Having progressed comfortably past the halfway point in Charles Dickens’s ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’, this morning I scanned the next six of Charles Keeping’s imaginative and skilful illustrations.
In ‘Mrs Hominy stalked in again; very erect, in proof of her aristocratic blood’ the artist perfectly displays her haughtiness.
‘Three or four meagre dogs; some long-legged pigs; some children, nearly naked; were all the living things he saw’ sprawls across a splendid two page spread.
Two more leaves are partially occupied by ‘In a moment the stick was spinning harmlessly in the air, and Jonas himself lay sprawled in the ditch’, thus depicting a sense of distance.
Mrs Gamp, being ‘Only a little screwed’, i.e. somewhat inebriated as usual, clearly afforded her young witnesses a sneaky source of amusement.
‘He stood at his shop-door in even-tide’ is one of Keeping’s authentic period street scenes.
‘That fiery animal confined himself almost entirely to his hind legs in displaying his paces’ bursting out of the text shows the horse’s stubbornly combative nature. The artist faithfully demonstrates the driver’s diminutive stature.
The day remained cold with occasional sunny periods, one of which lasted for only the first of the photographs I produced on a walk around the garden this afternoon.
This was a fanning euphorbia providing shadows; we have a plethora of primroses and pansies, some of which are now planted in an owl flown in from Mum’s garden. The other ornamental raptor pictured is the Head Gardener’s latest purchase. Later daffodils continue to bloom, as do tulips and camellias. Honesty is widespread; spirea sprays forth; fritillaries flourish. I think it is safe to say that the garden is surviving the cold weather.
This evening we dined alfresco at The Lamb Inn, Nomansland. I will report on. that tomorrow.