Richard Shone rss


Into the limelight

15 December 2012
Chaplin’s Music Hall Barry Anthony

I.B. Tauris, pp.224, £20, ISBN: 9781780763149

The online accessibility of British population censuses has resulted in an outpouring  of ‘who and how we were’, keeping amateur genealogists, local historians and social commentators extremely busy. Barry Anthony’s… Read more

One of many versions of Mont St-Victoire

The sage of Aix

20 October 2012
Cézanne: A Life Alex Danchev

Profile, pp.488, £30, ISBN: 978184668 1653

Like Mont St-Victoire itself, looming over the country to the north of Aix-en-Provence — seen unexpectedly, then just as suddenly hidden, now clear-cut against the sky, at other times a… Read more


The past is another city

14 January 2012
Panoramas of Lost London: Work, Wealth, Poverty and Change, 1870-1945 Philip Davies

English Heritage, pp.320, £40

This absorbing book is — in both format and content — a much expanded follow-up to the same author’s very successful pictorial anthology Lost London of 2010. It replicates some… Read more


Oh brother!

17 December 2011
Van Gogh: The Life Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

Profile Books, pp.953, 30

Long in the writing, deep in research, heavy to hold, this is the latest of umpteen biographies of Vincent van Gogh (1853-90). But it should be said straightaway that it… Read more


A lightning tour

15 October 2011
Virginia Woolf Alexandra Harris

Thames & Hudson, pp.191, 14.95

In her foreword to this short study of Virginia Woolf,  Alexandra Harris writes that ‘it is meant as a first port of call for those new to Woolf and as… Read more


Painting the town together

2 June 2010
The Last Bohemians Roger Bristow

Sansom, pp.416, 29.95

This book recounts a terrible story of self-destruction by two painters who, in their heyday, achieved considerable renown in Britain and abroad. Robert Colquhoun (1914-62) and Robert MacBryde (1913-66), both… Read more

The optimism of a suicide

9 December 2009
Vincent Van Gogh: The Letters Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker

Thames & Hudson, 325

A postal strike would have been a disaster for Van Gogh. Letters were his lifeline and consolation. Not only did he receive through the mail his regular allowance from his… Read more

From worthless to priceless

15 April 2009
The Ultimate Trophy: How Impressionist Painting Conquered the World Philip Hook

Prestel, pp.223, 17.99

A combination of art history ‘lite’ and the personal touch — a common yoking together these days, even in books supposedly of art history ‘full strength’ — makes for, in… Read more


Sinister levity of an all-seeing spider

28 November 2007
Edward Burra: The Twentieth-Century Eye Jane Stevenson

Cape, pp.496, 30

As an an outstanding English painter and a delectable personality, Edward Burra deserves this entertaining biography. It should be admitted, however, that because Burra was a letter writer of great… Read more

Richard Shone on Leonard Woolf

13 December 2006

The large garden at Monk’s House, Rodmell, in Sussex, bounded on one side by the village street, and on the other by gently sloping ground towards the River Ouse, was… Read more

The calm and solid Cubist

10 September 2005
Georges Braque: A Life Alex Danchev

Hamish Hamilton, pp.440, 35

The personalities of only a handful of artists are known to the public at large. Most live on through their work with, perhaps, a ticket of biographical cliché attached to… Read more

The painter properly portrayed

12 February 2005
Walter Sickert: A Life Matthew Sturgis

HarperCollins, pp.768, 30

We are continually told that biography is the dominant literary expression of the age, that Britain, in particular, is a nation of biographers, and that the new Oxford Dictionary of… Read more

The girl who played Ophelia

30 October 2004
Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel Lucinda Hawksley

Deutsch, pp.230, 17.99

‘A truly extraordinary achievement,’ trumpets A. N. Wilson on the jacket of this book. In a sense, of course, he is right. Lucinda Hawksley deserves praise for making something substantial… Read more

Verdict as open as ever

9 November 2002

LittleBrown, pp.387, 17.99

Readers of the thrillers of the American writer Patricia Cornwell will find elements of her new book familiar but others oddly different. Her novels are fiction closely based on fact;… Read more