Tribute to Edgar Degas

World reknowned French artist Edgar Degas was born 19th July 1834 in Paris. He is  famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. A superb draftsman, he is especially identified with the subject of the dance, and over half of his works depict dancers. These display his mastery in the depiction of movement, as do his racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and depiction of human isolation.

Early in his career, he wanted to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art. In his early thirties, he changed course, and by bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern lifeDegas’s work was controversial, but was generally admired for its draftsmanship. His La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, or Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, which he displayed at the sixth Impressionist exhibition in 1881, was probably his most controversial piece; some critics decried what they thought its “appalling ugliness” while others saw in it a “blossoming” The suite of pastels depicting nudes that Degas exhibited in the eighth Impressionist Exhibition in 1886 produced “the most concentrated body of critical writing on the artist during his lifetime … The overall reaction was positive and laudatory”

Sadly Degas  passed away on the 27th September 1917 and During his life, public reception to his work ranged from admiration to contempt. As a promising artist in the conventional mode, Degas had a number of paintings accepted in the Salon between 1865 and 1870. These works received praise from Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and the critic, Jules-Antoine Castagnary. He soon joined forces with the Impressionists, however, and rejected the rigid rules, judgements, and elitism of the Salon—just as the Salon and general public initially rejected the experimentalism of the Impressionists.Recognized as an important artist in his lifetime, Degas is now considered “one of the founders of Impressionism”. Though his work crossed many stylistic boundaries, his involvement with the other major figures of Impressionism and their exhibitions, his dynamic paintings and sketches of everyday life and activities, and his bold color experiments, served to finally tie him to the Impressionist movement as one of its greatest artists. His paintings, pastels, drawings, and sculptures are on prominent display in many museums and  he also greatly influenced several important painters, most notably Jean-Louis Forain, Mary Cassatt, and Walter Sickert and  Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

we will rock you (and continue to do so)

Brian May, English guitarist with British rock band Queen was born July 19th 1947. Queen were formed in London in 1971, consisting of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar, guitars), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). Queen’s earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, incorporating more diverse and innovative styles in their music.Before joining Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had been playing together in a band named Smile with bassist Tim Staffell. Freddie Mercury (then known as Farrokh/Freddie Bulsara) was a fan of Smile, and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques

After Staffell’s departure in 1970. Mercury himself joined the band shortly thereafter, changed the name of the band to “Queen”, and adopted his familiar stage name. John Deacon was recruited prior to recording their eponymous debut album (1973). Queen enjoyed success in the UK with their debut and its follow-up, Queen II (1974), but it was the release of Sheer Heart Attack (1974) and A Night at the Opera (1975) that gained the band international success. The latter featured “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which stayed at number one in the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks; it charted at number one in several other territories, and gave the band their first top ten hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. Their 1977 album, News of the World, contained two of rock’s most recognisable anthems, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”.

By the early 1980s, Queen were one of the biggest stadium rock bands in the world, and their performance at 1985′s Live Aid is regarded as one of the greatest in rock history. In 1991, Mercury died of bronchopneumonia, a complication of AIDS, and Deacon retired in 1997. Since then, May and Taylor have infrequently performed together, including a collaboration with Paul Rodgers under the name Queen + Paul Rodgers which ended in May 2009.The band have released a total of 18 number one albums, 18 number one singles, and 10 number one DVDs. Estimates of their album sales generally range from 150 million to 300 million albums, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists. They received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1990, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Rally in the Valley

This years Rally in the Valley vintage Traction Engin and Steam Roller rally takes place on Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st July 2013 at GRANGE FARM, HILTON, Near BRIGNORTH, Courtesy of Mr & Mrs R. W. Wills. The Rally in the Valley began in 2008 as the public launch of the Trevithick Replica Engine CATCH ME WHO CAN, which was being built in Bridgnorth by the Trevithick 200 Charity to celebrate the bi-centenary of the original engine being built at Hazledines Foundry, Bridgnorth in 1808.

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Since then the Rally-In-The-Valley has grown and usually  feature an array of exhibits such as Steam Engines, Vintage machines Stationary engines, vintage tractors, COMMERCIAL VEHICLES, Tanks and a large and impressive display of Military Vehicles, such as Scammell Tank Transprters, amphibious DUKW, many different examples of World War II Tanks, jeeps, Half-tracks, military Ambulances, military trucks and staff Cars, vintage motorcycles, CLASSIC AND VINTAGE CARS, Traction Engines, Steam Rollers, Tractors, courtesy of Bridgnorth Vintage Machinery Club, Commercial vehicles, Threshing Machines, Fairground Organs, Showman’s Engines, barrel organ, Sentinel steam wagons plus miniature traction engines and steam rollers, the replica of Catch-Me-Who-Can. Kinver Model Society are demonstrating their miniature steam engines such as Catch-Me-Who-Can & LMS 5960 Leander.

There are also Lots of great working displays taking place in the main arena throughout the weekend as well, including a fun dog show, a heavy horse ploughing demonstration as well as a cavalcade of exhibitors, Traction Engines, Steam Rollers and Showman Engines. There are also many Awning Displays courtesy of artisans from Blists Hill Museum in Ironbridge who were demonstrating various crafts such as Pottery, Coracle Making, blacksmithing, painting, Dress-making, Corn Milling, basket weaving Longbow Archery & Pipe Making. There will also be a variety of other market stalls, selling traditional arts and crafts, fresh produce, such as Jams, Pickles, Honey, Home made cakes, Wine & Beer.At This years event, entertainment will be provided by the amazing Victorian music hall style pianist Dr Busker and the Wild Rovers, who will be performing live music on Saturday Night. Food and drink will be provided by on-site Caterers offering food such as Burgers, Hot dogs, doughnuts, Ice Creams & Candy Floss. For those like me who don’t drive I am also looking forward to sampling the beer that the bar supplier “Hop and Stagger” brewed specially for the event at their micro brewery in Bridgnorth which will be on sale in the beer tent.

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