CHAUCER on BRIDGE STREET

     www.evansgalleryuralla.com 

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Paintings

1)Watercolours

2)Acrylic

3)Oils

Drawings
Ceramics

1) Michael Evans

2) Beth Ley

3) Jonne Wilson

4)George Hollingshed

Textiles

1)Helen Evans

2)Fiona McDonald

Paper Art

1)Katherine McKinnon

 

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David Evans' greatest work of calligraphy and scholarship, is a book called Fame Gold and  Shadow in which he examines the Old English epic poem of Beowulf. This unique book is on display at the Chaucer on Bridge Street Gallery, Uralla, Northern NSW.

Beowulf, an epic poem composed about 750 AD by an unknown poet, survives in a single manuscript in the British Museum, London.  That manuscript is thought to be a copy made in the 10th century.  The poem, the oldest epic poem in any of the Germanic languages, weaves history, legend and folklore together in a tale of heroes, battles and monsters. Over the centuries scholars have translated the poem from its original Old English, into Modern English verse. David did not attempt another work of this kind, but rather a commentary on the art of the poet. His commentary is interspersed with passages of the text in Old English with the modern literal translation accompanying the lines.  David’s text is “designed to make the greatest Old English poem accessible in a new way to both the student and the interested general reader.”

 
The title,  Fame, Gold, and Shadow, is explained by David in his introduction to the volume.

The main characters embark on quests for Fame. As the action unfolds we learn about the attitudes of the main characters to it.

Gold was highly valued and “the reputation of a leader was closely bound up with the way he used his gold.”  Loyalty was rewarded and the “heroic world was indeed bound by a ring of gold.”

Shadow refers to what David describes as “a dearth of colour-vocabulary,” as well as a foreshadowing of events. Apart from the references to blood and to gold, which cause the reader to imagine vivid scenes, there is little reference to colour.  The dress and weapons of the warriors, and the unkind weather suggest sombre shades.  As Beowulf declines into old age, the reader is more aware of shadows and the darkest shadow of all is over Beowulf’s nation of the Geats.

 

To further enhance this masterpiece, David has created many illustrations. These unique works in pen and ink and in acrylic, make this book an extraordinary achievement.

 

This is a replica of the Sutton Hoo Burial Mask that can be seen at the gallery. It dates from Viking times and the burial is similar to that described in the Beowulf poem.

The jewellery cabinet display of 8th to 13th century replica pieces.

         
    
 

David wrote Fame Gold and Shadow in the evenings over several years. He chose to hand letter it in a modified half-uncial script.

It is worth a visit to the gallery just to see this wonderful book.

Although he recorded readings of the passages so that readers would be able to hear the Old English as it was spoken, the tapes David recorded especially to go with the volume, have vanished. One of his friends has a copy of the tapes made for students about 1990, and has kindly put these on disc for me. Although the quality is not good, I may be able to have it improved by a technician. They are available in the gallery for anyone interested to hear.

There is however, David’s clearly recorded introduction to the book which can also be played to  interested people.

                          Click here to see a passage of calligraphy from Fame Gold and Shadow

 

                                                      Copyright 2012