The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am a retired art historian, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it attempted ekphratic poetry, responding to works of art. This is to be a site for words and images, interacting on one another, as vehicles of human expression.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Traces of Times Past

"Black Death's Last Trace, Norfolk, England, 2007"


In Homage to Jacob van Ruisdael, great Dutch 17th c. Landscape Painter, thinking of works such as those shown below (from the National Gallery, London, small version), or even, The Ruins of Egmond Castle, (The Art Institute, Chicago); And, in fact, closer to home, this painting by my artist-friend Anne Roberts, who lives near the ruin, and whom we visited this summer, when my photo was taken.

"Where hammer, the anvil once struck, now the solitary skylark sings"

Where once was heard the sound of hammer striking anvil,
And the shouts and cries of children running in the streets,
Now skylark sings, and grasses bend with the wind;
All village life now stilled, no more the bell does toll.
Black Death, spared none, seized one and all.
Their homes vanished, a ruined church does yet stand tall.
-John Walford, 8/11/07

Jacob van Ruisdael, Panoramic Landscape, National Gallery, London:


Jacob van Ruisdael, Ruins of Egmond Castle, The Art Institute, Chicago:


and, Anne Roberts, Medieval Ruin, near Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England:


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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

About Me

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United States
I am a British-born, retired art historian, who taught in the USA; I studied law, in England,1964-68; worked part-time in the art world, 1968-69; then studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1969-76; completed my Ph.D. diss. at the University of Cambridge, 1981; moved to the States in 1981, and have since written, or co-authored, other books. My wife, Maria, was born in Milan, Italy, where she worked as an interpreter, in business; she spent seven years in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne, 1963-70. She came to Amsterdam in 1971, and we soon married. She is a wife, mother, literary critic, of Italian (and French) literature, and completed her Ph. D. diss. in 2002, at the University of Chicago, on Cesare Pavese and His Critics. We have three married children, and twelve grandchildren, all of whom we excessively adore! I welcome dialog about art, photography, human behavior, beliefs, and motivation from all comers, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, values, or beliefs. This is to be a site for words and images, as vehicles of human expression, around topics of mutual interest.

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