As “The Beast From the East” has thrashed away at the landscape outside our office windows we’ve been safely engrossed in the newly-digitised Tile Catalogue. However, whilst skimming through the tile list at the beginning of the volume we happened across one particular description which had us glancing past our monitors to the swirling snow outside. Sometimes you can’t beat a bit of serendipity!
Based on drawings by John Moyr Smith “Thomson’s Seasons” is a series of tiles inspired by The Seasons, a collection of four poems by James Thomson. To describe the individual tiles the catalogue uses lines from each of these poems and, given current meteorological events, it’s not hard to see why The Snowstorm in particular caught our attention:
A quick Google revealed the source of the quote (along with the Wikipedia links above) and also offered up the next few lines of the poem – “the bellowing east” sounds like the 18th century’s very own Beast from the East to us:
And watch them strict: for, from the bellowing east,
In this dire season, oft the whirlwind’s wing
Sweeps up the burden of whole wintry plains
In one wide waft, and o’er the hapless flocks,
Hid in the hollow of two neighbouring hills,
The billowy tempest whelms; till, upward urg’d,
The valley to a shinning mountain swells,
Tipp’d with a wreath high-curling in the sky.
We’ll be checking the online catalogue for any mention of the original designs for this series but we can also turn to Sheet 20 of the Tile Catalogue itself to see a selection of them right away. Enjoy, and stay safe everyone!