Photographed by Anthony J Sargeant on 25th February 2018 this quiet churchyard sits on a mound overlooking a tiny Shropshire village whose inhabitants have been buried in this place for century upon century. The church itself dates from the 11th Century and some of those who were baptised therein were among those who left on the Mayflower for America in 1620. Although still in the grip of icy winter winds the skies are blue and the turf that covers the bones of so many is dressed with the nodding heads of snowdrops pushing through the grass and moss to announce that soon it will be Spring.
Anthony Sargeant has started to prepare the lobster by separating the claws and legs then splitting the lobster into two halves taken care to reserve any juices from the cooking (this can be incorporated into the sauce/juice used to dress the Lobster). The tail and head meat are then extracted and cut into bite-size pieces after removing the thin black intestine. The large claws are cracked in order to extract the claw meat as a single piece which will be separately pan fried in butter with lemon juice. Each of the small segments and legs will be cut open to extract any meat which will be incorporated with the tail and body meat and put back into the half shells for serving along with the red roe.
Wonderful slightly Gauguin’ish etching by William Strang RA owned by Anthony J Sargeant (it is a First State Etching).
Strang was born in 1859 at Dumbarton, the son of Peter Strang, builder, and educated at the Dumbarton Academy. He worked for fifteen months in the counting-house of a firm of shipbuilders (William Denny and Sons) before going to London in 1875 when he was sixteen. There he studied art under Alphonse Legros at the Slade School for six years. Strang became assistant master in the etching class, and had great success as an etcher. He was one of the original members of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, and his work was a part of their first exhibition in 1881. Some of his early plates were published in The Portfolio and other art magazines. Strang was elected to the Royal Academy in 1921 and died suddenly shortly thereafter.
During his lifetime, Dumbarton-born William Strang (1859 – 1921) built up an international reputation as a highly skilled and imaginative printmaker, portraitist and painter. His diverse subjects ranged from the fantastic to the very real, including uncompromising depictions of contemporary life and the effects of poverty and social injustice, landscapes, subjects from the bible, bewildering allegories, and narrative illustrations. He was also a prolific and highly successful portraitist.
Anthony Sargeant bought this charming portrait of Laurence Binyon quite recently at auction. It is a drypoint of 1898 by William Strang printed by his son David Strang. Other examples are owned by the National Portrait Gallery, and National Galleries of Scotland.
Laurence Binyon was a distinguished English poet, dramatist and art scholar (1869-1943) He was Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum for many years but also held posts as Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University and Byron Professor of English Literature at Athens University among others.
He is probably best remembered today for the middle stanza of his poem, “For the Fallen” used in Remembrance Days services:
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
Aubretia spills over the old stone wall that forms the boundary between the garden of Anthony Sargeant and a quiet Shropshire lane. It is mid-April in England and the Aubretia is in full bloom on a cool English Spring day
Anthony J Sargeant thought the reader might like the alliteration – they look like snowdrops but flower slightly later in early spring in England (today is 2nd April 2017). It has been a beautiful Spring day. (Spring Snowflakes – Leucojum vernum)