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Size: Standard Size Business Card, 3.5″ x 2.0″

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Paper Type: Signature UV Matte

An upgrade from our Standard Matte, Signature UV Matte features a thicker and stiffer paper coated with a protective finish that can be written on. It provides the perfect base for creating long-lasting, high-quality designs with robust color and detail.

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Source: Vesta Tilley Business Card | Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Way back in 2011, I wrote this blog post about something I’d been sent in the post. It was called Curiocity and was a tiny fold-up magazine that featured arcane trivia on one side and a weird…

Source: Curiocity – the book | The Great Wen


Flora Annie Steel (2 April 1847 – 12 April 1929) was an English writer who was noted for writing books set in British India or otherwise connected to it.   Personal life She was born Flora Ann…

Source: Flora Annie Steel | stuartshieldgardendesign


With thanks to Olga for posting the link on Facebook and to James Osborne for writing it.

Special thanks to CBC Radio for an interview that resurrected this little-known story about the origins of Winnie-the-Pooh. Here’s a summary.    Winnie-the-Pooh was born in Canada! Well, sort of. I…

Source: Winnie-the-Pooh: The Forgotten Connection | jamesosbornenovels

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


FROM THE ARCHIVE 27th March 2011
On the right is one of my latest designs, There are No Small Parts, which features a couple of characters taken from an original programme for the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company production of Gil…

Source: That’s Entertainment! | First Night Design


London Theatre Land — Late 19th Century-Early 20th Century

A little trip back in time when going to the theatre or opera was a grand occasion, manners mattered and programmes were beautiful mementoes to be kept and treasured, a time when advertisements pleased the eye in ways they no longer do.

The Gondoliers Postcard
The Gondoliers Postcard by FirstNightDesign

Royal English Opera's Ivanhoe Greeting Card
Royal English Opera’s Ivanhoe Greeting Card by FirstNightDesign

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


FROM THE ARCHIVE 7 March 2014
What! No elephants? Visitors who read yesterday’s post will know this piece started out with elephants. After adding textures from 2 Lil’ Owls, I played around for some while adding and…

Source: First Night Design | Day at the Exhibition (What! No Heffalumps?)


The recent Christmas post I did about Yoshio Markino, the Japanese artist who lived in Chelsea, reminded me that there were still some images I hadn’t used in a post, even though I wrote four…

Source: Markino returns: alone in this world


Arriving in London in 1935, the Viennese photographer Wolfgang Suschitzky is best known for his depictions of London in the 1930s and 1940s. However a photography career spanning 70 years has seen him capture many subjects, all with the same genuine affection…

Source: vintage everyday: 30 Stunning Black and White Photographs of London in the 1930s and 1940s


On the 14th of February 1890, Welsh artist, writer and bohemian party girl Nina Hamnett was born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Her emerging artistic skill helped her escape an unhappy childhood. She moved to London where she studied at Pelham Art School, then the London School of Art and in 1914 she went to Montparnasse, Paris, to study at Marie Wassilieff’s Academy. Her social life and artistic career rapidly took off.

“A natural rebel, with her tall, boyish figure, short hair, unconventional clothes, and flamboyant behaviour, Hamnett rapidly became a well-known bohemian personality. A self-appointed artistic ambassador between London and Paris, friends and mentors included Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Amedeo Modigliani, Walter Sickert, Roger Fry, and Augustus John. She benefited from…

Source: Artist Nina Hamnett, Jazz Age’s Wildest Party Girl | A R T L▼R K


This is an adaptation of an original 1890s Criterion Theatre programme in my collection. I confess to being potty about it. The original image is the central strip which I copied, pasted and extended to form a background so that it was a classic card-shaped design. The Art Nouveau shapes and swirls are a treat and enable one to breathe in the theatrical atmosphere of late 19th century London.

The Criterion Theatre in September 2007 [Wikipedia]

The Criterion Theatre in September 2007 [Wikipedia]

This small, Grade II* listed theatre in Piccadilly Circus — it has an official capacity of 588 — opened on the site of an old hunting inn, the White Bear, in 1874. It has played host to some notable performances and productions, not least Charles Wyndham as David Garrick (1888),  John Gielgud in Musical Chairs (1932), Terence Rattigan’s French Without Tears (1936-1939), Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (1955), which transferred from the Arts Theatre with Peter Woodthorpe, Hugh Burden, Timothy Bateson, and Peter Bull, and Joe Orton’s Loot (1966) with Michael Bates and Kenneth Cranham.

Did you know that one has been able to hear the underground rumble of Piccadilly Line trains since 1906 when the station and line originally opened? It gives productions a certain something! To read more about the Criterion’s history, click here.

I’ve just discovered that John Gielgud’s performance in the above-mentioned Musical Chairs was criticised by Noël Coward. Gielgud wrote to him thus:

To Noël Coward

May 1932, London

Thank you very much for writing as you did. I was very upset at the time, because as you know I had always admired you and your work so very much and also because in a way I have always thought my success in the theatre only began after the Vortex time – this play was my own discovery and I had much to do with the casting and getting it produced, so naturally I was very anxious you of all people should like it. But you are quite right, of course. I act very badly in it sometimes, more especially I think when I know people who matter are in front. And such a small theatre as the Criterion is difficult for me, who am used to the wastes of the Old Vic and His Majesty’s. If I play down, they write and say I’m inaudible and if I act too much, the effect is dire. Now and again one can strike the happy mien and give a good performance. But then, it is no use trying to excuse oneself. I played ever so much better today after reading your letter, and I am really glad when I get honest criticism, though sometimes it’s a bit hard to decide whom to listen to and whom to ignore…
[Daily Telegraph – Gielgud’s Letters, introduced and edited by Richard Mangan, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson]

And here are Sir Charles Wyndham (1837-1919) as Garrick and Miss Mary Moore aka Lady Wyndham (1861-1931) as Ada Ingot in David Garrick at the Criterion Theatre in 1886, which is available as a greeting card.

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


In 1965 a woman died in an old house in Palace Green, a house she had lived in all her life. The house had once been the laundry of Kensington Palace but her parents had just been looking for a pleasant family dwelling. The houses around it had become grander (and more valuable) over the course of the 20th century but for Estella Canziani her house was the family home and garden she had always known.

Estella had done many things in her life. She was a writer on travel and folklore (and local history), a campaigner for the RSPCA and RSPB,  a book illustrator and painter. She painted landscapes, portraits, animals and costumes but what we’re looking at today are paintings of her home and the places around it. What Estella saw were gardens, trees, small animals and rooms full of objects.  She wrote a memoir of her…

Source: What Estella saw | The Library Time Machine


5779126-LTo celebrate festive traditions, here is an excerpt from The Book of Christmas descriptive of the Customs, Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling, and Festivities of the Christmas Season (1836) by Victorian poet and critic Thomas Kibble Hervey (1799 – 1859).

“Boxing-day is still a great day in London. Upon this anniversary, every street resounds with the clang of hall-door knockers. Rap follows rap, in rapid succession, the harsh and discordant tones of iron mingling with those of rich and sonorous brass, and giving a degenerate imitation of the brazen clangor of the trumpet, which formed the summons to the gate in days of old, and which, together with the martial music of the drum, appears to have been adopted, at a later period, by the Christmas-boxers, on St. Stephen’s Day. Pepys, in his Diary (1668), records his having been…

Source: Boxing Day Bonanza | A R T L▼R K


Violet Trefusis (née Keppel; 6 June 1894 – 29 February 1972) was an English writer and socialite. She is chiefly remembered for her lengthy affair with the poet Vita Sackville-West, which the two women continued after their respective marriages to men. Trefusis wrote novels and non-fiction works, both in English and French.

The affair was featured in novels by both parties, in Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando: A Biography, and in many letters and memoirs of the period, roughly 1912–1922. Many are preserved at Yale University Library. Trefusis also inspired other fiction and was featured as a pivotal character in these novels, including “Lady Montdore” in Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate and…

Source: People : Violet Trefusis . Vita’s True Love . | stuartshieldgardendesign


Wretched Richard's Almanac

September 6, 1939

Widely regarded as one of the leading illustrators from the Golden Age of book illustration, from 1900 until the start of the First World War, Arthur Rackham died on September 6, 1939. He was born 71 years earlier in London as one of 12 children. In 1884, at the age of 17, he was sent on an ocean voyage to Australia to improve his fragile health, accompanied by two aunts, and upon his return began studying part-time at the Lambeth School of Art.

His first book illustrations were published in 1893. He has illustrated such diverse works as Grimm Fairy Tales and Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland and Wagner’s ring cycle. Many of the works he illustrated are commonly referred to as the Arthur Rackham editions.

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