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Imperfect Knight

Gabriel Josipovici, 17 April 1980

Chaucer’s Knight: Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary 
by Terry Jones.
Weidenfeld, 319 pp., £8.95, January 1980, 0 297 77566 9
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Chaucer, Langland and the Creative Imagination 
by David Aers.
Routledge, 236 pp., £9.75, January 1980, 9780710003515
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The Golden Age: Manuscript Painting at the Time of Jean, Duc de Berry 
by Marcel Thomas.
Chatto, 120 pp., £12.50, January 1980, 0 7011 2471 7
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... It is the tradition of Ruskin, of Proust himself, of Benjamin on aura, of Adrian Stokes, of Lawrence Gowing on Vermeer. Its patient exploration of the phenomenology of perception, rather than the brilliant and erudite iconographic work of Panofsky and his disciples, can best help us to understand that it is what Chaucer and Langland have in common ...

I do like painting

Julian Bell: The life and art of William Coldstream, 2 December 2004

William Coldstream 
by Bruce Laughton.
Yale, 368 pp., £30, July 2004, 0 300 10243 7
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... Ayer called him ‘the only natural logical positivist he had ever met’ (this is how I heard Lawrence Gowing quote the remark; Laughton leaves out the ‘natural’, rather spoiling the gag), he was claiming him for an ethos in which nothing is ever allowed to become too mysterious – in effect, for a birthright to the breezy world of ...

Madder Men

Hal Foster: Richard Hamilton on Richard Hamilton, 24 October 2019

Richard Hamilton: Introspective 
by Phillip Spectre.
König, 408 pp., £49, September 2019, 978 3 88375 695 0
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... too). During this period Hamilton spent many hours on the train from London to Newcastle, where Lawrence Gowing had hired him to teach; this helped to pay the bills that his art couldn’t yet cover. (At this point Hamilton had two young children with his first wife, Terry, who died in a car accident in 1962.) For Hamilton, 1956 was a watershed ...

Into the Southern Playground

Julian Bell: The Suspect Adrian Stokes, 21 August 2003

'The Quattro Cento’ and ‘Stones of Rimini’ 
by Adrian Stokes.
Ashgate, 668 pp., £16.99, August 2002, 0 7546 3320 9
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Art and Its Discontents 
by Richard Read.
Ashgate, 260 pp., £35, December 2002, 0 7546 0796 8
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... off on critical admirers who grew up reading him in the 1940s and 1950s – David Sylvester, Lawrence Gowing and above all Richard Wollheim. In later life his own understated work as a painter from observation (‘the poor man’s Bonnard’ – he got the crack in first) gathered in conviction, and the showing after his death in 1972 of his ...


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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... likeness’ is irrelevant to a ‘good picture’. His idea about portraiture, he once told Lawrence Gowing, ‘came from dissatisfaction with portraits that resembled people. I would wish my portraits to be of the people, not like them … As far as I am concerned, the paint is the person.’ He says to Gayford of his portrait: ‘You are here to ...

At Tate Britain

John Barrell: Late Turner, 18 December 2014

... lesser artists submit.’ Painting set free. That phrase, the subtitle of this exhibition, was Lawrence Gowing’s, who about fifty years ago came up with the claim that Turner was the first modern artist, perhaps the first abstract expressionist. His view of Turner was based on the recovery of works left rolled up in his studio when he died, kept in ...

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