The fourth edition of The Nobile Folios explores St Paul’s from Moor Lane, painted by Cyril Mann in 1948. London in the late ’40s was beleaguered by the devastation of war. Mann cast his intense gaze on this scarred cityscape, and saw it for what it was. But his was no regular gaze: he saw the vitality and energy beneath this desperation which was symbolized by blinding light of the glowing ochre sun.
This folio unearths Mann’s vision by setting free the miraculous details that form this astounding canvas and by allowing two works to inform our reading of it. The first, a thoughtful essay by art critic Mark Hudson that contextualizes the painting and the artist; the other, a moving story by novelist Veronica Cecil about a cantankerous painter tapping into his creative energies.
The Nobile Folios are monographic explorations of 20th- and 21st-century works of art. They are published by Sylph Editions in association with Piano Nobile – a London gallery that specializes in fine quality International, Modern British and Post-War art.
Each publication explores one work, and one work only, overcoming thereby some of the inherent limitations of reproducing great art in print. The Nobile Folios explore the sections of the work and try to replicate something of the experience of seeing it in the flesh.
The juxtaposed texts that form part of The Nobile Folios are informative associations and can represent words that might come to mind when one gazes at the artwork. The association, obvious or oblique, complements our exploration and enhances our experience of it.