Artist Spotlight: Ralph Chubb

Chubb's Uranian poetry and art led him to establish his own press to avoid censorship.

BY Christopher Harrity

November 16 2013 5:00 AM ET

Ralph Chubb (1892-1960) may be a 20th-century William Blake. His art was personal, utopian, and Uranian.

Perhaps here would be a good point to discuss the term Uranian. We asked a friend,  blogger (the interesting and useful 1904 Blog) George Snyder, for a modern take on the word Uranian.

"Uranian comes from the god Uranus — Aphrodite Uranea (there’s Aphrodite Dionea as well) was made from the god Uranus’s testicles. The German sex experts came up with the term to describe a third sex, and the English, like Edward Carpenter and John Addington Symonds, picked it up, but the English turned it more into loving boys and less a ‘woman trapped inside a man’s body’ sort of thing."

Beyond Blake, influences from Walt Whitman and Henry Scott Tuke can be seen in Chubb's repeated themes of golden youthful males gamboling in nature.

At right: Study of an Angel

R.M. Healy at Bookride tells us: "Throughout the twenties Chubb produced a string of publications, three of which were commercially printed. One of these, The Book of God’s Madness, explored Manichean ideas reminiscent of Blake. Towards the end of the decade Chubb’s Uranian activities, both in Hampshire and in London, caused a scandal in his village and he was forced to resign from his teaching post. He and his family moved and made their new home at Fair Oak Cottage, among the woods near Ashford Hill, east of Kingsclere. In 1929 Chubb was emboldened to publish his sexual manifesto, An Appendix, using a crude duplicating machine. Soon afterwards he acquired a lithographic press, which he continued using until his death. Like Blake before him, he was now able to integrate drawings and text and publish his controversial work without fear of editorial interference.

"Today his rare published editions, sometimes limited to under ten copies, go for thousands of dollars to in-the-know collectors."

See more of Chubb's work on the following pages. >>

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