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Dear Lad

Penelope Fitzgerald, 19 March 1981

The Simple Life: C.R. Ashbee in the Cotswolds 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Lund Humphries, 204 pp., £7.95, January 1981, 0 85331 435 7
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Philip Mairet: Autobiographical and Other Papers 
edited by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 266 pp., £7.95, February 1981, 0 85635 326 4
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... of his frank gaze – we have to wait for the family biography and for the definitive study by Alan Crawford. Meanwhile Fiona MacCarthy has written The Simple Life, an excellent introduction to C.R.A. and his most ambitious experiment. This was the Great Move of 1902, when he led his band of 150 craftsmen from the East End of London to an ...

At Tate Britain

Rosemary Hill: Aubrey Beardsley, 24 September 2020

... will be his first ever exhibition in France, and for the Tate it’s the first since 1923. As Alan Crawford wrote in his ODNB entry, Beardsley has been ‘fragmented’ since his death, parcelled out between academics, curators, collectors of art and of books, and biographers. In its scale and range the Tate show goes some way towards putting him ...

English Art and English Rubbish

Peter Campbell, 20 March 1986

C.R. Ashbee: Architect, Designer and Romantic Socialist 
by Alan Crawford.
Yale, 500 pp., £35, November 1985, 0 300 03467 9
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The Laughter and the Urn: The Life of Rex Whistler 
by Laurence Whistler.
Weidenfeld, 321 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 297 78603 2
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The Originality of Thomas Jones 
by Lawrence Gowing.
Thames and Hudson, 64 pp., £4.95, February 1986, 0 500 55017 4
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Art beyond the Gallery in Early 20th-century England 
by Richard Cork.
Yale, 332 pp., £40, April 1985, 0 300 03236 6
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Alfred Gilbert 
by Richard Dorment.
Yale, 350 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 300 03388 5
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... indifferent private press books – would not by themselves have warranted a book on the scale of Alan Crawford’s admirable biography. It is Ashbee’s attempts to give practical expression to the idea that art matters that make Crawford’s apology for a book ‘more ponderous than its subject ...

Not Mackintosh

Chris Miele, 6 April 1995

‘Greek’ Thomson 
edited by Gavin Stamp and Sam McKinstry.
Edinburgh, 249 pp., £35, September 1994, 0 7486 0480 4
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... insert itself on the Euro-culture tourist trail. ‘Mackintosh Mania’, to borrow a phrase from Alan Crawford, deflects attention from Glasgow’s splendid Victorian architecture, and this has done real harm to the conservation of its historic environment. For if Mackintosh is a genius then what is ‘not Mackintosh’ – and what could be more ‘not ...

Anything but Staffordshire

Rosemary Hill, 18 September 1997

Rare Spirit: A Life of William De Morgan 1839-1917 
by Mark Hamilton.
Constable, 236 pp., £22.50, September 1997, 0 09 474670 2
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... cases a simplification, as Charles Harvey and Jon Press have made clear in the case of Morris and Alan Crawford in his work on Ashbee. It would be interesting to know how justified De Morgan was in feeling that now he could ‘make beautiful things ... nobody wants them’. His grief at the failure of the enterprise was dispelled when, with an ease that ...

Toshie Trashed

Gavin Stamp: The Glasgow School of Art Fire, 19 June 2014

... three-quarters in them,’ and once said that ‘Margaret has genius, I have only talent.’ As Alan Crawford concluded in his sane and succinct 1995 study: ‘Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald came together not only as man and woman, but also as artists. From this point on, the story of Mackintosh’s life, and of his work, cannot be told as if he ...

Cut-Ups

Robert Crawford, 7 December 1989

Perduta Gente 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, £5, June 1989, 0 436 40999 2
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Letting in the rumour 
by Gillian Clarke.
Carcanet, 79 pp., £4.95, July 1989, 9780856357572
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Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman 
by Grace Nichols.
Virago, 58 pp., £4.99, July 1989, 1 85381 076 2
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Studying Grosz on the Bus 
by John Lucas.
Peterloo, 64 pp., £4.95, August 1989, 1 871471 02 8
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The Old Noise of Truth 
by Joan Downar.
Peterloo, 63 pp., £4.95, August 1989, 1 871471 03 6
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... take comfort from the fact that the selection of poems in Essential Reading (1986) is edited by Alan Jenkins of the TLS. And that book contains a few examples of what are (in part at least) knowing winks: after describing a catalogue of sufferings in C, Reading concludes that ‘this, rendered in catalectic tetrameters, might do for the TLS or other ...

MacDiarmid and his Maker

Robert Crawford, 10 November 1988

MacDiarmid 
by Alan Bold.
Murray, 482 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 7195 4585 4
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A Drunk Man looks at the Thistle 
by Hugh MacDiarmid, edited by Kenneth Buthlay.
Scottish Academic Press, 203 pp., £12.50, February 1988, 0 7073 0425 3
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The Hugh MacDiarmid-George Ogilvie Letters 
edited by Catherine Kerrigan.
Aberdeen University Press, 156 pp., £24.90, August 1988, 0 08 036409 8
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Hugh MacDiarmid and the Russian 
by Peter McCarey.
Scottish Academic Press, 225 pp., £12.50, March 1988, 0 7073 0526 8
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... did not exist. And only Christopher Murray Grieve would have dared to invent him. Alan Bold’s valuable biography points out that when the 30-year-old Grieve began to write in the Scottish Chapbook under the pseudonym ‘M’Diarmid’, he was already editing the magazine under his own name, reviewing for it as ‘Martin Gillespie’, and ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: Who will blow it?, 22 May 1997

... their ‘growing array of support from the entertainment world, including Terence Stamp, Michael Crawford, David Hemmings, Lance Percival, Tommy Steele and Marty Feldman’ – and that was just the defence. (Nowadays, of course, it’s Banks up-front, Major on the bench and Mellor for the early bath.) For a time, Richard Attenborough was club ...

Seeing Stars

Alan Bennett: Film actors, 3 January 2002

... good? Had the Queen been flesh and blood and not a cartoon she might well have been played by Joan Crawford, who was always something of an enigma to me. I never liked her, and with her gaunt face, protruding eyes and instinct for melodrama she seemed the embodiment of evil, yet she was often cast in the role of heroine. Even if she managed during the span of ...
... Chatterley for a reference for a gamekeeper. The magazine sort of launched me on a career, because Alan Pryce-Jones, who was then the editor of the TLS, gave me a lot of reviewing work. AH: How did you see your future then? FW: I suppose I feebly wanted to be a writer, but, apart from those stories, I couldn’t think what on earth I was going to do. I got my ...

Seriously ugly

Gabriele Annan, 11 January 1990

Weep no more 
by Barbara Skelton.
Hamish Hamilton, 166 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 241 12200 7
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... exactly how – and very casual it sounds, and also very pre-modern: Sidney bought her a flat in Crawford Street, lots of furs, trips abroad and piano lessons. She left him from boredom. Again unlike Harriette, her heart wasn’t in becoming a professional, and she never did. Even her two-part affair with King Farouk (the second instalment encouraged by ...

A Cousin of Colonel Heneage

Robert Crawford: Was Eliot a Swell?, 18 April 2019

The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume VIII: 1936-38 
edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden.
Faber, 1100 pp., £50, January 2019, 978 0 571 31638 0
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... and ‘Old Possum’, but also cameo parts as his colleagues Richard de la Mare, Alan Pringle and Herbert Read. However, as the name ‘Herlock Sholmes’ indicates, he knew he was not always the master of disguise; nor, at times, was he as elusive as he sought to be. The other letter to Hayward in this volume that is signed not with a name ...

Lithe Pale Girls

Robert Crawford: Richard Aldington, 22 January 2015

Richard Aldington: Poet, Soldier and Lover 1911-29 
by Vivien Whelpton.
Lutterworth, 414 pp., £30, January 2015, 978 0 7188 9318 7
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... full of Keats; and not much that Aldington wrote is as moving as the plain diction of Ewart Alan Mackintosh in ‘In Memoriam, Private D. Sutherland, Killed in Action in the German Trench, May 16, 1916, and the Others who Died’. Aldington is at his best when less an observer of his own fears and emotions than a recorder (the Imagists were surely the ...

Tied to the Mast

Adam Mars-Jones: Alan Hollinghurst, 19 October 2017

The Sparsholt Affair 
by Alan Hollinghurst.
Picador, 454 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 1 4472 0821 1
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... Alan Hollinghurst​ ’s tally as a published novelist is six books over 29 years, so that’s more than two thousand pages of astonishing responsiveness to light, sound, painting, the past, social nuance, music, sensation both sexual and otherwise, buildings inside and out, the inner life of sentences – this is only the beginning of a list ...

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