Janet Kaiser @ The Chapel of Art on sat 4 jun 05
I cannot comment on how popular/populist the Jackdaw of Rhiems was when=
first written, but I can tell you it was included in the school curriculum=
here in Wales during the 1960s and 70s! It is slightly more sophisticated=
than the nonsense tales of Edward Lear and his ilk, but quite near to many=
nursery rhymes in tenor and intent.
Apart from being a totally moralistic tale (so beloved by Victorians) it=
was and remains a complete story, easily followed, in a jolly rhyming=
verse -- something "modern" poetry lacks. For this reason, many people of=
a certain age and older can recite anything from a couple of lines to the=
whole poem, which truly feels Epic, when aged 12 or under... The length is=
probably one of the reasons it has fallen from favour in recent years.=
School-aged children have the attention span of gnats nowadays, hence the=
importance of teaching haiku, not Chaucer.
As for inspiring pottery... Well it was the perfect subject for exponents=
of the Art & Craft movement. The Martin Brothers were producing many=
"character" jugs and mugs of anthropomorphic birds and animals. The=
ubiquitous Toby Jug was anything from a seaman to a political caricature.=
Fairy tale and nursery rhyme themes were very popular too. Royal Doulton=
were just one of several companies who employed artists and designers to=
supply them with designs to meet an ever expanding market. It has been=
proposed that the industrial revolution actually "invented" childhood as=
we know it today, so it had a population "needing" all the new books,=
toys, games and decorations it produced. Although such a ceramic jug may=
not appear as a requirement for the Victorian nursery at first sight,=
there was a very buoyant market in amusing, grotesque and what we would=
regard as kitsch designs for adults too.
*** IN REPLY TO THE FOLLOWING MAIL:
>Thank you. That added a nice bit to what I also learned on line. There
>is at least one on ebay if anyone is curious. Apparently, in the 1st
>decade of 1900, Royal Doulton (sp?) created an entire line of pieces
>based on the poem "The Jackdaw of Rhiems". At the end of this poem, the
>reformed and now pious formerly thieving crow is canonized as Saint Jim
>Crow. The poem was written before 1850, so now I am truly curious about
>the popularity of this poem that would inspire an entire line of
>pottery. ....love art history!
*** PREVIOUS MAIL ENDS HERE ***
THE CHAPEL OF ART - or - CAPEL CELFYDDYD
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