Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Mervyn Peake talk at the National Archive, Kew.

Titled Landscape with Figures, the painting above is from the series produced early in the war, as if from Hitler's own portfolio.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Sunday Books reviewed

Alison Flood writes in The Guardian on 26th April.

And more about Mervyn Peake in previous articles in The Guardian here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A peek at Peake

Advising the publisher for whom he was scouting at the time, the writer Graham Greene suggested that Titus Groan, and later Gormenghast should not include the margin drawings which were included in the submitted manuscript. From 1946 until the summer of 2011 this remained the case with just a very few of the hundred plus character sketches and finished illustrations included for the reader's visual guidance. It is wonderful therefore that in a little under three months all the secrets of the original manuscript will be revealed to the world. Figures from the books will then be brought to radiant life.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The British Library, which acquired the Mervyn Peake archive in the spring of 2010, have just announced a wide-ranging series of exhibitions and talks to be held during this centenary year. A selection of drawings, manuscripts and notebooks from the archive will be on display, with lectures held in the conference centre.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Under a Canvas Sky

An extract from Clare Peake's book, to be published in June, has been made available by the publisher. Follow the link for a preview of this long-awaited memoir of life with her parents.

Titus Awakes, introduction by Brian Sibley

The writer and broadcaster, Brian Sibley, was a regular visitor of Maeve Gilmore's when she was working on this book. She discussed it with him in depth at that time so to have an introduction by Brian in the book's eventual published form so many years later is both a fascinating insight and an indication of the warmth with which she is still regarded by those around her at the time.

You will have to wait until 7th July when the book is published to read the full introduction but in the mean time, Brian writes:

"As the writing slowly progressed it evolved. What had begun as an act of homage - attempting to emulate Mervyn's narrative style - was now being expressed in Maeve's own distinctive voice which had already found eloquent expression in her emotionally charged memoir, A World Away (1970)."

Brian has also been commissioned by the BBC to write a new radio adaptation of the three Gormenghast books and Titus Awakes. This will be broadcast as the "Classic Serial" from Sunday, 10th July. Information on times can be found on Centenary Events.

Alison Eldred

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Two more Parkinson's talks

Sebastian Peake, with a few of the 75 strong audience after speaking about Mervyn Peake at the Plymouth branch of the Parkinson's UK on 12th April. The following day a separate talk was given at the Eden Project, St Austell, Cornwall where one of the famous vast white globes was filled with those with Parkinson's who had travelled from all over the county, including the Isles of Scilly.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Centenary Celebrations begin

It's now just three months until the centenary of Mervyn Peake's birth and, from my position as provider of digital images to publishers, galleries and museums, I now intend to write the occasional blog on Sebastian's behalf to bring readers up to date.

This week sees the opening of the exhibition at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. This will be the first chance to see (in the UK) the collection of illustrations originally brought together for the major exhibition in Switzerland last year at Maison d'Ailleurs. It's an excellent way to begin the centenary celebrations. It is a fine exhibition, and it includes Treasure Island, Grimm's Household Tales, Captain Slaughterboard, Rhymes without Reason and six detailed charater studies of characters from Gormenghast.

The permanent exhibition at this beautiful Queen Anne House includes work by Henry Moore, John Piper and Graham Sutherland as well as more modern artists. For that reason, we suggested that one or two of Mervyn Peake's oil paintings were included to remind visitors that he was also a painter. The painting above, of the two clowns, is one of them.

Here is a review of the exhibition by Dominic Smith of The Argus.

Chichester is the perfect place to open the celebrations as it will also be the venue for the first Mervyn Peake International Conference. Regular readers of the blog will know that this is planned for 14th to 16th July and is being run by the Department of English and Creative Writing at Chichester University together with The Sussex Centre for Folklore Fairy Tales and Fantasy.

You can follow the dedicated blog if you'd like to read more about the conference.

There are now many other events planned for the rest of this year and details can be found here, or in the main menu.

Many new publications are being planned, including the new Illustrated Gormenghast, and they can be found here, or in the main menu.

If you'd like to know more, you might like to "follow" this blog. Click here to find out more.

Alison Eldred

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Mervyn Peake Interview at King's Place

The writer and broadcaster Brian Sibley, writer of the forthcoming serialisation of the Titus Books on BBC Radio, will be on stage at the wonderful new King's Place concert hall, for a discussion with both Fabian and Sebastian Peake on 7th November 2011, at 7.00 pm. The topics will range across poetry, art and literature, and will highlight the many new publications and exhibitions that have been a feature of this centenary year.

Further details: King's Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG  020 7520 1490

Michael Moorcock

Unfortunately Michel Moorcock, one of Mervyn Peake's greatest champions over the last few decades, will not be able to attend in person the Peake conference at Chichester University in July as noted on the conference website.