My third novel ‘The Gallery of Vanished Husbands’ tells the life story of Juliet Montague and her emergence from a conservative Jewish upbringing to the heart of ‘60s London and it’s thriving art scene, through a series of portraits of Juliet, each chapter of the novel hinging on a different painting. The research was a treat as it sanctioned hours of padding around the National Portrait Gallery and rifling through the online archives. These are a few of the portraits that helped to inspire the novel.
I’m going to blog one each day for the next week.
I adore Arturo Di Stefano’s painting of the writer Jan Morris. He conveys such a sense of a life lived – you can actually see it happening outside the window in the portrait. It feels like he has painted their conversation almost inadvertently as she tells him about her life, Italy, places she’s visited and loved. We’re peering into an intimate moment and catching a glimpse of the collusion between artist and subject. Di Stefano has not only captured a sense of Morris’s personality but also the experience of painting her – a delicious insight into the artistic process. I also very much like the cat – there’s something so personal and warm about it snoozing there in the corner.
And, to celebrate the launch of the book The National Portrait Gallery together with Stylist Magazine are running a competition to win a year’s membership plus to the NPG. Click on the link to enter: