Monday, November 24, 2008

Manchester City Art Gallery talk - and mug

A very good-sized audience turned up for the rescheduled talk I gave at the Manchester City Art Gallery on 20th November. Interest in both The Collected Poems of Mervyn Peake and the last remaining copies of the hardback edition of Mervyn Peake: The Man & His Art was such, that all copies sold out.

After the talk I was taken to the gallery shop and shown new items relating to the Glassblower oil painting which is on permanent show in the main gallery. There is now a lovely china mug, with the glassblower motif which is not only reproduced twice on the outside, but appears on the inside and handle of the mug as well. A large poster of the image is available and a newly-designed postcard of the painting. This merchandise has been produced as the painting is one of the twenty most popular images in the gallery.

Treasure Island on BBC4

Part 3 of the BBC 4 Television series Picture Book, shown on 19th November, was very enthusiastic in its praise for the Mervyn Peake illustrations for Treasure Island, describing them as possibly the finest produced for this wonderful classic.

Given the book at a very young age by his own father, my father would read Stevenson's masterpiece under a tree in the courtyard of McKenzie Memorial Hospital, Tientsin, China, where his father was medical director. Memories of the impact the novel had on his own imagination, surely inspired the drawings which later brought to such vivid life, Long John Silver, Ben Gunn, Dr Livesey, Israel Hands, Jim and others.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Alice on BBC4

Last Wednesday, 12th November, the second in the three part BBC 4 Television series: Picture Book: an Illustrated History of Children's Literature featured one of Mervyn Peake's illustrations for Alices's Adventures in Wonderland. Although just fleeting on the screen, the image of Alice lying on the grass, perfectly captures her mood as she peeps into the book her sister was reading.

Titus the Gorilla

A fascinating programme featuring Titus the mountain gorilla was shown on BBC television this evening, which told of the 35 year reign of this leader of the group. It seems that the American scientist studying the group's habits in the 1970's, was reading Titus Groan at the time so decided to call him by that name.