A datestone is both a signature, anchoring our surroundings in a way that no other architectural detail can achieve, and a portal, making us pause for a moment to think about the past, and about the places in which we live.
Datestones help us to contextualise our habitat and give it meaning. They evoke the spirit of a place – its genius loci – reminding us of the lives of those who came before and the connections we share; the humble cottage dweller, the proud suburbanite, the devout, the philanthropic, the industrious and the entrepreneurial.
I'm working with author Simon Inglis to celebrate those datestones that survive, but also to act as an inspiration for architects and developers to put dates on their new buildings for the 21st Century.
Artiist and designer Gordon House (1932-2004) had a prolific career spanning six decades but rarely gets any recognition. He collaborated with artists Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake, David Hockney and Eduardo Paolozzi. He designed for Kasmin, Robert Fraser, Marlborough, Arts Council, Tate, Royal Academy and The Beatles.
I'm collecting his graphic design work with the aim of bringing it to a wider audience.
My thanks to Ceri House and Georgie Gerrish.
The title is derived from An assemblage of several things, an artwork which Gordon created in 1979.
Launched in 1963, Jackdaws were the brainchild of author and journalist John Langdon-Davies. Each folder contained reproductions at original size of contemporary materials (newspapers, diaries, maps) supported by broadsheets to supply context.
‘The past has left us its bottom drawer as well as its official log-book. A great trial of a hard-fought battle may change history; a ticket of admission, or a forgotten ballad, will transport you there. In Jackdaws, the evidence is put in the reader’s hands. A few sheets of text set the scene and indicate the problems… the publishers hope to spark in the student and revive in the general reader a sense of the presence of history.’ – Clark, Irwin and Co Ltd 1975
I'm collecting Jackdaws (over 150 were produced) and preparing a history of their publication.