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A parallel in pictures to the world of Persephone Books.

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14th June 2024

Never mind major outdoor events or getting out all the deckchairs for a family Sunday gathering on the terrace with views over the lawn and park as the Fowlers do in Family Roundabout, given the cool, wet, British summer so far, most of us would probably be quite happy to just sit outside with a cup of tea and book. All we need is something resembling summer, as in A Summer Afternoon (undated, private collection) by Arthur Spooner (1873-1962).


13th June 2024

In her memoir Period Piece (1952), Gwen Raverat (1885-1957) who illustrated The Runaway, captures the fun and pleasure of messing about in summer in boats on the River Cam. Whether it is in small craft, or punts - as in her painting Punting (undated, Fitzwilliam Museum) - or at splendid regattas, rivers play a central role in the English summer for those fortunate enough to live near to a clean one.


12th June 2024

Before the First World War, tennis parties were mainstays of of polite suburban social lives, as recounted by Vera Brittain who felt stifled by such activities in Buxton. Tennis also features in The Wise Virgins in which the 'idle, waiting virgins of suburban Richstead (Richmond/Hampstead)' (as Lyndall Gordon describes them) 'play tennis, and dance, and go on the river'. This is Tennis at Hertingfordbury (1910, Yale Center for British Art) by Spencer Gore (1878-1914).


11th June 2024

Summer garden parties and fêtes take place in several of our books, with varying degrees of enthusiasm and success. Dorothy Whipple describes a dismal fête in Random Commentary, whilst the Provincial Lady agrees to host her village fête and, of course, manages to extract full comic potential from the event (whilst also doing the right thing). A jolly version can be seen in Four Scenes at the Friends of Bushey Museum Garden Party, 20 August 2005 by Maureen A Miles (1934-2024, Bushey Museum and Art Gallery). 


10th June 2024

On the Post this week, events and activities we hope will happen in June, weather permitting. The cricket season is underway, and with it comes the delightful subject of cricket teas, something which absorbs much of the Major's attention and energy, to the exclusion of his wife and daughters, in The Priory. They are still a feature of village greens and Test Match Special commentary. This is High Tea at the Cricket Match by Anna Todd (b1964, Withington Community Hospital).


7th June 2024

Many of the Persephone Books illustrators and endpaper designers studied at the types of local provincial art schools being researched for the Art School Project: Eric Ravilious and Tirzah Garwood at Eastbourne, Lucienne Day at Croydon, Evelyn Dunbar at Rochester, Clare Leighton at Brighton. Several went on later to the Royal College of Art, but the local art schools set them on their artistic and creative paths. This is Thanet School of Arts and Crafts in Margate (1931, Grade II listed, now the Adult Education Centre), where Mary White, whose textile design we have used for Two Cheers for Democracy, was a student. It is such a vast project, that it may yet be a while before John Beck and Matthew Cornford reach the South East.


6th June 2024

The next Art School Project exhibition will be held in Leicester from April 2025 at De Montfort University which holds the carefully preserved archives of the technical and art school, once housed in the impressive Hawthorn Building ((1897), now part of DMU). It also continues to promote a sense of pride in the history and value of art education in the city.

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