Archive for enid blyton

Pre Raphaelite Delights that last longer than 15 minutes with Lashings of Ginger Beer,

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, BOOKS! DEAR READER I READ IT, DESIGN, exhibitions, HISTORY, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2011 by echostains

It’s been ages since I last posted (the longest yet) but I hope to make amends today by writing a longer post – a kind of round-up of posts I should have written.

Enid Blyton

The 11th August was popular children’s writer Enid Blyton’s birthday (11 August 1897 – 28 November 1968).  Here’s a  a link to another post I wrote about this author over on my Bookstains.  Eileen A Soper illustrated every one of 21   Famous Five books. 


Eileen A Soper (b. 1905 – 1990 Hertfordshire UK)was an illustrator , print maker and a watercolourist.  She had her first exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1921 at the age of 15, making her the youngest artist ever to exhibit.  Two of her etchings were bought by Queen Mary. 




Her work has great nostalgic appeal and is as attractive today to adults as it was a source of delight to them when they were  children.  A gallery of this artist’s work can be found here






Eileen Sitting in a chair watercolour 1923

Other artists birthdays include Andy Warhol whose birthday I celebrated a while back with this post which featured one a page of my altered book  (this book is still ongoing… complete with artist research)

Andy Warhol-Self-Portrait-1986














Work by Ford Madox Brown

News of an exciting exhibition is coming to Manchester City Gallery (Saturday 24 September 2011 – Sunday 29 January 2012)  A major exhibition of Pre Raphaelite artist Ford Maddox Brown will go on show.  Over 140 paintings by the artist, including his Manchester Town Hall murals (which I have seen) will be exhibited.  The work will be divided into different themes and periods of  the artist’s life including his radical change of direction artistically.  Ford Madox Brown is particularly well-known for his narrative paintings which relate to life in the Victorian age and I think that viewing the paintings collectively will  give the viewer a clearer idea of how radical the Pre Raphaelites really were.  The 12 paintings, known as The Manchester murals depict life in the city in the Victorian age – a must for any Mancunian interested in their city.  The exhibition which will also include a rediscovered painting by the artist.  The painting The Seraph’s Watch  could prove to be a crowd puller.  Here’s a tantalising detail from it below.

Eileen A Soper Gallery (images from there)

Heather’s Blyton pages (all the book images can be found here too)

Manchester City Art Gallery 

The Enid Blyton Society

Andy Warhol image and art history here

More about Ford Madox Brown (and Work image) here

Seraph’s Watch image and an interesting article about this exhibition and Victorian art in general here

Watched: Margot!

Posted in WATCHED with tags , , , , , , on December 5, 2009 by echostains

This Post is one in a special week celebrating  Echostains I year Birthday blog


I watched the previous two of these BBC  4 biopics so I thought I might as well catch up on the last one – Dame Margot Fonteyn, Prima ballerina: probably the most famous ballerina.  She was played by Anne-Marie Duff and played very well I may add.

The programme opens with Margot’s husband Panamanian diplomat and  playboy Tito  (Dr Robert Arias)  who is in jail. But Margot flies back to London from Panama because  the show must go on…..  Tito is released and reunited with his wife.  He hasn’t got much time for the ballet, which he makes clear, he is  more concerned with the political intrigues he is involved in.

anne marie duff excellent

Derek Jacobi plays Sir Frederick Ashton, The Royal Ballet’s leading choreographer and friend.  He is reminded of the ‘old days’ a lot and is always pumping Fonteyn about information of her husbands prowess and cringes about ‘Coppelia’ in Wigan.  From his innuendos’ we gather that Margot has got a bit of history and that they both have known each other a long time.


Duff and Huisman

Nureyev is played by Michiel Huisman. I was a bit dubious at first, but he and Duff looked great together on stage, though the real dancing was done by doubles.   Whilst Nureyev joins the ballet as a promising newcomer, Tito is preoccupied with buying weapons for his cause.  I must admit, I didn’t like the crude boorish Tito one bit.  I can only think that Fonteyn liked the subterfuge and excitement.


just good friends? probably

Nureyev  moves into theEmbassy (Fonteyn’s home) with the lonely Fonteyn.  The divide between Tito and his wife is ever-widening.  He refers to her as a child of the theatre in front of their friends.  Meanwhile things are hotting up with the young Nureyev and the older Fonteyn.  They dance together and soon become lovers (or so the ‘story’ goes).  According to Auntie Fred  Ashton, Nureyev has improved her dance……..


Of course Fonteyn denies any unprofessional attachment.  Nureyev has his gay lovers, which he brings back to the house.  But these two dance like a dream and Tito is totally uninterested in the dance apart from the money it brings in to buy arms with.   It  is inevitable that he eventually does go too far………  but that’s not the end of the story…….

the very photogenic nureyev

 Bit by bit the ‘sacrifices’ her need for surgery, the ‘debt’ that she owes to her mother are revealed.  Yet Fonteyn knows that she has nothing, except prestige.  The woman is looking for something else  and perhaps that is what she sees in Tito, – that he sees her as a woman not a ballerina.


The film is interspersed with interviews, which reveal quite a lot about Fonteyn.  It’s what she doesn’t say that reveals the most.  In one interview, she does say that she likes hiding behind the characters she plays, and that it is like leading a second life.  She also likes to ‘put things away in boxes’ not to be thought of again.  This reminded me of Enid Blyton, escaping from reality.  Perhaps Gracie Fields escaped in a different way, literally – but was torn by her roots and loyalty towards the troops and her Italian husband.  On the face of it, it would seem that these three women didn’t have much in common, – but perhaps this was the theme of the biopics.

Watch the whole programme HERE

Read about Fonteyn’s time as a dancer and how things have changed now for dancers HERE

Smashing article about this programme and some information about the making of it HERE

Also watched in this series: Enid Blyton

Upstairs Downstairs series 5

Watched: ‘Enid’ BBC4

Posted in WATCHED with tags , , , , on November 18, 2009 by echostains

This post has been moved over to my Bookstains blog here