Things you didn’t know, or perhaps had forgotten, about people once in the news, and perhaps still newsworthy, according to Tatler’s Thousand Most Socially Significant People in 1992.
Michael Portillo ( b 1953)
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Portillo is occasionally tipped to become Prime Minister. Shrewd, direct, with, as Private Eye puts it, the eyes of an assassin, lips of a tyrant, he gets his hair cut and we all have to read about it. His recreational interests include opera, Trollope and the Michelin Guide, said to be his Bible. He was part of the Omega project ( a blueprint of right wing policy) and backed a bill for hanging.
Private Eye doesn’t seem interested in him, now that he has abandoned active politics. Today he earns a living by going on train journeys around the UK and Europe clutching his trusty Bradshaw and a Baedeker. An avuncular figure who looks as if he might be the kind of chap you’d have a pint (or glass of red) with down the pub. One wonders as if he is still pro-hanging. The subject hasn’t yet come up, though while touring Spain he did dilate on the life of his father, a revolutionary during the Spanish Civil War.
Timothy Clifford, former Director of the Scottish National Gallery (b 1946)
‘Dynamic fogey who looks like an arty merchant banker. Rosy-cheeked and Regency clad, he has a ridiculously posh voice and is very well-connected.’ Continue reading
Found – Society Racket: A Critical Survey of Modern Social Life (Long, London 1933) by Patrick Balfour (Baron Kinross) – a journalist. At the time of this book he was ‘Mr Gossip’ at the Daily Express and the character Adam in Waugh’s Vile Bodies was probably partly based on him (Adam becomes ‘Mr Chatterbox’ at the ‘Daily Excess’.)
Balfour covers the 1929 hoax surrealist exhibition at the Guinness’s house in Buckingham Gate SW1:
‘Then an invitation was sent out to a “First exhibition of Pictures by Bruno Hat” in Mr and Mrs Guinness’s house. It was accompanied by the following biography:
Mr Bruno Hat came to England with his father in 1919 from Lubeck. After having lived in this country a short time, Mr Max had married an English woman, and bought a general dealers shop in Sussex, where he lived until he died in 1923. The shop is now managed by Mr Bruno Hat with the help of his stepmother.
Mr Bruno Hat is now 31 years of age. Apart from some two months or so at a Hamburg art school, he is entirely self-taught. In frequent visits to London, exhibitions provide him with little little more than a glimpse of contemporary movements in painting. He has never, until now, exhibited a picture. A month ago, however, several examples of his work were taken to Paris, and the opinion there was so immediately favourable that successful arrangements have been made for an exhibition there In the early winter. Continue reading
‘We could, I suppose, fall back on a woman…’
The words of John W Carter, scholar, bibliophile, author of the excellent ABC for Book Collectors, and sometime head of Charles Scribner’s Rare Book Department in London. He was discussing with the expert on British theatre, Ifan Kyrle Fletcher, the problem of finding someone eminent enough to open the National Book League’s exhibition on the British Theatre in October 1950 now that John Gielgud had declined the invitation.
From the correspondence that has come to light recently in a file of letters, Carter, having rejected the not very glamorous Ralph Richardson as a candidate, and having dismissed T.S. Eliot out of hand, for some reason, seems indeed to have turned to a woman in the shape of Peggy Ashcroft ( ‘the best actress in England’), who politely declined. Her explanation was that she always hated ‘making speeches‘ and that anyway she was committed to going on tour with the Old Vic on October 16th. Carter then seemingly wrote to the glamorous Fay Compton, who also appears to have said no. Luckily for Carter, the comparatively youthful Alec Guinness, despite being involved with a film at the time, accepted the invitation. [RR]
Having just sold this art catalogue we would like to record it's passing by archiving the catalogue entry. A rare John Fowles item, amongst other things, and visually attractive and interesting to touch and handle. A record of when the Fulham Road was an artistic hub...the title is from E.M. Forster (the epigraph to Howard's End) and has been adapted more recently by waggish dealers as 'Only Collect.'
Tall narrow 8vo. Trendy in appearance with blue thin plastic covers printed orangey red over abstract photo by Michael Dillon. No date (1967). Stiff plastic spine with 18 page catalogue printed recto only on 3 different coloured papers. Short introduction by John Fowles ('Only Connect.') Foreword by the d/w illustrator Tom Adams whose gallery this was. It was showing the work of poet / artists like Michael Horowitz and Asa Benveniste and established artists like Prunella Clough, Carel Weight and John Bratby. The first item listed in the unillustrated catalogue was an oil by Adams 'The Magus.' Adams did the jackets for Fowles first 3 books as well as many Agatha Christie works. A rare ephemeral item lacking from most Fowles collections. A search on the web revealed the following: 'In 1967 Adams opened the Fulham Gallery, which not only gave first exhibitions of some now famous artists, but was for several years the center of the late '60's phenomenon - the poetry print. With C.Day-Lewis (the Poet Laureate) and artist Joseph Herman and John Piper, Adams produced the investiture print for the Prince of Wales.
Adams also designed posters for Mark Boyle's light shows (The Sensual Laboratory), going on tour with The Jimmy Hendrix Experience and The Soft Machine. His connection with the modern world of rock music continued when he met Lou Reed, an admirer of his Christie and Raymond Chandler covers. Reed asked Adams to design the cover for his first UK solo album. As a result of this friendship with Lou Reed, Andy Warhol offered to sponsor of exhibition of Tom's work in New York. Adams did eventually work in the States in the early 70's where he was asked by Marshall Arisman to teach at the New York Central School of Art.'