Here are nearly 200 posts on Jan and Cora Gordon; famous travellers, writers, artists and musicians in the first half of the 20th century. They were articulate witnesses to the cultures and events of Europe and the USA from before WW1 to just after WW2. The abundance of primary materials presented here should make this a powerful resource for researchers. For a structured overview of the lives and works of the Gordons, please visit: http://www.pbase.com/hajar/art_of_jan_and_cora_gordon
"For many years Cora Gordon has made a habit of using the meetings at Hyde Park as a most profitable ground for character sketching." This forms the subject for a chapter in "The London Roundabout" (1933).
"It is splendid fun but can also be very hard work. After three or four hours of intensive sketching in the Park, Mrs. Gordon often comes home quite exhausted. In that time she might have drawn perhaps a hundred heads, at least thirty of which will be brilliant summaries of character likeness."
I remember hearing this story as a youth, with an emphasis on drawing directly in ink: "If you can't correct you are bound to observe with precision."
Gordon begins with, "To understand sufficiently how the Ostwald Colour system was constructed and to understand how it may be used is not, I believe, as difficult as many would have us think."
The book cover
He recommends the system to artists, "making them more keenly aware of the properties of colours in harmonious associations" and also for use in schools, "by helping pupils to realise what a colour is, what it can do and how it may be combined with other colours."
The achromatic scale and the 8 hues and 24 colour circle (left)
and isotint, isotone and isovalent circles (right)
"The Ostwald system creates a colour space based on dominant wavelength, purity, and luminance, mapping the values of …
Jan Gordon's article elaborates on the distinction between camouflage designed to make an object blend in with its background and dazzle designed to confuse an attacker: " and so the word camouflage, with its associations, has been dropped in favour of the more appropriate word "dazzle-painting"". I illustrated this distinction in the February 2013 article by contrasting the daily camouflage activities of my pet cuttlefish ("Ramses") with the startling black and white "deimatic" patterns displayed during an escape from a perceived threat.
Earlier this year (April 21st) I wrote on a 1935 book dedication by Jan and Cora Gordon to Richard and Charlotte Perry, two friends living in Connecticut, USA.
Richard and Charlotte had hosted the Gordons in 1927, at the start of the journey recorded in "On Wandering Wheels." The Gordons had arrived in New York on the "American Merchant", May 10th 1927. The Perrys lived in Southport, named "Easyport" in the book. The Gordons were enchanted: "Set on the lawns were the white painted wooden mansions with their tall Corinthian pillars of wood, deceptive pillars giving such an air of massive dignity that it was a shock to pass under a house under repair and to note how the carpenter, wishing to replace some mouldered pediments, had calmly removed them bodily, leaving the huge fluted columns suspended from the cornice." - and writing of restoration, here is the Perry house today.