A few weeks ago we were wandering by Weymouth Quay and suddenly we saw a massive building, on whose façade one may read “Brewers Quay”. That building was an old distillery reused for art and craft shops. Dozens of little shops occupied both floors, offering a motley route where there were machinery, products and workers before. You could find Victorian style furniture, 1980’s football cards, jewelry, books or clothes. Then we might say, a sale and purchase warehouse, so it was a good place to rescue hidden treasures.
My eyes weren’t able to stop, nothing caught my attention beyond “what a curious stuff”. Just making lightly value judgements, it would be “Christ, that is quite ugly!”. I wouldn’t be writing this post if the story ended up here. In a steel bin concealed on a corner I found a art magazine with a certain aroma of nineteenth century:
“The Hundred Best Pictures”. When was it published? What did it contain? My sense of smell (who knows me will understand this joke) told me that was old, 60 years or so. That occasion was conductive to practice my english with the kind mid-sixties assistant. “Excuse me, I would like to know how old this magazine is…”. Five minutes later we came out the building with my magazine under my arm and realizing internet was stronger than my English. There I found all the answers, at least those that one can find without using carbon fourteen technique. My gut didn’t fail. That precious had been edited from 1901 to 1905. The publication was carried out by Charles Letts and co., London company founded at Stockwell, London, in mid-nineteenth century. My magazine is the number seven, belonging a seventeen parts collection. It was worth one Schilling each one. Focusing on ours, its binding either as “waiting bookbinding” or “temporary bookbinding” so it was thought to be discarded once you bought the definitive one, which we may see below:
On the “waiting bookbinding” covers and leaves are sewn to the core by a cord. On taking a look on the sheets we realize they are divided in two: those in which appear the biography of a artist and those in which appear a brief description of a painting besides a photogravure of that painting. This technique, the photogravure, is very interesting, if you want further information (should do it if you like photography) google it.
We might underline some more curiosities. English-speaking people write “Velasquez” with “s” instead of “z” but they write the French names in perfect French. I don’t know what happens here and that upsets me very much. On reading about Murillo, I found this sentence: “His earlier pictures were nearly all representations of peasant life, but he later adopted a religious and mare serious form of art, of which the Immaculate Conception is perhaps his masterpiece”. For God’s sake! How may be somebody able to write that a picture of a tramp child getting the fleas out of him is not serious art? Anyway, the most interesting thing is that after studding the all document a piece of information confirmed the antiqueness of the magazine. “The blue boy”, Thomas Gainsborough’s oil, is not in Duke of Westminster’s collection any more (as one can read on the image), so it was purchased by Joseph Duveen, an art dealer, and now it is at Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Finally, Now I could buy the remaining numbers either in that brewery or internet. Yes, you can call me freaky if you want, but I am thinking about that who paint his face and wait 8 hours making a queue to buy a football tickets, that who knows the cubic capacity of the last twenty models of Ferrari, that who updates his or her facebook after rowing with his or her couple (What a horrible day! Please, I need a coffee. Who wanna join me?), that who turns crazy collecting beers bottles around the world. They aren’t freaks, are they?