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Internationally acclaimed for its eccentricity and adored for its lovelorn lyricism, Dylan Thomas’s groundbreaking 1954 "play for voices," Under Milk Wood, has long echoed in the imagination of the founding father of British Pop Art, Sir Peter Blake. An obsession that has spanned almost thirty years, this "greenleaved sermon on the innocence of men" has filled the spaces of Blake’s studio, played and replayed on broadcast recordings, and prompted several pilgrimages to Thomas’s creative refuge at Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. All is "strangely simple and simply strange" in the sleepy Welsh seaside town of Llareggub, as the dreams, fantasies and realities of the inhabitants unfold across the cycle of one spring day. At once a lively and humorous depiction of the butchers, bakers, preachers and children, of Captain Cat, Nogood Boyo and Polly Garter – with a ribaldry in which Blake delights – it is also a modern pastoral tale on a Chaucerian scale, a quest for innocence and purity of utterance in a "darkest-before-dawn" world. Revealed here for the very first time with the definitive play text are the "dismays and rainbows" of this great artist’s richly detailed sequences of 110 watercolors, pencil portraits and collages, comprising one of his most distinctive and significant single bodies of work.
About the Author
Peter Blake is one of the best-loved artists of his generation, working as a figurative painter, collagist, sculptor and printmaker. He was born in 1932 in Dartford, Kent, and attended the Royal College of Art in London from 1953 to 1956. By the time he featured in Ken Russell's BBC Monitor film Pop Goes the Easel in 1962 he was already a key and influential member of the Pop Art movement. After living from 1969 to 1979 in Avon, where he and his first wife were founder members of the Brotherhood of Ruralists, he returned to London, marrying the artist Chrissy Wilson. He was elected an RA and a Royal Designer for Industry in 1981, and two years later was awarded the CBE. He was made associate artist at the National Gallery in 1994 and was knighted in 2002. Retrospectives of his work have taken place in Amsterdam (touring to Hamburg, Brussels and Arnhem in 1973-4), at the Tate Gallery in London (1983) and at Tate Liverpool (2007, touring to the Museo de Bellas Artes in Bilbao in 2008). He curated an exhibition titled About Collage for Tate Liverpool in 2000, and his own highly inventive collages have reached an audience of millions, most notably for the cover art of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
"This book is an intriguing translation project from poetry and sound to image, and provokes consideration of Thomas’ translation of real observations and eavesdroppings into fiction." —Tracey Warr, New Welsh Review