Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Benjamin Franklin in Craven Street

So here's the current state of play as regards my latest house.

Number 36 Craven Street, an unassuming Georgian terraced house which just a few years ago was in a dire state of delapidation, has the honour of being the only surviving home of Benjamin Franklin, statesman, diplomat, writer, philosopher and all round good American egg.

Franklin shipped up at this house, then owned by one Mrs Stevenson, on July 26, 1757 when he was 51. There he lived on and off for the next 16 years, occupying the first floor rooms. His long-suffering wife, Deborah, was averse to sea crossings and stayed behind at their Philadelphia home.
The Stevensons became Franklin's surrogate family, in particular the daughter of the house, Polly, with whom he corresponded regularly when away.
Franklin was sought out by the leading radical politicians of the day and his first floor suite of rooms became a focus for American dissidents, philosophers and writers.
Polly married in 1770 and her husband, a doctor, ran a private anatomy school in the house.
All in all No. 36 must have had quite a buzz about it.
So I have decided to feature some of the occupants in the windows to try to give an impression of that buzz:

Things are still a bit fluid and I still have to find places for several more characters in this almost theatrical line-up.
More about them, their doings - and the recent discovery of human bones in the garden - in my next post!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Back to Bricks

After a surfeit of leaves and greenery, I'm going urban again. Georgian again.

As you see, I am still at the messing-about-with-proportions blocking-in stage.
Reminds me of that old Rolf Harris cry of "Can ya tell what it is yet?"
Well it's in London, with a strong American connection is all I'm saying until I am sure I will carry on and get going with it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Selling Writers' Houses

Sold: Writers' Houses collages that have found new homes recently

Thank you to everyone who has purchased original collages from my Writers' Houses series recently and also to everyone who has bought large giclees from my website and small digital prints and greeting cards from my online shop.
I'm so glad that people "get" my obsession with historic literary bricks and mortar!
Here's the link to my online shop if you are interested:
and my website:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Waves and the Writing Lodge

After The Waves (Virginia Woolf's Writing Lodge)
I will not disguise the fact that this latest picture has been something of a slog. I tell you if I don't see another ruddy leaf it'll be a day too soon. Hundreds of the things there are in this. Well, that's what it felt like anyway. Which of course is the effect I was after, but still ...
I have promised myself an urban house next. Lots of bricks to take away the pain of all these leaves.
Having said all that I think I managed to approximate to what I was after re the subject of the piece, that is, the moment when Leonard comes out to tell Virginia that The Waves is a masterpiece. She sure earned that drink down by her side! (So did I when I glued in the last leaf). I've put waves (thank you, National Geographic) in the windows of her writing hut and there is a bit of a wavy thing going on with the whole composition too - chestnut tree included.
Sea greens and sea blues ... and a foam of daisies encroaching on the terrace.

Whoops - you'll have to click on the picture if you want to get a complete view (otherwise you'll miss the ubiquitous Amanda W cat!)