Monday, May 24, 2010

Paul Hamlyn, books and opera

click photo to enlarge
Anyone who bought books in the 1960s will recognise the name Paul Hamlyn. It appeared on a range of volumes that were characterised by their good value for money and the fact that they used many more colour illustrations than was usual at the time.

Looking at my bookshelves today I find I still have four books, bought when I was in my late teens, that were published by the company that he founded. They are The Hamlyn Guide to Birds of Britain and Europe, The Hamlyn Guide to Minerals, Rocks and Fossils, Pop Art, and Art Nouveau. Interestingly my wife has a large book - a prize awarded by her school - that is also a Hamlyn imprint, The Golden History of Art. If I cared to look at the graveyard that is our collection of vinyl records I would find a few classical albums recorded on his good-value "Music for Pleasure" label.

Until I first came upon this building in London, what I have written above was the sum total of my knowledge of Paul Hamlyn. However, after a quick look at Wikipedia I find that he was a German emigre, born in 1926, who settled in England in 1933. In 1949 he began what was to become something of a publishing empire. Later, in 1987 he established a charitable foundation which funded, amongst other things, the reference library in the British Museum Reading Room. Then, in 2007 the Royal Opera House renamed the Floral Hall atrium the Paul Hamlyn Hall in recognition of his generous donation to support its educational and community activities.

Passing this building a couple of weeks ago I noticed how the tracery of dark branches was overlaying the structural members of the glazed building and felt that it might offer a photographic subject.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 12.8mm (60mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f3.2
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On