One of the joys of blogging is being introduced to things you are completely unaware of by readers.
I knew of the once-famous poet Stephen Spender (friend of Auden, whose collected poems I treated myself to a month back. Over 900 pages!) but I knew nothing of one of his brothers, Humphrey Spender (1910-2005) until Arthur T introduced me to him this weekend, telling me that, having studied architecture, Humphrey became a photographer working on the Mass Observation project.
I've been reading up on him and looking at his remarkable photos of Bolton, Lancs (aka Worktown) and The Potteries.
I was going to add some of those photos of Bolton to this post but Bolton Council has their copyright plastered all over them. So here instead are a selection of Humphrey's varied paintings, which I very much like.
And while on the subject of being introduced to things, Saturday Night is Music Night, so here's Pentangle's theme to 1960s BBC series Take Three Girls (the first drama to be broadcast in colour), which Charlie and MB were discussing yesterday. I'd never heard of it.
Artists of Spender's day, ie mid-Century, formed themselves into informal communities that were open and accessible. On the face of it, there seems to have been little in the way of professional rivalry, and little to stop their work being aired on the BBC. We knew little of their political affiliations, their worth, their sexuality or their religion. That openness changed in the 1970s and 1980s when the cult of the celebrity individual took root. These aspects became important up to the point where unless their profile matched, their work, however good, was of no interest.ReplyDelete
Humphrey Spender commissioned Richard Rogers to design his house/studio in Middlesex when Rogers was hardly known. I believe it was his first solo commission.