Saturday, 31 January 2009

Clergy on the catwalk

A spot of fiction-becoming-reality: from yesterday's Exeter Express & Echo, Exeter clergy take a twirl on the catwalk (E&E, January 30, 2009) tells how

Clad in colourful clerical garb, members of the clergy turned into supermodels yesterday to show off the latest in ecclesiastical clothing.

at the three-day South West Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE), held at Exeter's Westpoint Arena. None of the news reporters appear to have spotted the similarity to the surreal Roman Catholic fashion show in Fellini's 1972 film Roma (YouTube link, top) which I strongly suspect must have inspired it (though I doubt the Exeter version had Fellini's atmosphere of Father Ted -ish whimsicality progressively grading into the deeply sinister).

Looking behind the scenes - see Faith 'n' Fashion and BBC Devon's Vicars needed to show off clerical chic - this is a very smart piece of marketing designed to promote awareness of the CRE. It's rather a niche exhibition, often called "The Ideal Church Show", but this distinctly off-the-wall event has been highly successful in getting it news coverage. The brains behind it is Stephen Goddard, a journalist and PR consultant who is co-editor of Ship of Fools, a Christian website with a critical and creative approach to faith.
- Ray

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Autour-du-mondegreens take #2

Further to Autour-du-mondegreens - the process of transliterating one language into another (deliberately or otherwise) - here's "Ken Lee", Valentina Hasan's take on Mariah Carey's cover of Without You on the Bulgarian Music Idol show.

Но уан кен ту кен ту сивмен.
Но йон клиз тожу маливе.
Уен ай гез ажу завате на налечу мо.
Ню йонуз тунай молинай
йон сора шооо.
Йес и шооо, ооо.

Кен лии,
тулибу дибу даучу.
Кен ли,
Кен ли межу мо.
Кен ли,
тулибу дибу даучу.
Кен ли,
Кен ли межу мо.

Or, transliterated back into English:

No one ken to ken to sivmen,
nor yon clees toju maliveh.
When i gez aju zavateh na nalechoo more,
new yonooz tonigh molinigh,
Yon sorra shooo,
yes ee shooo, ooo.

Ken leee
tulibu dibu douchoo
Ken Lee,
Ken lee meju more.
Ken Lee
tulibu dibu douchoo
Ken Lee,
Ken lee meju more.

This isn't strictly an autour-du-mondegreen; Ms Hasan was trying to reproduce the English song phonetically rather than make it into Bulgarian words (and furthermore working from a tape, without even the benefit of visual cues). Given an unknown song, even native speakers often find such a task difficult, as evidenced by the prevalence of mondegreens. Still, the overall effect is rather like the strange chorus of the 2002 Spanish disco hit The Ketchup Song by Las Ketchup.

Aserejé ja de jé de jebe
tu de jebere sebiunouva
majabi an de bugui
an de buididipí

This attracted some bizarre speculation, including the meme that it concealed a Satanic message (see the Internet Archive for example commentary). The reality is merely that the song is about Diego, a Spanish Rastafarian gypsy who wants to be a hip hop performer but, knowing no English, garbles into Spanish phonotactics the words of the classic 1979 Rapper's Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang:

I said a hip hop, the hippie, the hippie
do the hip hip hop, a you don't stop
the rockin' to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie
to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat

I notice we just got in Luis van Rooten's 1967 book Mots D'Heures: Gousses, Rames, which does the same with nursery rhymes: transliterating the English into reasonably coherent French phrases, then applying scholarly commentary (see examples). I haven't read it for years, but remember it as very good: I'll have a proper look when I'm next on duty.

Addendum. Yep: it's great fun (especially if you like pastiches of the kinds of academic texts whose footnotes are longer than the text they're commenting on). For instance, the cover example about the most famous omelette of history:

Un petit d'un petit 1
S'étonne aux Halles 2
Un petit d'un petit
Ah! degrés te fallent 3
Indolent qui ne sort cesse 4
Indolent qui ne se mène 5
Qu'importe un petit d'un petit
Tout Gai de Reguennes. 6

1. The inevitable result of a child marriage.
2. The subject of this epigrammatic poem is obviously from the provinces, since a native Parisian would take this famous old market for granted.
3. Since this personage bears no titles, we are led to believe that the poet writes of one of those unfortunate idiot-children than in olden days existed as a living skeleton in their family's closet. I am inclined to believe, however, that this is a fine piece of misdirection and that the poet is actualy writing of some famous political prisoner, or the illegitimate offspring of some noble house. The Man in the Iron Mask, perhaps?
4,5. Another misdirection. Obviously it was not laziness that prevented this person's going out and taking himself places.
6. He was obviously prevented from fulfilling his destiny, since his is compared to Gai de Reguennes. This was a young squire (to one of his uncles, a Gaillard of Normandy) who died at the tender age of twelve of a surfeit of Saracen arrows before the walls of Acre in 1191.

A loose translation (not in the book) might be:

A child of a child
Amazed at Les Halles.
A child of a child.
Ah! Disgrace befalls you.
A lazy one that gets out constantly.
A lazy one who can be fought.
Never mind a child of a child,
All Gai de Reguennes.

Recommended; and interesting: I didn't realise the author, the late Luis van Rooten (1906-1973), had such a multifaceted career. A Mexican-born character actor who was typecast, as was often the case, into sleazy and villainous movie roles - see IMDb - he was also a radio actor, horticulturalist, artist and writer. Wikipedia lists his other books as Van Rooten's Book of Improbable Saints (Viking, 1975 - more multilingual puns via spoof hagiographies such as those of Sainte Maladie Endemique de Foie and Saint Cedilla Onderzee), and the gardening spoof The Floriculturist's Vade Mecum of Exotic and Recondite Plants, Shrubs and Grasses, and One Malignant Parasite (Doubleday, 1973).

- Ray

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Burns Night

Re Burns Night being tomorrow, yesterday's Times had a nice compilation feature by Alexandra Blair To see ourselves as others see us ("Looking forward to Burns Night on Sunday, to mark the 250th anniversary of the poet's birth British writers celebrate his work"). It includes interesting poetic ripostes: Liz Lochhead's From a mouse, Ian McMillan's The Bard of the Button Tin, Pam Ayres' On Comparing My Husband with Robbie Burns, and W.N.Herbert's Rabbie, Rabbie, Burning Bright. There's a deal of preciousness surrounding Burns, exemplified by this ghastly RP reading of My Heart's in the Highlands by the Prince of Wales; it's often forgotten that Burns, as Michael Rosen reminds us in the Times piece, was also a filthy little blighter who wrote vigorous but rather naff erotic poetry, mainly by putting rude words to existing folk songs. It'd be amusing to hear Prince Charles reading from Burns Merry Muses of Caledonia, whose existence is currently notably absent from the archive of works at the BBC Robert Burns site.

Burns' poetry puts in an appearance in Ronald Wright's excellent A Scientific Romance - see After London - whose hero, David Lambert, finds himself in a future where the only surviving people in 2500AD Britain, feudal and devoutly religious black Scots in a settlement called Nessie, have a mystery play that conflates Christ's Passion with Scottish tradition. Their religious iconography also includes a blond white Jesus; and the time traveller Lambert, as the only white person, finds himself conscripted into the ritual to play Jesus, when he finds an unusual object in the Last Supper.

On stage was a table spread with bread, jugs of palm toddy (a new one on me; antique Scotch wasn't the only tipple), and a central plate containing a dark trussed object like a Christmas pudding in bondage. The crowd swarmed at the edge of the platform: wild, eager, fanatical faces, a dark flood from the streets.

In my nervousness, suppressed but not banished by draughts of usquebaugh, my lines deserted me. My eyes flew around in panic, alighted on the crowning ornament of the board. Not a Christmas pud. Nor, exactly, a paschal lamb. It was a haggis - the first - the first I'd seen in Nessie - and Burns came to my rescue. I got to my feet, beamed on the crowd with what I hoped was an expression of
Christly gemütlichkeit, summoned the best stage Scots I could, and stretched out my hand to the blob of dubious meat:

Fair fa' your honest sonsie face,
Great Chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak' your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

Related at least by scenario - a post-apocalyptic Scotland - I keep meaning to read Matthew Fitt's But n Ben A-Go-Go 1, a cyberpunk novel written in Scots (i.e. Lallans). This article - Literary Language and Scottish Identity, introducing the The Association for Scottish Literary Studies 2000 conference of the same name, has a brief excerpt in which the hero, Paolo, visits his comatose partner (who is infected with an HIV-like virus called Senga 2) in a high-security hospital:

Paolo’s ile-stoor resistant bitts squealed on the ceramic flair as he stepped back an glowered west alang Gallery 1083. It wis a summer Sunday forenoon the clatty end o January an the mile lang visitors’ corridor wis toom. A singil lawyer an her lycra-leggit secretary intromittit the silence, shooglin past on a courtesy electric caur. An indie-pouered germsooker jinked inconspicuously in and oot o Paolo’s personal space, dichtin up microscopic clart as it drapped aff his body.

A quarter mile doon, the wersh blinterin sun forced itsel in throu the UV filter gless at the corridor heid, illuminatin the faces an keek panels o the first fifty Omegas. An as he skellied intae the white bleeze, a troop o droid surveillance puggies advanced in heelstergowdie formation alang the corridor roof, skited by owre his heid an wi a clatter o mettalic cleuks, skittered awa eastwards doon the shadowy vennel. The toomness o the visitors’ corridor offered Paolo nae bield fae the buildin’s oorie atmosphere; Gallery 1083 wis an eerie airt wi or wioot passengers.

See the British Council / Scotland bio for Matthew Fitt; he's a strong proponent of the Scots language. His poem Scottish National Diction celebrates in dictionary format its diverse origins (English translations of some verses here). Fitt is one member of the partnership Itchy Coo ("Braw Books for Bairns o Aw Ages") which specialises in publishing Scots language books for children and young people. It includes Rabbie's Rhymes - Robert Burns for Wee Folk.

Children will love lifting the flaps to find out
—where the wee sleekit cowrin tim’rous moose is hiding
—what the haggis is wearing on his heid
—what happens to Charlie’s kilt when the wind blows

Hmmm. Presumably it's all in working order.

1. A "but 'n' ben" is a small two-room cottage, typically in the context of a holiday residence for urban Scots. Followers of Dudley Watkins' The Broons will recall their regular visits to one.
2. "Senga" is a Scottish female personal name - "Agnes" spelt backwards - of fairly low prestige, having become the term for a female "ned" (the Scottish equivalent of "chav"): see Urban Dictionary.

- Ray

Monday, 19 January 2009

The Silence of Dean Maitland

An interesting example of changing fortunes and literary fashion: a popular novel and its author, both now almost forgotten. Maxwell Gray's 1886 The Silence of Dean Maitland, whose synopsis leads Mee and Hammerton's The World's Greatest Books, Volume V (c. 1910), was a melodramatic blockbuster of its day. Set on a mildly fictionalised Isle of Wight, it tells of a newly-ordained and ambitious rural deacon, Cyril Maitland, who kills a man whose daughter he has made pregnant, then lets his best friend take the rap for manslaughter. Eighteen years later, the respected Maitland is forced to confront his guilt when the friend returns after his release from prison and, surprisingly, forgives him.

Major revision: on 3rd December 2013, I published a biography: A Wren-like Note: the life and works of Maxwell Gray (Mary Gleed Tuttiett). Accordingly, I've moved the content of this post to the support site,

- Ray

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


A nice YouTube link: the aria Glück das mir verblieb (My happiness that remained) from Erich Wolfgang Korngold's 1920 opera Die tote Stadt (The Dead City). Korngold was a prolific composer of film and romantic music, but I think this aria is his masterpiece.

The book connection is that the opera is based on a little known 1892 short French novel, Bruges-la-Morte by Georges Rodenbach. Its central character is a widower, Hugues Viane, who chooses the Flemish city of Bruges as an ideal place to indulge in a fest of mourning and nostalgia for his dead wife; however, he becomes obsessed with a young woman, Jane Scott, who is his wife's double, setting her up as his mistress, but ultimately strangling her when she comes to his house and touches the lock of his wife's hair he has kept as a relic. The novel (actually novella-length) was groundbreaking firstly in its powerfully melancholy evocation of Bruges - see Bruges of sighs - and secondly in its use of photography: see Bruges-la-Morte at feuilleton for an example; or check out the full novel at the Internet Archive (ID brugeslamorterom00rode).

Korngold's operatic adaptation is mildly more upbeat; as explained in the Korngold Society's synopsis, the murder becomes a hallucination, and the protagonist's friend encourages him to do the wise thing and leave Bruges. If the plot is moderately familiar, it's because Hitchcock's Vertigo was very likely based on it. Bruges-la-morte is available on Gutenberg (Etext No. 14911) but only in the original French; a recent translation, Bruges-la-morte (Dedalus European Classics, 2005, ISBN-10: 1903517230) follows the lead of the original in having accompanying photography.

Following the spreading ripples of influence: Bruges-la-morte is generally viewed as having influenced WG Sebald, whose works I confess to not knowing. However, I must check him out having found, while Googling, the blog Vertigo: Collecting & Reading W.G. Sebald ("On literature and book collecting, with an emphasis on W.G. Sebald and novels with embedded photographs"). It offers some intriguing connections: for instance, Memories as Scars: La Jetée, reveals a thematic thread connecting Sebald's works and the 1962 short film La Jetée (see YouTube / translated version) which is highly recognisable as the prototype of The Twelve Monkeys.

P.S. The Wikipedia entry mentions that La Jetée was first released alongside Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville. Talking of prototypes, check out the video of Kelly Osbourne's One Word, which is visually a remarkable pastiche of Alphaville (compare One Word and the Alphaville trailer).

P.P.S. Joe - thanks - kindly let us know in the comments of the 1915 film adaptation of Bruges-la-Morte - Grezy (Daydreams) by Yevgenii Bauer, made using the empty streets as Moscow as stand-in for Bruges.

Update, January 27th 2015
I've just written a little more on the topic, including finding a link to an out-of-copyright English translation, and uploading the set of photos from the 1892 edition. See Bruges-la-Morte photos.

- Ray

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The Jet-Propelled Couch

I mentioned the brilliant Cordwainer Smith a while back. I forgot, however, to mention a strange aside that perhaps relates to him.

In 1995, the psychiatrist Robert Mitchell Lindner published The Fifty-Minute Hour and Other True Psychoanalytic Tales, a set of fictionalised case studies designed to showcase what happened in psychoanalysis. One of the studies, The Jet-Propelled Couch, concerned a research physicist, "Kirk Allen", who believed that he was literally transported part-time to a far-future universe where he was lord of a planet. There's a persistent story in SF circles that "Kirk Allen" was Cordwainer Smith (that is, the author and diplomat Paul C Linebarger).

Behind the Jet-Propelled Couch: Cordwainer Smith & Kirk Allen (Alan C Elms, orig. in New York Review of Science Fiction, May 2002] collates what's known of the story (where it started, the evidence, and so on). Elms is a respected biographer of Smith's work, and thinks it's quite likely. There's further comment at Was Paul Linebarger Also Kirk Allen? from Linebarger's daughter, who runs his official website; the idea is evidently not so outrageous to be beneath discussion (Linebarger was under analysis, in the right time and place). However, she does cite an article "In Search of Kirk Allen" (Lee Weinstein, New York Review of Science Fiction, April 2001) that demonstrates for a different case study "that Lindner fictionalized the stories far more than you might think". Still, she finds "interesting parallels" with Linebarger's life.

The Jet-Propelled Couch itself is available in the Harper's Magazine archive Dec 1954 / Jan 1995: subscription only, but much of it is accessible in the Google Books preview of The Fifty-Minute Hour.

- Ray

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Like rabbits

Click on images to see larger version.

Interesting bibliographic observation via Lily: I've just been looking at two books about the English countryside. One is Through the Woods, The English Woodland April-April (Gollancz, 1936); this is an extended essay by HE Bates celebrating a year in an English wood, illustrated by Agnes Miller Parker. The other is Fifteen Rabbits (Pilot Press, 1945) by Felix Salten (creator of Bambi, who makes a cameo appearance in this book); illustrated by one Sheila Dunn, it's a simply-told but very dark (of which more later) sentient-rabbits story in a not-very-defined setting (alongside a cast of distinctly English animals, it features elk, i.e. Alces alces a.k.a. moose).

A particular point of interest is the artwork. Stylistically, there's nothing to compare. The Bates book has an exquisite series of 72 wood engravings in the style for which Agnes Miller Parker is rightly considered one of the finest wood engravers of the 20th century (see the British Library for the Ian Rogerson book, and Scran for a selection of image thumbnails). The Salten has line drawings, competent but of a rather lower artistic order; Sheila Dunn isn't well known but the Dictionary of Twentieth-century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Mark Bryant, Ashgate, 2000, ISBN 1840142863) finds she was a cartoonist and commercial illustrator who contributed fashion drawings to Vogue, cartoons to Punch, worked for a children's magazine, and drew advertising art for Quality Street, Cadbury's and Morley Silk Stockings, as well as illustrating books that also include Compton Mackenzie's Unpleasant Visitors (1928) and Renni the Rescuer (1944, also by Salten, about a battlefield rescue dog).

Style apart, however, several of the illustrations have remarkable similarity of composition (Parker left, Dunn right, if it isn't obvious) and given the respective dates and vast artistic superiority of the older, there's no doubt in which direction the influence flowed.

Bambi, by the way, is so inextricably associated with Disney that I'd never realised that its origins are entirely non-American, which does explain something about Fifteen Rabbits. As Bambi, an Austrian deer tells, the 1923 Bambi. Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde was the pseudonymous work of Siegmund Salzmann, a prominent Jewish Austrian writer born in 1869 who spent most of his life in that country apart from his final years in Switzerland, to which he escaped on the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938. A European setting, then, is why there are elk in Fifteen Rabbits, which was first published in Vienna as Fünfzehn Hasen: Schicksale in Wald und Feld. The background also explains the darkness of the 1929 story, which has been read as an allegory of Fascism (the fate of one of its rabbit protagonists is imprisonment and death).

Salzmann/Salten was a versatile writer whose work went well beyond children's fiction; nowadays he is generally viewed to be the anonymous author of the infamous 1906 Josephine Mutzenbacher - The Life Story of a Viennese Whore, as Told by Herself. Google Books has preview access to the work itself here - not safe for work or minors, I guess, but as it was written a century ago it comes across as more quaint than shocking. I doubt Disney will ever take up the option on that title, but they did extremely well out of his other works posthumously; he died in 1945, and the 1950s saw Bambi, the 1957 squirrel movie Perri (based on his Die Jugend des Eichhornchens Perri) and the 1959 The Shaggy Dog (a shape-shifting story based on his Der Hund von Florenz). There's a good biographical sketch of Salten here inside The Vienna Coffeehouse Wits, 1890-1938, Harold B. Segel, Purdue University Press, 1993, ISBN 1557530335.

PS: Another detail to add to the rather dark backstory to Salten's books: they were translated into English by Whittaker Chambers, the American writer, editor, Communist party member and Soviet spy, whose testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee led to the conviction of Alger Hiss. As to Bambi, perhaps surprisingly even he isn't entirely uncontroversial: see The Trouble with Bambi: Walt Disney's Bambi and the American Vision of Nature (Ralph H. Lutts, Forest and Conservation History 36, October 1992: 160-171) argues for the damaging effect of the Disney icon in its failure to foster an understanding of ecology.

- Ray

Language Log presented with major linguistics award

It's always nice to see recognition for some unsung venture you've known from way back. Not so invisible reports the presentation of The Linguistics, Language, and the Public Award 2009 to the linguistics weblog Language Log.

It's a quite an honour for LL. The award was established by the Linguistic Society of America to "recognize individuals engaged in on-going efforts to educate the public about linguistics and language", and the previous awards have gone to high-profile linguists (e.g. Stephen Pinker and Deborah Tannen) and to producers of influential television documentaries on linguistics. The 2009 award, announced in November, is the first to go to a winner from the blogosphere.

I'm probably preaching to the converted, but if you don't know LL, give it a visit. It's a collective weblog where the posters are all professorial-level linguists (for instance, Geoffrey Pullum, co-editor of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language) generously give their time to report on and discuss with lay enthusiasts a range of linguistics topics - languages, linguistics research topics such as the recent fascinating analysis of The Linguistic Diversity of Aboriginal Europe, English usage, language in the media, language myths such as "x zillion Eskimo words for snow" stories, debunking prescriptivist rules, and much more - in a friendly Notes & Queries format.

There's an associated book, Far from the Madding Gerund (Mark Liberman & Geoffrey K. Pullum, William James & Company, 2006, ISBN-10: 1590280555). As the Slate review by Robert Lane Greene says - Revenge of the Language Nerds (Beleaguered linguists find witty champions in Far From the Madding Gerund) - it comes from a very different stable from the run of popular language books. With honourable exception to titles such as Anatoly Liberman's Word Origins, they're generally written by prescriptivists (people who say how language ought to work); Far From the Madding Gerund gives a rare and eloquent voice to descriptivists (who have studied how it does work). The Amazon site for the USA edition lets you dip into the contents page.
- Ray

Friday, 2 January 2009

Odd art - or not art?

For a while I've been meaning to mention the paintings of the Norwegian-born artist Odd Nerdrum: see the official sites and - whose works have been described as "the result if Rembrandt had painted the sets of The Road Warrior". While not all of his works come into this category - he also does still-lifes and portraiture - a large body of them are allegorical paintings of classical figures involved in incomprehensible trades and rituals in a sombre landscape (based on Iceland, of which Nerdrum is now a citizen). This permanently twilit world is evidently post-apocalyptic; despite the generally primitive trappings, a few (such as the rifle-bearing Water Protectors) carry modern equipment.

But despite the evocative power of his works, and his adoption of the highly traditional media and perfected techniques of the Old Masters, Nerdrum doesn't view himself as an artist but as a creator of "kitsch": not in the usual pejorative sense, but in the sense described in his manifesto, On Kitsch, of figurative, non-ironic and narrative painting that focuses on skill over innovation (see World Wide Kitsch). He came to this stance via a split with Modernism after a controversy that arose when Nerdrum protested at the Norwegian National Academy of Art's failure to offer classes in figurative painting - see The Importance of Being Odd: Nerdrum's Challenge to Modernism (Paul A. Cantor, Artcyclopedia).

Whatever the intent and classification, his work has remarkable intensity, and turns up in surprising places. One of the scenes in Tarsem Singh's film The Cell - the point where Agent Novak encounters three hooded figures inside Stargher's mind - is a clear quote from Nerdrum's Dawn (Singh saw the painting on the wall of its owner, David Bowie).

Nerdrum's works have been used as cover art for several books: his Isola for the Erotic Distance poetry anthology by Barbara Campbell, his Five Persons Around a Water Hole for Joshua Buckley and Michael Moynihan's Tyr journal, and Sleeping Twins for Dennis Barone's The Returns. There are a number of book collections of Nerdrum's work: see Google Books. The most recent, and most comprehensive, is Themes (Odd Nerdrum, Bjorn Li, Distributed Art Pub Inc, 2006, ISBN 8275472261).

The reason Nerdrum sprang to mind was seeing the work of another kitsch artist, Agostino Arrivabene, yesterday; the latter's Figure series - tribal figures doing peculiar things in sombre landscapes - strongly resemble Nerdrum's. I don't know if there's any conscious influence or homage. Looking at World Wide Kitsch, however, there appear to be stylistic similarities within the movement: Luke Hillestad's The Recovery and the works of Ibolya Csanádi also contain archaically-clothed figures in brown landscapes with a glimmer of sun low on the horizon.

- Ray

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Architectural fantasies

Julie Heyward's weblog Unreal Nature had a recent post, Into That State Of Feeling, that quoted the scene-setting description of Rome from Nathaniel Hawthorne's extremely strange semi-fantasy The Marble Faun (Gutenberg Etext No: 2181 / 2182).

The Marble Faun intro focuses on Rome's temporal complexity, a present on top of Christian, Roman and Etruscan ruins, which reminded me of The Professor's Dream, a cityscape of great monuments from various eras, drawn by the architect and archaeologist Charles Robert Cockerell, and Thomas Cole's The Architect's Dream.  I'd known about these works for a while, but yesterday I was struck by the similarity of a painting in Images: Artists' views of places in care of the National Trust, Oliver Garnett, 1995, ISBN 0707802105), Carl Laubin's 1993 A Capriccio of National Trust Buildings, a composite landscape, with juxtaposed English stately homes and castles of all periods. I can't find this one online, but the Carl Laubin official website has many others (click on Gallery / Capricci / Open / Full screen, to get into the Flash slideshow), many of them amazingly evocative.

The similarity to Cockerell's work isn't accidental, some of Laubin's works being intentional homage. For instance, The Square Mile (inspired by The Professor's Dream) portrays the whole history of the City of London, from the remains of Londinium to Canary Wharf; and Another Professor's Dream puts Cockerell's architectural works into his unexecuted rotundas for the Cambridge University Library (see A classical fantasia: Carl Laubin has resurrected all C.R. Cockerell's major works in one ambitious, extraordinary painting, David Watkin, Apollo, March 2006). My favourite of the set, Grottesca, looks out from a vast and misty grotto entrance populated by (and partly made from) 77 National Trust garden buildings.

The roots of Laubin's work go deep, with immediate references to Cockerell's A Tribute to Sir Christopher Wren and to Joseph Gandy's 1818 Public and Private Buildings Executed by Sir John Soane. (Gandy's bizarre Soane's Bank of England as a ruin, 1830 is the header image for this post - see Where London Stood for detail, a ground plan for comparison, and Let there be light for more about Gandy).

The capriccio form - fantasy compositions based on architecture - dates even further back, exponents including Marco Ricci (see A Capriccio of Roman ruins, 1720s) and Giovanni Paolo Pannini (see his 1758 Picture gallery with views of ancient Rome).

Other artists of related interest: William Marlow, whose Capriccio: St Paul's and a Venetian Canal (circa 1795) juxtaposes a London skyline with a Venice foreground; Emily Allchurch, some of whose urban images definitely come under the capriccio category, particularly the Settings series that reconstruct Old Masters paintings using architectural detail from contemporary London (see The Tower of London (after Breugel)) and the Urban Chiaroscuro series that similarly reimagine Piranesi's Carceri d'invenzione series (themselves capricci-style); and Agostino Arrivabene, whose landscapes include capricci of the ruins of strange monumental architecture - it's unclear if it's alien or far-future (see Capriccio con ruderi di città ideale - Capriccio with ruins of an ideal city).

Addendum: in the comments, thatsticksandstonesshouldfall (to whose blog I've linked) recommended also "Monsù Desiderio", the pseudonym for the collaborative works of François de Nomé and Didier Barra in the early 1600s. Apart from more traditional capricci, he/they "also painted buildings in the actual moment of their destruction, which are wonderfully mind-blowing". See the post there expanding on his/their work, On the shore at Utica.

Addendum 2: this is not architectural, but I was just looking at Dramatis Personae of the History and Exploration of the Greater Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamirs, Hindu-Kush, Tibet, Afghanistan, High Tartary and Surrounding Territories, up to 1921, which a scan of pleasant print depicting the relative heights of various mountains in a style resembling those architectural composites. See A Comparative View of the Principal Mountains in the World with their Altitudes (from the Thos. Starling "Family Cabinet Atlas" London, Bull & Co., 1820/1830?). Actually, on closer observation it's a tiny bit architectural; you can just see the Pyramids (Africa no. 1) at bottom left.

- Ray