A Monastic Bell


In wild times and in wartime,

in times of fear and illness, I go

to Tintinnabula, where soft rains fall.

Tintinnabula is a story about moving from discomfort to peace,

from violence and uncertainty to a still, sure place.

It reminds us that our best friend in hard times

can often be ourselves.




From Latin tintinnābulum (a small monastic bell).


tintinnabulum (plural tintinnabula)

  1. A small clinking bell, particularly (historical) a small bells used to call monks to the certain tasks.

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Listen to Tintinnabula music (Karl Jenkins) Part 1



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