Archive for category Author: Benedict Rubbra

Benedict Rubbra: point of balance || Jenny Pery

Any book about Benedict Rubbra is to be welcomed and to find something so completely researched, written and illustrated as this is sheer delight. “I first saw a painting by Benedict Rubbra in the house of my friends … I was spellbound by the beautiful colour chords and the unusual combination of movement and stasis within the picture frame”, writes Jenny Pery in her introduction, where she also records that she has made the artist’s acquaintance, adding, “My thanks go chiefly to him for the patient exposition of his life and his art over many long recording sessions”.

All of this tells you most of what you need to know about the book: that this is more than just a book project, perhaps something of a labour of love, that the artist’s own words and views are incorporated in the text and also the background of musicality to Rubbra’s work: his father was the composer Edmund Rubbra. Jenny Pery also explores Rubbra’s depiction of natural forms and the rhythms and harmonies of nature. There is maybe a very slight hint of hagiography here, but it is balanced by the scholarship and the depth of research that has gone into the book and by the sheer quality of the illustrations; this is Halsgrove at their absolute best.

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Draw Series

Looking at this series, which has just been reissued, it comes as a surprise to realise that it was first published in 1981, making most of the volumes over 25 years old. All too often, publishers look at their backlist with an uncritical eye that seems to overlook developments in style and design that they themselves have done much to push forward and eagerly reissue titles that just look tired and do their list no favours at all. However, the initial impression here is of a freshness and clarity that many more recent books would do well to emulate.

Each book is a mere 48 pages but, at £4.99, very competitively priced and covers a remarkable amount of ground. By sticking to a single subject, the general preamble is kept short and the authors are able to get stuck straight in, covering all the main areas right from the start. Text is kept to a minimum, giving the greatest prominence to the artwork itself and it is this, as much as anything else, that contributes to the longevity of the series as art instruction books have moved away from lengthy discursive text to shorter descriptions which mainly take the form of extended captions. This, in itself, has been driven by advances in printing technology which has provided illustrations which are nearly as good as the original itself.

These books are excellent primers for the novice and will encourage as well as educate.

Reissued 2007
£4.99 per volume

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