Thursday, 17 July 2008

More love's another thing I love - the work of William Lamb. Lamb was a sculptor, a artist...and a great one. He was born in Montrose (that's Montrose in Scotland, people) in 1893 and died in the same Montrose in 1951. During the summer his studio is open to visitors (and it can be visited at other times by arrangement). It is well worth a visit - a small building housing a huge collection of fantastic sculptures in different media (as they say these days...) and some lovely watercolours (my favourite type of paintings) and beautifully-made drawings. I took an artist friend to visit this week and she was suitably impressed. So it's not just me - proper visual people like him too.

I'm always surprised Lamb is not better known but he's not very well known in Scotland, never mind beyond. I go every summer to visit the studio and cannot recommend it highly enough. He was commissioned to make busts of the young princesses (Elizabeth and Margaret) in the 1930s and that, in a way, is his claim to fame...which is a shame! Who gives a monkeys about royals who are just born into their privileged way of life? Not me. But an artist like Lamb who spent his life making amazing work for people to that's worth celebrating. He was injured in the First World War and had to retrain to work using his left hand. It's quite a story.

I wrote a poem about the Studio a couple of years ago. It's a plain little poem but I like to have some like that - they can't all be big fancy affairs and Lamb was not a fancy artist (though no wife, no children, lots of statues of pretty, pouting young's hoping...).Anyway, libellous comments aside, here's the poem. It rhymes. Reclaim the rhyme!

A visit to the William Lamb Studio, Montrose

Everyone is always fishing
And the wind so often blowing
Bits of some of life are missing
If not fishing then they're sowing
Wood is twirled and softly curving
Brass is firm and treacly browned
Faces, bodies, looking, learning
Hands of Lamb, so right, so sound

RF 2006


Jim Murdoch said...

You're right, he's not well known. I've certainly not heard of him or, if I had, I've forgotten what I learned. There's also precious little online and the few small pictures I did run across don't do his work justice.

What interests me about the poem is how we cope with it in the absence of the images. I've just written a blog about the relationship of poetry to art and this is one of the questions I ask: Is your poem complete as it stands or is it in effect half a work of art being dependent on a knowledge of the images that inspired it to make it effective?

Rachel Fox said...

I wrote the poem as a response to the artworks. I'm not a huge fan of a lot of visual art and I'm not at all knowledgeable but every now and then an artist's work just whacks me over the head with its brilliance and I just want to put that down in a poem. If it helps in getting other people to pay him some attention and enrich their own lives in the process then that's a good result. I do believe in pointing out brilliance when you come across it - who doesn't? And it does annoy me when some artists,writers etc. get too much attention and some get very little. It's just wrong!

I'm not sure what the poem is on its own. I think it is better as a stepping stone (perhaps) or as an aid to appreciation (or something). I just wrote it...I have no idea what it is! And I'm always thrilled to connect with visual art (as opposed to, say, music that I write about all the time) as it isn't 'my' area. The 'bits of some of life are missing' came in because Small Girl was with me (aged about 6) and her first comment was 'that man's got no arms' (of a torso sculpture). I love the way kids say the obvious things that we don't notice anymore once we're grown-up and filled with information and nonsense. Also it linked to Lamb's own situation after WW1.

Maybe I was just trying to get some of you folk to visit Montrose. I love it here. Would happily never go anywhere else! We have the best beaches, the most peace on earth...and see, the best art too! Maybe I should work for the tourist, that would be a job...can't do jobs....


hope said...

Now you've made me curious [more curious than usual] and I'll have to go take a look at some of Lamb's work. Ironically when I saw "Lamb" the first thing that came to mind was writer/poet Charles Lamb.

Sure you can work for the tourist just "tele-commute" from your computer. :) I'll be your first reference, since the pictures you paint make me want to actually leave the comfort of my own chair.

Rachel Fox said...

Scottish holiday for you then Hope! We have a spare room. I think I would know by now if you were a secret serial killer.

I've never been to the USA.I've been to Canada (family stuff) and central America (student days radical stuff...) not all that stuff in between. I'll get there...some day...

hope said...

And when you do I will open my home to you and long as you can vouch for your Beloved and Small Girl as being non-serial killers as well. :)

And no, I haven't read the book you mentioned in my many things to do, not enough hours in the day!

Rachel Fox said...

My beloved has a few bad jokes but nothing more deadly. Likewise Small Girl may break your heart with her cuteness (biased? Me?) but apart from that she's harmless.