28 Jan. 2023


If English essayist Walter Pater (4 August 1839 – 30 July 1894) was right in his belief that “all art constantly aspires to the condition of music”, we should cock and ear to what Elliott Schwartz (January 19, 1936–December 7, 2016) had to say about listening.  In his Music: Ways of Listening (1982), the American composer and music teacher lists the seven essential skills for listening to music.

As the book’s preface says, Music: Ways of Listening “is intended for use in introductory college courses for students with little or no prior background in music, and is focused upon the development of perceptive listening skills and a broad survey of the Western concert literature…

“There is no attempt made to teach students the written ‘language’ of Western music, but, rather, an introduction to the “linguistics” of written symbols in all musical cultures.”

The 7-Point Guide To Music Appreciation:

Develop your sensitivity to music. Try to respond esthetically to all sounds, from the hum of the refrigerator motor or the paddling of oars on a lake, to the tones of a cello or muted trumpet. When we really hear sounds, we may find them all quite expressive, magical and even ‘beautiful.’ On a more complex level, try to relate sounds to each other in patterns: the successive notes in a melody, or the interrelationships between an ice cream truck jingle and nearby children’s games.

Time is a crucial component of the musical experience. Develop a sense of time as it passes: duration, motion, and the placement of events within a time frame. How long is thirty seconds, for example? A given duration of clock-time will feel very different if contexts of activity and motion are changed.


Song in the Twilight by Franz Sedlacek – 1931 – buy print

Develop a musical memory. While listening to a piece, try to recall familiar patterns, relating new events to past ones and placing them all within a durational frame. This facility may take a while to grow, but it eventually will. And once you discover that you can use your memory in this way, just as people discover that they really can swim or ski or ride a bicycle, life will never be the same.

If we want to read, write or talk about music, we must acquire a working vocabulary. Music is basically a nonverbal art, and its unique events and effects are often too elusive for everyday words; we need special words to describe them, however inadequately.

Try to develop musical concentration, especially when listening to lengthy pieces. Composers and performers learn how to fill different time-frames in appropriate ways, using certain gestures and patterns for long works and others for brief ones. The listener must also learn to adjust to varying durations. It may be easy to concentrate on a selection lasting a few minutes, but virtually impossible to maintain attention when confronted with a half-hour Beethoven symphony or a three-hour Verdi opera. Composers are well aware of this problem. They provide so many musical landmarks and guidelines during the course of a long piece that, even if listening ‘focus’ wanders, you can tell where you are.

Try to listen objectively and dispassionately. Concentrate upon ‘what’s there,’ and not what you hope or wish would be there. At the early stages of directed listening, when a working vocabulary for music is being introduced, it is important that you respond using that vocabulary as often as possible. In this way you can relate and compare pieces that present different styles, cultures and centuries. Try to focus upon ‘what’s there,’ in an objective sense, and don’t be dismayed if a limited vocabulary restricts your earliest responses.

Bring experience and knowledge to the listening situation. That includes not only your concentration and growing vocabulary, but information about the music itself: its composer, history and social context. Such knowledge makes the experience of listening that much more enjoyable.

There may appear to be a conflict between this suggestion and the previous one, in which listeners were urged to focus just on ‘what’s there.’ Ideally, it would be fascinating to hear a new piece of music with fresh expectations and truly innocent ears, as though we were Martians. But such objectivity doesn’t exist. All listeners approach a new piece with ears that have been ‘trained’ by prejudices, personal experiences and memories. Some of these may get in the way of listening to music. Try to replace these with other items that might help focus upon the work, rather than individual feelings. Of course, the ‘work’ is much more than the sounds heard at any one sitting in a concert hall; it also consists of previous performances, recorded performances, the written notes on manuscript paper, and all the memories, reviews and critiques of these written notes and performances, ad infinitum. In acquiring information about any of these factors, we are simply broadening our total awareness of the work itself.

The Queen of the Night, from Mozart’s Magic Flute, (Zauberflöte) – buy prints

The Art of Listening

Schwartz was a man of letters. He was (deep breath) President of the College Music Society, National Chair of the American Society of University Composers (now renamed the Society of Composers), Vice-President of the American Music Center, President of the Maine Composers Forum, and music panelist for the Maine Arts Council. He was also a board member of the American Composers Alliance.

He was Beckwith Professor Emeritus of music at Bowdoin College joining the faculty in 1964. In 2006, the Library of Congress acquired his papers to make them part of their permanent collection.

And he embraced the new, writing Electronic Music: A Listener’s Guide, Music Since 1945, co-authored with Daniel Godfrey. According to the obituary in the Portland Press Herald: “He composed one piece based on actual Facebook posts, which included musicians reading the posts, while another piece featured TVs and radios on stage with the performers. His 1966 piece “Elevator Music” was performed by 12 small groups on various floors of a building, while the audience rode an elevator and heard parts of the piece on each floor.”

In an interview in 1987, Schwartz confronted the assumption that music is something other people do. To him, music was participatory:

It should be, and this ought to be one of the chief aspects of any comprehensive musical education program — a sense of installing in everyone the feeling that what’s most exciting about music is that everybody does it at some level of competency (or incompetency), or just that everybody does it, and everybody can have an enormously arching experience doing it.

The Voice, Summer Night by Edvard Munch – 1896 – buy prints

Music is Universal

Put aside you prejudices and listen:

“I wish I could tell you where I read it, but there was a marvelous article somewhere that compared the aestheticians view of ‘art as the beautiful’ to the pedestal men used to put women on; you know, the chivalrous attitude of admiring at a distance, which was a way in both cases of never really coming to grips with the objects. They were always dealing with them so respectfully and so worshipfully that you would really rob them of all their humanity and all the interesting aspects about them.


“…when you begin thinking of pieces of music as beautiful, you’re not responding to them anymore. It means you’ve attached a label to them and then you file them away in the part of your brain that says ‘beautiful’. I would just assume that they’re living, and they’re vibrant, and they get people angry, and they make people laugh. They stimulate real responses rather than aesthetic ones, which I don’t think are real.”

Lead Image: Metropolitan Opera House, New York – 28 November 1937

Via: The Marginalian, LoC

The post Ways of Listening: A Composer’s Guide to the 7 Skills Needed To Understand Music From Symphonies To The Hum of Your Fridge – 1982 appeared first on Flashbak.

26 Jan. 2023

US Navy WW2


For propaganda and recruitment purposes, the United States Navy created the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit. The Navy needed pilots, and was competing for talent with the US Army Air Corps.

To make their side look good, the Unit recruited Edward Jean Steichen (March 27, 1879 – March 25, 1973), the Luxembourgish American photographer whose pictures had appeared in Alfred Stieglitz’s groundbreaking magazine Camera Work more often than anyone else during its publication’s run from 1903 to 1917. Stieglitz hailed him as “the greatest photographer that ever lived”.

From 1923 to 1938, Steichen had worked in the fashion business as chief photographer for the Condé Nast magazines Vogue and Vanity Fair, while also working for advertising agencies.

And now as Director of the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit, he’d help recruit talent to the US Navy. Steichen hired a handful of men to work with him, like Wayne Miller, Horace Bristol and in 1941 a young Alfonso “Fons” Iannelli (1917 – 1988), whose work you can see here

A native of Park Ridge, Illinois, Iannelli was tasked with documenting the emotions of the men on the ship and developed his “fly-on-the-wall” style. His photographs were published in a collection edited by Steichen entitled U.S. Navy War Photographs: Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Harbor (1945) and were included in the exhibition Power in the Pacific: Battle Photographs of our Navy in Action on the Sea and in the Sky at the Museum of Modern Art in 1945.

According to his NY Times obituary, by the late 1940’s, Fons Iannelli was said to be the most highly paid magazine photographer in New York.

US Navy WW2 US Navy WW2 US Navy WW2

US Navy WW2

Sailors Playing Instruments, c. 1943.

Got a Light, Mate?, Sailors Working Aboard U.S.S. Yorktown, c. 1943.

Plane Handlers, c. 1943.

Sailors Aboard U.S.S. Yorktown with Naval Artillery Above, c. 1943.

US Navy WW2

Raid Against Marcus Island, c. 1943.

US Navy WW2 US Navy WW2

Men Getting in Aircraft, c. 1943.

Aircraft Taking Off of Carrier, c. 1943.

Crew with Naval Torpedoes, c. 1943.

US Navy WW2

Sailors Aboard U.S.S. Yorktown, c. 1943.

US Navy WW2

Sailors Watch as Aircraft Takes Off, c. 1943.

US Navy WW2

Military Aircraft Aboard U.S.S. Yorktown with Sailors Performing Exercises, 1943

Iannelli’s work is via New York’s Steven Kasher Gallery in New York, Fons Iannelli: War/Post-War.

The post A Young Photographers Intimate Pictures of The Second World War at Sea – c. 1943 appeared first on Flashbak.

24 Jan. 2023

Berlin Dec 1989


“In December 1989 I got the offer to go to Berlin from an old Birmingham mate who had friends living there,” says British photographer Richard Davis. The Wall had ceased to function on the 9th November 1989 and travel between East and West Berlin opened up without restrictions.

“It was my first time in Berlin and I found it amusing how much it reminded me of life back home in Hulme, Manchester. The Concrete, the graffiti, the burnt-out cars and the constant overcast skies. I loved it straight away, so perfect for photography.”


Berlin Dec 1989 Berlin Dec 1989 Berlin Dec 1989 Berlin Dec 1989


The photos feature Richard’s old school friend, who her went to Berlin with. “The rest of the People Photos I can’t remember names except to say they were all Italians staying in the flat we were staying in, never met them before but they were a great bunch,” he adds.

“I remember you constantly heard the sound of people hacking away at the Wall, day and night, the thud of chisels and hammers striking the reinforced concrete of the wall was everywhere. Over the week I was in Berlin you got used to that sound.
I remember seeking out Hansa Studios by the Wall – I was a huge David Bowie fan and I wanted to see where he’d recorded Low and Heroes.

Were there obvious differences between the East Germany and the West, such as lingering membeers of the fashion-conscious Stasi or old post-war housing estates?

“East and West did appear very different I remember going into the East and thinking how dimly lit the street lights were and noting there was no advertising signs or posters about. The other thing you noticed was the cars, which were very different to what we knew in the west. The East of course had the Trabants. It was like two worlds colliding.

“In hindsight there are elements in both worlds that are good and bad. Somewhere in the middle would be best.”


Paul Wood

Berlin Dec 1989 Berlin Dec 1989 Berlin Dec 1989 Berlin Dec 1989 Berlin Dec 1989


All these photos of Berlin are available in Richard’s recently released “Berlin December 1989” by the ever-interesting Cafe Royal Books.

The post Berlin, December 1989 – Photographs of Life in the City Days After The Wall Came Down appeared first on Flashbak.

22 Jan. 2023

“For 20 years I have been a fine art photographer. While my photography journey began more than 20 years ago, my works in the early days were mostly documentations of daily life. It was not until a few years later that I began to explore so-called ‘art photography'”
– Fan Ho


Construction (建設), Hong Kong 1957

Construction (建設), Hong Kong, 1957

Fan Ho (1931-2016) photographed life in Hong Kong in the 1950s and 60s. We’ve seen his stellar work on Flashbak before. Now we are delighted to feature more from his remarkable oeuvre, courtesy of Fan Ho: Photography. My Passion. My Life at Hong Kong’s Blue Lotus Gallery.


Approaching Shadow (陰影), Hong Kong, 1954

Approaching Shadow (陰影), Hong Kong, 1954

East Meets West (東西匯), Hong Kong 1963

East Meets West (東西匯), Hong Kong 1963

“I began submitting works to international photo salons in 1952, but I felt disappointed about not making it to the shortlists. When I learned that Storm Approaching was finally selected the following year, I was thrilled. The image depicts a crowd scavenging by the seashore as a rainstorm in the darkening sky approaches, a metaphor for the insignificance and pity of humankind. It merges pictorialism and straight photography by drawing emphasis to the artistic elements of the former, without losing sight of the documentary aspect of the latter”
– Fan Ho


White Tents (白帳篷), Hong Kong, 1960

White Tents (白帳篷), Hong Kong, 1960

Three Men Walking (三人行), Hong Kong 1962

Three Men Walking (三人行), Hong Kong, 1962

As Evening Hurries By (日暮途遠), Hong Kong, 1955

“1956 was the most remarkable year of my photography career, thanks to As Evening Hurries By. This work was not only the brainchild of my pictorial photography series, but also served as the archetype of my later street photography. Its monumental influence on my creative direction and style is evidenced in my subsequent and recent works, so unsurprisingly it remains one of my most beloved creations. It renders a particular “atmospheric concept”, the most sublime state achievable in pictorial photography”
– Fan Ho


Sun Rays (太陽射線), Hong Kong, 1959

Storm Approaching (山雨欲來), Hong Kong 1951

Storm Approaching (山雨欲來), Hong Kong, 1951

“1954 marked the beginning of the golden age of pictorialism in my journey of photography. Pictorialism is based on painterly traditions and aesthetics, art created simply for the sake of art. It is not an objective documentary, but rather an expression of the subjective mind. It reflects not mere truth but creates appealing imagery, bringing the audience to a poetic, musical or dramatic “pure” state of beauty”
– Fan Ho


Shadow Saw (鋸影), Hong Kong 1960

Shadow Saw (鋸影), Hong Kong, 1960

Private (閒人免進), Hong Kong, 1960

Private (閒人免進), Hong Kong, 1960

Pattern (山坡圖案), Hong Kong, 1956

Pattern (山坡圖案), Hong Kong, 1956

Inferno (地獄變), Hong Kong 1962

Inferno (地獄變), Hong Kong, 1962

Hong Kong Venice (香港威尼斯), 1962

Hong Kong Venice (香港威尼斯), 1962

Fan ho Hong Kong

Little Women (小婦人), Hong Kong, 1961

The Omen (黑衣下), Hong Kong, 1964

The Omen (黑衣下), Hong Kong, 1964

Boat Women (無情海), Hong Kong, 1960



The post Fan Ho’s Hong Kong In Photographs appeared first on Flashbak.

21 Jan. 2023


You too can be a writer. In 1962, Jack Kerouac (March 12, 1922–October 21, 1969) , the Beat Generation writer who tamed his fears by writing, assured subscribers to Writer’s Digest that “Writers are made, for anybody who isn’t illiterate can write”. He continued with a word to the wise that “geniuses of the writing art like Melville, Whitman or Thoreau are born.”

If Walter Pater (The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Literature, 1870) is right and “all art  constantly aspires towards the condition of music”, you might be interested in what composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky thought of it.  In a letter to his benefactress, Nadezhda von Meck on  March 17th, 1878 (from The Life & Letters of Pete Ilich Tchaikovsky), he wrote:

There is no doubt that even the greatest musical geniuses have sometimes worked without inspiration. This guest does not always respond to the first invitation. We must always work…

I have learnt to master myself, and I am glad I have not followed in the steps of some of my Russian colleagues, who have no self-confidence and are so impatient that at the least difficulty they are ready to throw up the sponge. This is why, in spite of great gifts, they accomplish so little, and that in an amateur way.

Discipline matters. You can adhere to Kerouac’s 39 Rules for Writing Prose – and this from the writer with the musical ear whose rhythmic and spontaneous stories and poems had “no form” because everything comes at you “in piecemeal bombardments, continuously, rat tat tatting the pure pictureless liquid of Mind essence.” Putting the fleeting and universal into a book is hard work. So, you can also study Kerouac’s Belief and Technique for Writing Modern Prose In 30 Bullet Points.

So here are Jack Kerouac’ s ‘Essentials of Spontaneous Prose’:

SET-UP The object is set before the mind, either in reality. as in sketching (before a landscape or teacup or old face) or is set in the memory wherein it becomes the sketching from memory of a definite image-object.

PROCEDURE Time being of the essence in the purity of speech, sketching language is undisturbed flow from the mind of personal secret idea-words, blowing (as per jazz musician) on subject of image.

METHOD No periods separating sentence-structures already arbitrarily riddled by false colons and timid usually needless commas-but the vigorous space dash separating rhetorical breathing (as jazz musician drawing breath between outblown phrases)–“measured pauses which are the essentials of our speech”–“divisions of the sounds we hear”-“time and how to note it down.” (William Carlos Williams)

SCOPING Not “selectivity’ of expression but following free deviation (association) of mind into limitless blow-on-subject seas of thought, swimming in sea of English with no discipline other than rhythms of rhetorical exhalation and expostulated statement, like a fist coming down on a table with each complete utterance, bang! (the space dash)-Blow as deep as you want-write as deeply, fish as far down as you want, satisfy yourself first, then reader cannot fail to receive telepathic shock and meaning-excitement by same laws operating in his own human mind.

LAG IN PROCEDURE No pause to think of proper word but the infantile pileup of scatological buildup words till satisfaction is gained, which will turn out to be a great appending rhythm to a thought and be in accordance with Great Law of timing.

TIMING Nothing is muddy that runs in time and to laws of time-Shakespearian stress of dramatic need to speak now in own unalterable way or forever hold tongue-no revisions (except obvious rational mistakes, such as names or calculated insertions in act of not writing but inserting).

CENTER OF INTEREST Begin not from preconceived idea of what to say about image but from jewel center of interest in subject of image at moment of writing, and write outwards swimming in sea of language to peripheral release and exhaustion-Do not afterthink except for poetic or P. S. reasons. Never afterthink to “improve” or defray impressions, as, the best writing is always the most painful personal wrung-out tossed from cradle warm protective mind-tap from yourself the song of yourself, blow!-now!-your way is your only way-“good”-or “bad”-always honest (“ludi- crous”), spontaneous, “confessionals’ interesting, because not “crafted.” Craft is craft.

STRUCTURE OF WORK Modern bizarre structures (science fiction, etc.) arise from language being dead, “different” themes give illusion of “new” life. Follow roughly outlines in outfanning movement over subject, as river rock, so mindflow over jewel-center need (run your mind over it, once) arriving at pivot, where what was dim-formed “beginning” becomes sharp-necessitating “ending” and language shortens in race to wire of time-race of work, following laws of Deep Form, to conclusion, last words, last trickle-Night is The End.

MENTAL STATE If possible write “without consciousness” in semi-trance (as Yeats’ later “trance writing”) allowing subconscious to admit in own uninhibited interesting necessary and so “modern” language what conscious art would censor, and write excitedly, swiftly, with writing-or-typing-cramps, in accordance (as from center to periphery) with laws of orgasm, Reich’s “beclouding of consciousness.” Come from within, out-to relaxed and said.

Via: University of Pennsylvania

The post Jack Kerouac’s Guide To Writing Spontaneous Prose appeared first on Flashbak.

19 Jan. 2023

“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
— Hans Christian Andersen, The Complete Fairy Tales


Albert Bierstadt butterflies


Albert Bierstadt (January 7, 1830 – February 18, 1902) was a German-American painter best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. He became part of the second generation of the Hudson River School in New York, an informal group of like-minded painters who started painting along the Hudson River.

When not painting sweeping vistas, Bierstadt would often give souvenirs to the many guests he welcomed to his home. Some would receive handmade keepsakes, like painted seashells and the beloved butterflies,  which are depicted here. About two dozen of Bierstadt’s butterflies survive, each one signed and dated by the artist. In some instances, his work is inscribed with the recipient’s name and the date of their meeting.

In 1892, a reporter attending an event hosted by Bierstadt recounted the artist’s process for creating such works – of which she was a happy recipient:

“We women were so glad we were women that afternoon, for Mr. Bierstadt presented each lady with a souvenir. This is how he made them. We all clustered about the table and he took out a palette, a knife and some large slips of cartridge paper. Two or three daubs of pigment on the paper, a quick fold, and holding it still folded against a pane of glass, he made two or three strokes of that wizard-like palette knife on the outside, and hey, presto! a wonderful Brazilian butterfly or moth, even the veining on the wings complete! A pencil touch added the antennae, the artist’s autograph was added to the corner, and now we each of us own a painting by Bierstadt.”

Via: Gordon Hendricks, Albert Bierstadt: Painter of the American West; Sotheby’s.

Prints of these beautiful paintings are available in the Flashbak Shop.


Albert Bierstadt butterflies Albert Bierstadt butterflies Albert Bierstadt butterflies Albert Bierstadt butterflies Albert Bierstadt butterflies Albert Bierstadt Albert Bierstadt Albert Bierstadt Albert Bierstadt butterflies


Fore more sensational butterflies:

Papillons: Lush Prints Of EA Séguy’s Sensational Butterflies

Buy beautiful butterflies to brighten your home.

The post Albert Bierstadt’s Butterflies – Handmade Gifts To Treasure appeared first on Flashbak.

17 Jan. 2023

Marbled paper refers to a variety of decorative appearances that resemble the vein-like texture of marble. The technique of marbling entails floating colours on a liquid and mixing them by chemical and physical means to achieve a pattern. A sheet of paper is placed on the pattern and is then removed, essentially forming a monotype print. It’s a complex process involving delicate interactions and manipulations of buoyancy, surface tension, capillarity and viscosity, with even the ambient temperature and humidity affecting the outcome.


Vintage Marbled Pape


Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, antique straight pattern

Historically Wolfe suggests that the Antique straight is a pattern seen at least as early as the 17th century. This decorative arrangement is created by first completing a feather pattern. Then, a shower of fine (usually white) colour dots would be sprinkled over the entire bath.

Collection Notes [relates to all of the images below]: The flat sample from which this photo was scanned is a salvaged endsheet. There is no record of the original item from which these endsheets were taken, so the creation date is a best estimate, using Wolfe as a guide.


Vintage Marbled Pape


A Brief History of Marbling

“Until after the middle of the nineteenth century, when the development of mechanized bookbinding methods first diminished and afterward virtually did away with the need for their services, hand bookbinders utilized marbled paper and the marbler’s craft to embellish many of the books that were bound during the previous several centuries. Marbled papers were employed outside the book trade as well to adorn a great many products of everyday use.

They served, for example, as wall coverings; as linings for the interiors of trunks, boxes, wallets, musical instrument cases and other containers; for covering boxes and other receptacles; as ornamentation in the panels of cabinets, furniture, and even harpsichords; as wrappings for toys, drug powders, and other consumer goods; for enclosing blank books used for writing, and for other stationary purposes; and as shelf papers for lining cupboards and cabinets and for many home-decorating purposes.

Despite their prior popularity and extensive employment, marbled papers and the marbler’s craft have remained the most obscure, and least investigated and understood, of all aspects of book arts. [..] For about two and a half centuries after its introduction into Europe about the year 1600, marbling was one of the chief means available for producing the colored papers used in bookbinding and other decorative work. It performed a similarly important role in the day-to-day life of the Near East, where the art was brought to perfection even earlier and used in conjunction with Islamic bookbinding, calligraphy, iconography, fine arts, and even administrative uses. In both the East and the West, large numbers and many generations of people spent their working lives in the production of marbled papers needed for these various purposes.”

From the introduction to: ‘Marbled Paper: Its History, Techniques, and Patterns’ 1990 by Richard J Wolfe, widely regarded as the leading authority on marbling. Wolfe is mentioned as a reference in the notes below; paraphrased from the source UW site.



Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Turkish pattern

Historically, this is the oldest of Western marbled patterns and dates back to as early as the middle part of the 15th century. Because this is the earliest (and simplest) example, it provides a base or jump off point for a large number of other patterns.

The pattern is created when one or more colours are thrown onto the surface of the bath using a marbling brush. The first colours thrown tend to constrict as other follow and can become the ‘vein’ colours for the latter thrown inks.



Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Turkish on Stormont pattern

The stormont* pattern is a rare effect in which turpentine is added to the blue colour causing it to break up into a fine network of lacy or flakey spots.

Vintage Marbled Pape


Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Gloster pattern

Gloster is similar to and often mistaken for a Stormont pattern. They both require a dispersant such as turpentine to cause their distinctive white (open) spots. The difference is that the Stormont pattern, overall, appears to be more like a Turkish pattern in that the ink has been mixed with the dispersant to cover the entire surface, whereas the Gloster looks more like a Zebra pattern where the dispersant has only been mixed with a single colour, making the spots distinctive from the other colours used.

The pattern is created by starting with a Turkish base, then a comb with one set of teeth is drawn across the bath twice vertically (or horizontally), once in either direction with the second pass halving the first. Then one or more colours of ink mixed with a dispersant are sprinkled onto the bath, causing those last spots to have open, very fine spots inside them.



Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Spanish moiré on Turkish with gold vein pattern

The pattern is created by making a Turkish pattern where the first colour used is gold. As further colours are dropped to complete the Turkish pattern, the gold constricts into veins. Then a paper, which has been folded in half is laid onto the bath, moving slightly from side to side to create the curvilinear gradations typical of this pattern.



Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Spanish moiré on Serpentine with gold vein pattern

As above.


Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Nonpareil pattern

Nonpareil [Fr.] means ‘matchless’ or ‘unrivalled.’ This pattern is related to the Wide comb (Arch) pattern as well as the Old Dutch pattern. All are variations of one another and are often mistaken for each other. The major differences are very difficult to pinpoint, but seem to stem from the size of intervals the last comb’s teeth are set in.

This pattern is created when the desired colours are dropped sequentially onto the bath using some sort of implement to regulate the drop sizes. According to Miura* a comb with one set of teeth set at intervals of 15-30mm is drawn through the bath horizontally, once in either direction with the second pass halving the first. Then another comb with teeth set at 2-3 mm is drawn once across the bath vertically (or horizontally).


Vintage Marbled Paper


Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Schrottel pattern

The pattern was created in Germany in the early part of the 18th century. It has many different spellings but Miura suggests in his spelling that the pattern’s name is derived from the German word Schrot which means ‘small shot’ or ‘small grain.’

The pattern is created by starting with a Turkish base. Then, a mixture is thrown onto the bath whose reaction with the previous colours causes the dark spots with white halos to appear, that are reminiscent in look to tiny stones. This mixture is made up of ox gall and oil. The primary colour for this example is black.



Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Italian pattern

This pattern was created in Italy near the end of the 18th century. Its name is likely based equally on it nation of origin and the fact that it so closely resembles the actual stone, Italian marble.

This pattern is created when, after however many colours desired are thrown onto the bath, a dispersant is sprinkled over the entire bath in fine dots. These tiny drops of dispersant cause the previously thrown colours to constrict into tiny veins. Miura suggests that the dispersant might be made up of a mixture of soap, spirits and ox gall and then sprinkled over the bath through fine wire mesh to maintain the size of the dispersant drops. These constricted veins cause the colours to appear as they would in marbled stone.


Vintage Marbled paper


Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Italian Overprinted on Turkish pattern

Normally, the Turkish pattern is created when one or more colours are thrown onto the surface of the bath using a marbling brush. The first colours thrown tend to constrict and become the ‘vein’ colours for the latter thrown inks. However, this particular sample has been printed with a lithographic process for both patterns as was popular towards the end of the 1800’s.The primary colours for this sample are light brown, peach, and black.


Vintage Marbled Paper

Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Spanish moiré on Turkish with Gold vein pattern

The pattern is created by making a Turkish pattern where the first colour used is gold. As further colours are dropped to complete the Turkish pattern, the gold constricts into veins. Then a paper, which has been folded in half is laid onto the bath, moving slightly from side to side to create the curvilinear gradations typical of this pattern. [repeating description from up the page]


Vintage Marbled Paper


Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Gold vein Overprinted on Turkish antiqued pattern

Though related in terms of end appearance, an ‘overprint’ is not the same process as ‘Double marble’ according to Miura. A double marble is created when a single paper has been through the marbling process twice where both patterns are on top of one another. An overprint is created when a paper, already marbled, is then printed on top of another pattern using a lithographic process.

This pattern is created by first completing a Turkish antiqued pattern (‘antiqued’ refers to any pattern where a last colour, usually white, is finely sprinkled over the entire bath). Then after that paper has been dried, the marbled side would be printed over with a Gold vein pattern (Italian pattern using metallic ink) using a lithographic process.



Vintage 19th c. marbled paper, Gold vein Overprinted over Spanish moiré on Turkish pattern

Similar to above, this pattern is created by first completing a Spanish moiré on Turkish pattern. Then after that paper has been dried, the marbled side would be printed over with a Gold vein pattern (Italian pattern using metallic ink) using a lithographic process.


The history of marbling is fairly obscure. It is thought that the decoration first appeared in Japan by at least the early 12th century, from a process known (still) as Suminagashi (‘sumi’ means ink and ‘nagashi’ means floating, thus ‘a pattern formed by floating ink’). The craft may have arisen in China independently or was imported from Japan very early on in the piece. Certainly, the inference in all the references is that a marbling technique was first practised in Japan.

Perhaps a century later, marbling appeared in, or near, Afghanistan, becoming an art form of the Persian and Ottoman worlds, centred in Turkey. Again, the marbling process may have been imported from the far East via the Silk Road trade route or it arose independently. The distinct Turkish marbling technique is known as Ebru and even the origin of that word is contentious, connoting either cloud art or water surface in Farsi or a related regional dialect.

The Suminagashi and Ebru forms of marbling are simplistic and rudimentary in comparison to the diverse and technically precise art that emerged later in Europe. In this case it is known that the technique was transplanted from Turkey to France, Italy and Germany in the 15th and 16th centuries, where a much larger body of craftsmen developed the technique.

Incidentally, the first mention of the marbling technique in western literature was by Athanasius Kircher in his 1646 book, ‘Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae’.

  • You can see the marbler at work in this terrific video from 1970s:



Via: University of Washington Decorated and Decorative Paper Collection.

By Paul K. at Bibliodyssey

The post Vintage Marbled Paper Designs – The Brilliant Art of the Marbler appeared first on Flashbak.

15 Jan. 2023

Charles Weever Cushman (1896 – 1972) was in New York City in July 1941 and September 1942. A keen amateur photographer and Indiana University alumnus, Cushman took approximately 14,500 Kodachrome colour slides from 1938 to 1969, during which time he extensively documented the United States as well as other countries. He took meticulous notes about each and every photograph, filling dozens of notebooks with details as he witnessed the world changing around him. Charles Cushman’s work is kept at the Indiana University Libraries.


Manhattan 1940s

Residents of lower Clinton St near East river Saturday afternoon 1941


New York City 1940s

Street in New York’s Chinatown 1942


Old lady reads Sunday paper. Lower East Side N.Y.C. 1942

Lower Manhattan 1942

Manhattan 1940s

Manhattan 1940s

Chinese store windows New York 1942

Manhattan 1940s

Portable soft drink stand at Bowling Green 1942

Manhattan 1940s

Crowd gathers during Salvage collection in lower East Side. 1942

Manhattan 1940s

Collecting the salvage on lower East Side. 1942

Hot Sweet Potatoes, 1942

Manhattan 1940s

Lower East Side, 1942

Manhattan 1940s

McSorley’s Old Ale House. E. 7th St. 1942

In N.Y.’s Chinatown 1942

Manhattan 1940s

Stores near corner of Broome St. and Baruch Place, Lower East Side. New York City

At City Hall Square New York City

Lower East Side Corner Broome St. Baruch Pl. Saturday afternoon

Manhattan 1940s

Lower Manhattan from Jersey City ferry boat 1941

Statue of Liberty from the Battery New York harbor

Manhattan 1940s

On New York’s lower East Side

Approaching Liberty St. ferry, New York City

Skyscrapers Looking toward financial District from an East River pier. New York City

Manhattan 1940s

New York City Lower East Side Flat bldgs. Clinton St. 1941

Via Indiana University Archives.

The post Lush Kodachrome Photos of Manhattan In The Early 1940s appeared first on Flashbak.

14 Jan. 2023


Victoria (24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death in 1901. Her reign of 63 years and seven months is second in length to that of Elizabeth II (1926 – 2022), who occupied the throne for 70 years.

Queen Victoria kept journals, illustrating many of the entries with drawings and watercolours. A keen artist from an early age, the Queen made numerous sketches of her homes and family, the places she visited and the people she met. A selection of her works is presented here. Some were drawn directly into her Journals as illustrations of her diary entries, while others are taken from her albums and sketchbooks, housed in the Print Room at Windsor Castle.

In May 2012, Queen Elizabeth II wrote:

In this the year of my Diamond Jubilee, I am delighted to be able to present, for the first time, the complete on-line collection of Queen Victoria’s journals from the Royal Archives.

These diaries cover the period from Queen Victoria’s childhood days to her Accession to the Throne, marriage to Prince Albert, and later, her Golden and Diamond Jubilees.

Thirteen volumes in Victoria’s own hand survive, and the majority of the remaining volumes were transcribed after Queen Victoria’s death by her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, on her mother’s instructions.

It seems fitting that the subject of the first major public release of material from the Royal Archives is Queen Victoria, who was the first Monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee.

It is hoped that this historic collection will make a valuable addition to the unique material already held by the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University, and will be used to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the past.


Journal Illustration- Wednesday 1st August 1832 Elizabethan lady and horse- pen and ink sketches [by Princess Victoria ?] on blotting paper

Queen Victoria Art

Journal Illustration- Tuesday 18th August 1857 Women and children of Cherbourg- pen and ink sketches with watercolour, by Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria Art

Journal Illustration- Saturday 3rd September 1842 Scottish fisherwomen- pen and ink sketch with watercolour, by Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria Art

Journal Illustration- Sunday 10th July 1842 Victoria, Princess Royal nude trying to climb into a bath- pen and ink sketch by Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria Art

Journal Illustration- Thursday 17th August 1848 The nine grandchildren of the Duchess of Kent- pen and ink sketch by Queen Victoria

Journal Illustration- Tuesday 6th January 1852 Queen Victoria’s children in costume for a Twelfth Night performance- ink and watercolour sketch by Queen Victoria

Journal Illustration- Friday 13th June 1851 Prince Albert, Queen Victoria and Prince Charles of Leiningen [?] in their costumes for the Stuart Ball- watercolour by Queen Victoria

Journal Illustration- Saturday 1st January 1848 Queen Victoria’s 5 children dressed as Coburg and Thüringen peasants- pen and ink sketch by Queen Victoria

Journal Illustration- Tuesday 9th November 1847 Three sketches of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, in jacket and trousers- profile; back view; front view- pen and ink sketches by Queen Victoria

Journal Illustration- Monday 10th February 1845 Bracelet given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert- pen and ink sketch with watercolour, by Prince Albert

Journal Illustration- Saturday 13th September 1834 A riding party- pen and ink sketch by Princess Victoria

Journal Illustration- Wednesday 1st August 1832 Horses’ head- pen and ink sketches [by Princess Victoria ?] on blotting paper

Sketchbook Illustration- c.1834 “Sir John Conroy”. Cut silhouette, by an unknown artist, from Queen Victoria’s ‘Book of Shades’.

Sketchbook Illustration- 1833 “Dash”. Pencil drawing of Princess Victoria’s favourite dog, by Princess Victoria.

Sketchbook Illustration- 1833 “Dash”. Pencil drawing of Princess Victoria’s favourite dog, by Princess Victoria.

Sketchbook Illustration- c.1827 “La chasse”. Pencil drawing, by Princess Victoria.

Sketchbook Illustration- 17 August 1831 A young girl standing next to a spring. Watercolour, by Princess Victoria, after Richard Westall.


The post Queen Victoria’s Little-Known Art appeared first on Flashbak.

13 Jan. 2023

Anna May Wong, Piccadilly, 1929

Visiting London, apparently on a sudden impulse and a year before she appeared in her first movie The Street of Forgotten Men Louise Brooks, late in 1924, became a dancer at the Café de Paris in Coventry Street. The venue had opened just six months earlier with a grand opening on Wednesday 28th May 1924 where a dance, dinner (which included caviar and green turtle) and cabaret cost 15s 6d. Brooks was not yet eighteen when, during a particularly cold and dismal winter, she reputedly became the first person to dance the Charleston in London. She was certainly the first to make the dance popular anyway. Brooks later wrote about her time in the capital: ‘I was living beyond my means – who doesn’t at seventeen? – in a flat at 49A Pall Mall.’

Louise Brooks in “The Street of Forgotten Men” (1925)

However it was another Hollywood movie star, Anna May Wong, who like Brooks is still famous today, who really enhanced the reputation of the Café de Paris when it provided the backdrop for A.E. Dupont’s classic silent film Piccadilly released in the UK in 1929.

Piccadilly, 1929, Anna May Wong, Chinese-American

Anna May Wong and Jameson Thomas from a scene in Piccadilly

Anna May Wong starred as Shosho, a scullery maid in a fashionable London nightclub whose sensuous tabletop dance catches the eye of suave club owner Valentine Wilmot. She rises to become the toast of London and the object of his erotic obsession – to the bitter jealousy of Mabel, his former lover and star dancer played by Ziegfeld Follies star Gilda Gray. Incidentally Gray, like Louise Brooks, popularised a dance. Her’s was called the Shimmy and it became a national craze in America when she was hired by Florenz Ziegfeld to perform it in the 1922 Ziegfeld Follies.

Gilda Gray in Piccadilly

London Transport Piccadilly Station. 1929

Piccadilly was a big success in the UK and although Gilda Gray was meant to be the top-billing actress, Variety magazine commented that Wong “outshines the star” and that “from the moment Miss Wong dances in the kitchen’s rear, she steals ‘Piccadilly’ from Miss Gray.” Photoplay magazine agreed: “Wonder of wonders — a truly fine British picture! Gilda Gray is starred, but Anna May Wong brings home the bacon.” As usual Wong was not permitted to kiss her white love interest and a controversial planned scene involving a kiss was cut before the film was released, “on moral grounds.”

The Chinese American actress was quoted in TIME magazine saying “I see no reason why Chinese and English people should not kiss on the screen, even though I prefer not to.” Her co-star Jameson Thomas, probably regretting, at least what he said about Germany a few years later, commented: “In England, we have less prejudice against scenes of interracial romance than in America,said Jameson Thomas, “In France, there is still less, and in Germany, there is none at all. But we are careful to handles such scenes tactfully.” As her biographer Graham Russell Gao Hodges puts it, “her movies are almost always a representation of social fears about interracial sex”.

Screenland Article (1928-01) – Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong in Piccadilly (1929)

Jameson Thomas

Jameson Thomas and Anna May Wong – Piccadilly (1929)

Scene from Piccadilly (1929)

At the time she was filming Piccadilly Anna May Wong was living in an apartment in the Park Lane Hotel overlooking Hyde Park. She told reporters that she loved London because everyone was friendly to her. According to her biographer Graham Russell Gao Hodges people mobbed her everywhere and English girls tinted their faces ivory with ochre colour to get the “Wong” complexion and cut their hair with a fringe to achieve the “Wong” haircut. She was interviewed in her rooms by Annesley de Silva who wrote, “she entered the room “softly, silently and greeted me with a melodious ‘good morning.’ Disappointingly, as far as he was concerned, she offered him a mundane Players cigarette from a packet – “from a hand which should have held a gold case inlaid with jade.”

Piccadilly was also notable for one of the first film appearances of Charles Laughton – he appears in only one scene where the only time he stops putting more food in his mouth is when he’s complaining about the dirty crockery…Simon Callow, actor and his biographer says that of all the “magnificent eating scenes Laughton committed to celluloid this early scene bears comparison with any of them.”

Photos and images of Anna May Wong are available at the Flashbak Shop

The post Piccadilly (1929) Starring Anna May Wong, and the Café de Paris appeared first on Flashbak.

11 Jan. 2023

“These were the great years of gig going and virtually total freedom in been able to wander around where I wanted to at gigs,” says Richard Davis, whose took these fabulous photographs of bands and fans in the post-punk years around the same time he was recording life on Manchester’s roaring Crescents.

“We didn’t seem to have any restrictions in those days. Probably because at most of these gigs I was the only one with a camera. This was long before digital cameras and mobile phones changed everything.”


Psychic TV - Manchester Poly 1988

Psychic TV – Manchester Poly 1988

2. BJORK , The Sugarcubes - Birmingham Burberries 1987

Bjork – The Sugarcubes – Birmingham Burberries 1987

“Sometimes I kind of felt invisible, bands didn’t seem to mind me hanging around, i chose my moments and didn’t get in the way. Nowadays it is different and access is not easy. Bands have managers who want total control regarding photography. It’s not so much fun either when there’s a whole host of photographers lined up all trying to get the same shot.”

– Richard Davis


THE MEMBRANES - Manchester Boardwalk 1989

The Membranes – Manchester Boardwalk, 1989

Stretch Heads - Bradford 1 in 12 Club 1990

Stretch Heads – Bradford 1 in 12 Club 1990

Pussy Galore Mermaid Pub, Birmingham 1988

Pussy Galore, Mermaid Pub, Birmingham, 1988

Mudhoney - Backstage International 1 Manchester 1989

Mudhoney – Backstage International 1, Manchester 1989

Godflesh - Birmingham 1988

Godflesh – Birmingham 1988

“They gigged at very small venues and there were no barriers at all. There were no people telling you ‘You can’t stand there’ or ‘You can’t do that. If you keep things low key, you get more of an atmosphere. There’s no gap between the crowd and the band but once things get too big, you lose so much. Things are so clean and proper these days. I miss when everything was loose and a little chaotic. It felt real. Once the corporate money people get involved, they ruin things. They don’t want things to be dangerous. Everything is too controlled.”

– Richard Davis


Fugazi - Manchester Boardwalk 1989

Fugazi – Manchester Boardwalk 1989

26. J MASCIS - Dinosaur Jr. Manchester 1989

J. Mascis – Dinosaur Jr. Manchester 1989

19. BLIXA BARGELD - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Manchester 1988

Blixa Bargeld – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Manchester 1988

5. NIRVANA - Manchester Polytechnic 1989

Nirvana at Manchester Polytechnic, 1989

4. KURT COBAIN & FAN - Nirvana Manchester Polytechnic 1989

Kurt Cobain and a fan – Nirvana, Manchester Polytechnic 1989

3. THURSTON MOORE - Sonic Youth, Manchester University 1989

Thurston Moore – Sonic Youth, Manchester University 1989

NICK CAVE Ritz Manchester 1988

Nick Cave at Ritz Manchester 1988

Richard’s work is available as a book at Cafe Royal Books.

The post Nick Cave, Bjork and The Naked Psychic TV Dancer Star in The Post-Punk Years – 1987–1990 appeared first on Flashbak.

10 Jan. 2023

Here’s an album of vintage snapshots showing people larking around with violence, pain, what could be S&M and very possibly death. Given our age and time, let’s begin with a health warning (don’t do it for real –  none of it) and a trigger warning (don’t look at these make-believe tableaux, all of which would be criminal acts if real).  This is make believe. Stills of am-dram foolishness. Each image tells a story. There’s fun to be had imagining them between the photos from the extraordinary Robert E. Jackson collection.




When I was just a baby, my mama told me, “Son
Always be a good boy, don’t ever play with guns”
But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowin’, I hang my head and cry
– Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues






Give me time to realize my crime
Let me love and steal
I have danced inside your eyes
How can I be real?
Do you really want to hurt me?
Do you really want to make me cry?
– Culture Club, Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?





Somewhere a clock strikes midnight
And there’s a full moon in the sky
You hear a dog bark in the distance
You hear someone’s baby cry
A rat runs down the alley
And a chill runs down your spine
And someone walks across your grave
And you wish the sun would shine
‘Cause no one’s going to warn you
And no one’s going to yell, “Attack!”
And you don’t feel the steel
Till it’s hanging out your back
– AC/DC, Night Prowler





When she woke up and found that her dream of love was gone
She ran to the man who had led her so far astray
And from under her velvet gown
She drew a gun and shot her love down
Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today
– Ella Fitzgerald, Miss Otis Regrets




At break of day when that man drove away, I was waiting
I crossed the street to her house and she opened the door
She stood there laughing
I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more
– Tom Jones, Deliliah



She leaned herself against a fence
Just for a kiss or two
And with a little pen-knife held in her hand
She plugged him through and through
And the wind did roar and the wind did moan
La la la la la
La la la la lee
A little bird lit down on Henry Lee
– Nick Cave, Henry Lee




Now on the sidewalk,
Lies a body just oozin’ life,
And someone’s sneakin’ ’round the corner
Could that someone be Mack the Knife?
– Bobby Darin, Mack the Knife




I woke up this morning
Got myself a gun
Mama always said I´d be the
Chosen One
– Alabama 3, Woke Up This Morning



“You know what the fellow said – in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”
— Graham Greene, The Third Man




Buy something better in the Flashbak Shop.

Follow Robert E. Jackson for more great stuff.Snpshots

The post This Won’t Hurt A Bit – Fake Violence in Vintage Photography appeared first on Flashbak.