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Humbert's Obliterated Rhymes


Eight volumes from a series of treated books

Notes on this work

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Humbert's Obliterated Rhymes: Sport & Travel

Humbert's Obliterated Rhymes: Ephemerides

Humbert's Obliterated Rhymes: Ephemerides

Humbert's Obliterated Rhymes: Ephemerides

In this now abandoned project I used copies of Humbert Wolfe's Cursory Rhymes (Ernest Benn Ltd 1927) whose short and mostly meretricious verses were presented, in the manner of fancy poetry books of the period, amidst almost criminally generous margins. Luxurious blank pages are also present as well as, less fortunately, horrid illustrations by Albert Rutherston. That this was understandably a cheap and frequent occupant of the poetry shelves of secondhand bookshops made it fairly easy (especially with the help of my great finding friend Patrick Wildgust, the warden of Shandy Hall) to amass a quantity of copies ready for action and ripe for abuse.

As the work developed from tentative beginnings in the seventies it took the form of a set of verbovisual diaries. I gave them titles (e.g. Money Matters, Going Places, A Night at the Opera) to indicate their subjects though some were not entirely self-explanatory. Cafe Society referred ironically to the various worker's cafes, now dwindling in number where I have lunch, and Ziqiqu Ziqiqu was a dream diary the source of whose wonderful name I cannot now remember (though Ziqiqu would be handy for scrabble). The books, as they were filled and replaced, were to act as a kind of autobiography in word and image akin to those exploded diagrams one sees in technical magazines. But I did not keep them up except in bursts and on long journeys. The process became unwieldy in that life does not divide itself so crisply as the books suggested and, if the day ahead promised to be complicated involving a meeting, lunch, a visit to the bank on the way to the Oval to watch some cricket (The Great Game) then a dash to get to the opera (not a typical day I must admit in a generally more humdrum life) I would have to take five books out with me.

Individual volumes from this series have separate entries in Artist's Books. Muse and Curmes, two special volumes in unique bindings are also shown separately. This project evolved into a series of drawings made on official minutes, memos and agendas. These drawings are published in a separate book under the title Merry Meetings.