Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Thames and Hudson.



When I was a wee lad of just 14, you may be surprised to learn that I became a Latin Scholar. Somehow in my school entrance exam I'd managed to score the highest marks in the Latin paper of my entry year; a staggering 90%.

My Prep' School Classics master was amazed, I was amazed, and just about everyone I knew was amazed.

Attached to the kudos of being a Latin Scholar was an annual bursary of 13 guineas which had to be spent on books. It was also part of the deal that I wrote an annual letter to the bursary committee about which books had been chosen, along with a reasonable critique; about 1000 words was enough.

My Latin studies didn't last for too long. My new teacher was tedious, and made the study of Latin a total bore rather than a pleasure. However my bursary continued for my full 4 years at school.

There was never a question in my mind as to what type of books I would purchase; they HAD to be books about Painting or Sculpture, and the best bet for someone like myself (at that time) were the Thames and Hudson 'World of Art' paperback publications that were very popular, and cheap.

It must be said that the illustrations were very poor, but they gave a general idea.

I have no idea how many books I bought over the four years, but the bookshelf in my study became stuffed with them; friends borrowed them at such a rate that I was obliged to use a Lending Library style system to keep track of who had what.

I only have a dozen or so here in France, the others are in boxes back in England. I still look at them occasionally, although with Google now at my fingertips, referring to them has become rare.

I would never get rid of them. They are like old friends!



36 comments:

  1. Don't know about the books but nice carpet - have I seen it before?

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    1. It belonged to Lady M's father when he was in Turkey; we have two others as well.

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    2. Oh, and congratulations on the bursary - the first I had heard of it.

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    3. It was never mentioned; a bit like my 1st class hons degree.

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  2. I also had boring Latin teachers; I think they make them like that because my son had boring ones too.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. In my case it was rather sad, as my previous teacher had been wonderful (hence my high pass mark). Then having a boring old fart new teacher at my upper school was a real let-down. Having previously loved the subject it became almost a punishment. I dropped the subject after my first year, and they were not happy! However, my bursary continued.

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  3. Good books are always good friends.

    Alphie

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    1. Especially if they're linked with good memories.

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  4. We speculated that our Latin teacher was having an affair with the Headmaster because every time we had a lesson scheduled we were left to read the Odyssey while she disappeared into the Head's study. We all dropped Classics after the first year due to an absent teacher!

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    1. Well at least someone was enjoying the lessons.

      What a difference a good teacher makes. I can remember (at my Prep' school) even attending Sunday voluntary Latin lessons because I enjoyed it so much.

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  5. I " did" Latin for 4 years and loved it. I can see our teacher now.....she must have been at least 80, Miss Tod, tall and white haired...very " old school!

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    1. The two teachers I mention were both headmasters; the latter being a tedious red-faced buffoon of the worst type, we didn't like each other.

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  6. Because I did quite well in French in my first year at Grammar School I was made to do Latin INSTEAD OF ART in second year! I wasn't pleased. Hated Latin didn't understand a thing. Went back to Art in third year by which time I'd missed so much basic teaching. Failed French O level but managed to get an Art O level without really learning anything. All annoying

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    1. I seem to remember learning lots of French vocabulary at school, but not really being able to string it together into sentences. It paid off in the end when I moved over here.

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  7. Well, Cro, that's me caught up with the reading of your past posts although I've resisted the temptation to comment.Mind you I spent so much time on your Desert Island Pictures that commenting would have been quicker. I'm looking forward to the results of the olives' treatment.

    As for Latin I disliked it which was, I think, a disappointment to my Mother who thought grammatically in Latin. If you asked her what part of speech 'that having been done' was she would translate it into Latin. Look at the appropriate table heading and tell you that it was ablative absolute.

    In 'my day' it was still obligatory to read Roman Law for a law degree so Latin came back to haunt me once again. Raptus regaliter.



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    1. It's good to have books that are like old friends, someone to turn to for advice or simply just to enjoy. They sit there waiting, but not demanding, and they are sources of wisdom and wit.

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    2. My only obvious use for Latin was being asked what certain mottos or inscriptions meant. At one time I could translate instantly, now I'm afraid it has mostly been lost.

      As for those books Gwil, I do tend to re-read old books, so they are not totally ignored.

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    3. I was offered the choice of Latin or German. I absorbed enough German to listen to nighttime radio stations with strange sounding names wafting over from the continent. Looking back I wish I'd been offered Italian. But it wasn't on the curriculum. I'm now reading Tales from Vienna Woods which I found yesterday in a pub. It has a well thumbed look. It's like giving a stray dog a new home.

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  8. It is a shame that cheap printing techniques virtually destroy most colour in the paintings. If they were printed using the best colour analysis, they would cost thousands.

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    1. They were very poor illustrations, but I suppose at about 12/6d per book, you couldn't really expect too much.

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    2. Business as usual eh Tom?

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  9. Latin scholar here as well. My latin teacher was well read and well liked. He was the first person to insist we read Lord of the Rings. I still read it every few years.

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    1. As I said before, it makes such a difference to have a good teacher.

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    2. Yes, it really does. I took 5 years of Latin and loved it.

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  10. I took three years of Latin. It was never a choice.

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  11. So you were able to read Horace in his own words? I envy you. I've read that all translations of Horace don't do him justice, and I've read some wonderful translations (and one very hideous one).

    13 guineas doesn't sound like all that much money, even in the 1970s. How many 12/6d in a guinea?

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    1. A guinea was one pound and one shilling, so about one and a half books to the guinea.

      The 13 guineas was just a little way of saying "well done".

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  12. Oh, sorry -- I didn't mean to sound as if I was judging the amount. Such a prize is a windfall, especially for a schoolboy, and must have been a thrill. I meant that you wrote that the money bought a lot of books and books were always expensive, a luxury item. I'm impressed that you were able to start a person library on 13 guineas.

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    1. I think I must have ended-up with between 50 and 60 books.

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  13. 13 guineas was a lot in the late 50s/early 60s. I studied Latin for five years. Loved it.

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    1. It was indeed. I used to go to Cambridge to buy my T & H books; was it Foyles bookshop?

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    2. That's it. I think it closed.

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    3. Still going strong. Up-dated a bit so has lost some of its charm.

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    ReplyDelete

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