About the author

Words and pictures: 

(p.4) Woman in White
(p.7) Stanley Spencer
(p.31) Augustus John
(p.41) Cranach 's Eve
(p.140) Gainsborough
(p.166) Mrs Dalloway
(p.188) Lucio Fontana
(p.264) Gwen John 

Publisher and agent

After Anjelica (detail)

'Up the road the Heath was scrubby with wild places reaching back to Wilkie Collins and his Woman in White . . . (p. 4)

From Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (1860), ed. Julian Symons (Penguin English Library, 1974):

'The moon was full and broad in the dark blue starless sky, and the broken ground of the heath looked wild enough in the mysterious light to be hundreds of miles away from the great city that lay beneath it.'
 . . .
'I wound my way down slowly over the heath, enjoying the divine stillness of the scene, and admiring the soft alternations of light and shade as they followed each other over the broken ground on every side of me.'
 . . .
'I had now arrived at that particular point of my walk where four roads met – the road to Hampstead, along which I had returned, the road to West End, and the road back to London. I had mechanically turned in this latter direction, and was strolling along the lonely high road ... when, in one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop by the touch of a hand laid lightly and suddenly on my shoulder from behind me.'
 . . .
'There, in the middle of the broad, bright high-road – there, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth or dropped from the heaven – stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments, her face bent in grave inquiry, her hand pointing to the dark cloud over London, as I faced her.'