12 October 2021

Fresher (2)

Charles Ryder recorded that "on my first afternoon [as an undergraduate] I proudly hung a reproduction of Van Gogh's Sunflowers over the fire and set up a screen, painted by Roger Fry with a Provencal landscape, which I had bought inexpensively when the Omega workshops were sold up. I displayed a poster by McKnight Kauffer and Rhyme sheets from the Poetry Bookshop, and, most painful to recall, a porcelain figure of Polly Peachum which stood between black tapers on the chimney-piece. My books were meagre and commonplace -- Roger Fry's Vision and Design, the Medici Press edition of A Shropshire Lad, Eminent Victorians, some volumes of Georgian Poetry, Sinister Street  and South Wind ..."

We learn later that Ryder's scout, with ... it is surely hinted ... the innate good taste of the lower orders, had never liked the screen, and disposed of it. I hope he got a good price. It might go for a fair bit in the sale rooms today ...

Was Lytton Strachey the first known example of the phenomenon which became so prominent in the last pontificate: a homosexualist ideologue with a pathological detestation of  'the enemy'?

Little did Ryder know how close his rooms in Hertford were to (what Beerbohm called) the virguncules of Shrewsbury College; wholesome girls who might have saved him from the wiles of Anthony Blanche.

A kind friend has sent me photographs of Mgr Gilbey's sitting room in Cambridge. I wonder if the pictures on the walls were his own.


Grant Milburn said...

Is this the screen that Ryder once owned?


The website allowed me to unlock the sales information for one item without subscribing to the site: the screen was offered for sale in 2012 with an estimated price of 40,000 to 60,000 pounds- but remained unsold.

Fr Edward said...

If they are the Stuart portraits, they were his own.
Now they are at Peterhouse.