Friday, 26 August 2011

Glorious but gloomy

The bookshop where I work just acquired a small souvenir publication called Glorious Devon (softback, 27x19cm, 18 plates 18.5x11cm, Harvey Barton & Son, Ltd., Bristol, c. 1930).  The artist is uncredited.

The paper being thoroughly yellowed, I thought I'd photograph it and have a go at enhancing the images with GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Programme).  After correction of the overall yellow cast, the colours still look rather strange: partly, I suspect, because of different colours of inks fading at different rates; and partly because the pictures do seem to have very sombre to start with, with a distinctly chiaroscuro style.  Most, as you can see from the house and street lights being on, are moonlit night scenes, which suggests the intention of the collection was artistic rather than to produce conventional picture-postcard scenes.  Anyhow, they have a certain austere charm.

Click to enlarge.

Addendum: I just spotted a piece of artistic license in the image of Ilfracombe (here).  Whatever is the object in the sky?  The view is looking north: neither the sun nor the moon could be in that position.

- Ray

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