Exhibition Review ‘From Hamlet to Hollywood’ The Barley Hall York

Posted in period drama with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2012 by echostains

There promises to be a lot more activity on Bookstains this year – and a lot of changes.  It seems that these days that everyone and their wives are doing poetry challenges,  so I feel that it is time to close mine in order to retain some originality.  I shall still be featuring poetry but it shall be in a completely different format.  I’m way behind with my book and film reviews, but I have taken notes, so expect these to appear in the form of posts soon.

To kick off 2012, here is a post about costume.  I was undecided at first about which blog to use for this post.  Although ‘echostains’ is an art and design blog, the clothes featured were actually worn by actors in films (period drama’s which were sometimes derived from books). So Bookstains it is.

The place these pictures were taken was the wonderful Medieval Barley Hall in York, UK.  December 2011 saw us visiting one of our favorite places (York) for a few days before Christmas.  The weather was at its most treacherous – blowing a gale with lashings of Yorkshire rain.  However we managed to find a safe haven in The Barley Hall which was all set out for a Medieval Christmas.

We’ve visited York a lot, yet this was one building we have never been in.  Although it has long been known that there was a medieval building in the Stonegate vicinity, the building wasn’t actually officially recorded as Medieval until 1980.  When the site was sold for redevelopment, it then became clear that the extent of the medieval structure was substantial.

The oldest part of the reconstructed Barley Hall dates back to about 1360.  The house was  built as a townhouse of Nostell Priory, which is monastery in West Yorkshire.  In 1430, a new wing was added and soon after,  the Hall became the home of William Snawsell, a leading York citizen, who was a goldsmith, an Alderman and Lord Mayor of York.

The atmosphere of the hall is wonderful and it was especially enhanced by the Christmas decorations.  Charming as the Hall is, we received an unexpected surprise when we ventured upstairs.  An exhibition of Period Drama clothes awaited us – some of them instantly recognisable.  I didn’t know which ones to examine first, I was so excited!

Lizzie and Darcy clothes from BBC Pride and Prejudice

What a joy to be able to scrutinise  the actual clothes which Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth wore in Andrew Davies adaptation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice BBC 1995!  Lizzie’s jacket is the one worn in the scene where Darcy successfully proposes to her.  Other Pride and Prejudice clothes  featured in the exhibition are hats worn by the characters Lady Catherine de Bourgh and the haughty Miss Bingley.

From the Georgian era to the Late Edwardian era.  Costumes from the gorgeous Downton Abbey, created and written by Julian Fellowes, which premiered on ITV, September 2010. The latest episode was shown the Christmas period 2011.  The image below shows a dress worn by Dame Maggie Smith who plays The Rt Hon Violet, Countess of Grantham.  Her costumes are built to reflect the style appropriate of her heyday (early Edwardian) rather than the younger fashions of the day.  This is a stunning gown!

As worn by Dame Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

Tim Burton’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ 2007 (which starred Alan Rickman and Johnny Depp), features a pair of bloodstained trousers and an outfit worn by Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin with an explanation of how clothes are distressed for the bloody scenes.

bloodstained trousers from Sweeney Todd

Thanks to York dig  for providing the first image, and The Barley Hall for providing the black and white photo.  All other photographs are my own.

The exhibition is open until March 2012 – please drop in if you are in the area.  You will be well rewarded!

For lots more information please visit http://www.barleyhall.org.uk/

More info about Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd film costumes here

PLUS

PS it’s Chaim Soutine’s Birthday!

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Happy Belated Birthday Walt Disney!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 16, 2011 by echostains

December 5th saw the   birthday celebration of famous American animator Walt Disney (1901-1966)   Disney was not only an animator, he was also a film producer, screen writer and voice actor.  He has become a national icon in his own right. Disney, an entrapenairre  and a showman went on to design theme parks, and become one of the best known motion picture producer in the world.

Walt Disney founded Walt Disney Productions along with this brother Roy O. Disney (now known as The Walt Disney Company)  He created the Micky Mouse character, and also the original voice.  He has won a vast amount of acclaim and awards for his contribution to film, including  4 Honary Academy awards, 22 out of 59 Academy awards and 7 Emmy’s.  He died in 1966 of lung cancer in California.

I have always thought the surname ‘Disney’ a very unusual one and was surprised to find that the name comes from Arundal Disney, a descendant of Frenchman d’Isigny who travelled to England with William the Conqueror in 1066.  The name became anglicised to ‘Disney’ and the family settled in a Lincolnshire village  now called Norton Disney.

Disney films have also been firm favorites with old and young alike and often hold happy memories of family outings to the cinema.  The list of Disney’s films is far too long to list so I have taken some which I think the most popular and put them in a poll to find out which films are your particular favorite.  Apologies in advance if I have missed out yours.

Thanks to Fredfredbug4 for the video

For more about Walt Disney’s life and achievements please visit the Walt Disney Family Museum

Happy Belated Birthday Samuel Taylor Coleridge!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 28, 2011 by echostains

On 21st day of this month in 1772  the English poet and critic  Samuel Taylor Coleridge (died 25 July 1834) was born.  Along with his friend William Wordsworth he was a founder member of the Romantic movement and was also one of the Lake Poets.  His most well-known poems include Khubla Kahn and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner‘.  His acclaimed critical work about William Shakespeare was highly instrumental for in introducing German Idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture.

Coleridge also introduced many well coined expressions such as ‘suspension of disbelief’ and had an influence of American Transcendentalism.  He suffered a lot from anxiety and depression and may have been an undiagnosed bipolar sufferer in his adult life.  This coupled with bouts of physical illness – the aftermath of rheumatic fever and other childhood illness led to his eventual dependency and addiction to Opium.  Kublah Kahn, Coleridge claimed was written as a response to an opium dream.

Coleridge also wrote lots of ‘conversation poems’ The Eolian Harp’ 1795, ‘Reflections on having left a place of retirement’ 1795  ‘This Lime Tree Bower my Prison’ 1797, ‘Frost at Midnight’ 1798, ‘Fears in Solitude’ 1798, ‘The Nightingale: A conversation poem’ 1798 and ‘Dejection: An Ode’ 1802.

To get a more detailed idea of Coleridge, the man, his work and his contribution to Romanticism, you really must visit the fabulous website known as ‘Her Aeolian Harp‘.  There you can indulge in poetry and humanities dedicated to Romanticism  with beautiful videos.

Video by Her Aeolian Harp  with thanks!

More about this interesting poet from here

Happy Belated Birthday Sir Walter Scott!

Posted in Authors Birthdays, Inspiring poetry, POETS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by echostains

August 15th was  the birthday of Scottish poet, writer and playwright  (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) Scott was  a 1st Baronet who wrote poems and historical novels.  He has the distinction in being the first english language author to achieve international fame in his own lifetime. Rob Roy, Ivanhoe and the Lady of the Lake still remain classics both in English and Scottish literature.  

Sir Walter Scott by Rarburn

Privately educated, the young Scott  loved reading romantic adventure stories, history and travel books.  He began studying the Classics in 1783 at the age of 12 years old, becoming one of the youngest students to do so in Edinburgh University.   Lochinvar was a poem that my late father used to recite to me.  It is suitably romantic and Pre Raphealite like to appeal to a girl raised on fairy tales!    

The Knight Errant by Millias

Here it is read beautifully!

 Lochinvar
  O young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And save his good broadsword he weapons had none,
He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
He staid not for brake, and he stopp’d not for stone,
He swam the Eske river where ford there was none;
But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented, the gallant came late:
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

So boldly he enter’d the Netherby Hall,
Among bride’s-men, and kinsmen, and brothers and all:
Then spoke the bride’s father, his hand on his sword,
(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,)
“O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?”

“I long woo’d your daughter, my suit you denied; —
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide —
And now I am come, with this lost love of mine,
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.”

The bride kiss’d the goblet: the knight took it up,
He quaff’d off the wine, and he threw down the cup.
She look’d down to blush, and she look’d up to sigh,
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar, —
“Now tread we a measure!” said young Lochinvar.

So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
That never a hall such a gailiard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
And the bride-maidens whisper’d, “’twere better by far
To have match’d our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.”

One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
When they reach’d the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung!
“She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
They’ll have fleet steeds that follow,” quoth young Lochinvar.

There was mounting ‘mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne’er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?

.

Thanks to  for the video

Image and more about this interesting poet and novelist here

Poem from Poemhunter

The Knight Errant by Millias image from here

Watched – Enid (Blyton)

Posted in Authors I've read, period drama, Watched it with tags , , , on August 12, 2011 by echostains
Bonham Carter as Enid Blyton

When I was a child, Enid Blyton was my favorite author. She was beloved of most children: a wonderful storyteller whose stories kept you entranced. But what was she like as a person? Helena Bonham Carter was, at first glance, a surprising choice, to play Blyton in this BBC 4 biopic, but – then so was Trevor Eve who played Hughie Green, in the last series and I thought he was absolutely great!

Enid Blyton

The young Enid gets into storytelling to distract her siblings from the furious arguments which are going on between their parents. Her father eventually leaves for another woman (or so her mother says, though all her life Enid won’t believe this). It is easy to see why Enid starts escaping into her own world. She leaves home as soon at the first opportunity (Enid never stops running all through her life). She trains to become a schoolteacher, though her real ambition is to be an author. Rejected many times, she keeps trying, until eventually a door opens. Not one to hang around, she marries her publisher.

the very famous Five books

Their early days seem idyllic. What a blow it must have been to her to be told she couldn’t have children.. But despite these problems, she does have a child (in fact two,) but motherhood does not come easily to her. She seems more work inspired, than nurturing. Time for a nanny. But although she is honest about her failings, she does have some odd ideas about how to handle week old babies….

Enid Blyton bedtime story book

It is strange the way Blyton is different with other children than her own, and a bit baffling really. She seems more relaxed whilst in the company of children she doesn’t know. To an extent, she seems to shun anything that doesn’t fit into her world of fiction, such as the War. It’s as if in her refusal to be distracted, it will just go away. When her husband starts drinking, she banishes him into the spare room!

Noddy a popular Blyton character

 

Blyton is the ultimate escapist, and does not like the banalities of motherhood: writing comes first. When Blyton finally comes to terms that we are at war, she contributes by digging for victory with her children and entertaining officers whilst her husband is away (escapism again). Eventually of course, she takes a lover ‘Uncle’ Kenneth Waters.

the magical land of Enid

The acting was really good and the attention to period detail wonderful. Bonham Carter makes a great Blyton, showing all her contradiction. She is both hardened and yet vulnerable in her reluctance to face reality. The way that Blyton deals with harsh reality is through her children’s tales, where a happy ending is assured and cake is distributed with lashings of Ginger Beer She has such a hard unfeeling edge to her to her personality though and is able to compartmentalise her life skillfully, dismissing her children. Poor Hugh (ex husband) gets the treatment time and time again, and very cruelly. It is incredulous the way that she can turn her back on anything she doesn’t want to deal with, including her mother and her siblings. A very complicated, emotionally damaged but talented person, whose end was indeed tragic.

Watch it HERE 

Poetry Challenge The Arnolfini Marriage

Posted in ALL MY POETRY CHALLENGES with tags , , , , on August 2, 2011 by echostains

It’s day 7 of the my person challenge to blog each day for a week on Bookstains.  As I haven’t put a poetry challenge on for a long time I thought that today was a good as time as any.  The Arnolfini Portrait is a very famous painting, painted on oak panel by Dutch artist Jan Van Eyck in 1434.  The painting is also known as The Arnolfini Wedding, The Arnolfini Double Portrait, The Arnoldfini Marriage and The Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife. 

Giovanni Arnolfini is presumed to be an Italian merchant, posing with his wife at his house in Bruges.  The painting is considered to be one of  the most original and complex paintings and a lot of illusionist painting techniques were used in it.

The challenge is to write either a poem or a Haiku about the painting.  More detailed information can be found about this painting if you need inspiration

How to enter;-

1.  Write your poem and link it to Bookstains (and a mention).  You include the button if you want.  All poems are themed so make sure that your poem is appropriate  and make it CLEAR that  your poem is for The Bookstains  individual challenge if you are also entering it in a challenge elsewhere.

2.  In return for linking with me I will put your poem on Bookstains, mentioning your site and Tweeting your poem.  I will also promote your poem at the end of any post I write on my art based blog echostains.

The poems can be in any form including Haiku.  They can be as serious or as humorous as you like.  One liners won’t count 😀

The Arnolfini marriage  image here

A beautiful walk

Posted in Inspiring poetry with tags , , , , on August 1, 2011 by echostains

It’s day 6 in my personal challenge to blog every day for a week on Bookstains. 

I heard a song ages ago.  It was one of those songs which keep going round and round in your head, but try as you may, you just can’t see to remember where it came from!  I couldn’t even remember many of the words, which would have at least given me a clue.  All I had was the tune – and the words ‘walk’ and  ‘beauty’.  However Eureka!  Here’s where it’s from:-

She walks in beauty, like the night
        Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
    And all that’s best of dark and bright
        Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
    Thus mellowed to that tender light
        Which heaven to gaudy day denies. 
                                   

    One shade the more, one ray the less,
        Had half impaired the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress,
        Or softly lightens o’er her face;
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
        How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. 
                                    

    And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
        So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
        But tell of days in goodness spent,
    A mind at peace with all below,
        A heart whose love is innocent!

Lord Byron

This is where I heard that tune that has been going round and round in my head –‘Vanity Fair’ a DVD which I watched ages ago.  The poem, written by Lord Byron was penned upon  see his cousin Lady Wilmot Horton in a mourning gown.  There are many YouTube versions of this poem and also narrations, but this one is the one that I originally heard.

Video from  with thanks

More beautiful poetry here 

Notes from the ‘The Life of Lord Byron’ by Thomas Moore 1835 here