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Marking time

Marking time in September 2005

Wednesday 28 September 2005

A postcard from Germany

Jaroslav Poncar, wonderful panoramic photographer of Ladakh and other places, has sent me a pdf postcard. It announces the launch of his new book Himalayas: where gods and man meet. He calls it a supercoffeetablebook. At 34 x 48 cm it would fit on our coffee table, but it’s too big for the book shelves. I want one!

Postcard detail

On the postcard is a sweeping panorama​—​a rock-strewn riverbed in the foreground, stupas in the middle distance, backed by a village, mountains and a big sky. It’s altogether too much to fit onto this page, so I have cropped out this small sample.

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Sunday 18 September 2005

Amity

Just back from Straddie…

View into the shallows

The sky, the pier and me, reflected in the shallow water at Amity Point, North Stradbroke Island, a few days ago.

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Sunday 4 September 2005

Father’s day ponderings

My treat this morning: breakfast, then reading in bed — Henry Petroski’s The book on the bookshelf. He has a chapter about the development of private studies and how books were stored in them. His mention of pictures of Saint Jerome in his study sent me off to the big book of Albrecht Dürer.

Jerome (AD331-420), patron saint of librarians, was a frequent subject for Dürer. I’ve chosen an early woodcut from the year 1492 for dissection below. It does not have the brilliant perspective of his 1514 copper engraving, nor the wonderful human detail of his 1521 panel painting, but it has something else: a bed.

Jerome, who translated the bible into ordinary Latin, appears in the woodcut sitting at work in his study, which is smartly equipped in the style of the 1490s. As someone who spends much of his working time in a study, I am struck by similarities with my own setup.

Top section of woodcut print

Everyone who writes how-to books for home-based workers insists that the domestic and working parts of the house must be kept apart. Like me, St Jerome ignores this advice. His bed is in a chamber off the study, as is mine. And, like mine, Jerome’s study has a large window with a view to the street outside. You do need a distant view to relax the eyes.

Middle section of woodcut print

Jerome had to deal with both Greek and Hebrew on the desk at the same time. So do I, at times.

Bottom section of woodcut print

Legend has it that Jerome removed a thorn from the paw of a lion, and he was usually shown with one as a companion. Dürer got better at drawing lions later in his career. Pulling thorns from lion’s paws is a hard act to follow. I am happy with Midnight as a companion in my study.

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A postcard from Germany
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