A pair of 18th-century Spanish cannons outside the museum of the Royal Welch Fusiliers in Caernarfon Castle.

A pair of 18th century Spanish cannons outside the museum of the Royal Welch Fusiliers in Caernarfon Castle.

Originally posted on Albert Jack.

The phrase these days is associated with encouraging someone to get a move on, or hurry up and complete a task more quickly than they are presently doing. Like so many English phrases it has a military or naval origin. Loaded cannons would have gunpowder poured into a small ignition hole, which was then held in place with a wooden plug.

But in times of battle, when speed was of the essence, the powder would be pushed in and then held in place by a gun crew-member using his finger. Impatient artillerymen, anxious to fire their cannons at the advancing enemy, would…

via Pull Your Finger Out (Phrase Origins) | Albert Jack.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Originally posted in The Guardian.

Marlon James (Jamaica): A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld)
The first Jamaican writer to be nominated for the Booker, James’s third novel, told in a multitude of voices, builds on the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976 to tell the story of Jamaica over three decades: the guns and corruption, the drugs and the music. “Like a Tarantino remake of The Harder They Come but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner”, said the New York Times.

Anne Tyler (US): A Spool of Blue Thread: A novel (Chatto & Windus)
The Big Theme of Tyler’s career – Family – which has followed her through 20 novels since The Tin Can Tree in 1965, taking in Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and The Accidental Tourist along the way – is here again. The fresh inflection this time round is the valedictory mood, in what Tyler said would be her last book before…

via Man Booker prize 2015: the longlist – in pictures | Books | The Guardian.

 


My starting point for this piece was a divine original book-plate from 1899 of the British actress Miss Dorothea Baird (1875-1933), which I bought from collectors Vintage Views, along with a few other goodies which will be revealed in the weeks to come.

I will be posting the original on First Night Vintage at some point but here I have superimposed a vintage theatre programme from my archive for a production at the Lyric Theatre onto the curtains of the original. If I were to tell you the number of other images and textures I used, including Island in the Storm, you probably wouldn’t believe me!

Dorothea Baird first appeared on stage  in 1894 for the Oxford University Dramatic Society or OUDS as Iris in The Tempest. She performed in several Shakespeare productions in the following years, often with her husband, H. B. Irving, Sir Henry’s son. She also originated the part of Mrs Darling in Peter Pan (1904). It was a short but notable career, ending in 1913 when she retired and concentrated her energies on charitable causes.

Mr H B Irving Greeting Card

Mr. H. B. Irving (1870 – 1919) as Hamlet at the Adelphi Theatre 1904.

Mr H B Irving Greeting Card

The text below is an extract from what is printed on the reverse side of the book-plate and is an effusive, to say the least, appraisal of Miss Baird and her trumpeted performance in the title role of George du Maurier’s Trilby, produced at the Haymarket Theatre in 1895. You will not have read the like in the 20th or 21st century!

‘MISS DOROTHEA BAIRD made her first appearance on the stage in 1894, when she played Iris in “The Tempest,” and Galatea in “Pygmalion and Galatea,” at the performances of the Oxford University Dramatic Society. After that, Miss Baird went a-touring with Mr. Ben Greet’s company—whence we have derived so many stage recruits—and in her time played many parts. But to Londoners, Miss Dorothea Baird is Trilby; Trilby, in spite of her appearance as the heroine of Mr. Louis Parker’s play, The Happy Life,” at the Duke of York’s Theatre; in spite of her Phoebe in As You Like It,” at the St. James’s; in spite of her charming Diane in A Court Scandal,” at the Court Theatre. And, whatever may be the success in store for her, it is probable that it is of her Trilby we shall tell our grandchildren when we inform them in the usual way that acting was acting in our young days [….] From the above will be learned the impressions of the moment of a remarkable “first night.”‘

Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Originally posted on stuartshieldgardendesign.

Vanessa Bell (née Stephen; 30 May 1879 – 7 April 1961) was an English painter and interior designer, a member of the Bloomsbury group and the sister of Virginia Woolf.

Early life and education

Vanessa Stephen was the eldest daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Prinsep Duckworth (1846–1895).‪‬ The family, including her sister Virginia; brothers Thoby (1880–1906) and Adrian (1883–1948), and half-brothers, George and Gerald Duckworth, lived at 22 Hyde Park Gate, Westminster, London. She was educated at home in languages, mathematics and history, and took drawing lessons from Ebenezer Cook before she attended Sir Arthur Cope’s art school in 1896, and then studied painting at the Royal Academy in 1901.

In later life she claimed that during her childhood she had been…

via Bloomsbury : Vanessa Bell. | stuartshieldgardendesign.


First Night Design:

ONE FROM THE ARCHIVE. In view of my recent posts about Maude Fealy, I thought it was time to reblog this article from 2012, partly because I have nothing else prepared!

Originally posted on First Night Design:

As I have recently said on Facebook, whenever I sell a theatre-related design on whatever product, my heart leaps. Theatre is in my blood, partly because I spent over 30 years as an actress and partly because I was, as the saying goes, ‘born in a trunk’.  This theatre term used to mean that you were born on tour of theatrical parents and that while other babies spent their days and nights in cribs and prams, you spent yours sustained by the smell of greasepaint and curled up in the theatre’s wardrobe skip, either in the wings or one of  the dressing rooms.  Now it has the more general meaning of having theatrical parentage. I am reminded of another phrase, which was coined by the playwright Tom Robertson, as revealed by Clement Scott in The Drama of Yesterday and Today [Vol. I] (pub. Macmillan & Co, 1899), and of…

View original 335 more words


Yacht: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zakhark/572331622/in/faves-83665426@N05/ Texture: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kerstinfrank-design/19581317079/in/faves-83665426@N05/ Original & vintage art © First Night Design [www.firstnightdesign.wordpress.com]

Sailing to the Moon © Sarah Vernon — Available on various products @ Fine Art America & Fine Art England


‘What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.’
Thomas Merton


The yacht photograph is by Zakhar Kleyman on Flickr, while the texture I have used in a ‘soft light’ blend (Photoshop) is by Kerstin Frank, also from Flickr. I’ve made it sound as if Flickr is a village!

Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Christmas_July_2015_Early_01_267Christmas_July_2015_Early_02_192Christmas_July_2015_Early_03_225

USE CODE: JLYCHRISTMAS

Available at the following galleries:
Christmas:
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Everthing Else:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Following on from yesterday’s post about Maude Fealy, here she is again in a vintage postcard that asks, ‘Which is the prettiest of all?’ I’d say Maude!

This image is from my theatre collection and I’ve had it since my teens. Yesterday’s image was from The Graphics Fairy.

Clockwise:
Miss Phyllis Dare (1890-1975)
Miss Mabel Love (1874-1953)
Miss Edna May (1878-1948)
Miss Gabrielle Ray (1883-1973)
Miss Zena Dare (1887-1975)
Miss Maude Fealy (1883-1971)

Zazzle US
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Actress Maude Fealy Postcard
Actress Maude Fealy [1883-1971] Postcards

The American actress Maude Fealy was an exquisite beauty whose career encompassed everything from stage performances in the US, Canada and Britain, as well as silent movies and talking pictures.

She was born in 1883 in Tennessee and died in Los Angeles in 1971. Her mother, Margaret, was an actress and drama teacher so it comes as no surprise to learn that Maude made her stage debut at the age of three in her mother’s production of Faust.

She married an English drama critic in 1907, Louis Sherwin, who wrote for a newspaper in Denver. Her parents were not fans of their daughter’s husband and did everything they could to ruin the marriage; the result was successful and the pair divorced in 1909.

Her second marriage to actor James Durkin sparked the formation of a travelling theatre troupe called the Fealy-Durkin Stock Company. This marriage did not last the course and in 1920 she wed John Cort Jr but this marriage was annulled in 1923.

She continued to divide her time between stage and screen. Her work in Hollywood was helped immeasurably by her friendship with Cecil B DeMille with whom she had appeared on stage. She appeared in almost every one of DeMille’s films, among them The Buccaneer [1958] and The Ten Commandments [1956].

Returning to Denver in the 1940s, she founded a drama school, later going back to Hollywood to do the same.

It is a measure of her friendship with DeMille, who died in 1959, that it was he who left money in his will to pay her funeral expenses when she died in 1971.
Adapted from the mini-biography on IMDb.

See my other film and theatre-related products here.

Maude Fealy on IMDb
Blogging Maude

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


cratedfreeshipping

CHRISTMAS IN JULY! GET FREE SHIPPING THIS WEEK WITH THE CODE: JULYXMAS

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Originally posted on Mark Deeble.

Sound. We don’t pay enough attention to it.

We all have our favourite evocative smells – lemon verbena, petrichor, Atlantic cliff gorse on a summer afternoon… I think I can identify at least half a dozen Cornish sea fish by their smell alone.

But favourite sounds? That takes more thought. Close to the top of my list would be the sound of crab plovers – the lilting contact calls they make – that grow, then fade, as they migrate along the Indian Ocean coast on clear nights; the sound of torrential rain drumming on taught canvas; the laughing, chattering call of a chough…

Sound has the ability to enthral. I remember my delight when, as a teenager, I was first introduced to the sound of a limpet feeding, by natural historian and mentor, Roger Burrows. It was low tide, at dusk, on a beach in South Cornwall. When I lowered my ear next to a foraging limpet, I could hear, quite clearly, the tiny scraping sound that the limpet’s radula made as it rasped back and forwards at the film of algae. Try it, I guarantee it will bring a smile.

All too often though, natural sounds drift pass us, as we are too plugged in to let them in. In an urban environment the ambient noise level can be so high that…

via The Elephant Movie – the sound of it | Mark Deeble.


Originally posted on ReginaJeffers’s Blog.

For nearly 50 years, Americans opened their daily newspaper to read the latest adventure of Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, etc., in the “Peanuts” cartoon. On February 13, 2000, Charles Schultz, the series creator passed away peacefully during his sleep from complications of colon cancer. Schultz “once described his life as being ‘one of rejection.’” (Charles M. Schultz Museum)

“The poetry of Schulz’s life began two days after he was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 26, 1922, when an uncle nicknamed him ‘Sparky’ after the horse Spark Plug from the Barney Google comic strip. Sparky’s father, Carl, was of German heritage and his mother, Dena, came from a large Norwegian family; the family made their home in St. Paul, where Carl worked as a barber. Throughout his youth, father and son shared a Sunday morning ritual reading the funnies; Sparky was fascinated with strips like Skippy, Mickey Mouse, and Popeye. In his deepest desires, he always knew he wanted to be a cartoonist, and seeing the 1937 publication of his drawing of Spike, the family dog, in the nationally-syndicated Ripley’s Believe it or Not newspaper feature was…

via Do You Remember the First Time You Read a Charles Schultz Cartoon? | ReginaJeffers’s Blog.


Postcard Lemons has always been one of my favourites from the early days and I’m delighted to say that I have just sold a pack of the business cards on Zazzle.


“When life gives you lemons, squirt someone in the eye.”
Cathy Guisewite


“We live in a world where lemonade is made from aritificial flavoring and furniture polish is made from real lemons.”
MAD Magazine


Available on all products at the following galleries:
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Have a beautiful and creative Tuesday!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


The pastoral tradition — whether poetry, music, literature or painting — has long been popular, particularly the art of the 19th century when Victorians lapped up engaging scenes of country life. It was an idealised version of the truth which has led to the erroneous assumption that life in the countryside is a deal more peaceful and beautiful than town. It’s an assumption that pertains to this day and there are many who tell a tale of moving away from the relentless struggle in the cities, perhaps buying a small holding, only to discover that it is a good deal smellier and dirtier than town and earning enough to survive is well-nigh impossible. There are exceptions, of course, but unless you’ve had a countryside upbringing, it can come as a shock.

As soon as I saw this photograph of a modern farming scene by Vladimir Kudinov from Unsplash, I decided to follow the pastoral tradition and age the image. Whether I’ve succeeded is for you to say but I’m quite pleased with the result.

Using Photoshop I ‘sponged’ and redefined the machine to make it look as if it were a bale of hay being transported. I did the same ‘sponging’ with the modern levers where the farmer is sitting. When I was happy, I added the 2LO Broken 17 texture from 2 Lil’ Owls and set it to the ‘screen’ mode.

Next I added a texture from Kerstin Frank, making it less saturated and more of a muted green than the original — click through to see her original texture. This I set to the ‘multiply’ mode.

Bringing in the Harvest
Bringing in the Harvest

Prints available at Crated and the DODO iPad Case at Zazzle. Soon to be available on all products at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


FROM THE ARCHIVE

Originally posted on First Night Design.

Although this engraving by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Charles Pugin is available online in the public domain, mine is actually a scan from an original print published as Plate 69 of Microcosm of London (1810) which my parents had bought from a local antique dealer in the 1960s.

I have not been able to discover what’s being performed but it looks something of a spectacular production what with the horse and carriage, the Boadicea-like figure and gigantic pillars! If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

While the following quote is not from the early 19th century, it describes what Sadler’s Wells had become by the 1840s:

‘Without, the theatre, by night, was like the worst part of the worst kind of Fair in the worst kind of town. Within, it was a bear-garden, resounding with foul language, oaths, catcalls, shrieks, yells, blasphemy, obscenity – a truly diabolical clamour. Fights took place anywhere, at any period of the performance… Sickly children in arms were squeezed…

via First Night Design | Sadler’s Wells Theatre by Rowlandson & Pugin | First Night Design.

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