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The Ecumenical Parking Lot

“A few figs from thistles…”

by Howard A Tabor

The Ecumenical Parking Lot

Asbury UMC hosted a Thanksgiving dinner last week. If you weren’t there — maybe even if you were — a description of the event is likely to challenge credibility. Regardless of your level of “belief”, I’ll wager those in attendance have considerably more faith in our species than they may have had before the pumpkin pie appeared.

Hazel Bischof’s pork sausage stuffing had to wait another year; likewise the oyster stuffing that was such a hit last Christmas. Because this was a genuine ecumenical meal, possibly Agincourt’s first. That night in the Asbury church basement (or “garden level”), our turkey dinner was enjoyed by all “People of the Book”— the congregations of Temple Emanu-El, the Agincourt Islamic Center, and a representative sampling of the full Christian spectrum represented across the community. Their “ecumenical parking lot” lies between those three places of worship, which accounts for its heavy use on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Such a feast presented its own array of issues. What, for example, on the traditional Thanksgiving menu was verboten under the combined force of multiple dietary laws, individual allergies, and personal preference? Planning and preparation for both kosher and halal regulations (which put the kibosh on Hazel’s stuffing), compounded with intolerance to dairy or gluten, allergy to nuts, not to mention the growing number of vegetarians and outright vegans, put the project well beyond the capabilities of even a papal blue ribbon commission. The U.N. could take a lesson from Thursday night and all that came before it.

There was no “seating chart”. The only suggestion was to share a table with those of other faith traditions; don’t sit with yourselves. Unlike our cousins at Lake Wobegon — where the room is bifurcated between Lutherans and Catholics, those who drive Fords or have a preference for Chevies — the motivation here was otherwise. Whether it served that intent or some larger purpose will be shown if this happens again.

And how do they get those pumpkin pies without the unsightly “pucker” of crevices in the center?

William Nicholson [1872–1949]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa.]

NICHOLSON, William Newzam Prior [1872–1949]

“H. M. The Queen” / Queen Victoria

lithographic image of a woodcut original / 9.5 inches by 8.9 inches / unsigned

1899

In 1899, London publisher William Heinemann issued a folio of “Twelve Portraits”, lithographic reproductions of woodcut originals by English artist William Nicholson (later Sir William). These proved so popular that a second series followed soon after. Each included a dozen well-known figures in contemporary British life — public figures, like Queen Victoria, who was still on the throne; political and military figures; people from the arts. They all have the simplicity of the English Arts & Crafts idiom tempered with a touch of Continental Art Nouveau.

Nicholson later formed a partnership with his brother-in-law William Pryde as “The Beggarstaff Brothers”, who produced advertisements in similar A&C style for products (like flour or periodical publiscations) and events (such as theatrical performance). These have also become quite collectible, as have other throw-away lithographed images from the period 1895-1910. Victoria is one of nine prints from the First Series which we have in the Collection.

Alfred William Strutt [1856–1924]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa.]

STRUTT, Alfred William [1856–1924]

“The Old Cottage”

oil on canvas on board / 8.3 inches by 15.7 inches / unsigned

ca1910

Why, do you suppose, does rural life fascinate those who live it? A humble crofter’s cottage in England would bear little resemblance to a farmstead in the outback of America. Yet there is a kinship of directness and authenticity which links them, and an appreciation for others in similar circumstance. Or is it a matter of “idealization”, the discernment of a prototype; a yearning for the improvement of our own situation?

Alfred William Strutt (1856-1924) came from a long line of painters. His father, William Strutt (1825-1915), was a prolific artist of genre, animals and portraits, who moved to Australia in 1850, and produced an important record of early colonial days. Alfred was born in New Zealand, before his family returned to England in 1856, where he was taught by his father and also attended South Kensington Schools. He painted a variety of subjects including genre and sporting scenes. Strutt is perhaps best known for his paintings of various dogs, horses, donkeys and some genre pictures. Some were published as steel engravings in signed editions.

He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and was elected Royal Society of British Artists in 1888 and an Associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers the following year. Other exhibiting venues included Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, London Salon, Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Examples of his work are in the collections of numerous British museums.

This small study may have been intended for larger treatment.

The 1912 G.A.R. Exhibit

It’s taking longer than we anticipated to reconstruct the catalogue of the first G.A.R. Exhibit. These eighteen constitute the bulk of it, however, for the time being:

BEHRENS, Peter [1866-1940] — “The Kiss”

BURNHAM, Anita Willets- [1880-1958] — “Chicago from a Roof Top”

COOKSEY, May Louise Greville [1878-1943] — “Procession”

FAIG, Frances [1885–1955] — Ohio Landscape

GAUDRY, T. [no dates] — “Canal in Flanders”

HORNUNG, Bertha Mary [1885–1974] — “Norfolk Bridge”

NICHOLSON, William — “Queen Victoria”

PETTENKOFEN, August Xaver Karl Ritter von [1821-1889] — “Death and the Professor”

PETTENKOFEN, August Xaver Karl Ritter von [1821-1889] — “Magyar Farmyard”

PICTOR IGNOTUS [attr. Pettenkofen] — “Oddalisque”

PICTOR IGNOTUS — “Dedication of the Brooklyn Bridge”

SITZMAN, Edward R. [1874–1949] — “Sentinel”

STANHOPE, Leon Eugene [1873–1956] — “Study of Three Lions”

STRUTT, Alfred William [1856–1924] — “The Old Cottage”

SVENDSEN, Charles C. [1871-1959] — “Sunrise” and “Sunset”

VIVIAN, Calthea Campbell [1857-1943] — “Barbizon”

WILLIGE, E. van der [19th century, second half] — “Zandschuiten” / “Sand Barges”

Barbara Doyle [1917–2019]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa.]

DOYLE, Barbara Gwendoline Christine [1917–2019]

Chamber Music

oil on canvas / 19.3 inches by 23.2 inches

ca1970

Barbara Doyle was a British artist, born in Halifax, North Yorkshire in 1917. She spent most of her life living on the South Coast of England. She painted her whole life, right into her later years. She was appointed a member of the Arun Society during her career and exhibited widely across the UK, including at prestigious London venues.

Ms Doyle lived through her 100th birthday in 2017. She died at the age of 102.