Designer Desire: Antonio Frasconi

Mosaic of Antonio Frasconi artworks | H is for Home

Antonio Frasconi (1919 – 2013) was an illustrator best known for his woodcut prints, especially the ones in his award-winning 1950s children’s book, The House That Jack Built, a picture book in two languages. and See and Say, a picture book in four languages. He often produced books in multiple languages; namely English, Italian, French and Spanish. A great way to learn a new language – whatever your age may be!

Frasconi was born in Argentina, grew up in Uruguay and, aged 26, moved to the USA. In addition to his work for children he produced very political works on subjects such as the Vietnam War and ‘Los Desaparecidos’ (The disappeared), the people tortured and killed during the Uruguayan Dictatorship in the 197s and 80s.

As well as his own books, he designed numerous covers and illustrations for the works of other authors and poets including:

  • Dylan Thomas – Reading a Child’s Christmas in Wales | Narrating Under Milk Wood (LP records)
  • Herman Melville – On the Slain Collegians
  • Walt Whitman – Overhead the Sun
  • Jan Wahl – The Little Blind Goat
  • Ruth Krauss – The Cantilever Rainbow
  • Henri Pirenne – Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade
  • André Gide – Strait is the Gate | If It Die
  • Glenway Wescott – 12 Fables of Aesop
  • Titus Burkhardt – Alchemy

Antonio Frasconi at work

Image credits:

Invaluable | Pinterest | Moma | Amazon

Pick of the Pads: The Egg Man

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'I am the Egg Man' article title page from the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

We’ve got a slight twist for this month’s Pick of the Pads. It’s more a work space than a living space, but with Easter round the corner, the egg theme swayed it.

Homes & Antiques April 2014 magazine cover

It’s the studio workspace of Tony Ladd – the ‘Egg Man’ that was in the April 2014 issue of the Homes & Antiques Magazine magazine.

Tony Ladd's studio workspace featured in the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

He’s a wildlife artist specialising in British birds. He creates stunningly realistic, hand-cast, hand-painted egg specimens.

Tony Ladd's hand painted egg collection featured in the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

His workspace is a self-built, oak-framed wooden studio situated in his garden on the Sussex coast.

corner of Tony Ladd's studio workspace featured in the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

We love all the wooden banks of drawers & shelving…

corner of Tony Ladd's studio workspace featured in the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

…filled with jars, brushes, books, artefacts and references to nature.

four details from Tony Ladd's studio workspace featured in the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

It’s both homely & fascinating – such an inspiring space!

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Vacances Français

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selection of vintage travel maps of areas of France

We bought some vintage metal filing drawers at auction last month – these lovely vintage travel maps were stored inside.

vintage travel map of the Basque area of France vintage travel map of the Jura area of France
vintage travel map of the Est area of France vintage travel map of the Languedoc area of France

The covers immediately caught our eye, with illustrations by French artist Jean Colin. Born in 1912, he’s best known for his  advertising posters from the mid 20th century. In addition to Shell, he did artwork for many prominent companies such as Cinzano, Air France, Kiwi Shoe Polish, Marchal and Perrier  – and won many awards for his designs.

detail of a vintage travel map of an area of France illustrated with a stork

These Shell guides for various regions of France date from the 1950s/60s.

detail of a vintage travel map showing the area of Montpellier

The maps inside are very attractive too – colourful & detailed, but clear to read.

detail of a vintage travel map of an area of France illustrated with figures of a man and woman

We’d spied them inside the drawers, but a nice little bonus all the same!

Colin Ruffell

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pair of vintage Colin Ruffell oil paintings

We bought these two fabulous paintings at auction recently.

vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing grandfather clock, wooden table with glass decanter & wine glass, red armchair and chest of drawers with gramophone on top

They’re interior scenes with a very distinctive style. Our attention was grabbed from across the large saleroom.

detail from a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing grandfather clock, wooden table with glass decanter & wine glass, red armchair and chest of drawers with gramophone on top

The items in these room settings don’t scream 1960s/70s, but the style of painting somehow does.

detail from a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing a wooden table with glass decanter & wine glass and red armchair

The artist is Colin Ruffell.  Born in 1939, he has been a professional artist for nearly 50 years and has exhibited all over the world.

vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing dressing Welsh dresser, Windsor chair and wine bottle & glass and oil lamp on a table

We love the composition, colour & tones of these works…

detail of a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing dressing Welsh dresser, Windsor chair and wine bottle & glass and oil lamp on a table

…also the textural quality with the bold application of paint.

detail of a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing Windsor chair and wine bottle & glass and oil lamp on a table

Don’t you just love the bottle & glass – or the plates on the dresser?

detail of a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing plates on a Welsh dresser

The artist is still working today and we’ve been perusing his website recently. There are originals, printsbooks too.

detail of a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing the artist's signature

We’re still drawn to his still lives with their naive style, but also love his impressionist depictions of London & Brighton.

Tuesday Huesday: C R W Nevinson

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C R W Nevinson's "Marching Men" painting

This striking painting from 1914, entitled ‘Returning to the Trenches‘ is by C R W Nevinson, considered one of Britain’s greatest war artists. The image conveys the movement and sound of the marching troops so vividly. I prefer his earlier style of work of which this is my favourite example – much influenced by the Futurist and Vorticist Movements.

You can see a larger selection of his work on the Bridgeman Art, Culture, History website. There’s a very rare book entitled, ‘C.R.W.Nevinson: The Twentieth Century‘ by Richard Ingleby. There are currently only two copies available on Amazon – the cheaper being a mere £260.64!