New End

Finally: Persephone Books is dedicated to resuscitating forgotten women writers, but we also care deeply about forgotten buildings (hence The Sack of Bath and Bricks and Mortar). Twenty-five years ago the former New End Hospital in North London was saved after a long and exhausting battle. Sadly, security gates stop the passer-by from looking at the amazing buildings. But the circular ward block still exists (as flats) as does the boiler house chimney: both came close to demolition.  And the surrounding streetscape has not changed eg. the end of Streatley Place. More details about the hospital here.

eugen spiro

Another Persephone ancestor, painted by the well-known German painter Eugen Spiro (1874-1972) in about 1918. The painting still exists but this is a postcard, evidently made by the proud parents. It’s a sweet portrait of the ancestor (always a great reader, hence the book) but isn’t the proportion of the table a bit wonky? The legs look absolutely enormous in comparison with hers!


The Bayswater Omnibus by George William Joy, a long-standing favourite. Bayswater is of course the (partial) setting for Reuben Sachs, although Amy Levy had died six years before this was painted – in 1895, the year Effi Briest was published in Germany.

Trekkie copy

Trekkie Parsons painted this, it is undated but a scan was kindly lent to us by Judith Adamson, who edited the letters between her and Leonard Woolf. Here is an obituary for those who want to find out more about the rather fascinating Trekkie (1902-95).


Another week of ‘oddments’. The best book we read this summer and the best cover we came across. This is on display in the excellent British Library exhibition Gay UK: Love, Law and Liberty which is on until tomorrow, described here.

d grant artist's study at charleston 1967.j at the Met

Duncan Grant’s Artist’s Study at Charleston 1967 is not one of his better-known paintings; it’s at the Met in New York. He was 82 but still at the top of his form. Maybe one of the NYC readers of the Post (who sometimes write us appreciative emails, for which we are deeply appreciative) could go and pay homage to this beautiful painting one lovely autumn  afternoon?


To yet another anti-Brexit rally in TrafalgarSquare, this time in support of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU. (Although to write the initials UK is absurd as we are now so disunited; but then GB is even worse – we are now  simply LB in the eyes of  the world.) The reason we at Persephone Books are so passionately anti Brexit is because the EU was our one hope for preserving peace and unity and ensuring there could never be a re-run of the first or second world wars. That hope is fast diminishing. Today on the Post: an ancestor of us girls at Persephone Books. She would of course have been a massive support (she wrote a PhD on Plato and was an avid reader of English fiction – think Tauchnitz). But Ilse Abramczyk was not at as lucky as her contemporary Anna Freud (she didn’t have a famous father) and LB wouldn’t give her a visa. On 29 November 1941 she was shot in a mass grave in Kaunas in Lithuania. We sometimes look at her picture if ever we are tempted not to go on marches holding the Women Writers for Europe placard or attend rallies in support of our European neighbours. But time is running out for rational, kind, humane ideals to prevail in the world as it is in the autumn of 2017.


Malvina Cheek painted this picture of her garden in the 1980s. It is very much how gardens in the UK are looking at the moment: very wild and green. Mally was a great (if unsung) painter. Here is her obituary: she died last year aged 100. And is much missed by those who knew her (including the Persephone girls).


Another Matisse in the Royal Academy show: Safrano Roses at the Window 1925. A Safrano rose can be bought from Peter Beales here, although it’s more yellowish and less pink than Matisse’s version. The ‘repeat’ flowering is rather tempting; having just cleared the garden at the back of the shop perhaps we can find room to plant a Safrano rose. And it would be pleasing to plant a rose that has apparently been grown since 1839. (The name means pale saffron, Matisse’s pinkish hue must all have been in the eye of the beholder.)

anna freud 1911jpg

On the Post this week and next: oddments which have been sitting on the desktop and do not fit in to any ‘category'; they are all relevant to Persephone but not perhaps to each other. First of all a photograph of the young Anna Freud.

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