dears, and I will catch up with you at the end of the week...


  1. Only eight years after the Wilde trial, Tuke's painting was risqué enough without being called 'I'm not going to kiss you until you take your trousers off, my lad'.

  2. That is possibly the finest title for a painting ever.

  3. This post just makes me smile. And sigh. You are a peach.

  4. I do my best. Thank you for your comments!

  5. I spent part of this past weekend lounging on the couch devouring "A Curl of Copper and Pearl". Sadly it was while wearing a pair of old jeans and a ratty tank top, not a stunning diaphanous gown. Ah well.

  6. Oh good-o. You could always pretend, no-one would know. I hope you enjoyed it!

    1. Finished it yesterday and yes I did! I liked the dreamlike ending, it felt true to the atmosphere of the book, which at times could feel very dreamlike and claustrophobic with all interior locations and oblique references . Also, I feel like you captured that these artists and muses were Victorians, and how that accounted a lot for their social mores, morals and actions (and in contrast, how Fanny's forthright behavior stood out). Brava!

    2. Well done, my love, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  7. I hate to be a pedant but its unlikely Moore had seen Flaming June as he died at least two years before it was painted. The influence therefore, if there were any, must have been the other way about.

  8. You can be as pedantic as you like, darling. Of course you are right, and I wonder if Leighton had seen it as the colour palette and inference in tone is so similar.

    Thank you for your comment!

  9. If you're enjoying the summer from indoors anyway, I suggest putting the rum on the inside.

  10. If I'm spraying and I yawn, who's to know it wasn't an accident that most of the bottle got sprayed in my mouth?

  11. People always say 'I hate to be a pedant', but I love it. Being a pedant is fun but it is also socially useful. We are necessary guardians of rectitude, of course, but we are also provocateurs. How many original thoughts would have gone unarticulated if it not for some tiresome old codger laying down the law? We are public-spirited, too, willingly sacrificing our popularity in the service of our fellow man. It would be easy not to persistently correct other people's mistakes, but we have too elevated a sense of social responsibility ever to take that course of least resistance.

  12. Thank-you for making me feel better about myself Simon! I'm 50 now but decided to be a "tiresome old codger" when I was about 23. I figured it would save time later and I have been proved right.


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx