A.J.P. Taylor

I am beginning to recover from the effects of being knocked down in Old Compton Street by a motor-car. Now I can walk to the end of the road. The other day I made an excursion as far as Camden Town to have my hair cut. This left me a little tired but otherwise unharmed. I resolved on a more ambitious venture: nothing less than a journey to Oxford when I drove part of the way myself. The journey had an unexpected purpose. Some years earlier a professional portrait painter, June Mendoza, had asked me to sit for my portrait. After it was finished she offered it to Magdalen College, which, being taken up with the restoration of the college buildings, had no spare money to pay for a picture even if they had wanted to buy it. Now friends of mine, marshalled by Chris Cook, had raised enough to buy the picture of me and offer it to the college.

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[*] Associated University Presses, 267 pp., £28, November 1983, 0 87413 211 8.