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British Folk Art

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Folk art by definition is the quintessence of the vernacular.  The dimensional soul of a native culture. It is the unpretentious product of a folk who looked to their hearts for artistic inspiration at a time when the practicalities of life got in the way of education.

It is an ethnic expression of working men and women who’s product has not been blighted by intellectuals. So it has been saved from fancy otherworldly muses which it never needed because fundamentally it is instinctive and comes from the gut not the Heavens.

The expression ‘There is nothing new under the sun’ is also true of folk art. It may only have been understood under the term folk art in the last 150 years or so, but it’s apprentices were working up a sweat centuries before that. It was emotionally conceived within reverberations of the primal-screem, its earliest manifestations emerging from a dark and impoverished time. Ironically primal-folk-art is often viewed in an incredulous or optimistic way and objects which to our highly superstitious ancestors may have had serious votive or magical properties, we now frequently see as quaint, hopeful or amusing. One may also perceive in the evolution of folk art a natural backlash, the antithesis of classism and the culture of guilds, but because of an intrinsic humility it has operated hitherto in a kind of undercurrent to the more punchy and avant-garde arts.

The spokes in the wheels of folk art are so disparate and the demography of its practioners so wide that like a bicycle with out a rider there was never a hope of any movement.  It is not only a wholehearted expression of a stratum of humanity it is also naive, disorganised, alternative, romantic and frequently annonymous and as a consquence presents itself as an enigma within the arts.

This cohesive reflection we see from these disjointed elements make it collectively the intriguing and unconventional body of work that we know and love and if British folk art is now becoming less endangered than perhaps it once was, I suspect that perhaps part of the reason is that people see it as an escape from the present to the past, away from the over-manufactured, technological and multinational world we live in. So when it’s green credentials, it’s organic roots, merge with our dreamy concept of a rustic workshop set in a rural idyll, then these criterea provoke a sentimentality that becomes an antidote to our modern times

Folk art is the embodiment the sentiments the aspirations and the musings of an underclass and we are the fortunate benefactors of an inheritance, which brings nothing but joy to us. At its most expressive and pursuasive it can be a harbinger of love, piercing our hearts with its eccentricitys, emblems and tokens, with it’s naive charm, humour, invention and honesty.

I implore you to stay in touch with this expansive heritage of ours known as folk art –  to help save your souls and invigorate your spirits don’t go a day without it.

Copyright: P.Cooper

 

 Overheard in a Museum

“Quite colloquial and nearly charming

It’s perspectives all awry”

“Peasant Higledy – pigledy seascapes

where figurheads score the sky”

Folk art is not these whispering dilettants

always seeking the sublime;

But the brightly painted drummer boy

Who beats the whirligig of time:

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William Kendall in the ninth year of his age

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The image illustrated is one of a pair of a brother and sister, William and Sarah Kendall. They are full length portraits set in English country landscapes and although not signed by the artist they were painted in 1791. They have not been relined and they retain their original frames.

Her portrait in which she holds a green bird in her hand appears completely original, while he in his portrait is holding a prayer book and standing beneath a sky that has been over-painted. This is something that could be quite easily corrected but as they are such charming things I have decided to overlook this imperfection.

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BRITISH FOLK ART – A Celebration

Beginning 12th June 2014 our on-line exhibition will include selected Folk Art, Furniture & Pottery items of museum quality from throughout the British Isles which will be for sale.

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Changes to Call Me Naive Website

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For those of you reading this who did not have the advantage of receiving last weeks newsletter, we would like to point out the
changes to our website.

Firstly we now have a dedicated pottery gallery where we will exhibit English Creamware and English Polychrome Delftware beside the English Slipware and Sussex Pottery we specialise in. There is also now a dedicated Picture Gallery where we will continue to exhibit the Antique Naive Paintings we are so fond of. Folk Art and items of English Country Furniture along with Antique
Treen, Antique Pewter, Antique Needlework, Antique Oak Furniture, Antique Oak Carvings and Naive Works of Art will now all be exhibited on our main gallery. We are anticipating that these changes will facilitate easier navigation of our website.

Lastly I would like to bid our readers and customers a very prosperous and Happy New Year.

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New Pottery Gallery

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We are thrilled to announce that next week we will have a new pottery gallery on our website dedicated to Antique English Pottery.
This new gallery will concentrate on items of English Slipware and Sussex Pottery in particular.
Set aside are a number of new items to celebrate this event. Included amongst these riches are a large candlestick 14″ high. A rustic agate tobacco jar. A Turnip Money-box and a superb carpenters bag in absolutely perfect condition, which was produced by Caroline Mitchell at the Belle Vue Pottery, Rye at the end of the 19th century.

In the future our ‘Main Gallery’ will exhibit Antique Country Furniture, period Oak and examples of British Folk Art which may include Antique needlework, antique pewter, antique treen and antique leatherware. We will also have a new picture gallery which will exhibit our collection of naive paintings.
We would like to take this opportunity of wishing all our readers and customers a Very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

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Antique Country Furniture

Picture of Antique Country Furniture, English, Spider, Table, Fruitwood

 

 

 

 

Good Antique English Country Furniture of any merit is proving particularly difficult to find so I was pleased to purchase a small English fruitwood spider-leg side table only 22 inches wide. It had an original somewhat oversized set of pieced brass handles above a set of open brackets tying legs to frieze, legs which were united together with turned stretchers. It really was a most charming thing…. Which briefly spoke to me ‘Veni Vidi Vici’

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Antique English Pottery

If there are any dealers out there who have some period English slip-ware they would like to trade we would be very interested to know about it, for we are finding it most difficult to source. The last couple of pieces we had just flew away!
Having said that, we have just purchased two pieces of Donyatt Pottery, one of them being a superb documentary puzzle jug with full provenance.

This was made for a member of the illustrious and historic Hurford family and is inscribed with that name and has spent its entire existence within their care. The other piece of Donyatt Pottery is a small and rare pottery basket which is well worth the money and very sweet.

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