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The Aardvark Blog

Our New Website, more musings, Titian or Titien , books and more

Our New Website, more musings, Titian or Titien , books and more

After what seems like several lifetimes - but is actually just over a year - our new website is now finished and will be publically viewable today or tomorrow (I am not entirely sure about the process of publishing to the web, but apparently it is happening).

This new website represents a great deal of work by a number of people inside Aardvark and without and I am extremely grateful for everything that they have done. I weep somewhat that our lovely gallery section is filled with notices of exhibitions that won't now happen (we have reluctantly cancelled all events until the end of August). I am not sure how our autumn programme will fare - obviously H.Art has been cancelled amongst other events worldwide (so much for Oktoberfest 2020!) , but we will leave looking at other autumn fixtures until a bit nearer the time (I remain an eternal optimist).

Please let us know your thoughts on the new website. We will continue to add content - both  in general and about individual titles - and hopefully it will grow into a very useful resource. I am still putting on numerous books every day so rest assurred the stock will change over time.

Last Saturday I had only my second day off over the last month (the other being on Easter Sunday), and although i paid for it somewhat with the number of orders I had to find and pack on Sunday it was still a relief to have a day off from the bookshop. However much you love a place it is good to get away from it from time to time. I have henceforth decided to take Saturday off every week so I am afraid I won't be here to take orders or answer queries if you should call on that day. I will be back in again on Sunday and can call you if  you leave a message on the answerphone.

I took the opportunity to read and listen to music on Saturday and what a terrific pleasure it was. I managed to read all the unread New Yorker articles over the last month. Whilst doing this I was having my own Alfred Schnittkefest as I have made the happy discovery that much of his music is available in recordings of differing technical quality on Youtube. Many of these recordings are difficult or expensive to buy as CDs or records and I therefore took the opportunity to make my way through several String Quartets, his Concero Grossi 1, his 1st Symphony ( a strange kitchen sink work which seems to include everything you have ever heard, and best of all his Piano Quintet written after the death of his mother. If you have never heard Schittke before I would say that this is a great place to start. I confess that I am not sure what it is about his music that appeals to me so much - when I have tried to discuss him with professional musicians I have been met with a studied blankness - but he just seems to me to channel so much of the experience of modern life. In our current locked down environment the pieces seem all the more miraculous to me. Also on Saturday I finished the last part of the WBUR radio podcast  series 'Last Seen' about the robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. Absolutely fascinating and I was genuinely sorry to come to the end, What a fantastic cast of characters and how picturesque the Boston mob world was at that time.

Sunday after I had finished a very long day in the shop here I relaxed by watching the BBC arts documentary on the remarkable National Gallery show of Titian's Poesie paintings completed for Philip II of Spain. How sad it is that this exhibition opened just in time for it to close three days later, but what a consolation it is that we have such a superb record in this film ( that even includes interviews with Mary Beard). I have long had a special interest in Titian of this period as I have a print based on another picture that he painted for Phillip - 'Jupiter and Antiope' sometimes known as the Pardo Venus although I think it extremely unlikely that any Satyr would have been brave enough to remove Venus's duvet covers if he wanted to keep his hooves.

 As with the six paintings in the National Gallery this is a lush and beautiful painting set in an idealised landscape with plenty of human flesh on display (some male but mostly female). These are disquieting pictures to a modern eye, as we find ourselves being both amazed by the artist's facility and somewhat ashamed by our forced voyeurism. They are also in the main pictures that are more about power than sex, and the final picture in the Poesie Series 'The Rape of Europa' is a particularly unnerving image. These images were clearly an influence on Picasso when he compiled the images for his Vollard Suite as well as on numerous renaissance and mannerist artists nearer to Titian's time. My print is a reversed image of the painting and is generally faithful to the painting with the exception that the huntsman has gone from being a youth to a bearded man of around 40. I believe the print to be French ( from the spelling of his name Titien) and probably dating from the seventeenth or early eighteenth century. It is hard for me to look at these paintings without thinking of the 'renaissance' works created by Cindy Sherman which seem to me to satirise so perfectly the male gaze. Unyet Titian's handling of flesh is extraordinary and the way he paints the back of Venus seated and pulling Adonis on her right seems to have the same respect for matter and force that an engineering drawing has. It is a masterpiece of movement and physicality. Also an artistic departure from Ovid's poem according to M Beard in the documentary as Venus woke up to find Adonis gone.

There is so much to be said about these pictures - old mens works for a young man in his early twenties - and so much to learn about their history after they were acquired by Phillip ( remaining together for a mere 20 years before being split up and subsequently landing in galleries around the world. One of which - to bring this blog full circle - is the Isabella Stewart Gardner music the subject of the Podcast discussed above.

As we move into the second month of the lockdown I am constantly amazed by the books that people are purchasing from us both online and over the phone. Some are obvious - lots of detective stories and practical books on knitting and textiles. Others less so. We have for example had a mini-boom in sales of Roman and Greek texts both in translation and in Loeb editions. Lots of works on philosophy and politics. A fair number sales of CDs and musical scores ( including one this morning to one of Britain's most distinguished cellists). People are I think emerging from the darkness of the early days of lockdown and starting to think again. And hopefully Aardvark will continue to be here to help them do so.

Until we meet again ...

 

 

 

 

 

Published by Aardvark Books Ltd on (modified )

2018
End of year thoughts Thanks for the Christmas Fair, Poetry Breakfast, 2019 Where does the time go? A return to normality? Autumn Brocante Back from Frankfurt, Brocante on Sunday, Winter Event Autumn returns Long time no blog Bank Holiday Monday - Vide Grenier hoorah! Vide Grenier on Monday, J L Carr Day on 1st September, H.Art opens on the 8th of September Art Books, Angelfest Kingsland, Vide Grenier, Carr Celebration, H.Art Brilliant Scarecrow Sunday, lots of books, looking forward to J L Carr, H.Art and Ludlow Food Festival, sad goodbye Scarecrow Sunday, Applications for Café position, Idle Thoughts of a musical & vinous bent Art Opening - Summer Sextet, Scarecrow Sunday, Radio Fame, Pop-Ups, lots and lots of books Meetings with Remarkable Books, Summer Sextet, Scarecrow Sunday So much has happened, and so much is coming up Fabulous May Brocante about to open ! Don't Forget - Bank Holiday Brocante Bank Holiday Weekend, Out of the Hills Art of the Print, Blue Haze Quartet, new cake selection, looking forward to the Brocante and beyond Bookfair books all stowed away, Art of the Print, Out of the Hills etc Aardvarks Back from Norfolk, Art of the Print, Point to Point, hard pounding What a week its been Busy week in the bookshop, 'Art of the Print', 'Out of the Hills' and Much More Big thanks to all who made Easter so fantastic! Snow again, busy week, April book bonanza, Easter and sculpture, Jazz amongst the bookshelves Snow no more, Borderlines Sponsored Film, even more books Opening Hours 3rd of March Closing Early 2nd March Valentine's event is finally here Spring Fair, Epic victory in Kingsland Quiz, 'The Bookshop' performance at Courtyard, Valentine's Event And so the new year turns Roadworks, new philosophy library and lots of CDs New Year and lots of books
2017
New Year Resolutions 2 New Year's resolutions 1 Nothings gives pleasure more than a good book, a beautiful music and a wonderful view Christmas Fair cancelled, Christmas opening etc Christmas Fair, Aardvark Christmas opening, 2017 Thanks Winter Event - Bill Sewell, Jobs at Aardvark Winter Event, False Lights Review, Aardvark in 2018 Employment at Aardvark Books October Brocante, Frankfurt update, Winter Event Back from Frankfurt, Brocante Sunday, much more to come Syrinx and Harp Arcadia at Aardvark, Frankfurt Bookfair, October Brocante, Weekend helper required 'Syrinx and Harp', October Brocante, new titles in store False Lights, Tickets for Arcadia Music, Stall bookings for October Brocante Ludlow Food Festival, False Lights Book Launch, Syrinx and Harp Why Buy Art? Health updates, Vide Grenier news, H.Art, Literary Ludlow, Book Launch: False Lights Only two days to the Vide Grenier Civil War Weekend continues, H.Art, Literary Ludlow, Launch of 'False Lights' Civil War Weekend Awaits Thank you for best wishes, Re-enactment, History books galore Aardvarks back in the saddle, Jazz Brunch and Sale, Forward to the Re-enactment and the autumn Aardvark is Cyclist heaven, Solstice Exhibition, Changes to Jazz Brunch line up Last weekend of Shropshire Hills Art Exhibition, and opening next week of 'The Solstice' And Humour Books, Music and Art: The answer to all life's problems Mad May Bank Holiday, Shropshire Hills Art Week, Even More Books Catch up, books and forthcoming exhibitions Map exhibition opening, Bank Holiday weekend Last weekend of Fire and Earth Ceramics exhibit, excitement ahead of 'Maps and Mansions', big house clearance An incredible 3 years CDs, Fire + Earth Ceramics exhibition Clwyd Art Fund, Shropshire Books, Map Exhibition, Fire and Earth, Stuart Davies London Book Fair, Building a Library-'Quartet for the End of Time', Books Books Books! In memoriam Paul Williams,London Bookfair Blow Up, Borderlines Film Festival, Blow-Up Part 1 Beautiful bright day, Peter May, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts Richard Strauss, Rodrigo on Building a Library, Valentine's Day, Peter Reynolds Musicologist, Art of France Valentine's Saturday Who would have known it - books are back in fashion Busy week at Aardvark Books! Hope Bright clear morning, and exciting events to come New Year 2017
2016
New Year's Eve 2016 Five reasons to be cheerful for 2017! Christmas Eve 2016 CHRISTMAS FAIR 2016 Xmas Fair on Sunday, Greg Lake, Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Academy Grey Sunday morning, but ice free Barbara Strozzi on Building a Library, nearly at the end of Frankfurt Books, plans for Christmas Fair Winter Event, plans for 2017 Wigmore Abbey, Poobahs, Leonard Cohen Summer sun, Wi-fi in Café, working through Frankfurt books, next year's programme Slight wi-fi delay Post Frankfurt, Show tunes, new staff member, the coming of wi-fi to Aardvark Café 9 days of problems, followed by a period of sanity Arcadia continues, Brocante next Sunday, yet more books Arcadia at Aardvark; Arcadia weekend; more book Last day of H.Art, that's it for exhibitions for 2016 Good news on Aardvark H.Art; new books in stock; October Brocante; Arcadia Music Jobs at Aardvark Books; H.Art, Autumn programme H.Art & Ludlow Food Fair Vide Grenier day and the weather is fantastic! Vide Grenier Excitement, David Evans, Jill Alford Sale, More changes Charity Sale Today, Vide Grenier on Monday History Weekend (Day 2) History Weekend; H.Art preparations The Poetry of Ted Hughes So pleased with our 'Take Five' Exhibition Fantastic opening for 'Take Five', wonderful summer sunshine Back from La Belle France to Scarecrows, Art and More Work Too Many Tears Books the ultimate consolation Geoffrey Hilll, Peter Florence,Marking Time, Food and Farming Day To Friedrich Schiller in profound gratitude from a poor bookseller An Artist's Life, tragedy in Yorkshire and France, Folio Society Books Shropshire Hills Art Week Exhibition well and truly open Brocante well underway! Opening times over Bank Holiday Weekend and Half Term Arcadia, Vivaldi, Flea Market, Bank Holidays Bliss was it in that Dawn to Be Alive Last day of the map exhibition; thinking about 'An Actor's Life' Shropshire Hills Art Week, May Brocante, Travel Books Non-Marches Interloper for last week of map exhibition Slow morning Wonderful Carlos Acosta Maps Exhibition Opened, Awful weather, Cozy Fire Maps, books, random thoughts LBF, New York Review of Books, Map Exhibition Yet more changes at Aardvark, H.Art already, more DVDs and loads of art books Busy week, peculiar nature of media, Lots going on in April Easter holidays at Aardvark Easter Saturday, Sad News - Jill Alford No claim to infallibility; lots new in Superb bright Sunday morning; changes to the bookshop Slow start, busy week coming up Stop Press - wonderful children's books Beautiful morning, exciting days and weeks ahead As You Like It, the return of the sun Saturday Morning, the wonder of David Sedaris, Carter Dickson More and more and more books, Lucie starting, 'The Garden' Stunning sunny day, thoughts on London and being a country mouse Death of Mary Campbell, CD Review and R3 Schizophrenia, Wes Montgomery and Milt Jackson, fantastic academic library purchase Great Valentine's Day, Cimarosa, Friday Night Lights, Exciting News of Aardvark Appointment Valentine's Day is upon us Any Questions, Valentines Day, Jacques Rivette, James Lee Burke Two good pieces of news, Valentine's Day, Changes to tax reporting for small businesses and the self-employed, Working at Aardvark, D is for Doyle, Davis, Dexter, Deaver, Carter Dickson, Dunant, Durbridge, Dodge and Dickens Extending deadline for job offer, 'The Garden', Sale Tent Wonderful Royal Ballet, less than wonderful politicians Last weekend of sale - but don't despair Quite a busy month Bookshop and Café Person required B is for Bludgeon, Beaton, Bentley, Berkeley, Martin Beck and Burke First day of aardvark sale, job applications, cold weather, thoughts on the year CVs, Sale and more and more books More books for 2016 A is for Alibi, Ames, Allingham and Ambler Change, Change, Change 2016
2015
Post Christmas Thoughts Japanese Single book bookshop Busy day Christmas 2015 Books and opening times update Flaxman the magnificent; Christmas idea; last chance to see Fantastic day, beautiful morning So many art books and all for sale at incredible prices Only one more Aardvark Event before Christmas! Winter Event arrives on time Paris, Culture, What we leave behind Busy Beavers A wet day ... Autumn alert Frankfurt, Culture and Fleamarkets Through the fog, poetry and much more beside Books take centre stage - but art has a last hurrah! Back to life, back to reality H.Art, Ludlow Food Fair, Craaaaazy! Art, Art and a little food too! Phil Rickman at St James', Wigmore The pleasures of selling a special book The pleasures of Spenser Vide Grenier, H.Art, Non-stop activity Phew! Re-enactment under - our biggest ever Extraordinary evening at Brecon Summer Lightning Great opening! Back from an unsettle France, to a summer of madcap Aardvark Activity Make Your Summer Count! Make Your Summer Count! One door closes ... Long days, the Food Fair Camaraderie History is not Bunk ( it's official) Fantastic Iceland; Countdown to Food Fair Iceland is up, and will open tomorrow! Last weekend of Shropshire Hills Art Week, Food Fair, New Books Food Fair, New Books, Iceland Exhibition Fantastic opening to Shropshire Hills Art Week Bank Holiday Brocante Underway! Non-stop Aardvark craziness Great Lecture, Last day of the map exhibition Quiet days are made for Aardvark Books The Art of the Personal Lest any -one should think that there should be any lowering of the cake quality First week without Catherine; Maps Exhibition bonus; Brocante Update Last day for Catherine; great trip to London Bookfair; New Books in Stock Exhibition; George Butterworth; random culture Sunny Easter Monday; crazy Easter Saturday You heard it here first The exhibition is up; fingers crossed for Saturday! New members of the team; Easter events; Map exhibition Book Buying, CD Buying, Fantastic Eclipse Things I forgot Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. RSC 'Much Ado', new books, Welsh and World Book Day February ending, can Spring be far behind One down ... New Books, New Books Science Fiction; change is afoot New Carpet, Change, the Year Ahead Out of the loop If only we were all Charlie 12 Steps to Moving to the Country
2014
2015 awaits And at last it is Christmas Eve An endless river of books, a dreck day, a warm hearth Christmas Fair 2015 Christmas is very much upon us Christmas in the bookshop Busy Sunday, Wenlock Books Christmas Tree Flea Market Heaven More Upbeat Frankfurt; planning for Brocante Antiquarian Sales, children's books, Frankfurt preparations A quiet weekend, but some great sales! H.art sales! H.art carries on for two weeks Our H.Art exhibition is now hung and ready to open H.art is nearly here Vide Grenier, H.Art and onwards DVDs and CD's at Aardvark Books Day two of the history weekend History Weekend Preparations Previously in Aardvark Books ... Huge library purchase; last copies anywhere of Jo Brand Memoir Food, Food, Food First purchase for next year's map exhibition Why does dealing with publishers need to be so frustrating (2) Why does dealing with publishers need to be so frustrating Culture Vulture HIstory and fun this summer A warm Saturday in June Great response to the inaugural South Shropshire Art Week June starts with a bang Nearly a month on Driving rain cannot stop us What a month it has been Saddest News Imaginable Busy, Busy, Busy Quiet before the storm Thinking about books and bookselling Age recommendations on children's books Sunshine and children's books Theology Books and sunny weather Under the Hammer Valentine's Market All roads lead to Aardvark & Flavours of Hereford Festival Water, water everywhere ... Sale expectations The changing faces of winter 2014 comes with a fast forward button On tenterhooks with V I Warshawski Online Bookshop up at last ; acquisition of major literature library New Year Resolutions