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On the Cuckoo's Call martin-wenham-on-the-cuckoos-call-85204.jpg_product
On the Cuckoo's Call On the Cuckoo's Call On the Cuckoo's Call On the Cuckoo's Call

On the Cuckoo's Call

Item Code: MW-85204-sv
Wood engraving
Date of Work
Signed verso
Height (cm)
Width (cm)
Base price $1,275
Signed verso acrylic on weathered plywood (driftwood) from the Conwy estuary.

The words are another translation from the Manyoshu anthology, the earliest and greatest Japanese anthologies, originally compiled in the eighth century.
The poem from which they are taken is by the original anthologist Otomo Yakamochi (718-785 C.E), lamenting his enforced departure from his friend and kinsman Otomo Ikenushi. In Japanese myth and literature the cuckoo symbolises mourning, longing and melancholy, whereas in English folksong 'The cuckoo she's a pretty bird, she sings as she flies, she brings us good tidings...' The idea of using this quotation came from the line of seven nail-holes near the edge of the plywood, which suggested the beads, 'strung on the cockoo's call'.

A free copy of Martin Wenham’s new book Martin Wenham The Art of Letter Carving, published by Crowood Press (price £25), will accompany each purchase from the exhibition.
Martin Wenham PortraitBorn in 1941, Wenham’s interest in lettering was stimulated at an early age. At university Wenham read botany and forestry, his artistic propensity aiding with precise observational drawing. Throughout this time an interest in pen-lettering persisted and after a research colleague requested a carved house-name in wood Wenham approached the professional carver Harry Spring, who showed him the basic technique of letter-cutting.

After a year Wenham left research and for the next 23 years taught in secondary, primary and special schools, with 9 years’ lecturing at the University of Leicester. He first exhibited his letter-cutting work in 1982; since 1984 it has been shown in the major British exhibitions of lettering arts. Wenham’s work is held in the Crafts Council’s Permanent Collection and in private collections in Britain, the USA, Germany, Japan and Puerto Rico.
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