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Flowers Afloat: Folk Artists of the Canals [Hardcover]

A.J. Lewery
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Mar 1996
A celebration of the traditional style of paintwork which adorns British narrow boats, and of the lives and work of the artists who created it. The book gives an explanation of the designs and motifs which characterize this branch of folk art.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: David & Charles; 1st Edition edition (31 Mar 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715301454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715301456
  • Product Dimensions: 27.8 x 20 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Photographs 6 Aug 2009
A well-written book with many excellent photographs.

Lewery traces possible and probable sources for the traditional canal art forms of roses and castles (tin tray artists from Birmingham seem a likely origin) and then follows the tradition and individual artists showing how the art tended to develop distinctive forms in different boatyards.

The book tells me more than I really wanted to know about the history of the artists and the boatyards, but it would be a useful source for anyone wanting to know the history of canal art.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic 21 Mar 2010
Stuck for a present, or just want to treat yourself?

The Countryman; Autumn 1996, said ".... coloured details which prove enchantment for the eye. For those who value the nation's folk-art tradition this is an essential point of reference."

The colour and verve of painted narrow boats - swags of roses, romantic castles, and bold geometric design - represent an extraordinary nineteenth-century flowering of popular art. Passed down through generations of painters, it has an enduring beauty and drama which remains fascinating and captivating two centuries on. In Flowers Afloat, folk art historian Tony Lewery explores the traditions and development of this art, the men and women behind it, and the way of life which led to its present form.

Fascinating period photographs show these men at work, both on the boats and on land, and remaining examples of their skill have been captured in beautiful colour photography. Tony Lewery's vivid account of the painters' lives and fortunes, together with a colourful explanation of the various designs and motifs which dominate the paintwork, complete this comprehensive and beautiful book.

The origins of the art of roses and castles lie firmly in the emerging industrial age; yet its strength and continuity is due to the artisan system of master and apprentice, the older painter passing down his years of skill and experience to the younger man. From the Nursers of Braunston to the Atkins of Polesworth, the story is often one of generations of a family employed in the trade, each artist developing his own distinct and distinctive versions of the basic `pattern'.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spot On 10 Mar 2012
The book arrived when I was informed that it would, it is in good condition and just what I needed. I am using it for ideas in a competition, Canal Ware/Castles and Roses. A craft class at the National Competitions/NAFAS in Southport this July. It has excellent photographs and I hope to do the subject justice, the items will be 'painted' with dried and pressed plant material.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Flowers Afloat", a history of the English canal boats 19 Jun 2001
By John Hodgins - Published on Amazon.com
Tony Lewery is an English Signwriter (Sign painter) who has made a life's work of studying the history of the English canal boat and their decoration. He is a practicing sign artist and his work still includes the decoration of the canal boats. When the canals in England were built they were made narrow and shallow to conserve funds. Consequently the boats were made narrow and long. They often were only seven feet wide and 70' long. The owners lived aboard in a small cabin in the stern of the boat and took pride in the decoration of their boats. A tradition of "Roses and Castles" evolved in their decoration. This tradition has been carried on to the present day. The book chronicles the various boat yards that built and decorated these "narrowboats" over the years and the history of the canal system itself. The boats seldom carry any more commercial cargo and now many of them are available for charter for vacations.
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