Aubrey Beardsley Exhibition | ‘I have one aim – the grotesque. If I am not grotesque – I am nothing’

Aubrey Beardsley exhibition

An Aubrey Beardsley exhibition showcasing the illustrative skills and imagination of the renowned 1890s draughtsman & illustrator opens at Shapero Rare Books 105 New Bond Street Gallery on 13th May 2021.

Shapero will be offering for sale an important collection of the artist’s works, started by Rainforth Armitage Walker and continued by W.G. Good.  The collection comprises all the major works in the artist’s canon and is the most comprehensive collection of Beardsley’s printed works ever assembled.  Exploring the outlandish, the comical, the stylish and the erotic, Beardsley’s distinctive style is instantly recognisable.

This incredible collection also forms the basis for an Aubrey Beardsley exhibition, displaying Beardsley’s most important illustrated books, alongside earlier works, books from the artist’s own library, rare titles relating to the Decadent and Aesthetic movements, unexpurgated proofs, drawings and other collectable works.  Despite commencement of the collecting beginning over one hundred years ago, the books remain in exceptional condition.

Beardsley’s masterpiece of illustration Le Morte d’Arthur is one of the highlights of the collection (with almost a whole cabinet dedicated to it in the actual Aubrey Beardsley exhibition) and is present in several editions, including the first, special edition of 300 copies only.

Beardsley's rendering of the Arthurian legend reflects both the neoclassical tradition at the heart of the Pre-Raphaelite and the Arts & Crafts movements, and the emerging spirit of the Decadent movement to create a stunning visual and tactile work.

Also part of the Aubrey Beardsley exhibition will be an extremely rare first English edition of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, from W.G. Good’s library.  Wilde himself makes a cameo in several of Beardsley’s gorgeous illustrations, which met with the author’s approval.

The last great work undertaken by Beardsley was to be an illustrated edition of Ben Jonson’s 17th-century satirical work Volpone, or The Fox.  Initially intended to have 25 designs by the artist, only one full-page illustration was completed as Beardsley’s health deteriorated.  'Volpone Adoring his Treasure' was used as the frontispiece for the edition, and is widely considered one of the artist's greatest works.  Beardsley himself called it ‘one of the strongest things I have ever done’.

The creators of the Aubrey Beardsley exhibition

Rainforth Armitage Walker (born 1886) developed an interest in the then recently deceased artist Aubrey Beardsley.  He became a passionate collector of Beardsley’s works, studying them in detail order to expose the many forgeries that were appearing in the early 20th century.  Walker’s collection of the artist’s drawings formed the basis of the National Gallery’s 1923-24 Beardsley exhibition.

As his health deteriorated in the 1950s, Walker passed custodial ownership of his Beardsley collection to his friend and fellow collector W. G. Good, who developed the collection further, with the expanded collection contributing to the V&A 1966 Beardsley exhibition.  The result of Walker and Good’s curatorial and bibliographical efforts is a collection of Beardsley’s art in print without equal.

"The Walker-Good collection provides an exceptional opportunity to experience the full scope of Aubrey Beardsley’s all-too-short career as an illustrator and artist, from his earliest works when he was still at school through to the final, unfinished works showcasing the evolution of an epic ambition and imagination." Bernard Shapero, CEO of Shapero Rare Books

The Aubrey Beardsley exhibition opens its doors on Thursday 13th May

Interview | Neil Gaiman

'So this is Neil Gaiman out on the Island of Skye and you may be able to hear a little howling wind in the background...'

Our Digital Content Manager, Oliver Bayliss, recently had the pleasure of interviewing legendary author Neil Gaiman from his home on the windswept Isle of Skye (the howling wind in the background makes for a particularly evocative experience).

Discussing our online exhibition of works by renowned artist, Lorna May Wadsworth, her portraits of Neil Gaiman and her artist’s residency on set of the acclaimed dramatisation of Good Omens, the answers give a fascinating insight into not only one of our greatest living authors, but also the fine art of portraiture.

OB: How did Lorna May's artist residency come about for Good Omens and what was it like having her on set?

NG: It came about because I had met Lorna May initially at a comic relief event where she was sketching, and she sketched me. We hit it off and as Good Omens started, I thought it would be really nice to have an artist around to record some of the madness. Some of the big, strange things that were happening and I contacted Lorna May and she mentioned that she had actually already been once an on set artist and knew how to keep out of everybody's way and knew how to make friends amongst the crew, so I invited her along.

It was amazing just watching what she did with charcoal, with paints, with newspapers, with pencils, with paper and then these lightning sketches, these studies, and then, because she is Lorna May, she got both David Tennant and Michael Sheen to agree to let her do their portraits in lunchtimes and nobody had time, but you can't really say no to Lorna May, so they happened and both Michael and David loved what she did.

OB: When you and Terry Pratchett were working on Good Omens, did either of you imagine that it would take on such a life of its own, especially such cult like devotion around the characters of Aziraphale and Crowley?

NG: No! When Terry and I were working on Good Omens, all we wondered about, all we thought about, all we... our only question apart from what was going to happen next in Good Omens, which was always the big one, was would anybody, apart from us care, about this? Would anybody, apart from us, want to buy the book when we finished it? We didn't know. We could only hope. And of course people did! The glorious and wonderful afterlife of Good Omens is a magical, magical bonus.

OB: As we're rare book dealers, we have to ask, why was Aziraphale a dealer himself? I rather like the irony that his portrait is now in a rare book shop - a homecoming of sorts!

NG: So do I! I think it's because both Terry and I have spent too much of our lives in book shops and too much of our lives in second hand book shops and too much of our lives marveling at the different kinds of bookshop there are out there, the different kinds of rare book dealers out there, the ones who want to sell you a book and the ones who don't! The bookshops filled with strange angles and books piled up everywhere, that you're never going to be able to find the books; where the person looking after the bookshop knows where several thousand books are in ways that are impossible for any other human being defined and the ones in which they discourage you.

Um, all of those things we thought, plus of course we knew that The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, a rare book was going to come into this and we wanted our Angel to know what it was and to recognize it.

OB: Looking at Lorna May's portraits: firstly, do you feel she's captured the personalities of the central characters, and secondly, do you feel she captured your personality?

NG: What I love most, I think about Lorna May's portraits of David Tennant and Michael Sheen it's they don't look to me like Crowley and Aziraphale, they look to me like David and Michael, when their hair was like that to play the characters, they feel to me somehow much more like glorious portraits of the actors than they do as portraits of Crowley, portraits of Aziraphale.

I feel like she's definitely captured something in her portraits of me, I find it astonishing, I look at them and I think, do I look like? Is that me? It seems to be me. Lots of people draw me, but most of the drawings don't feel like me. They feel like the kind of images that you'd get when as a child, you'd sit in one of those photo booths and a bunch of four photos would chunk out and you'd stare at yourself and you'd think, do I look like that? Maybe I look like that.... sort of, maybe, maybe my face was wrong, maybe I'm, but you know that you couldn't actually afford to have another four photos taken, so you just sort of put up with it.

Um, Lorna May's portraits of me don't feel like that. They feel like me, I feel slightly melancholy, um, very distracted and like I'm probably thinking about something along way away, which of course when she was painting I probably was.

OB: Continuing on the theme of Good Omens, how do you think both Aziraphale and Crowley would have handled lockdown in 2020?

NG: I think that Crowley would have handled it very, very badly because Crowley likes experiences and one of the things that 2020 has told us is that experiences, going places and doing things, watching things, seeing shows, going to bars because that's where the people are, all of those things can be taken away.

Whereas I think, honestly, Aziraphale would love it. He gets to sit in his shop, gets to read all the books that he wants. He's not really bothered by customers, gets to catch up on his baking.

I think the only thing that Crowley would really like is watching human nature take its course. You know, we've gone... here we are in month eight or nine of all of this (at the time of interview), and we're at the point now where huge groups of people have decided to abandon the germ theory of disease as inconvenient and I think probably that Crowley, whatever part of him is still a demon, would love that...

Good Icons: An Online Exhibition was originally installed in both the Bookshop and our Gallery and features portraits of the iconic author Neil Gaiman, as well as works inspired by the adaptation of both his and Terry Pratchett’s book, Good Omens.

From a life-size rendering of the author’s head suspended in layers of sun-bleached wax, crafted upon a piece of prehistoric bog oak, to portraits of the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley, the exhibition is a must for art and book lovers alike.

The exhibition also features a limited edition print signed by Gaiman and Wadsworth, alongside a signed illustrated 125 page retrospective catalogue.

Good Icons: An Online Exhibition

Good Icons installed at 106 New Bond Street

Shapero Rare Books and Shapero Modern are proud to unveil an online exhibition of works by the renowned contemporary portrait artist Lorna May Wadsworth, the artist in residence for the Amazon Prime series Good Omens.

The exhibition, originally installed in both the Bookshop and our Gallery, features portraits of the iconic author Neil Gaiman, as well as works inspired by the adaptation of both his and Terry Pratchett’s book, Good Omens.

From a life-size rendering of the author’s head suspended in layers of sun-bleached wax, crafted upon a piece of prehistoric bog oak, to portraits of the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley, the exhibition is a must for art and book lovers alike.

The exhibition also features a limited edition print signed by Gaiman and Wadsworth, alongside a signed illustrated 125 page retrospective catalogue. Get in touch to order either.

'Big Neil' installed at Shapero Modern
Neil Gaiman's signature beneath the hand gilded title on the limited edition print.
Good Icons installed at 106 New Bond Street.
Study for the Bog Oak Book.
Signed Lorna May Wadsworth Retrospective Catalogue.
Artworks on the shelves at 106 New Bond Street

Art Exhibition: The Book of Neil Gaiman by Lorna May Wadsworth

Lorna May Wadsworth installs striking portraits of Neil Gaiman at Shapero Rare Books and Shapero Modern

Big Neil at Shapero Modern

Friday 30th October – Friday 13th November 2020

Shapero Modern, 41-43 Maddox Street, London, W1S 2PD

Shapero Rare Books, 106 New Bond Street, London, W1S 1DN

DUE TO THE UK LOCKDOWN, PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EXHIBITION HAS NOW MOVED ONLINE

Renowned contemporary artist Lorna May Wadsworth (artist in residence for the Amazon Prime series Good Omens) will be exhibiting The Book of Neil Gaiman at Shapero Rare Books located in its new first floor space on New Bond Street and Big Neil at newly opened Shapero Modern in an exciting short-term exhibition.

Wadsworth rose to prominence in the contemporary art world before she had completed her postgraduate course at the prestigious Royal Drawing School, with a series of notable works, including portraits of the Rt. Hon. Lord Blunkett and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt. Hon. Lord Williams. One of her most acclaimed works, a monumental portrait of the late Margaret Thatcher, was completed from five life sittings. The resultant painting is one of the most commanding and respected formal portraits of a modern British Prime Minister.

The Book of Neil Gaiman, alongside two Good Omens portraits at Shapero Rare Books

Author Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Neverwhere, Coraline), shown in these works at both Shapero spaces, is one of the most treasured storytellers of our time. In Big Neil Wadsworth has captured Gaiman ‘god sized’, in a 2 metre large head, echoing his epic early novel American Gods. In casting Neil as the omnipotent narrator Wadsworth echoes the adoration in which he is held by his fans; an ardent fervour usually associated with rock stars, not those who sit atop the New York Times bestseller list.

Accompanying this, Wadsworth’s portrait The Book of Neil Gaiman is a life-size rendering of the author’s head suspended in layers of sun-bleached wax, crafted upon a piece of prehistoric bog oak which lay forgotten within the cold dark earth for thousands of years. The double-sided portrait, of both the front and back of his head, is manifested within the form of something almost book shaped. It is a piece which seems both ancient relic and other worldly. Indeed, time is contained and condensed within this dark, dense tome which will never open.

The Book of Neil Gaiman at Shapero Rare Books

Also at Shapero Rare Books, Wadsworth will exclusively unveil her preparatory studies which reveal the fascinating progress of developing this technique, inspired by the wax Fayum mummy portraits of the dead.

Wadsworth has always challenged the portrait tradition and a recurrent theme throughout her work is the inversion of the gendered gaze. Highlights from her career include her contemporary interpretation of Leonardo’s Last Supper fresco and her dazzling portraits of such celebrated sitters as actors David Tennant and Sir Derek Jacobi, award winning film maker Richard Curtis and an other former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair.

Shapero Rare Books & Shapero Modern CEO Bernard Shapero with the artist Lorna May Wadsworth

Quentin Blake: ‘Even in the age of the iPad and the smart phone, books offer things that they cannot’

Our Quentin Blake exhibition was featured in the November issue of Country Life, with the artist revealing the inspiration behind the show.

Affectionately caricaturing the bookish among us, Anthology of Readers featured sixty original pen, ink & watercolour drawings.

To read the full article in Country Life, please click here or the image below

Sir Quentin Blake. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Click here to see a number of works still available, including the book we published to coincide with the show.

With a limitation of just 100, the book is hand numbered and comes with an original signed Quentin Blake print.

The Best Exhibitions and Events in December 2019

This month's festive round up of the best exhibitions and events in December 2019 are all handpicked by the team at Shapero.

The list includes Art Fairs, Architecture, and a truly iconic smashed up bass!

What: Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019

When: Ongoing until 16th February 2020

Where: National Portrait Gallery

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 is the leading international competition, open to all, which celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world.

What: The Clash: London Calling

When: Ongoing until 19th April 2020

Where: Museum of London

When The Clash’s third album ‘London Calling’ was released in the winter of 1979 it was clear that the band had made an instant classic, an era-defining masterpiece which still stands as one of rock’s all-time greatest albums.
To celebrate this truly London work, the Museum of London will showcase a collection of items from The Clash’s personal archive including notes, clothing, images and music, many previously unseen, in The Clash: London Calling, a free exhibit opening on 15th November.

What: Leonardo: Experience a Masterpiece

When: Ongoing until 12th January 2020

Where: National Gallery

The secrets of Leonardo’s masterpiece are revealed in four distinct spaces. Each space invites you to look at 'The Virgin of the Rocks' in a new way.

What: Gauguin Portraits 

When: Ongoing until 26th January 2020

Where: National Gallery

The first-ever exhibition devoted to the portraits of Paul Gauguin. Spanning his early years as an artist through to his later years spent in French Polynesia, the exhibition shows how the French artist revolutionised the portrait. By adding carefully selected attributes or placing the sitter into a suggestive context Gauguin was able to make portraits that expressed meaning beyond their personalities. A group of self portraits, for example, reveals how Gauguin created a range of personifications including his self-image as 'Christ in the Garden of Olives', 1889 (Norton Gallery of Art, West Palm Beach).

What: Quentin Blake: An Anthology of Readers

When: Ongoing until Christmas Eve

Where: Shapero Rare Books

Yes, yes, we know! It's our exhibition! But we couldn't include a round up of the best exhibitions without including it!

Opening on the 29th November 2019, An Anthology of Readers is comprised of seventy-two new pen, ink & watercolour drawings by the much-loved Quentin Blake, all of which affectionately caricature people who love books - the perfect Christmas present for any bibliophile.

Head over to the blog to read an interview we were lucky to do with the great artist.

What: Art Miami 2019

When: 3rd December - 8th December 2019

Where: Art Miami Pavilion

We are excited to announce our Gallery, Shapero Modern, will be exhibiting for the first time at Art Miami 2019 as IFPDA members!

Our stand will include iconic works by a number of titans of 20th-century culture, with prints by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Jean Michel Basquiat with others besides.

What: Making Marvels

When: Ongoing until 1st March 2020

Where:The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Making Marvels explores the complex ways in which the wondrous items collected by early modern European princes, and the contexts in which they were displayed, expressed these rulers' ability to govern. Approximately 170 objects—including clocks, automata, furniture, musical instruments, jewelry, paintings, sculptures, print media, and more—from both The Met collection and over fifty lenders worldwide are featured. Visitors will discover marvelous innovations that engaged and delighted the senses of the past, much like twenty-first-century technology holds our attention today—through suspense, surprise, and dramatic transformations.

From the styling of everyday objects to the invention of spatial configurations for the modern home through to the realisation of complex projects inserted within an urban context such as the Pirelli skyscraper in Milan or the cathedral in Taranto, Ponti’s design was characterised by his comfort in switching scales. Produced in collaboration with the CSAC of Parma and Gio Ponti Archives, the exhibition presents archive materials, models, photographs, books, magazine and objects that permit the discovery of a remarkable protagonist of Italian architecture who left an indelible mark on diverse continents.

What: Draped

When: Ongoing until 1st March 2020

Where: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

Degas, Christo, Michelangelo, Rodin, Man Ray, Dürer ...

The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon retains an exceptional drawing by Albrecht Dürer studying a piece of drapery. This meticulous study reveals how the flexibility of a fabric lends itself to an infinity of folds, underlined by shadows and lights.

How is a drapery put in place? For what reasons does this motive persist until today? How to explain its power of fascination? These are the questions that this exhibition intends to pose, in order to enter the "factory" of the drapery and to get closer to the artistic gesture. By showing the stages of making a drapery, the visitor will discover the singular practices of artists from the Renaissance to the second half of the 20th century.

What: A Christmas Carol

When: Ongoing until 18th January 2020

Where: The Old Vic

Matthew Warchus’ big-hearted, smash hit production of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic returns to The Old Vic , joyously adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and starring Paterson Joseph (Peep Show, Babylon) as Ebenezer Scrooge.

The Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol fills the auditorium to the brim with mince pies, music and merriment. A unique staging immerses the audience in this uplifting story.

What: Cyrano de Bergerac

When: Ongoing until 29th February 2020

Where: The Playhouse Theatre

Fierce with a pen and notorious in combat, Cyrano almost has it all - if only he could win the heart of his true love. There’s just one big problem: he has a nose as huge as his heart. Will a society engulfed by narcissism get the better of De Bergerac - or can his mastery of language set Roxane’s world alight? James McAvoy returns to the West End in an inventive new adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s masterwork by Martin Crimp, with direction by Jamie Lloyd.

What: The Tiger Who Came to Tea

When: 9th December - 5th January 2020

Where: Theatre Royal Haymarket

Based on Britain’s best-loved picture book by Judith Kerr, the Olivier Award nominated smash hit show The Tiger Who Came to Tea returns to the West End for Christmas. The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don’t expect to see at the door is a big, stripy tiger! Join the tea-guzzling tiger in this delightful family show; packed with oodles of magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos! A stunning stage adaptation of the classic tale of teatime mayhem... expect to be surprised!

Shakespeare at Shapero – Heather Betts: Hamlet

Heather Betts HamletTo celebrate the world premiere of Brett Dean's new operatic production of Hamlet at Glyndebourne this year (11th June - 6th July), Shapero Modern in association with Maestro Arts will be hosting an exhibition of works of art by the artist Heather Betts in our gallery from the 3rd to the 17th of June. This private exhibition of works inspired by Hamlet runs in tandem with the exhibition of Heather's related series of paintings taking place at Glyndebourne throughout Festival 2017, which can also be purchased via the Glyndebourne shop.

For more information about our exhibition and the artist herself please visit the Shapero Modern gallery website, or email the exhibition curator Tabitha Philpott-Kent. There will also be a private view of the works on paper on Saturday 3rd June 2017, 6.30 - 8.30pm.

 

Exhibition: Russia’s Silver Age

Balaganchik [The Fairground Booth] (In the Children’s room) by Boris Grigoriev, 1912

On 02 June 2017 Shapero Rare Books will open an exhibition for Russian Art Week in collaboration with Russian Art + Culture, celebrating the Silver Age of Russian culture.

The specially curated exhibition will feature original works by Léon Bakst, Alexandre Benois and others from the collections of Maxim Bokser and Natalia Butterwick, along with a selection of important printed works of the time from Shapero's extensive Russian department.

A Cultural Renaissance of the Visual, Literary and Performing Arts

At the turn of the 20th century, just before Tsarist Russia came tumbling down, there was a cultural renaissance of the visual, literary and performing arts indebted to the set of ideas known as Symbolism, which flourished in Russia. The Russian Symbolists lived and created on the edge, which often made them to be named ‘Decadent’ or ‘Degenerate’. Yet, as Sergei Diaghilev declared, theirs was not a moral decline, but a voyage of inner discovery and a refurbishing of a national culture.

Léon Bakst (1866 - 1924)

A privileged collaborator of the Ballets Russes, the Russian artist rebelled against the traditional stage design that had become too pompous and literal, without theatricality. Fired by his love of colour, his brightly painted sets and richly coloured costumes combined extravagant designs with refined details to convey a heady atmosphere of Slavonic orientalism.

Alexandre Benois (1870–1960)

The celebrated artist and art historian, together with Léon Bakst and Serge Diaghilev he co-founded the influential magazine Mir iskusstva (“World of Art”), from which sprang the Diaghilev Ballets Russes. Benois was a talented scenic designer and created costumes and staging for more than 200 ballets, laying foundations for the emergence of the modern dance drama.

Mikhail Larionov (1881–1964)

Larionov was a major force in several Russian artistic movements of the early twentieth century. His career went through various stages as he explored and overturned new corners of visual expression. Having left Russia in 1915 he worked closely with Diaghilev for a number of years producing designs for several ballets.  

Exhibition runs from 2nd June - 9th June 2017
Monday - Friday 9:30am to 6:30pm

Shapero Rare Books
32 St. George Street
London
W1S 2EA

View more Russian Theatre & Ballet items

See the full programme for Russian Art Week

Russian Department Contacts:

Yulia Fedorenko
e: yulia@shapero.com

Pierre-Yves Guillemet
e: pierre-yves@shapero.com

t: +44 20 7493 0876

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Exhibition in the gallery: Lilias Buchanan – Sombrero Fallout

29 March — 11 April 2017
Private View: Tuesday 28 March, 6.30 — 8.30pm

RSVP to modern@shapero.com  

Shapero Modern is delighted to present a solo exhibition of new works by the Scottish artist and musician Lilias Buchanan. The show is directly inspired by American writer Richard Brautigan’s 1976 cult classic, Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel, and is comprised of nine small-scale paintings exquisitely rendered in pencil, watercolour and collage.

The assembled works channel the book’s two parallel narrative threads

The first focuses on a heartbroken American writer who has recently been left by his Japanese lover. His obsessive thoughts about her prevent him from concentrating on a story he is writing, in which a sombrero falls from the sky in a sleepy town in the American southwest. Dspairingly, the author throws what he has written into the wastepaper basket, but the discarded story continues to write itself, so beginning the second narrative, which recounts a bizarre tale in which the sombrero becomes an object of fascination, attracting enormous crowds and fierce debate before ultimately provoking a civil war.

An interest in Brautigan’s novel has bordered on the obsessional

Buchanan’s intention with the paintings riffs on the duality of the book that inspired them, in that each work reflects both the subtlety of Brautigan’s writing and the merged use of graphite and watercolour at the heart of her practice, which sees her juxtapose the saturated, stark monochrome of the writer sitting alone in his apartment with the psychedelic palette of the sombrero in the wastepaper basket.

The artist admits the creation of this body of work and her interest in Brautigan’s novel has bordered on the obsessional, leading her to approach strangers in the street who bore a resemblance to Brautigan’s characters, and asking them to pose for her. She even bought up all the sombrero postcards she could find on eBay to fuel her passion.

 

A celebration of Brautigan and campaign to introduce his writing to new audiences

For Buchanan the exhibition is both a celebration of Brautigan – Jarvis Cocker has described him as the Hemmingway of the 1960’s – and a campaign to introduce his writing to new audiences.

To this end, the exhibition will include a first edition of Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel and other historical artefacts courtesy of Dr. John F. Barber, founder, curator and archivist of the Richard Brautigan Archives.

UK book launch of Brautigan photographs

The exhibition will also house the launch of ‘Seeing Richard’ for the first time in the UK, a book of previously unpublished and rare images of Richard Brautigan taken by the photographer Erik Weber and published by Tangerine Press.

About Richard Brautigan (1935-1984):

Richard Brautigan was an American novelist, poet and short story writer most known for his 1967 novel Trout Fishing in America (1967), which became an international bestseller and sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. He struggled with alcoholism and depression throughout his adult life, and committed suicide eight years after Sombrero Fallout was published.

About Lilias Buchanan (b.1989):

Lilias Buchanan, was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1989. After leaving Central Saint Martin’s with a 1st class BA (Hons) in Graphic Design she completed a Diploma at The Prince’s Drawing School, winning the Patron’s Prize. At the invitation of galleries and designers she has been invited to be artist-in-residence giving ‘live drawing’ performances parallel to exhibitions and as part of special events including the Royal Academy, London. Group exhibitions include The Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours Annual Exhibition and The Mall Galleries, London (2017). Lilias Buchanan is also the singer, songwriter and guitarist with three-piece garage punk band, The Graphites. She lives and works in London.

Britannic Myths by Steven O’Brien and Joe Machine

16 March, 6pm – 8.30pm. Book launch with reading by author

Britannic Myths is the first book to come from the collaboration between the mythographer Steven O’Brien and Stuckist artist Joe Machine. Both Joe and Steven believe that the submerged energies of some of the most primal narratives of these islands are in danger of being lost. In prose and painting they seeks to delve into the mythic matter of Britain, and Ireland and so re-cast these stories for fresh ears and eyes. The artefacts generate from the seductive, fiery enchantment of our oldest tales.

The term Britannic was taken from the writing of Seamus Heaney who argued that an ancient, alloyed unity of cultural interplay exists across the landscape of the North Atlantic Archipelago.

Gods, monsters and naked maidens

The image above is a character from the old Welsh tales of the Mabinogion. Math emerges as a thunderous, red-bearded warrior and magician who cannot be calmed unless he rests his feet in the lap of a virgin. When his two nephews rape Goewin – his favourite maiden – he vows revenge.

Says Machine: ‘The power of the stories lies not so much as folk tales from isolated islands, but in their universal connection to ancient cultures. These dialogues with the divine, and struggles of the human spirit are timeless, and show us how myths are as important today as they ever were.’

Published by Theme Artefact, the print run is a limited edition of 500, 100 of which are hardback

Joe Machine is an English artist and writer, who started painting around 1988 in an attempt to escape the background of theft. Without any formal art training or a college degree, he was one of the founders of the anti-conceptual art group called Stuckists, with which he widely exhibited. A prize winner in the Cork Street Open Exhibition in London in 2012, some of his recent shows include Fairytales – Russian and British at Russian Cultural Centre in the UK (2014); Alice in the Wonderland/ Alice in the Artworld at Omnibus in London (2014), and Machine Evolution at CNB Gallery in London (2013).

Dr Steven O’Brien is the editor of The London Magazine and widely published poet. His most recent collections are Scrying Stone and Dark Hill Dreams. He has also recently published The Great Game: An Imperial Adventure with Endeavour Press. He lectures at the University of Portsmouth, where he leads the MA in Creative Writing. He is also Visiting Fellow of Creative Writing at University College Chichester. His doctoral thesis formed an interrogation of the poetic imagination from a Jungian perspective.