Here are more than 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
Cora J. Gordon: Sennen Cove and "The Apple" 1920
This July we visited the lovely small town of Sennen Cove in Cornwall. You can look down on the village from a ridge at the top of the hill, a view painted by Jan Gordon in his "Small Coast Town."
I have a copy of the first volume of "The Apple (of Beauty and Discord)" and on the fourth page can be found a reproduction of a woodcut by Cora Gordon showing part of the town of Sennen Cove.
Cora Gordon woodcut of Sennen Cove in "The Apple (of Beauty and Discord)"
The woodcut shows the closely spaced stone houses and the breakwater made of granite blocks. The Roundhouse can also be seen. The view is very similar today. We clambered over the breakwater and explored some of the rock pools.
This is the Sennen Cove breakwater seen in Cora Gordon's woodcut, here shown with two of the grandchildren of Jan Gordon's godson.
"The Apple" was a very short-lived publication with only two volumes issued, in 1920 and 1921. The title refers to the Golden Apple of Discord in Greek mythology.
Title page of the first volume.
The magazine, "A Volume devoted to Art and Letters", contained a very interesting mixture of poems, essays and writings on Art together with reproductions of diverse art works, mainly by the Modern Artists of the day.
The magazine had a very interesting blend of art works and writings.
As with Jan Gordon's "Small Coast Town" painting, recognition in the present of Cora J. Gordon's depiction of the place is a very satisfying experience. Getting on for a century has passed since she made the picture.
The menu of what was simply an ordinary lunch in Sweden will astonish most people as it certainly astonished these two clever itinerants, Jan and Cora Gordon, who have just published "Two Vagabonds in Sweden and Lapland."
Swedish men and women, we are told, eat breakfast at eleven and lunch at four. The variety and magnitude of the viands on the luncheon table suggests baronial feasts of the Middle Ages.
In a hotel dining-room the first thing that strikes the eye is the large table, centred with a mountain of butter, which is flanked by tall stands upon which various kinds of bread are heaped—hard bread, black bread, hon…
"There is a delicious irresponsibility about the newest book on Spain, "Poor Folk in Spain," by Jan and Cora Gordon, 12s. 6d.. published by the Bodley Head, and some of the illustrations are funny enough to remind one of Heath Robinson.
The pictures the Gordon have brought back with them to England each have a history. Here are some quotations from the book that will show you some of the difficulties of painting in Spain :
Skirting the fonda wall, I found a corner which seemed secluded, and, sitting down, I began to paint an old woman and her fruit stall. One by one a few people gathered behind me. Blas, the gipsy musician, came up, greeted me, and added his solid presence to the spectators. A baker c…
The Sketch of Wednesday 26 March 1919 makes mention of an exhibition of Jan Gordon's art works at the Little Art Rooms, Duke Street, London.
Marthe Troly-Curtin writes,
"I have an idea that many of the fancy costumes worn at the Razzle-Dazzle Ball on the 12th were inspired by the show of dazzle ships which Jan Gordon, Lieutenant R.N.V.R., is having at the Little Art Rooms in Duke Street. I searched there in vain for some works by Jo Gordon too, as generally Jan and Jo are as inseparable in art as they are in life but "Jo" explained quaintly to me that they are trying the experiment of being "cats that walk on their lone" as regards picture shows only!"
The exhibition of water colours ("War and Peace") she mentions was reported on by P.G. Konody (The Observer, March 16, page 9), Jan Gordon's mentor at "The Observer." Konody wrote:
"He, too, has been attracted by the witchery of the "Dazzleship" which seems to draw…