Sunday, 30 August 2015

Penelope Keith's Hidden Villages

We have recently been watching a rather lovely little TV series on English villages presented by the wonderful Penelope Keith called 'Hidden Villages'. As always she is pure joy, striding around the countryside 'to the manor born'

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She is using 'Batsfords', they wrote guide books on all kinds of subjects from 'Drink Your Own Garden,' ( a home-brew guide, using garden ingredients to make alcohol ), books about farming methods ( used in the the 'Victorian kitchen garden' progams ) Through to Cycling Guides and what concerns us at the moment, English villages.

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Like her I have been completely smitten by the illustrations of her guide book.

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Since a school boy I have been fascinated by how an artist can capture the essence of a landscape just by using blocks of colour, sometimes far better than a more realistic painting or a photo ever could.

In the bottom centre but quite small is the name of the artist who illustrated the Batsford's books,
Sir Brian Cook 

His distinctive vibrant colours were achieved by the Jean Berté process, which used rubber plates and water-based inks

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In 1928 Sir Brian began working for of the publishing firm of B. T. Batsford, of which his uncle, Harry Batsford, was chairman. 

His first dust jacket was for The Villages of England (1932) when he was 21 years of age.

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Following his uncle's death, he was chairman of Batsford, from 1952 until 1974.

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He was also responsible for some rather lovely railway posters too.

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Flight Lieutenant Brian Cook was elected as Member of Parliament for Ealing South in 1958 and held the seat until it was abolished in 1974.

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Sir Brian Caldwell Cook Batsford 
(18 December 1910 – 5 March 1991)