Sunday 11 February 2018

The Next Big Thing: At the NPG arresting image from the National Portrait Gallery of a dressmaker pinning the skirt of an impassive client who resembled Fanny Bauer (black hair, dark eyes, prominent crimson mouth, and bad-tempered expression)...
Anita Brookner, The Next Big Thing, ch. 9

Brookner in her late work - when, as it were, a decent time had passed since her retirement from the Courtauld - returned in something like earnest to her earlier calling*. There were the books of criticism, Soundings and Romanticism and Its Discontents. And there were novels like The Next Big Thing, with its numerous art references. Here Herz is looking through his collection of old art postcards. But I confess I can't identify the image of a dressmaker and her impassive client. Can anyone help?

* though Julian Barnes believes art criticism and novel writing occupied quite separate parts of her mind. He speaks of how she would light up and be transformed when asked over dinner her views on, say, the painter Boucher.

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