Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A R Quinton

I first came across the artist A R Quinton years ago in a series of little cookery books that I found in a bookshop in Bakewell. I started collecting them as I really enjoyed looking at the cover illustrations and I also discovered that the recipes in them are actually very good. There must be about forty of these books now and I have 31 of them. Only the early ones in the series have illustrations by AR Quinton though, the later ones use other artists from the same era. The painting on the front of the Kentish recipes is of Smallhythe where the actress Ellen Terry lived. DH and I visited the house a few years ago and it still looks very much as it did in the painting. All the photos will enlarge if you click on them by the way.

In the same shop I eventually came across this book illustrated by Alfred Quinton and I enjoy it as much for the artwork as for the prose. In fact let's be honest here - the artwork is definitely the real reason that I love it!

When I'm in Suffolk I like to spend time exploring the lanes and villages that are off the main roads. Brent Eleigh is one of the places I came across and the view of this beautiful house is pretty much unchanged - only the geese and the horses are missing. If you click on the link it will take you to the post where I wrote about this village along with my photo of the house.

I would love to walk into this painting of Bossington in Somerset, it looks idyllic. I wonder whether it's still the lovely, quiet lane that appears here - I do hope so.

Gradually I came across one or two more books full of A.R.Quinton's paintings, some like the one above were second hand. Alfred Robert Quinton was born in 1853 in Peckham, London. He studied at Heatherley's Art School and by 1880 was sharing a studio with another artist at New Court, Lincoln's Inn. His watercolours were regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy and two of his paintings were bought by the then Duke and Duchess of York the parents of our present Queen. From the early 1900s Quinton travelled all round England painting local scenes which were published as postcards by the firm of J.Salmon Ltd. He paints the kind of rural scenes that appeal to me immensely and he has left a wonderful pictorial record of the England that existed before the advent of the car.

Another book of paintings, I enjoy just leafing through these and slipping back in time. It also goes with me if I'm travelling in areas where I know he painted so that I can try and find the villages and cottages.

This is Kersey in Suffolk then and now - certainly still recognizable as the place in the painting though the large tree has gone and the ever present cars and telegraph pole have appeared - neither improve the view! Most of the cottages have been done up too and have lost some of their charm as a result.

I discovered that there are lots of the Salmon postcards to be had so I have started collecting a few of the village and cottage ones. They are quite hard to find as many that are on ebay are views or of places like Oxford or Windsor. They are very nice but it's the rural ones that I really like.

This is my favourite book as it has a biography of A.R.Quinton along with lots of his paintings and a great deal more information about rural life in late Victorian and Edwardian times than appears in the other two books.

One of the paintings in the above book is this one of Cockington in Devon, it brings back a lot of happy memories for me as we always spent our annual holiday in either Paignton or Torquay when I was a little girl and we always went to Cockington. The painting is of the forge which dates back to the 1400s. When I was a child it was still a working forge, now I believe they sell miniature horseshoes to the tourists. Cockington is definitely one of those 'never go back' places I think, I'd rather remember the quiet, pretty village of my childhood.

Oh dear, I'm afraid I'm going to have to add all these to my book pile - the top of the pile too! I'm still ploughing through Mr Ditchfield's Vanishing England but I shall be rather glad when I've finished it and can move on to Alfred Quinton.
Blogger does seem to have come back to normal now so hopefully it will stay that way. I really didn't like being locked out of my own blog!


MorningAJ said...

I know thise cookbooks and I've got a few. I'll have to check who painted the covers.

Thimbleanna said...

It's funny, when I started reading your post that first picture wasn't loading, but as I read and saw the other pictures, I knew just the cookbooks you were talking about. We bought several of them on our visit to the UK and they made great little gifts to bring back home to friends. I had no idea there were so many different books. What a wonderful post Rowan - as always!!!

Dartford Warbler said...

What an interesting post. I know these little cookbooks which are like a glimpse into a byegone age, and with good regional recipes too.

Now I shall start looking out for A R Quinton. I love watercolours from the turn of the century and just beyond.

George said...

You have a very interesting collection of books, Rowan, and I'm especially interested in all of your cookbooks. As I recall, there was even an American cookbook featured in an earlier post. You must be a terrific chef!

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Delightful. I know several of the villages that you mention and it's lovely to see these old pictures. Bossington (pronounced Bozzinton by the locals) is less quiet than it used to be but there are still plenty of the old cottages in existence. If you've never been to that corner of Exmoor you should try to get there someday.

Karen said...

Lovely books Rowan. I believe my Mum used to have some of the recipe books as I recognise them? I wonder if my Dad still has them?
What a peaceful world it looks in those paintings. :)

Morning's Minion said...

We have left a visit to England undone for so many years that it now won't happen. It is delightful to visit via blog. I have long suspected that the England I picture in my mind from years of reading, is not, for the most part, the countryside that now exists. Cities don't appeal to me--it is the rural places that draw me in. Quinton's paintings are so fresh--one can almost step quietly into the scene.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I love anything about England - love the paintings and the books. What a lovely collection you have - thank you for sharing.

Grizz………… said...

Quinton's village life art is wonderful. I can see why you collect the books. All appear quite delightful…especially those charming little cookbooks. I can think of no American equivalent. Landscape painters, we have, but no one with similar talent who concentrated on 19th century small town and rural life…though perhaps that's just my lack of knowledge showing. I hope so; I'd like to think there's something similar in books and paintings waiting for me to stumble across.

BTW, I've really enjoy the posts on your books. I hope you continue sharing an annotated brose of your library.

Comfrey Cottages said...

I have 2 of those little books, with AR Quintons illustrations in them. Favorite Tea Time recipes and Favorite Apple recipes. I love the artwork and it is so nice to learn more about the artist and to visit the before and after picture you have posted!His artwork very much speaks to me also. The recipes I have tried out of my little books have been very good! Thank you for sharing all this!! hugs, Leslie xx

Anonymous said...

Oh my, did you get locked out of your own blog ? I know I haven't been able to visit some blogs or comment, but having your blog lock down on you is just terrible.
I love the paintings in the books. It reminds me of the series The cottage garden by Geoff Hamilton. I love that series and have it on dvd. A lot of those old cottages were shown in that series. Very beautiful. I felt so very sad when Geoff died. He had an eye for old things and was very practical.
I'm sure he loved the paintings by Quinton too ; )
Have a wonderful weekend.

Rosie said...

They are lovely illustrations! I have three of those cookbooks but only one has a cover by A. R. Quinton and that is on 'Favourite Peak District Recipes' and is of the waterfall in Monsal Dale also inside two sepia coloured illustrations - I'm not sure if they are from paintings or are photos one of Topley Pike and one of The Crescent at Buxton:)

elaine said...

Just to let you know that I am passing on to you the 'Versatile Blogger' award - if you pop over to my blog you can read all about it. It is awarded for a recently discovered blog that you have enjoyed. Congrats.

Mac n' Janet said...

What beautiful books, I've seen the cook books before, but didn't realize how many of them there were. Helen Allingham is the Victorian water color painter I'm most familiar with, now you've give me a whole set of new books to look for.

Mary said...

Oh goodness, there's MY Cockington Forge - the village is a ten minute walk (well as kids we took longer, messing about in the hedgerows, climbing over stiles etc.) from my childhood home. I spent many hours there and of course always stop by when home for a visit, even though it's more commercialized now.

I love Mr. Quinton's paintings - that is a great collection you have, especially the county cookbooks, delightful Rowan. Thanks for sharing these paintings - I'm going back to enlarge and just enjoy the details of England as it once was, sigh!

Happy weekend - hugs, Mary

Diane said...

Ive got a couple of those cookery books. The paintings are really lovely.
PS Ive sent you a pdf for Sheffield History weekend. x

Hearthwife said...

I too have a few of those little cookery books, picked up while on holiday in various locations. They are lovely, and useful!

I confess to buying one or two because of the cover art without looking inside, never thought to find out who the artist was.

Quite a few bloggers have been doing book posts as of late and it will be costing me dearly. LOL

Roy said...

Hey D, I have checked out the painting view of Bossington on Google map by going down to road level on the satellite version. It looks to be similar with the chimneys and buildings, but not so much greenery or Hollyhocks.

Patricia said...

Loved your post and have several of the local cookbooks from places I have visited on holidays etc. I've just seen that you are my new follower, thankyou. We both seem to have a lot in common too, especially books and family history. I have added you to my blog list too.

Bovey Belle said...

I've got some of those cookery books too - never realized that it was the same person doing all the illustrations. I have to say though, my sort of paintings and I always think I was born too late. I will now have my antennae fully alert to A R Quinton!

Anonymous said...

I have one book with AR Quinton illustrations in them, my Rowan you have an amazing selection of books, no time for boredom for you... Congrats on your award!
Hugs Rosemary...xx

Shammickite said...

Lovely post! I have admired A R Quinton's paintings on postcards, I have quite a few of them. I love the colours he uses and his painting style, and of course, the rural subjects he painted, the thatched cottages and the leafy lanes. I didn't know that he is included in cookbooks too! I wonder if he was a good cook????

Jenny Woolf said...

I like Quinton's work too although I never looked at the signature. I have a copy of the narrow boat recipes in that series.

You might be interested to go to Pendon model railway sometime (Oxfordshire) as that has a massive layout which is modelled on Oxon/Wilts in the 1930s, the level of detail is absolutely astonishing and you can absolutely get the atmosphere of how it was - remote, rustic, untouched.

The archaeology tours you mentioned on my blog sound great by the way - may consider that option another time as the more you know the more you want to konw!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

These are lovely. Funny, I have one of the little Scottish cookbooks, but never knew the artist's name. I shall look for him now.

Anonymous said...

I have one about Somerset and have sent copies to contacts all over the world if they've enquired about my area. I like how you showed us Kersy then and now. You've given me some ideas for my blog! Thank you.

Heidi said...

I too have 4 of these little cookbooks. I pulled mine from the shelf to look and two are illustrated by A.R. Quinton. I never knew he was a famous artist of the time.

By the way, I looked for England is a Village but could not find it. I did however find it as an ebook and will read it online when I get a chance.

Hugs from Holland ~

Nan said...

Oh, they are so wonderful. I love those paintings. They feel like home in some way.

Gracie said...

How lovely they are, love the painting style.

Dd W said...

Such a nice page. Thank you for sharing, and your obvious interest in lovely designs.

The Pikeman said...

I have 4 AR Quinton original paintings, reading this has made me realise how popular his work is. What a great story