street+scene‘Suzanne Cooper grew up in Frinton on the Essex coast.  In 1935, when she was nineteen years old, she became a student at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London, where she was taught by the master print-makers Iain Macnab and Cyril Power.  Over the next four years she  exhibited her oil-paintings and wood-engravings at the Redfern Gallery, the Zwemmer Gallery, the Wertheim Gallery and the Stafford Gallery, and with the National Society of Painters, Sculptors and Print-Makers (founded by Henry Moore in 1930) and the Society of Women Artists.’ This is Street Scene, it presumably dates from the mid to late 1930s.

royal+albionA fleeting exhibition of the work of  Suzanne Cooper (1916-92) has just opened at the Fry Gallery in Saffron Walden (the exhibition was this last weekend and will also be on display next weekend, but can be seen midweek by telephoning the gallery). Royal Albion  was painted in 1936 when Suzanne Cooper was twenty. ‘In 1948 this painting was given to the Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand, by the influential patron and collector Lucy Carringon Wertheim. It hangs there alongside works by Christopher Wood and Alfred Wallis – artists with whose work Cooper’s has much in common. This depiction of the Royal Albion hotel shows a familiar English seaside view. Painted during her time at the Grosvenor School of Art, the artist incorporates the simplified blocks of form and colour popular with other modernist painters in the 1920s and 30s.’


And finally the nineteenth century painter Charles Edward Perugini’s Girl Reading (possibly Kate Dickens). The two were married in 1873, a few weeks after the death of Kate’s first husband Charles Collins. Her life is rather well written up on Spartacus.


Felix Vallotton (1865-1925) Woman Reading

Thursday again

Agnolo Bronzino Portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichl 1540 which has been at the Uffizi in Florence since 1704.


Henri Michel-Levy (1845-1914) Beach at Courseulles (a French version of the beautiful painting we have on the front of the Classic edition of The Fortnight in September).


A peaceful week of women reading, something far ‘nicer’ and less controversial than last week’s unpleasantly political posts (as some people found them). The Letter by Federico Zandomeneghi  (1841-1917) is in a private collection


Finally the Es, living in hovels and worse (there is a suggestion of someone being hung on the right) with no quality of life (as they wouldn’t have called it in 1948) at all. This grade includes intellectuals and we have put on the bookmark the scene in which one of the characters is graded E because he says he likes Picasso. Actually he doesn’t but ‘one of the things we’d hoped Socialism would do would be to give everyone a taste for Art and all that’ so he pretends to like him; only to be told that ‘if you hadn’t been so vehement, I might have fixed you up at Aberystwyth like we did Mr Rowse. But after what you said about Picasso, I’ve got no choice. You’re for the E’s.’ This is the most amazing book, a political tract but very, very funny. We publish it on April 19th but review copies are available now if anyone feels a review coming on.


The Ds are the people in Round about a Pound a Week: they live in cramped cottages, scraping together a living. The As occasionally take them some gruel. But do nothing else. A lot of them are put in prison (actual or metaphorical) by the As, hence the line of prisoners shuffling along, going off to ‘forced labour’. Honestly, most readers of the Post will be feeling angry already and they haven’t even read the book yet. But actually it’s funny and extremely readable, oddly enough rather like a politicised Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary in tone – the fury is subdued by humour and a kind of rueful acceptance of man’s beastliness to man.

C on friday

The Cs are far humbler than the Bs, they are not shop keepers or teachers but definite servants, forced to wear smocks and grow forelocks so they can doff them – to As. Persephone readers will be getting to the stage when having their first glimpse of Tory Heaven of not knowing whether to laugh or cry. But it gets worse, far worse. (Although stops short at genocide. Yet it’s hard not to have the knowledge at the back of one’s mind that Marghanita Laski was writing only months after the discovery of the Holocaust  – as it was not called then  – and this must have intensified her satirical gaze.)

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