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Syndic Literary Journal

Ceramic Storytelling Figurines

By Long Island Poet/Artist Joan Digby



Boswell & Johnson

Samuel Johnson, James Boswell and a Lady of interest. Samuel Johnson was a prolific writer, most well-known as the author of the first Dictionary of the English language. He held court in  a “Club” of notables met at the Turk’s Head tavern, which is the setting for this piece. Dr. Johnson is joined by his biographer, James Boswell, who was quite the man-about-town, shown here sporting his famous decorative “condom.”  While Johnson’s Dictionary has fallen to the floor, and Hodge, Johnson’s oyster-fed cat is looking for dinner, Boswell appears to have his eye on the Lad y of the tavern.


William & Catherine Blake

William and Catherine Blake.  Visionary poet and artist. William Blake, produced many illustrated books of”illuminated:” poetry, along with his wife, Catherine, who was  a true partner in this work. The extent of her contribution as a printer and colorist is celebrated in this ceramic figurine. The diarist, 2. Henry Crabb Robinson, records a visit to their house, where he found them dancing naked in the garden  (long before Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock.”) In my piece, they are dancing  with  the Tyger and the Lamb from Blake’s two most well-known lyrical poems. The Sunflower and ERose at the center of the garden are two allegorical flowers representing  the psyche of women in Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Open sexuality is one of Blake’s great themes, and so I shaped the figures s a “well-endowed” couple eager for pleasure and delight.











Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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