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Originally published 19/11/2015

To say I was influenced by the atmosphere of Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White — must read it again — would be bending the truth, although I’ve included that sentence in the description boxes at galleries. However, only when I had finished creating it did the book come immediately to mind.

I have used a detail from a photograph by…

via First Night Design | Church at Twilight #Art | First Night Design

June 27 [the day before yesterday] is the birthday of the great French poster artist Paul Colin (1892-1985). A native of Nancy, Colin attended the École des Beaux-Arts and became a master of Art Deco style, incorporating ear…

Source: Paul Colin: The Visual Spirit of Jazz Age Paris | Travalanche

FROM THE ARCHIVE 25th August 2012 (I’ve sold quite few prints since!)

I’m as pleased as punch to have just sold American Gothic as a large print on my vintage store at…

Source: American Gothic by Grant Wood

Church at Twilight © Sarah Vernon

To say I was influenced by the atmosphere of Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White — must read it again — would be bending the truth, although I’ve included that sentence in the description boxes at the galleries. However, only when I had finished creating it did the book come immediately to mind.

I have used a detail from a photograph by Stefan Ringler which I’ve warped and extended. This I added to Photoshop in Soft Light mode over a texture from 2 Lil’ Owls, Beguiling-5. I made various adjustments to give the roof of the church more definition and provide extra light on the walls. I like it and I hope you do too.

And here comes the promotion bit! If you haven’t read The Woman in White, you have a treat in store. Buy it immediately!


The Woman in White (1859-60) is the first and greatest `Sensation Novel’. Walter Hartright’s mysterious midnight encounter with the woman in white draws him into a vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue.

The novel is dominated by two of the finest creations in all Victorian fiction – Marion Halcombe, dark, mannish, yet irresistibly fascinating, and Count Fosco, the sinister and flamboyant `Napoleon of Crime’. A masterwork of intricate construction, The Woman in White sets new standards of suspense and excitement, and achieved sales which topped even those of Dickens, Collins’s friend and mentor.’

Apart from being besotted by the story, which bears repeated reading, the second time I read it, I was appearing in The Beaux Stratagem at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley (1978), wherein lies a tale. I remember waiting at the overground station for the train to Bromley with book in hand and trying to paint my fingernails with the palest of pinks. For The Beaux Stratagem, I hear you ask? Alas, yes. I was trying to cover my stress-spotted and ridged nails. The director’s wife spotted it immediately and I was told to remove it. Quite rightly.

Not the most prepossessing of theatres [ Wikimedia]

Not the most prepossessing of theatres [Wikimedia]

Anyway, back to the railway station. The train arrived (early) and in my haste to replace the top on the nail polish, put the book in my bag and board the train, I spilt the polish all over the book and my rather chi-chi wrap-around skirt.  The skirt could never be worn again but the book still graces my bookshelves and always will.

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

Take care and keep laughing!


If you are as devoted as I am to vintage and retro art and have been fortunate enough to encounter The Muscleheaded Blog, you will know what very heaven it is to explore.  In this post he writes about the “Father of Modern Advertising”, Leonetto Cappiello [1875-1942].

Leonetto Cappiello was the premier poster artist of his generation—

He developed a unique and revolutionary style,

…… and his work is as popular today as it was during the height of the Belle Epoque.

It’s very possible that you are already familiar with Leonetto Cappiello’s beautiful art,

……..and weren’t really aware of it.

His work is so synonymous with the whole advertising poster art revolution of the early 1900s ,

….that he is called the “Father of Modern Advertising”.

And while the majority of his best work was…

Read more at The Poster Art of Leonetto Cappiello | The Muscleheaded Blog.

Still no computer (can you hear me scream!) so here is another post from the archives.

First Night Design

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Take care and keep laughing!


I’m as pleased as punch to have just sold American Gothic as a large print on my vintage store at Zazzle.

American Gothic by Grant Wood

Take care and keep laughing.


Taking Tea with Clara Butt was created in response to a challenge from the RedBubble group, Music of the Spirit, the only rules being that it should be in black & white and involve the stage in some form.

The sheet music, tea tray and piano are from The Graphics Fairy. Other sheet music from comes from DigitalCollageImages on Flickr. The flourish to the left is from VintageArtDownload  and the vintage postcard of Clara Butt is in my own collection.

Known as ‘The Voice of the Empire’ or ‘The Voice of the Century’, Dame Clara Butt (1872-1936) was born in Sussex and brought up in Bristol. She became one of the most famous and beloved of English recitalists and concert singers. A ‘booming’ contralto, she was remarkably imposing at 6’ 2″.

Dame Clara was not loved by all. Some who considered themselves as superior, serious musicians tended to dismiss her; one famous comment that has passed into folklore came from the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham who is reported to have said, “On a clear day, you could have heard her across the English Channel.”  I like the sound of that kind of voice!

She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1920 for her charity concerts during The Great War. However, nothing could have made up for the sadnesses in her middle and later life. She had three sons by her husband, baritone Kennerly Rumford, but the eldest died of meningitis, the youngest by his own hand. The singer was diagnosed with spine cancer in the 1920s, which ultimately contributed to her death in 1936 at the relatively early age of 63.

Winifred Ponder’s biography of Butt, published in 1928 while the contralto was still alive, includes this paragraph: “She stands out head and shoulders from among her contemporaries in personality as she does in stature, and the amazing range and power and beauty of her voice have placed it beyond comparison with all others. That superb voice alone must inevitably have won worldwide fame for her. Yet to Clara Butt her voice is only a means to express something greater than any voice—greater even than music herself—a spiritual force that must have found expression through her by some means even if she had had no voice at all.”

[Research: Encyclopaedia Britannica;; Wikipedia;]

Take care and keep laughing!


Welcome to my blog for First Night Design and First Night Vintage Cards & Gifts where you will find jottings about art, history, theatre and design as well as links to my gallery where it’s possible to buy my work on everything from greeting cards and t-shirts to shoes and magnets.

Enjoy your visit and come again soon.

Take care and keep laughing!



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