Gwen Raverat : Friends, Family and Affections, Paperback

Gwen Raverat : Friends, Family and Affections Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


The best of these Darwins is that they are cut out of rock - three taps is enough to convince one how immense is their solidarity.' So wrote Virginia Woolf affectionately of Gwen Raverat, the granddaughter of Charles Darwin.

In this first full biography, Frances Spalding looks beyond the artist Gwen Raverat's childhood memoir; Period Piece, and creates a fascinating and moving portrait of Charles Darwin's granddaughter.

She explores her Darwin inheritance; her conflicts when she moves beyond her home environment to enter the Slade School of Art; her encounter with post-Impressionism; and her friendships with Stanley Spencer, Rupert Brooke and members of the Bloomsbury set. At each stage, Gwen's artistic creativity is interwoven with her relationships and circumstances. She helps revive the medium of wood-engraving and with her husband, Jacques Raverat, celebrates the South of France in the art they produce while living in Venice.

Drawing on a huge cache of unpublished papers, Spalding brings us a life lived with bravery, humour; realism and integrity, surrounded by a remarkable cast of relatives, friends and associates.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448 pages, 8pp colour and 20 b&w illustrations
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Individual artists, art monographs
  • ISBN: 9781844134243



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25 May 2009 - from Julie and Barry when they moved awayAnother pick from the bags - they did well in not tempting me with TOO much. Gwen Raverat is mainly known for her wood-engravings, including those to The Runaway, recently republished by Persephone. But she was also a Darwin, cousin of Frances Cornford and wife of Jacques Raverat the painter. Gwen has appeared on the edges of other works about Rupert Brooke and the Neo-Pagans, the Bloomsburies and other 20th century figures, so it was good to find out all about her. As the subtitle suggests, there is a nice lot of detail about the people around her as well as Gwen herself. Meticulously researched and referenced, it doesn't "take off" in the way a Holroyd bio does, but it's workmanlike and efficient, like Gwen herself, and makes a good attempt at looking at how a female artist reconciles family and artistic life.A good addition to my collection and lavishly illustrated.

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