Alice Spawls

Alice Spawls is co-editor of the LRB.

At Pallant House: Gwen John

Alice Spawls, 21 September 2023

In October​ 2012, Pallant House Gallery in Chichester put on an exhibition of works by the painters Gwen John and Celia Paul. What now seems obvious was then inspired. The comparison diminished neither. Two artists, distinct but in obvious affinity, spoke across their different periods and each made the other more necessary, more triumphant. It was as though Cézanne and Van Gogh had...

Short Cuts: Elective Surgery

Alice Spawls, 30 March 2023

Junior doctors​, who make up half the medical workforce in England, went on strike for 72 hours this week in protest at their low pay, long hours and dismal working conditions. One told me that her father earned more as a junior doctor in London thirty years ago: not just more in today’s money – more in the bank each month. Expectations for change are low. Not only are there...


Alice Spawls, 18 August 2022

John Gibson​ was born in 1827 in rural Ireland. He went to sea at the age of twelve – the family were poor – but at 34 settled as a grocer in St Mary’s, the largest of the Scilly Isles. His business grew, and in 1870 he opened a photographic portrait studio attached to the shop. He had taken a course in Plymouth and was now equipped to shoot the people of the isles. His son...

Short Cuts: Beyond Images

Alice Spawls, 1 April 2021

In​ no particular order: the first significant piece of crime legislation since 1986 was introduced to Parliament on 9 March. Among other things, it restores the offence of ‘intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance’. During a Black Lives Matter demonstration in London last summer, mounted police charged at protesters, who threw small missiles and larger objects at the...

At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls, 2 July 2020

TheType Archive near Stockwell in London used to be a hospital for cab horses and circus animals, but since 1992 it has been home to every sort of mould, matrix, burin, bodkin and slug. The archive holds typographical apparatus from the last six hundred years, but its main collection relates to the technology of Monotype printing. That capital letter is important: this isn’t the...

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