Sir Brian Cook


Brian Cook’s illustrations of Britain, its cottages, churches, villages, and landscapes, are now iconic and highlight the best of Britain. These iconic images were originally commissioned for Batsford book jackets in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. His heightened use of color and flat poster style has been much imitated but never surpassed.

Hidden Villages of Britain


Landscapes of Britain

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Don’t miss Hidden Villages of Britain with Penelope Keith

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Sir Brian Cook Batsford, artist lived 1910-1991.

Sir Brian Cook, artist


Thank you Dame Penelope! Thank you Sir Brian!


Silverpoint (one of several types of metalpoint) is a traditional drawing technique first used by medieval scribes on manuscripts. A silverpoint drawing is made by dragging a silver rod or wire across a surface, often prepared with gesso or primer.

In the fourteenth century, Florentine artist Cennino Cennini wrote The Craftsman’s Handbook (Il Libro dell’ Arte) a fascinating and instructive handbook for aspiring artists of the period.

The Craftsman's Handbook

This is his advice on drawing in silverpoint:

  • Find a place to draw where the light is diffused, and have the sun fall on the opposite side to the hand with which you draw.
  • Prepare the paper with a coloured ground
  • Select a slender, smooth and handsome metal stylus with a silver tip
  • Begin by copying simple subjects
  • Make the first marks very lightly, so that they can barely be seen
  • Strengthen the strokes little by little, going back many times to produce the shadows
  • Touch in highlights with white lead on the tip of a pointed brush
  • Work a little each day, so that you don’t tire of it.
  • After about a year of drawing in metalpoint you may take up drawing with a pen and ink on paper, which will make you expert, skillful and capable of drawing from your imagination:
    • Cut your quill from a goose feather
    • Work up your lights, half lights, and darks gradually, going back to them many times
    • Shade with washes by adding two drops of ink to a nutshell of water and applying with a dry, blunt brush, made from miniver tails.

    His key advice: Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worth-while, and will do you a world of good. (National Portrait Gallery)

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Woman Wearing a Hood by Domenico Ghirlandaio, c.1485-90. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017






Watercolour World

Eric Ravilious

(1903 – 1942) was an English painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver. He grew up in East Sussex, and is particularly known for his watercolours of the South Downs. He served as a war artist, and died when the aircraft he was in was lost off Iceland.

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Ravilious painted almost entirely in watercolour. He was especially inspired by the landscape of the South Downs around Beddingham. He frequently returned to Furlongs, the cottage of Peggy Angus. He said that his time there “altered my whole outlook and way of painting, I think because the colour of the landscape was so lovely and the design so beautifully obvious … that I simply had to abandon my tinted drawings”. Some of his works, such as Tea at Furlongs, were painted there.

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Tea at Furlongs, 1939


More  at Wikiart
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Watch how to create your own simple thaumatrope here.

A thaumatrope is an optical toy that was popular in the 19th century. A disk with a picture on each side is attached to two pieces of string or rubber band. When the strings are twirled quickly between the fingers the two pictures appear to blend into one due to the persistence of vision.

Examples of common thaumatrope pictures include a bare tree on one side of the disk, and its leaves on the other, or a bird on one side and a cage on the other. Many classic thaumatropes also included riddles or short poems, with one line on each side.

Thaumatropes can provide an illusion of motion with the two sides of the disc each depicting a different phase of the motion.

Thaumatropes are often seen as important antecedents of motion pictures and in particular of animation.