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Francis and Vanessa

Peter Campbell, 15 March 1984

Francis Bacon 
by Michel Leiris, translated by John Weightman.
Phaidon, 271 pp., £50, September 1983, 0 7148 2218 3
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Vanessa Bell 
by Frances Spalding.
Weidenfeld, 399 pp., £12.95, August 1983, 0 297 78162 6
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The Omega Workshops 
by Judith Collins.
Secker, 310 pp., £15.95, January 1984, 0 436 10562 4
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The Omega Workshops 1913-1919: Decorative Arts of Bloomsbury 
Crafts Council, 96 pp., £6.95, March 1984, 0 903798 72 7Show More
The Omega Workshops: Alliance and Enmity in English Art 1911-1920 
Anthony d’Offay Gallery, 80 pp., £4.95, February 1984, 0 947564 00 4Show More
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... called Harry Bretton. He is modelled, I would guess, on Eric Gill, for the Life, and Stanley Spencer, for the Work. Musing by the studio window, he considers his place in history: Turner was the greatest English painter, and was safely dead, did not encroach or suggest comparisons. But at the end he had petered out, not grown and gone ahead like Picasso ...


Paul Laity: Henry Woodd Nevinson, 3 February 2000

... in 1908, he decided to go to the Slade, as John had done. There he knocked around with Stanley Spencer, Mark Gertler and Edward Wadsworth in the Slade Coster Gang. They went to music halls, held parties with naked dancing girls and got into fights on Tottenham Court Road. It was a remarkable time at the Slade – his other classmates included Paul ...

I do and I don’t

Barbara Wootton, 21 October 1982

The Diary of Beatrice Webb. Vol. I 1873-1892: Glitter Around and Darkness Within 
edited by Norman Mackenzie and Jeanne Mackenzie.
Virago, 386 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 86068 209 9
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... from conversations with her father’s intellectual friends, notably the philosopher Herbert Spencer (with whom she kept up a lifelong friendship), and from her own extensive reading. Good-looking, well-to-do and intelligent as she was in her teens and early twenties, Beatrice might have attracted many suitors. If she did, they find no place in her ...

Bourgeois Reveries

Julian Bell: Farmer Eliot, 3 February 2011

Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper 
by Alexandra Harris.
Thames and Hudson, 320 pp., £19.95, October 2010, 978 0 500 25171 3
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... bright synchronic leaps, arriving for instance at Eliot’s thoughts on farming via the pottery of Bernard Leach and Thomas Hennell’s 1939 drawings of discarded scythes and harrows for H.J. Massingham’s Country Relics. These are threaded together by a historian’s fascination with how the past conceived its own past. How did 1930s sensibilities, from John ...


Celia Paul: Painting in the Dark, 17 December 2020

... artists. He resented that his paintings were often compared to the pedantic realism of Stanley Spencer, and it irritated him that people presumed he’d been influenced by the Neue Sachlichkeit movement – the painters Otto Dix, George Grosz and Christian Schad who were active during Lucian’s childhood in Berlin. It came to an end, along with the Weimar ...

Memories of Tagore

E.P. Thompson, 22 May 1986

... only give holidays for religious leaders?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you give a half-holiday for Bernard Shaw?’ He leered at me: ‘No.’ The boys went mad. They didn’t know what the Nobel prize was, but they understood that the gurudeb they adored had done something wonderful, as indeed he was always doing. They formed ranks and marched round the asram ...

Rogue Socialists

Michael Mason, 1 September 1988

Francis Place, 1771-1854: The Life of a Remarkable Radical 
by Dudley Miles.
Harvester, 206 pp., £40, April 1988, 0 7108 1225 6
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Radical Underworld: Prophets, Revolutionaries and Pornographers in London, 1795-1840 
by Iain McCalman.
Cambridge, 338 pp., £27.50, March 1988, 0 521 30755 4
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... Place might appear to be very different in his sexual moralism from a Mill or a Holyoake or a Spencer. For example, with characteristic courage and intellectual honesty he launched the world’s first campaign for birth control by artificial means (Mill did follow in his footstops for a while but then nervously and mendaciously repudiated the ...
London Reviews 
edited by Nicholas Spice.
Chatto, 222 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 7011 2988 3
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The New Review Anthology 
edited by Ian Hamilton.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 31330 0
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Night and Day 
edited by Christopher Hawtree, by Graham Greene.
Chatto, 277 pp., £12.95, November 1985, 0 07 011296 7
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Lilliput goes to war 
edited by Kaye Webb.
Hutchinson, 288 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780091617608
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Penguin New Writing: 1940-1950 
edited by John Lehmann and Roy Fuller.
Penguin, 496 pp., September 1985, 0 14 007484 8
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... tables of Las Vegas. TNR would have looked profligate if it had been as well managed as Marks and Spencer. A single copy cost less to produce than you might have thought, but what made this information so startling was the air of extravagance. As Jeffrey Archer might say, it was a problem of presentation. In theatrical parlance, the show was overbilled. The ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1995, 4 January 1996

... them in the market two or three flowers would scent a room). But florists (and certainly Marks and Spencer) have now bred a strain which has no scent at all except faintly that of pepper. Considering this is a flower which is not much to look at, the whole point of which is its scent, this must be considered a triumph of marketing. 24 January. Somebody writes ...


Julian Barnes: A Portrait of Lucian Freud, 5 December 2013

Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud 
by Martin Gayford.
Thames and Hudson, 248 pp., £12.95, March 2012, 978 0 500 28971 6
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Breakfast with Lucian: A Portrait of the Artist 
by Geordie Greig.
Cape, 260 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 224 09685 0
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... to turn to the photographs of many of Freud’s sitters (and standers and liers) by Bruce Bernard and David Dawson in Freud at Work (2006). How sleek and erotic the human body really is, you think, and what a very nice colour too. Doesn’t the benefits supervisor look good, and isn’t our queen wonderful for her age? It’s remarkable how few ...

Four Moptop Yobbos

Ian Penman, 17 June 2021

One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 642 pp., £9.99, March, 978 0 00 834003 2
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The Beatles and Sixties Britain 
by Marcus Collins.
Cambridge, 382 pp., £90, March 2020, 978 1 108 47724 6
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The Beatles in Context 
edited by Kenneth Womack.
Cambridge, 372 pp., £74.99, January 2020, 978 1 108 41911 6
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... His real breakthrough came on studio productions for the likes of the Goons, Charlie Drake, Bernard Cribbins, Beyond the Fringe. Here were comedy records you might want to play more than twice, on which the judicious use of montaged sound effects conjures a believable 3D landscape, where voices scrabble, loom, disappear. Martin’s way with sound could ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 2 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... sorts of people turned up for the weekend; the guest list in the interwar years included George Bernard Shaw, Sean O’Casey, H.G. Wells, Mary Pickford, Stanley Baldwin, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin – even Gandhi. David’s prolonged exposure to celebrities in his childhood meant that they held no fear for him as an adult. Sometimes, when Nancy got ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... Khalloufi in Flat 143 on the 17th floor. She was 52 and worked all the hours she could at Marks & Spencer on Edgware Road. She missed her family all day every day: they lived in Mohammedia in Morocco and she told friends it was sometimes difficult to stick with the life she’d made in England. ‘Khadija was the eldest child,’ her brother Karim told ...

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