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Showing posts from November, 2013

Trilobite Limbs, Antennae and Guts: Raymond (1920)

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Trilobites are amongst the most popular of all extinct animals. Most commonly found are disarticulated fragments of their calcareous exoskeletons. Occasionally, when the animals were abruptly killed and buried, complete exoskeletons were preserved. Most exceptionally of all, in extremely rare circumstances, early precipitation of minerals around the freshly buried trilobite carcasses preserved a record of the animals' limbs, antennae and even features of the internal anatomy such as the digestive system.
Charles Doolittle Walcott made the first discovery of trilobite limbs, announced in 1876 and summarized in Walcott (1881). His paper compiled seven years of work studying thin sections of enrolled specimens of Calymene (now Flexicalymene) senaria, Ceraurus pleurexanthemus, Isotelus gigas and Acidaspis sp. The material came from the Ordovician Trenton Limestone of New York State. Photographs of some of these original thin sections are reproduced in Bonino & Kier (2010).
The ne…

Jan Gordon as William Gore: "There's Death in the Churchyard"

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The output of books by Jan and Cora Gordon between 1916 and 1944 was prolific, including travel books, books on art and a series of short stories and novels.

Three crime novels by Jan Gordon were published under the name of William Gore and the first of these was “There’s Death in the Churchyard” (1934), now a very rare book indeed.



The novel contains several semi-biographical references to the art world and the experiences of Jan and Cora Gordon during and after the First World War. There are also several allusions to changing societal conditions following the war.

The character "Belle" in the book had studied at the Slade School of Art in London, as did Cora (“Jo”) Gordon. ".. she had nevertheless retained many of the faculties which the art course develops, notably a habit of unconscious observation." This ability proves useful in the solving of the crime.

The character "Gunning" the painter, Like Jan Gordon, had been a munitions worker during the Fir…

Jan Gordon and Bernard Meninsky: Mother and Child (1920)

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I just read an article by K.J. Bryant on the books of Jan and Cora Gordon in "Book and Magazine Collector" (March 1990). He emphasizes the rarity of a book, published in 1920, combining an essay on art by Jan Gordon with twenty-eight Mother and Child drawings by Bernard Meninsky. Bryant writes, "The only copies I have seen are in the V&A and the British Museum." Since I have a copy of this book, I was inspired to revisit it.



The publisher's note of acknowledgement to the various people who loaned drawings is already interesting. The name of Jacob Epstein jumped out at me, not because he was a famous sculptor, but because of two wonderfully hypnotic Fang bieri sculptures from Gabon that he owned. I lived for five years in Gabon and these two sculptures, plus another in the British Museum (the Plath bieri) used to fascinate me.



Jan Gordon's essay hardly refers to the Meninsky drawings at all, "for it is not possible to explain any work of art."…