100 Birmingham Sketchbooks

1987, exhibited Ikon Gallery 1989:

Sketchbook #001: detailing 7 minutes and 33 seconds.

Sketchbook #002: detailing the mild winter of 1658-59.

Sketchbook #003: detailing the heavy storm of 24 November 1703.

Sketchbook #004: [lost]

Sketchbook #005: detailing Act 1 Geo. 1., c27 (1720).

Sketchbook #006: detailing the prohibition of cloth buttonholes 1721.

Sketchbook #007: detailing the casting of a bell in April 1727.

Sketchbook #008: detailing the march of Worcester nailmakers 1737

Sketchbook #009: detailing Rev John Homes observation that, “it seemed as if God had created man only for making buttons.”

Sketchbook #010: detailing 19 October 1751 (riot).

Sketchbook #011: detailing the hailstorm of 1760.

Sketchbook #012: detailing the flood of January 1764.

Sketchbook #013: detailing Mr Burk’s comments in the House of Commons 26 March 1777.

Sketchbook #014: detailing the heavy storm of 9 March 1778.

Sketchbook #015: detailing the gale of 1 January 1779.

Sketchbook #016: detailing the mild winter of 1779.

Sketchbook #017: detailing the mild winter of 1782 – 1783.

Sketchbook #018: detailing the petition of the starving button makers in June 1791.

Sketchbook #019: detailing 15 July 1791 (riot).

Sketchbook #020: detailing the waterspout of 1792.

Sketchbook #021: detailing the flood of 13 April 1792.

Sketchbook #022: detailing 24 October 1793 (riot).

Sketchbook #023: detailing the emigration of 100 families to America in August 1794.

Sketchbook #024: detailing the hard frost of January 1795.

Sketchbook #025: detailing the hailstorm of 1798.

Sketchbook #026: detailing Westley’s map.

Sketchbook #027: detailing 28 May 1810 (riot).

Sketchbook #028: detailing 22 March 1813 (riot).

Sketchbook #029: detailing the hard frost of December 1813 and January 1814.

Sketchbook #030: detailing the snowstorm of 23-24 January 1814.

Sketchbook #031: detailing 12 September 1814.

Sketchbook #032: detailing 1816 (riot)

Sketchbook #033: detailing the mild winter of 1820.

Sketchbook #034: detailing the frost of January 1820.

Sketchbook #035; detailing events at Pebble Mill Pool.

Sketchbook #036: detailing Act 5 GeoIV., c97 (1825).

Sketchbook #037: detailing the depressed condition of operative jewellers.

Sketchbook #038: detailing the flood of 26 June 1830.

Sketchbook #039: detailing the hailstorm of 9 May 1833.

Sketchbook #040: detailing 15 July 1839 (riot).

Sketchbook #041: detailing 1844 (conference).

Sketchbook #042: detailing 29 June 1847 (riot).

Sketchbook #043: detailing 4,980 tradesmen listed in White’s.

Sketchbook #044: detailing 1844 (conference).

Sketchbook #045: detailing the flood of 11 November 1852.

Sketchbook #046: detailing the gale of 26 September 1853.

Sketchbook #047: detailing 1854 (conference).

Sketchbook #048: detailing the opening of Adderley Park 30 August 1856.

Sketchbook #049: detailing 800,000 guns for the American Civil War.

Sketchbook #050: detailing the Orsini bombs used in Paris.

Sketchbook #051: detailing the mild winter of 1857.

Sketchbook #052: detailing the storm of 15 June 1858.

Sketchbook #053: detailing the frost of December 1860 to January 1861.

Sketchbook #054: detailing the lightening of 23 June 1861.

Sketchbook #055: detailing the flood of 23 June 1861.

Sketchbook #056: detailing 5 October 1862 (conference).

Sketchbook #057: detailing 1865 (conference).

Sketchbook #058: detailing the flood of 8 February 1865.

Sketchbook #059: detailing 16 June 1867 (riot).

Sketchbook #060: detailing the thunderstorm of 26 August 1867.

Sketchbook #061: detailing 13 October 1867 (riot).

Sketchbook #062: detailing 23 August 1869 (conference).

Sketchbook #063: [lost]

Sketchbook #064: detailing the rain of 1872.

Sketchbook #065: detailing the flood of 25 May 1872.

Sketchbook #066: detailing 12 May 1873 (conference).

Sketchbook #067: detailing 14 January 1875 (conference).

Sketchbook #068: detailing 7 March 1875 (riot).

Sketchbook #069: detailing the thunderstorm of 17 June 1875.

Sketchbook #070: detailing the great improvement scheme of 10 November 1875.

Sketchbook #071: detailing the tolling of St Martin’s bell.

Sketchbook #072: detailing 18 January 1876.

Sketchbook #073: detailing the gale of 30 January 1877.

Sketchbook #074: detailing the storm of 20 February 1877.

Sketchbook #075: detailing the whirlwind of 4 April 1877.

Sketchbook #076: detailing 17 July 1877 (conference).

Sketchbook #077: detailing 7 November 1877 (conference).

Sketchbook #078: detailing 5 March 1878 (conference).

Sketchbook #079: detailing 2 May 1878 (conference).

Sketchbook #080: detailing the long frost of 1878 – 1879.

Sketchbook #081: detailing 1879 (conference).

Sketchbook #082: detailing 17 June 1879 (conference).

Sketchbook #083: detailing the lightening of 3 August 1879.

Sketchbook #084: detailing the frost of January 1881.

Sketchbook #085: detailing 14 June 1881 (conference).

Sketchbook #086: detailing the storm of 14 October 1881.

Sketchbook #087: detailing the rain of 1882.

Sketchbook #088: detailing 6 August 1883 (conference).

Sketchbook #089: detailing the gale of 11 December 1883.

Sketchbook #090: detailing the mild winter of 1883 – 1884.

Sketchbook #091: detailing the tempest of 15 June 1884.

Sketchbook #092: detailing 13 October 1884 (riot).

Sketchbook #093: detailing the lives of 400,774 inhabitants.

Sketchbook #094: detailing the lives of 194,540 men.

Sketchbook #095: detailing the lives of 206,234 women.

Sketchbook #096: detailing the lives of 58,044 children under the age of 5.

Sketchbook #097: detailing 50 people born at sea.

Sketchbook #098: detailing the lives of 1,127 artists, art workers and musicians.

Sketchbook #099: detailing 162,583 workers without specific occupations.

Sketchbook #100: [lost]

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Cupel and Squirm

Since Birmingham adopted its new Coat of Arms in 1976, the “Man habited as a Smith” on the sinister side has been shown holding a ‘Cupel’ in the dexter hand resting on the Shield.  In the sinister hand he holds a ‘Hammer resting on an Anvil’. The figure of the “Smith” is representative of ‘Industry’, and the ‘Cupel’ of the city’s jewellery trades.

Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter was a consequence of the opening up of the Colmore Estate in the mid-18th century and the Bunter sandstone (on which the district sits) being suitable for fine metal working. The Keuper sandstone found elsewhere in the city is more supportive of Birmingham’s other (heavier) metal working industries. That the ‘Cupel’ has become associated with the ‘Hammer resting on an Anvil’ is an error of association.

A better association would have been made if the ‘Cupel’ had been held by the female figure, representing Art, on the Coat of Arms.  Perhaps in the dexter hand instead of the “Painter’s Palette Or with two Brushes proper” as Birmingham has never been a painter’s city.

Birmingham’s jewellery trades have a stronger connection with art than they do with the heavier iron industries located elsewhere in the city.  And this has certainly been the case since the Birmingham Jewellery and Silversmiths Association established what is now the School of Jewellery on Vittoria Street in 1890. The art of the Jewellery Quarter resonates still with the radical views of the School of Jewellery’s first Headmaster, Robert Catterson-Smith.  Equally, it is still dismissive of what Catterson-Smith’s successor, Arthur Gaskin, described as “the Squirm” of fashion and conceit.

The unknown author of the poem ‘Industry & Genius, or the Origin of Birmingham: A Fable’ (first published in Aris’ Gazette 21.01.1751) understood what differentiates the “hard rough hand” of Industry from the “nice hand” of Genius.

As the poem says, Genius (later the ‘Lady of the Arts’ on the city’s Coat of Arms) is:

“…near at Hand, in Bower of Jessamy And Roses, mixt with rare and curious Art”

and this connects well with Catterson-Smith’s teaching drawing from natural forms rather than the plaster casts more commonly used in 19th century British art schools. And, as the poem continues, Birmingham’s jewellery trades are evident in:

“All in clear Conception of her Mind, The fairest Form of Things depainted were; And the least Shade of Difference she would find ‘Twixt every Object brought into compare: Grace still distinguish’d her Productions rare From those of common Artists: Her nice Hand Obedient was to execute, with Care And Elegance, her Fancy’s least Command: Geniae yclep’d she was, admir’d by all the Land.”

Of course, the “happy Union” of Art/Genius (“Ingenuity, and matchless Grace”) with Industry (“Perseverance”) that once underpinned Birmingham’s greatness has now been squandered in the drive for Enterprise and “the Squirm”. Even so, the ‘Cupel’ should be in the hand of Art.

“And now to social Amity inclined…

A Town they builden straight, hight BIRMINGHAM.”

Birmingham Post April 2011

Full Article: BirminghamPost_April2011

Understanding Places

Full Text:  Human-Scales-Understanding-Places-of-Centring-and-Decentring

Traditional Filière Approach

Filière / Produsage

“…it is important to fundamentally question the models of cooperation and content production which we have inherited from the industrial age – indeed, as audiences have become users and industrially produced products have become collaboratively authored content, we need to question the very language of production itself.  …in collaborative content creation environments it is becoming difficult if not impossible to tell mere users from producers; a sliding scale of user engagement rather than traditional distinctions between producers, distributors, and consumers now applies.  We are entering an environment where users are always already also producers of content, or indeed have become hybrid ‘produsers’.

Unfinished Artefacts, Continuing Process: the process of ‘produsage’ must necessarily remain continually unfinished and infinitely continuing.  Produsage does not work towards the completion of products (for distribution to end users of consumers); instead, it is engaged in an iterative, evolutionary process aimed at the gradual improvement of the community’s shared content.  The content found in a produsage community always represents only a temporary artefact of the ongoing process, a snapshot in time which is likely to be different again the next minute, the next hour, or the next day.”

Jeremy Hunsinger et al: International Handbook of Internet Research 2010