landscape stones

I bought these three Florentine marble landscape stones years ago at a shop in Paris that sold nothing else: Claude Boullé Galerie at 28 rue Jacob (not far from St Germain des Prés).

click to see larger photo

click to see larger photo

As the accompanying note explains, the patterns in the marble are formed by oxidization. I’ve had these stones sitting on my bookshelves for so long that my eyes have a bad habit of skipping over them, but I was moved to scan them and show them to you because of a strange little coincidence. I was reading A Journey Round My Skull this morning and got into a brief comments-section discussion with its author and curator Will about Herbert Read’s The Green Child. Will pointed me towards his June, 2008 post about it, which in turn links back to a December, 2007 post of his about Roger Caillois’s The Writing of Stones. The latter post is accompanied by a photo of moody earth-tone landscape stones from the book’s dustjacket. While reading both (blog posts, not books!) I went to my bookshelves to check the date on my copy of The Green Child and it was sitting on top of a low bookcase — voilà — right next to my grey-blue landscape stones. I love when the internet feels like a museum, even more so when it feels like a museum whose collection has been arranged just for me.

A brief quote from The Writing of Stones, which I had no idea I needed:

“Like mists or dews, brief yet patient jellies come forth momentarily and with difficulty from a substance lately imperturbable: they are evanescent pharmacies, doomed victims of the elements, about to melt or dry up, leaving behind only a savor or a stain.”

More landscape stones here and here — including some nice specimens from the same shop as mine — and a few more here, along with some interesting background information. There are some really beautiful ones from Oregon here.

Update: I inadvertently published an earlier draft of this post that lacked a few finishing touches. Sorry if you read that version and scratched your head.

4 responses to “landscape stones

  1. Those are really amazing. They make me dream of Roussel’s “La Vue.”

    “Baby Stones” by Robert Forster has been playing unsolicited in my head the last few days. It just occurred to me that the title of this post sitting in my reader is probably to blame.

  2. It’s a strange read — a 75-page poem describing the details and subdetails of the tiny illustrated beach scene that decorates the author’s pen-holder.

    Along similar lines: Dali’s “Impressions de la Haute Mongolie – Hommage á Raymond Roussel,” a film in which the artist ‘urinated on the copper ferrule of a ballpoint pen then filmed the corroded copper under a microscope, generating hallucinatory landscapes.’


  3. Sounds like Dali in turn inspired Andy Warhol’s oxidation/piss paintings.

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