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What were Jan and Cora Gordon up to a century ago in 1920?

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1920 was an important year for Jan and Cora Gordon.

The war was over, they had re-established themselves as artists in Paris (though retaining attics in Bloomsbury), and planned a lengthy expedition to sunny southern Europe. Their five month excursion to Spain produced many works of art and a book, "Poor Folk in Spain," initiating the "Two Vagabonds" series which made them famous.

Cora Gordon wrote, "Jan had conceived a passion for the Spanish guitar during the war and was determined to sample the music of this instrument at source .." and visit Spain they then did. The book relates numerous amusing incidents from their time there.

An exhibition of the paintings produced during the time in Spain took place at the Burlington Gallery at the beginning of 1921.

One specific guitar figured strongly in the book. "I have an old guitar. It is a unique instrument, none other like it has ever been seen in Spain" said the man who sold the guitar to Jan (P…

A 1921 Review of Jan and Cora Gordon Exhibition

The Westminster Gazette of Friday 25 February 1921 carries the following review of an exhibition by Jan and Cora Gordon at the Burlington Gallery, London.
JAN AND CORA GORDON. Jan Gordon's book, "A Balkan Freebooter" published some four years ago, was in many ways as interesting an illustrated volume as has appeared since 1914. The drawings of Serbian villages, interiors, and landscape had a blunt symmetry of black-and-white, a crispness of humour that made them memorable. All the greater, then, is the disappointment of finding his paintings of Southern Spain (now showing at the Burlington Galltery, 15, Green-street, Leicester-square) rather confused in colour and design. Maybe black-and-white is his medium: certainly the admirable lithographs, 72 and 74. are the best things in the exhibition—concentrated, sympathetic. the oil-painting.; "Alverca, the Vinegar-Seller " (50), stands out as constructed and luminous. In very few of the others is there more than pain…

Cora Gordon in Belfast 1935 - "Through Europe with a Rucksack"

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Today, I came across a reference to Cora Gordon visiting Belfast and talking about experiences in the Tyrol, Spain, Lapland and Albania. It's in the "Northern Whig and Belfast Post" of Friday 03 May 1935.

She was addressing the Alpha Club (at a luncheon meeting in the Carlton) on the topic of "Through Europe with a Rucksack."

She declared that, "In order to travel successfully things must go wrong, and you must have an utterly inadequate supply of money."

The article records that, "she explained the methods of travel adopted by herself and her famous husband, Jan Gordon. They chose the most out-of-the-way places for exploration and thus avoided that 'tourist' atmosphere. She thought it was good to travel with a job. She and her husband had painting for their job, and on one occasion this brought an amusing honour. Mrs. Gordon was doing a series of illustrations of religious subjects in the Tyrol and gradually she acquired the reputation …