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At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Painting the Century, 16 November 2000

... here are more like reportage: Richard Hamilton’s worked up photograph of Mick Jagger and Robert Fraser (1968), handcuffed and covering their faces after being arrested for possessing drugs, derives from a news picture. But it was also personal – Fraser was Hamilton’s dealer at the time and sticking to ...

‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... of high culture. An authorised biography has now appeared of an English dealer of recent memory, Robert Fraser, 1937-86. His chequered career, terminated by Aids, lasted as long as it did only because of subsidies from his parents and getting away with not paying his debts, while the world at large remembers him for pictures showing him in a police van ...

O Wyoming Whipporwill

Claire Harman: George Barker, 3 October 2002

The Chameleon Poet: A Life of George Barker 
by Robert Fraser.
Cape, 573 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 224 06242 5
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... in the first place. It is one of the few questions not addressed by Barker’s acolyte and devotee Robert Fraser in this over-long, over-respectful first biography. Fraser starts from the premise that Barker is self-evidently a major writer: ‘George Barker was a poet of outstanding gifts, an enchanter of souls, a ...

At Inverleith House

Hal Foster: Richard Hamilton, 14 August 2008

... The first stop is a scandal in Swinging London. In February 1967 police arrested Mick Jagger and Robert Fraser (a prominent art dealer) for drug possession. Based on a press photograph of Jagger and Fraser in a police van, Swingeing London 67 (1968-69) is blurred, its colours lurid. The two celebrities, who otherwise ...

Charging about in Brogues

Jenny Turner: Sarah Waters, 23 February 2006

The Night Watch 
by Sarah Waters.
Virago, 472 pp., £16.99, February 2006, 1 84408 246 6
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... the delicate, ‘fey-looking’ Duncan, has a weird job in a candle factory: his old friend Robert Fraser can’t believe it when he finds him there, working in what is essentially sheltered employment for people too damaged to do anything else. Plus, Duncan has moved in with an elderly man he calls Uncle Horace, although he is no relation, ‘the ...

With the wind in our shrouds

Mary Beard, 26 July 1990

The Making of ‘The Golden Bough’: The Origin and Growth of an Argument 
by Robert Fraser.
Macmillan, 240 pp., £35, July 1990, 0 333 49631 0
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... of an easy story. But it was Frazer who found his way onto the pages of the popular press. Why? Robert Fraser (no relation, different spelling) has not set out directly to answer that question, but his book does serve to highlight the problems of Frazer’s success. The Making of ‘The Golden Bough’, published to coincide with the centenary of the ...

At the Hayward

Hal Foster: ‘The Painting of Modern Life’, 1 November 2007

... tabloid glare of celebrity visibility in a lurid image of Mick Jagger handcuffed to the art dealer Robert Fraser after a drugs bust; Warhol eliciting shock cut with indifference with a newswire photo of a car crash silk-screened 11 times across a rust-orange canvas; Richter producing an empathic response in his blurred representation of a pretty woman ...

On Richard Hamilton

Hal Foster, 6 October 2011

... problematic glare of celebrity, Swingeing London 67 (1968), his lurid painting of Mick Jagger and Robert Fraser (an art dealer of the time) manacled together in a police van after a drug bust. We tend to see Pop artists as utterly seduced by images of personages and products, complicit with the amnesia that consumerism needs to produce. Yet ...

Skinned alive

John Bayley, 25 June 1987

Collected Poems 
by George Barker, edited by Robert Fraser.
Faber, 838 pp., £27.50, May 1987, 0 571 13972 8
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By Grand Central Station I sat down and wept 
by Elizabeth Smart, introduced by Brigid Brophy.
Grafton, 126 pp., £2.50, July 1987, 0 586 02083 7
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... Amusing, and perhaps instructive, to think of great paintings whose voyage into mystery and meaning seems to depend, in the first instance, on a technical trick: a separation of planes so that the head of the principal figure lives in a different world from that of the body, and the rest of the picture. Rembrandt’s ‘Polish Rider’ travels serenely on a pantomime horse, deftly accoutred with his bowcase, his shapka, his shapely uniform of red and white ...

A Tall Stranger in Hoxton

John Bossy, 3 July 1997

The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605 
by Antonia Fraser.
Weidenfeld, 347 pp., £20, August 1996, 9780297813484
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... force. One of the Catholics, a rich gentleman from the Midlands and charismatic energumen called Robert Catesby, called a meeting on 20 May at the Duck and Drake, off the Strand, the lodgings of his cousin and the disciple, Thomas Wintour. Three other men were invited: Jack Wright, a swordsman friend of Catesby’s; Thomas Percy, Wright’s brother-in-law ...

Every inch a king

Antonia Fraser, 16 October 1980

Great Harry 
by Carolly Erickson.
Dent, 428 pp., £8.50, July 1980, 0 460 04366 8
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... style of such modern studies of royalty as Anthony Holden’s life of the Prince of Wales and Robert Lacey’s study of the present Queen, Majesty. The point about these books is that they are rather jolly. They may not tell you anything earth-shaking that you did not know before, since their main message is that the Prince of Wales/Queen is alive and ...

Bob Hawke’s Australia

Michael Davie, 6 October 1983

... power did not cause any capitalists to leap out of windows. The previous government, led by Malcom Fraser, had been showing distinct signs of loss of grip. Ability is not as common a trait as it might be in Australian politics, and kicking the other fellow’s head in for the sheer pleasure of it is the oldest of all Australian political principles. The Labor ...

When students ruled the earth

D.A.N. Jones, 17 March 1988

1968: A Student Generation in Revolt 
by Ronald Fraser.
Chatto, 370 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 7011 2913 1
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Street Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties 
by Tariq Ali.
Collins, 280 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 9780002177795
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Sixty-Eight: The Year of the Barricades 
by David Caute.
Hamish Hamilton, 464 pp., £14.95, January 1988, 0 241 12174 4
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Nineteen Sixty-Eight: A Personal Report 
by Hans Koning.
Unwin Hyman, 196 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 9780044401858
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... however, by a quite different readership – the ‘student generation in revolt’ of Ronald Fraser’s title – and I was made to surrender my editorship to Tariq Ali. Before my dismissal, I appeared on television to defend the paper against A.J. Ayer, John Gross and Colin Welch – with a chairman who accused me of being a disciple of Sorel, a writer ...

Exotic Bird from Ilford

Robert Baird: Denise Levertov, 24 September 2014

Denise Levertov: A Poet’s Life 
by Dana Greene.
Illinois, 328 pp., £22.99, October 2012, 978 0 252 03710 8
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A Poet’s Revolution: The Life of Denise Levertov 
by Donna Krolik Hollenberg.
California, 515 pp., £30.95, April 2013, 978 0 520 27246 0
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Collected Poems 
by Denise Levertov.
New Directions, 1063 pp., £32.99, December 2013, 978 0 8112 2173 3
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... ambit of the Apocalypse poets, the neo-Romantic Surrealists who had decided, in the words of G.S. Fraser, ‘to become stoics – to depend on ourselves and the universe’ after everything else was destroyed by the war. Dana Greene isn’t wrong when she says that Levertov’s early poems possess more biographical than poetic interest. But her first ...

Bad Nights

D.A.N. Jones, 23 October 1986

The Casualty 
by Heinrich Böll, translated by Leila Vennewitz.
Chatto, 189 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 9780701129286
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Augustus 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 339 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 370 30757 7
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Gabriel’s Lament 
by Paul Bailey.
Cape, 331 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 224 02823 5
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The Mind and Body Shop 
by Frank Parkin.
Collins, 221 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 00 217695 5
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... the facts, with scholarly confidence. Allan Massie has produced such a stage-pedant, named Aeneas Fraser-Graham, Quondam Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge: this figure of fun prefaces the first section of the narrative with an account of the discovery of Augustus’s autobiography and an admission ‘that Mr Massie’s version is indeed, in the event, too ...

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