Saturday 17 December 2016

Nobody jogged

...those Burlington years were ones of great happiness, a happiness which for me covers most of the period. People seemed to behave more reasonably in those remote days. The companionship engendered by the late War had not entirely fragmented. Nobody jogged. Nobody went to the gym. Nobody suffered from stress or received counselling. Acts of kindness seemed more common than at the present time. Of all the acts of kindness that came my way none was greater than Ben's: he conferred on me the precious - and unique - conviction that my presence could be taken for granted. He was a true friend.
'Benedict Nicolson', Independent Magazine, 10 September 1994

One recalls, reading that, Mrs May's dream vision of a 1950s paradise, a field of folk, in Visitors. Benedict Nicolson was editor of the Burlington Magazine from the end of the war until his death in 1978. Brookner identified him as the person to whom she owed her start in life as a writer. 'Ideally one should always be writing for someone, either present or absent. It is not too much to say that my apprenticeship took place under Ben's guidance, which was all the more generous for being unobtrusive.'
Rodrigo Moynihan's portrait of Benedict Nicolson
that accompanied the Independent piece

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