You are on page 1of 215


Bryan Ingham, Painter, Etcher, Sculptor
Bryan Ingham was born in 1936 in Yorkshire and died at home in his studio on Helston, Cornwall in the summer of 1997 of cancer. During the last six months I travelled every fortnight or so from my home in Devon and spent time with him recording a conversation that ranged over his life, his experiences and his opinions. This is the transcript of those conversations. It is largely unedited and in publishing it I recognise that one or two persons referred to by him may conceivably be hurt or offended, but that is certainly not my intention. The document demonstrates the quality of the man and also his weaknesses, and it is to give that rounded picture that both he and I have worked. At 63, his death was a premature end to an artistic journey that was if anything increasing in vigour and creativity. Naturally reclusive, living in isolation for a long period in a hidden cottage on the Lizard, his work started to get the recognition it deserves in the last few years, as his last London shows demonstrated. He was, in my view, the finest etcher of the latter half of the century, and often his painting is of similar quality. In latter years he started to explore his interest in sculpture, already apparent in the technique brought to his copper plates. As his memoir shows, he adored women, food, books and poetry, but all took second place to his first love, the work which is his true memorial. In publishing this record I would like to record my appreciation and thanks to: Stella Benjamin, Sally Losey, Eiluned Morgan, Vince Tutton, Josephine Goodden and Francis Graham Dixon. Note: the chronology of the conversations hops around, but I have left the words as they were spoken to retain the coherence that it otherwise has by reason of Bryan’s lucid account. The illustrations are not intended to do more than add flavour to the text and are not intended to do full justice to Bryan’s work. I trust that the rest will be understandable without further explanation.


B Not for the first time in one's life one is appalled at the quality of one's diction,- how one sounds strangulated - not at all as one imagines J This distorts peoples’ voices quite considerably. B There's a sort of precocity in my manner of speaking which is not what I hear inside, not my manner of speaking at all, but when I hear myself I sound like a cross between Professor Joad and Dr Roy Strong. J God Help us! Roy Strong does sound ridiculous doesn't he? B He's making a real arsehole of himself at the moment. J What, with this garden thing? B With his autobiographical diary, published this week (which I'd like to read). Not very profound, I think. J He's a very clever chap, and clever at promoting himself. No doubt about that. I'm afraid I'm prejudiced. I've never liked the look of him, so I've never given the fellow a chance. B It becomes easier and easier to dislike him as he becomes more and more calculatingly eccentric - Dr Strong the loveable English loony. Of which he's very much aware - very much a role he plays, whereas somebody like Beaton grew into his role - Cecil Beaton.... J Yes. B Another self-made creation, but plausible, whereas Roy Strong isn't plausible. J Well, I think Beaton had a talent, a real talent. B Oh Yes. J I don't know enough about Roy Strong to know whether he's talented or not. The only way I've come across him is a sort of self publicising curator.


B He was brilliant at the Portrait gallery. His first appointment. He did stir it up from being a dusty place to being an important place. At that time I used to do some very objective portraits, -head on subject sitting right here, drawing board resting on my knees and on theirs. Very intimate -an immediate contact - good drawings, they were. I wrote to him in his capacity as Curator of the Portrait gallery and said I would like to do a series for the museum of various people of today - I can't remember exactly who - I think one was David Sitwell and I think one was John Lennon - it was half a dozen suggested people. I didn't enclose any drawings just the letter, and promptly had a very good letter back saying I like your idea, bring your drawings along let's discuss the project.. And I never did anything more about it. Which is regrettable. But that was a sign of a good professional - on the ball. ¬¬ tape cut¬¬¬ B But that was a side-line, because they were never given proper rifles - it was real Dad's Army stuff.. They did night manoeuvres on the moors outside Totley, based on a little farmhouse that was also an ale-house -no more -called the Grouse Inn J No bar just a room? B Yes, seats like this set around, and a piano And it was discovered that Father could play the piano. Give him the music, and he could play....the Merry Widow ...uumm... that sort of music. So this incongruous group of old men, mostly older than Father would stumble up on the moors for two hours up there and then you come back to base and then another group goes out but meanwhile George -Father- had to stay and play the piano to keep everyone entertained. So he would play the piano through long nights in this moorland farm, drinking plenty of beer. And consequently when my friends in Germany asked me what did your father do during the war I told them "he played the piano against Adolf Hitler". [J laughs] He was very popular, but that was his war-time career. And sadly so. It wasn't what he wanted. He would have like to join in to do his bit. You have to be a very unusual person I think to be a conscientious objector you'd have to have a very clear mind. J How old would your father have been at the time the war started? B He was born in 1908.


J So he would have been just over 30. So he would have remembered the latter part of the Great War wouldn't he? B Yes. Then he was courting Alice Mitchell, my mother, who lost at least one brother in the Great War. Father's mother lost her husband. Yes, he remembered the Great War. J He wasn't a Totley man was he? B Oh No.... no They came from very specific places, very particular roots From a small woollen mill town in the Calder valley just west of Halifax - Soley Bridge and Mother came from just the other side of the moor that separates the Calder valley from... I forget the name of the valley, which was heavy wool industry. Most people were in the woollen trade as dyers etc J Both your grandparents were in the woollen trade... what did they do? B Mother's parents were. Father's parents were small time shopkeepers. Uncle Willy - the most famous of the relations - had what was supposed to be the first motor car in Yorkshire. He went to the Great Exhibition in Paris, when would that have been ...and he went up in a balloon , a hot air balloon. So he was quite a lad. He was a stationer and a printer and he had a printing works down by the Calder canal. J Did you meet your great grandparents? B Yes. But I've only relatively dim memories; I was nine by the time I knew him, {Willy} and I can picture him very clearly. He was a wag ...a comic... he sang on the stage on the small local circuit. He sang baritone songs... such songs as "Where is my wandering boy tonight?" {-sings} that type of sentimental Victorian/Edwardian ballad, not really like my grandfather, who was a bit more strict.


Hebden Bridge II Etching

J He was a shopkeeper? B I'm not quite sure. The Ingham side, my father's side, were considered a little bit above the Mitchell side who were considered a little bit raffish,- my mother's side. Bigger family. Not quite so straight-laced. The Inghams tended to be a little bit correct - socially correct - Grandfather signed the pledge at an early age, his early thirties; he thought he was becoming an alcoholic and took the pledge. It was quite commonplace then. But father said he always has alcohol in the house for guests. And Grandma had a hard life. Two sons in a street with a three storey house with two bedrooms, living room, scullery, cellar, outside lavatory. Front yard as big as that... yellow flagstones. Every Tuesday scrubbed with these special sandstones, the steps coming up to the house scrubbed yellow and each one finished with a white edge. Every house in the street had that type of pride. Monday was wash day. A steep cobbled street on a steep deep valley, right down to the woollen mills at the bottom .The Calder and the Calder canal at the bottom and the great woollen mills and the houses of commerce. Steep cobbled streets with the houses back to back. You had a neighbour through that wall, but they were in the other street. Monday was wash day. In the middle of the cobbles, if you look closely, you will see a round hole like on a golf green where the iron poles kept in the cellar came out to put the line out. Terrific competition - who should get their washing across the street first. All done in the cellar with a


thing called a copper. It was a gas fired instrument a scrubbing wash-board. Hard yellow soap - a hell of a job. Grandma Ingham was nearly always one of the very first in the street on Monday mornings. Tuesday morning it was "Right, right Bryan, go down to Beckwiths and get me a yellow stone and a white stone. Tell him I'll pay him tomorrow" and I'd go down "Please Mr Beckwith Grandma says she'll pay tomorrow" [chuckles] Yes..... It was the same rivalry with the lighting of the house. The lighting was gas. There was always a roaring fire in the room...most wonderful. My uncle never left home, -father's younger brother- he had a beautiful library, - about as many books as I've got here. Sporting authors very largely. Surtees. Surtees was his passion. And Seigfried Sassoon. He was a bachelor was Uncle Leslie. So that way we had a lovely atmosphere, and the gas lamp. And the gas lamp was activated by a penny in the slot, and bizarrely that was placed at the top of the cellar steps over the cellar door. At the top of the cellar steps you would open the cellar door from the scullery. A step down and a steep turning to the right down to the blackness of the damp cellar. You would turn like this over the steps going down, and up there was the machine you had to put the penny in, and to do that you had to drop yourself over the black gaping hole of the cellar to rest upon the meter, put the penny in and turn the thing and then push yourself back.. There were little old ladies doing that all the way down the street without crashing down into their cellars! So of an evening you could be reading a book and the light would suddenly become dimmer and dimmer and someone would say "The gas! The gas!" and then there was a terrific rush and scuttle to find a penny 'cos there was no special box for the pennies as you would imagine "Hev yer got a ..have yer gotta penny Leslie" [chuckles] and the lights would get dimmer and dimmer and someone would rush into this hellish trap and fling themselves over the black hole. And lighting up was the event. In the windows the aspidistra, the lace curtains - and nothing wrong with either of those things - they were the tradition of the day - one would look through the lace curtains and the street would be in darkness. I remember saying "Grandma, I can't read my book any more. Can we have the gas?" "Oh I don't know Bryan. Has Mrs Beckwith lit up yet? No? When Mrs Beckwith lights up, then Mrs Greenwood will light up and we'll all light." So you had to wait for this signal thing to go up the street "Oh it's all right, Mrs Greenwood's lit up. Right" So we got this apparatus going with the chains and the slight hissing of the mantle. Very, very comforting. That with a big roaring fire and the fine blue-tiled surround and a handsome polished mantelpiece with those brass jugs -heavy jugs- and the


piano in the back of the room. It was only a small room. The piano was used regularly; excerpts from Rigoletto and the lighter Italian operas and the pleasant library. A very cultured little household, typical of its period. J Was it typical of that street?

“Noon” Etching 1988 (an exceptionally large plate)

B No, well maybe it wasn't typical. No I suppose nobody else had a library but then nobody else had a son called Leslie Ingham who stayed at home and lived with his Mum. No maybe not typical but something of the same quality of life was there. J So your Ma and Pa started their married life together but not at your Grandmother's? B Yes. Soley Bridge , as I say, in the Calder valley. Mother's small town, or village, Greetmond outside Elland, is literally over a hump over a moor with the rivers parallel . So Father used to walk over this moor about six miles when he was courting. How they met originally I don't know. J Was there opposition to the union? B No, but father's family were inclined to petty snobbery and thought that the Mitchells weren't quite up to them. No I don't think there was any serious opposition. They married. They were both by that time I think in the clothing


trade, Mother working in a shop-milliners' shop- Father in an outfitters shop. J What was the year - could you work that out? B No, father was about 30 at the time I was born; they were a similar age - about two years difference. J So it was 1936 you were born so he would have been 28. B Yes J And your Mama was how old,- what was the age difference? B Two years. So then they were both working in Halifax and then business took them to Bradford. J Were they working together by then? B Oh no not at all. They were living in flats as people did in those days in rented accommodation I was conceived in Bradford but Father had the misfortune - one of his staff had had her hand in the till ...(- yes at this time he was a manager of Milletts - now this is pre-war of course,- Milletts became more famous after the war for their ex-military gear-) one of the staff had stolen while under his managership, so he was sent into exile, and he was sent to Preston. And this of course is a great misfortune of my life, if I took such things seriously, because I was born in Lancashire in Preston Infirmary. Of pure Yorkshire stock. But I could never play for Yorkshire at cricket because I was not a Yorkshireman. I'm a Lancastrian. By no allegiance whatever, only by the chance of the circumstances of that birth. J That's a quaint notion. B Well, I think it set everything in motion. I.... I'm not at all... I don't take this seriously. I'm in no way distressed by such things. I was also born on the 11th June so I'm high Gemini, so they tell me, and I know little about these things but everything I've ever read or ever been told about Gemini characters is applicable, so there must be a lot of truth in the star sign theory. I'm and absolute total Gemini. The fact that I spent 25 years as an etcher, that I spent a couple of years as a sculptor but that I'm really a painter, that I've always had a least two, usually three of four properties wherein I might live. Always, as poor as I may have been, I


always had a flat in Fournier St Stepney. Whilst I was with Stella and she did know that. J Fournier St? Someone I'm dealing with at the moment lives in Fournier St. Lovely Georgian houses. B Oh beautiful. At that time I had a lady painting colleague whose husband was a solicitor and he had quite a lot of money and I said to him "You work in the city of London. Why do you live in Islington. Why do you not live within walking distance of your offices? There's a house on the corner of Fournier St. Absolutely perfect in every detail, apart from the dossers on the doorstep, for £12,000. If I had £12,000 I'd buy a property in this street." But we're digressing. J Digression is always agreeable. You haven't bought this place - you're renting this place as well? B Oh yes. Why should I buy it? It's good value for the people who are letting it to me. I'll leave it in better shape than I found it. Sadly, it won't be used in the same way I don't think. Someone might take over the studio. I've got somebody in mind. Andrew Lanyon. J Peter Lanyon's boy? B Yes a smashing lad, super lad. Works in a polytunnel on the old ???? railway J That must get hot in the summer B And cold in the winter. And cluttered. How he does it I don't know and yet he produces these beautiful books, so I thought that by the time he's 50 which he is soon, he might start thinking he needs to change his style a bit. So that would be nice if someone did that. But just to go back to that Bradford/Preston business. Nobody ever calls me a Yorkshireman. I can't say I regret that because I'm not a clubbable person. I don't really need to feel I'm a Yorkshireman. At the age of 14, when one had dreams of opening the batting for a county club it would be for Yorkshire. I had a trial for Yorkshire at one time. Just purely on the strength of a superb leg glide I executed against a fast bowler. And he was so impressed he organised this trial at Bramhall Lane, not knowing I was not a Yorkshireman, and I went along to this trial and of course I wasn't remotely at that standard, but I'd got the leg glide from cigarette cards based on the great Ranji. You just turned the bat, rolled the wrist, both very high - the


opposite to the cut, a shot I could -can- still do if I'm playing well .... Well, it got me a Yorkshire trial. But I could never have taken it up. In a sense that set a pattern which has remained, of not quite belonging. I've not needed to belong, not needed or wished to belong necessarily. Now I'm a Lancashire/Yorkshireman living in Cornwall, very happily. With good friends here and well liked, well accepted. But I'm not a Cornishman. J perish the thought.... B I've got to have my two or three different places, like Jollytown, Tremayne - and Kiora as I had. Now I'm getting my different places all into one yard, at last. A sign of maturity perhaps. J Kiora was where? B Lady St. Shall we eat now, Joss...... ~~~~~~~~ Bryan had been explaining that he had done a cycling trip from Sheffield to Southampton - one day - to stay the night with friends and to return the following day. However a couple of miles from their destination there was an accident.... J So at the age of 18, you were charging around the highways and by-ways of England on your bicycle colliding with motorbikes. B Collided with. J You still remember who was responsible! B They were ever so apologetic, I can remember it even now. He had a female pillion passenger. She was flung into the street. It was totally my fault. J How the hell did you get home? You must have gone back by train or something, did you? B Well we'd been going to stay across from Southampton in the New Forest in a Gypsy caravan. And that's where we stayed. J How did a Gypsy caravan arrive in your life?


B That was the uncle of the colleague with whom I rode. He was an eccentric was the uncle. He built himself a log cabin in the forest - without planning permission - and lived there very happily. And invited Jack -my mate- how old did I say we were -sixteen? J Sixteen? what year would that be? About 1950, {1952} just after planning permission was required... B Well, we had a lovely time. It didn't spoil anything at all. Except my Mum and Dad went into that pub that Aysel telephoned me from -The Crossed Scythes- and another bicycle mate of mine, Owen, who hadn't been involved with this journey, his parents came across to Mum and Dad and said "Oh we are so sorry about your poor lad" and went on about the accident and of course Mum and Dad didn't know anything. J So you got a ticking off over that? B I don't remember J You were any only child, Bryan were you? B Yes, yes absolutely. J Did that weigh on your Mama, or was that something that was intended? B For some medical reason, she couldn't have another child. I never chose to ask. it was some medical reason...mmm...that was it. And we were very poor, couldn't have afforded another child. Very poor, very poor. Mother would take in dress and clothing alterations for neighbours; if a wife's ballgown was too long she'd bring it round to Mrs Ingham and say can you shorten this by tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock. It would be worth 5 shillings Mrs Ingham. For that price she'd have it back. J Did she enjoy sewing, or was this a chore to her? B She enjoyed sewing but she hated this pressure of work. Without that, Father was spending the money. He was down at Millett, working at a big store in East London. His ultimate boss was Joseph Collier. And Father was brilliant at his job, so he got sent off to all places. Belfast, Glasgow, London, Manchester, these were regular trips. So there he was with fine three piece suit, hard stiff collar and lovely silk tie and expenses in his pocket going shindigging round, leaving Mother and son not quite {chuckles} starving but


nearly so; sometimes we were living on bread and dripping whilst Father was wasting the money, - not wasting it, enjoying it. J So there was friction? B Not greatly, no. J Were they a happy couple at that stage? B Yes.....yes. Very.....But Father had his flings, as men do. And not very subtle about it J But he always came home? B Oh yes... yup yup. He was a bit on the charismatic side. J I only met him of course when he was very old. Very charming. And not concentrating on being charismatic at that stage. B At this stage, when he was in his most high-powered job, which he gave up -walked out later- when he was doing this job for - I can't remember- ten years maybe, he was in charge of departments in a clothing store. That meant having maybe 40 staff directly under his supervision, of which 35 were women. So it was inevitable thing that a lively dynamic attractive man would attract lively ambitious shop-girls, as he did. It never came to anything serious. There was never a serious show-down. J What was your Ma's attitude to that? Was she philosophical about it? Or do you think that was something she became in later life..or... B Something we never talked about. One didn't talk, regrettably, with such intimacy with one's parents. Each year we become a little bit more confident, don't we - tell a bit more. But by the time our parents die we haven't really exchanged all the confidences we would like to have done. J I'm sure that's right. -{long pause}- So when your Pa took on the job for Collier was that the time you moved to Totley or had you moved before? B No, we were already there. J And the move to Totley was presumably a step up for them was it?


B Oh yes. A new house. Pre-war it must have been between 1936 and 39 they moved from a suburb of Sheffield up to Bradford after to Bradford, after to Preston, then back to Sheffield, and then the chance to buy their own house, I suppose on the mortgage system. So they were well installed there before the war. So it must have been 37/38. J When did they leave Totley? B When I was in the military, so I'd be 20 years old (J 1958) Could be. Father gave up his job. You see, Father was very good at this job. He was in charge of...he was a buyer. You know that technical term in the clothing trade - and a lot depended in those post-war years on personality. And his bosses would send Father away to say Belfast and he would come back with a lot of Poplin shirts. Some with collars attached, and if you could get socks and a few gross of vests and pants, good. So it was up to him. He had contacts - friends - contacts and he was a very simple man in the nicest way. On those trips he'd be dressed with a bowler hat, striped trousers, black jacket, dark waistcoat, hard collar and silk tie. He would visit a mill the next day in a small town outside Belfast and stay in lodgings, thought he'd go out for a drink and drank a glass of beer and he'd pub down one side of the street and then the other side of the street, and come back saying "Charming people, lovely people". He was vulnerable as hell.... as a man obviously with a bit of money, as a man who was standing out from the local norm with his dress. J Vulnerable's a funny word to use. Perhaps he relished being different? B Well he wasn't different, I mean he was high conformist on these outings. J then why vulnerable? B Well vulnerable in that he was what he looked like, an English clothing textile man coming over to our village or town with money in his pocket an easy then to nobble him and take his bankroll or do whatever. But he found nothing but good will wherever he went, and largely through his ingenuousness and to his simplicity and I use the word simplicity in a good sense. J Did he literally carry a bankroll when he went over there. Presumably he authorised the purchases didn't he?


B As he walked down one side of the street in the little town outside Belfast he probably would have £60 in his pocket which is £500 today, that sort of money. {end of tape side} --Just tuck in now, everything must go. J Perhaps that's what your Father said down on the Falls road. B We went - to break the sequence slightly- we went drinking down in Stepney one evening. I took him to my favourite haunt of all those places, and one that was particularly rough, frequented by African deposed chieftains high on what...carbolic soap?! and distinguished Indian gentlemen -complete con-artists, Cockney wide boys. Father and I, we decided to play bar billiards against a couple of these chaps. I was well known in this pub well known, accepted as a face {rest inaudible} Father always did especially well dealing with the Jewish elements in the clothing business which was highly stratified. He gained their trust and their love and he reciprocated it. He had some wonderful, wonderful friends in business, who finally owed him nothing but continued to respect him and love him and never forget to send him Christmas presents. J D'you still hear from any of them? B They stopped with Father. Until his death he was still receiving generous parcels of for example sports jacket and two pairs of trousers, perhaps a suit, three bottles of whisky, or two bottles of sherry, three boxes of chocolates for Mother, from Mr Sandy Dewhurst, for example. The last person Father worked for. Never made a penny for Dewhurst, only lost money - through force of circumstances - that's another story why, and another story why Father stopped the big time buying expeditions. He was having to drink a lot and socialise a lot and it was getting on top of him so he gave it up totally. J Was there a crisis to make him do that or did he suddenly make a decision? B No, no. He decided. The great Jo, Joseph Collier, came up from London to Sheffield to see Father and said "George, reconsider your position. If you want a post in London...tell me what you want and I'd like to help." J And he wouldn't? B No.


J Simply because he wanted a change of environment or..? B Well we all get... what we now would call stress -they didn't have that word then. J and this was what, in the early sixties? B Before that. I was in Germany at that time J With the military? B Hmm. J Of which more later... B the good thing about doing this, Joss, on your machine, is that you can pick up and say " Now lets talk a little bit more about [J yes exactly] why did Father leave his high flying job... It'll give {unintelligible) possibly to the next set of interviews when we can fill them in. J It's really just a question of rambling on until we feel we've got it all clearly in order. Then we'll find something we've missed and make a Horlicks of the whole thing! It's really just to get the basic outline down onto tape. I'm doing it in a rather ad hoc style here. I suppose another way to do it would be to ask you to write a sort of chronology, a simple chronology. B That can come. J I think this is as good a way of doing it as any. {long pause} B He was given by Jo Collier a heavy silver cigarette case when he finally made the break with the firm. people don't use cigarette cases now do they? J Sadly, like snuff boxes, it becomes a collectors item doesn't it? What happened to that? B I think I gave it to Yorick. I hope he's still got it. It's probably full of Amsterdam joints by now. J That's exactly what it should be for. You would have given it to him if you hadn't thought of that! B At least I've my appetite. You're out of potato.


J I've done immensely well; I must say this lamb is just excellent. It melts in the mouth doesn't it? B Tomorrow evening I'm going to Josephine for supper and the night. So tomorrow lunch time we can make a respectable salad out of this left over. J At lunchtime I don't need to be fed very much anyway. B I'd like you to have one of those horse and jockey pasties. When I was living at Jollytown and Andrew Johnstone used to come fairly regularly. And we had one set meal. And that was boiled sheep, it was breast of lamb. I'd chuck a couple of those and a couple of onions and let them simmer gently. J caper sauce? B No, nothing so refined. I think we had a few potatoes but basically it was just this greasy, marvellous lamb... J You're like my wife -carnivorous! interval for burning pan J How long did you stay at Josephine's? B Not sure. Could be about ten years. Not all the time. one or two years I commuted from Jollytown to Tremayne and then slowly I saw the potential of Tremayne and Julie had left having put in skylights and concrete floor. So I said to Josephine if I make it really habitable can I use it for three quarters of the year and when your family want to come round and use it....No, she said you do that and you have the use of it. So I spent, I remember £4,000 on making the ceiling and the floor and the woodwork and the stove. And Josephine never asked a penny rent. I've given her pictures so....I think they were good value. But they bought a picture at this last exhibition for five thousand quid. J Well that's a nice sort of affirmation.. B Well it rather embarrasses me because it had been lying around in the studio, and she really only needed to say I really like that. **** B About 4 years ago when I was in Spring St in that lovely room and Sally was sat down on one of the low down seats, nearly eleven o'c;lock at night and I go across saying " Look, Sal, let's sleep together tonight ,Sal"


"I don't think this would be a good idea, Bryan." "I don't mean anything sexual let's just lie together." "They all say that, Bryan" {Both laugh} and then the following Christmas three or four months later I sent her a Christmas card that said "Happy Christmas to Sal. They all say that!" She's sitting on a beautiful portrait in a little letter I wrote to her when I first came down to Cornwall living in Kynance Cove, serving in the Cream tea trade. I'd have been about 22 years old, and Sal sent me a letter. We were friends, and it was a letter written on an old typewriter and the spelling was bad and everything was bad about this typewritten letter and she said I hope you'll excuse my bad typing. Of course I had nothing much to do in the evening, oil lamp on the table. I took her typewritten letter and wrote her back a letter in a similar vein, but done in HB pencil on hard white paper exactly copying the type and the mistakes in the type so it looked absolutely like a typewritten letter except it had taken days or maybe weeks, I can't remember -ages- to do this half page letter in response to hers. And a long time later I said to her did you get my letter? Oh yes, yes. I said did you get the joke? She said what joke? I said I'd done it by hand, not typewriter. But no, she'd thrown it away..... J Oh dear.. B It could have been Andy Warhol before his time! Shall we go and sit down now and relax. {pause} J So Bryan describe to me the alchemy by which from cycling across the roads of England at the age of 18 you ended up by becoming an artist. You had National Service at some stage. Did you go straight out of grammar school to National Service? B No, no, no. The beauty of that and I mean very much was.... I left grammar school at 16 - I left it a bit early because they didn't have any interest in me , in art, music, universities. Never that was discussed. Quite normal. J But they encouraged your artistic side? B No, no, well absolutely not, no. J Had you been aware of it? B No J You didn't know you could draw or....


B There was a stage I think in the 3rd form or maybe the 4th form where there was a split where selected pupils could take music or art and I was chosen for neither, though I have a very good eye and ear for music and obviously a certain raw ability for visual art. So I've got not great respect for that particular place. Either one left I think at about fifteen and a half to carry on one's cycling career. I had two O levels. I was allowed to take four, and I succeeded in two. J Which were they d'you remember? B English Language and Geography. Narrowly failed in English literature, and... I can't remember what the other one was. Mathematics, I would think. Mcleod{??} The Headmaster announced one morning after our trial examinations. The results were out of a hundred. The headmaster announced to the assembly "I have to report something that has never been done before, and I hope never will be done again. In the mock examinations in Mathematics, Mr Bryan Ingham has scored nil." It had never been done , ever. Of course everyone surreptitiously clapped and cheered and the headmaster treated it as a joke. The only man ever to do that. Took a lot of doing! J I suppose you avoided writing you name at the top of the notepaper..... B Chemistry, physics all horrible horrible horrible... So no I was glad to get out of there - I don't want to talk about that place very much. Only one good person in that place. Was an English teacher, who had been seconded because of ill health, and his name had run around the school - Paddy Kershaw. Teacher of English. And I must have met him in my last year at the grammar school. And Paddy Kershaw would recite passages from Shakespeare in a way that made them lively. I can still remember Paddy Kershaw describing a man with a snuff box "Twixt his finger and his thumb he took a pouncet-box..." I can't remember how it goes on now {nb: pouncet-box was in fact a pomander-a pierced box.} I've had too much to drink but....he brought the great speeches alive, but more than that he read one's essays, which we had to do for English and he would write as much after my essay as I had written in my essay saying "I think this a very interesting idea, and I think you've got a good start. You got a bit lost in the middle and the conclusion is a bit weak but nonetheless a good effort - do keep this up...why don't you try..." and so on. He really got me going. And I'd go out on long bike rides looking at country houses and landscape, noting down details which I suppose I thought would


impress and as I wrote down "The lime grove to the old sixteenth century manor house I observed....." I would write like this. And Mr Kershaw would write "Very good, but a little bit solemn - just relax a little bit" And that put one right, right in the way. Only had him for maybe a term or two terms. The only teacher who really encouraged me J What about your fellow pupils; d'you still remember... d'you have any contact with any of them? B All gone. But the last time I saw Paddy Kershaw, cycling back from my tailoring job in Sheffield. About three miles out of Sheffield is a cricket ground. Pub on the left, pub on the right. Great big tree. I couldn't say an oak tree or an elm tree, half way across the cricket pitch. And I stopped my bicycle to walk down to the pitch. A late summer's afternoon/evening. And then I saw it was the stocky asthmatic figure of Paddy Kershaw bowling leg breaks to the opposition, and shrewdly, and getting them out and I thought yes, you're my man Mr Kershaw! That was the only good memory I had out of my grammar school. J And you went out and took a job straight after grammar school, did you? B Yes, well then at that age you knew you had to go into the military at 18 - no option unless you wanted to go to Art school or university, and that had never been discussed at my grammar school. I decided I wanted to go to Art school J What decided you on that, if you hadn't done any drawing or anything of that sort? B Well I had. I'd done drawings from...well a young age. J So that was entirely self taught. Had you no..mentor? B Yes as a boy scout where you have your triangular badges on your sleeve - you had your housewife badge which shows a broom head. Were you ever a scout? J No, I managed to avoid it, thank God. B Well it was very important in my life. J Was it? B Oh absolutely, absolutely. I was very very fortunate, but that's another story to tell at a separate stage.


J Well, hang on, just go on with it for the moment. It's important in a sense that we should keep the thing going. What I'm trying to get at is where this draftsmanship came from. B Well, a part of this badge hunting was I liked drawing, so why didn't I go for my artist badge? And the lady examiner for the artist badge was I suppose a middle aged blue rince lady who did water colours about that size on Watman board of Cotswold cottages and hollyhocks and roses. Beautiful pictures, beautiful pictures. Lovely pictures. And we spent an evening together and she showed me her pictures. I thought they were so wonderful she gave me one. She said you passed your badge, on the strength of my watercolours. And then I used to go out into Gillyfield wood with a little block and paint my water colour of a little lych gate with at the bottom right hand corner "a beech tree" - that sort of thing. But by that time I knew I was a bit interested in art, and one of my cycling mates Owen looked a little bit like the man from Arles in the portrait by Vincent Van Gogh, and Owen and I were a little bit in love - we never consolidated that, great pity we never did, but we were very fond of each other and that Van Gogh portrait stayed with me until I went into the military and then in the military well, I was very fortunate, I shared accommodation with somebody who'd been at the Royal College of Art as a designer. And he encouraged me and he set up still life subjects and I started painting. In RAF Celle in Germany. And I painted on hardboard. About so many pictures from top to bottom {indicating level with hand}. J So that's stacked? B Yup. J Shit! B Pallet knife, thin paint, everything. The sort of rubbish you have to get through before you really start to get on. But I had all the time this good John Wheatly Pickle who stood by me and encouraged me. And after a while in the RAF billeting system, there were 3 of us in a room about this size. German barracks. Nazi barracks. Then we managed to get rid of one person so there were two of us. So then I set up an easel, my paints and bit I became known to the corporals and sergeants and Flight sergeants and Flying officers and Flight lieutenants as "that arty chap who can't really be pushed into our mould. All right let him go his way." And they gave me a lot of rope. And that's when I


painted all those rubbishy pictures. From postcards of Bavaria and Scandinavia and still-lifes.. J D'you have many of those left? B Just one belongs to my mothers nephew Stanley up in Yorkshire. Not a good picture. Vat 69 whisky with a candle in it with wax running down, a half finished oil painting. A thick leather-bound volume painted in the Dutch tromp l'oeil manner. Not worth keeping. But still extant. All the rest were destroyed. But that whole military thing will keep for another tape, another evening J I have a feeling that the thing is going to come together quite organically. One is on a thread here, and one should stay on the thread. So when you came out of the military you had served your apprenticeship as it were by getting all that...all that banality out of the way B yup, yup. J And what happened then? B Well I'd told my Father at one stage, one holiday I suppose. He said " Now, lad, what're you going to do?" We've missed out now a most important stage, the two years I worked in the tailoring department in Cole Brothers Sheffield. J This was prior to National Service? B Yes. J Yes I'm taking this thread through at the moment on the artistic side. B After that, when I was home on leave one time my Father said " Now, lad, what're you going to do?" hoping that I'd then say well, I'd like to become a commercial buyer like yourself, Father, or can you find me a post or go back to Cole Brothers where they thought very well of me and become a departmental head myself and wear a black jacket and striped trousers. There's no sneering at that at all. I respected all of that absolutely. I loved it. And I said "No, no Father, I've decided. I want to become a painter." " Oooh!" he said, and his face lit up. "Oh, this is a bit strange. I always wanted to be a painter myself, lad and as you know we were poor in those days and I had to go and work at that greengrocer down Tool Lane..." 100 yards from the house that I've told you about.. he worked in the greengrocer


where they also served game and Father'd had to paunch overripe hare and rabbits - all game. He didn't want that at all. He wanted to be a house painter, that was his wish. But he had to start like that work at the grocer and paunching hares. J So when his face lit up he thought you wanted to be a house painter? B He immediately thought I wanted to be a house painter and he said "Oh, lad, I'm so pleased. I always wanted to do that but you know how it went and pauching those bloody hares. Maggots as big as your finger! Some of these people kept them ten days hanging, until they were crawling.. but that was my job, so all right, I did that and then got out of that then got into my other jobs in the clothing trade and so on, a painter that's what.." I said "Dad, I think you're misunderstanding. I mean an artist." "Bloody 'ell!" said Dad "Bloody 'ell!" His face fell. That's what he said -bloody 'ell. And he didn't pursue it. I don't remember now but I think he said in the same conversation well right, lad, if that's what you want to do I'll support you. And he did. J What, morally or.. B Materially. £3 a week. Three pound notes every Saturday morning in my letterbox. Rent in those days was thirty shillings to three pounds a week. My rent was £3 a week. I earned my money dish washing. Every Saturday morning there was a letter from Father, written in upper case - he didn't do joined up writing 'cos no one could read it - always upper case. Wonderful letters, saying what he'd done -"RIGHT LAD, GORDON CAME OVER FRIDAY AFTERNOON. WENT OUT UP THE DALES. STOPPED FOR A GLASS.." and then he'd describe the whole jaunt.."FINISHED UP WITH LOVELY HAM AND EGGS AT GIGGLESWICK. NICE POT OF TEA, AND THEN SLOWLY HOME. LOVELY DAY. GORDON'S IN GOOD FORM. TOLD SOME GOOD STORIES." reflections like that. With three pound notes every Saturday reliably. But whilst I was in Germany I started thinking about where could I go for my art education. So I applied to the local school Dewsbury and Batley Technical and Art College, and they wrote back a very civil letter saying they'd give me £80 a year grant as I was living with my parents and give me the education. And I thought, well, that's not a good idea. Well it was an attractive thing. I could have lived well, been a provincial big-boy, but I thought no I've got to go to London. I wrote to St Martin's which was the big college of the time. Enclosed my sketch books and my drawings. Very bad, very


poor work. I remember with embarrassment one double page of my sketch book. Drawings of my army boots on the table in front of me. Black graphite pencil on shiny cheap paper and at the bottom "Left Boot" "Right boot" in brackets (with apologies to Osbert Sitwell).{Both laugh} How pretentious and horrible can you be at the age of 19? J I'm sure they'd seen worse. What did St Martin's say? B They accepted me. maybe they accepted me on the strength of my naivété and pretentiousness, not on the strength of my skill. J Well, it obviously wasn't all bad. And you took it up? B And I took it up, absolutely. And of course it was the place to be. On the edge of a very lively sewer {??} just after the coffee bar revolution. With the drinking clubs. A wonderful time. Again, that's for another tape. I'll tell you about.. J When did you go to St Martins. That would be what 1952 B I went when I was 21. I was born in 36. J So you went up to St Martin's in 1957 then. B I know, when they let me out of the military after 3 years I wasn't intelligent enough to do 2 years - had to do 3 years. And that again is a very good story. I remember that summer I was let out in June and I had my place at the end of September in St Martin's . And I took my bicycle and rode around England. I rode down to South Wales down the Welsh Marches, stopping in Shrewbury and Worcester and places like that in Youth Hostels. Wonderful, wonderful time. Worcester. And all these places were not buggered up at that time you see. They hadn't knocked down the old seventeeth century ruins to make the car parks, they were still there. And the old bookshops were still there. And bookshops were very important - I was buying books all the time. So that was a wonderful summer of liberation. One was under pressure in the military though I got away with it enormously and loved it and hated it. It was a very fine testing ground. I learnt so much then. My contemporaries didn't know me particularly well. They called me Professor, though I wasn't overtly wise or learned or whatever but I was Professor. If there was any difficult argument to be solved..... ¬¬end of Tape 1¬¬ [they would ask me to resolve it] {Start Tape 2}


J So, have you got Anthony Powell's new volume of diaries booked? B I'm at a crossroads in my reading, I don't know whether to read the books I've always wanted to read or read the books I haven't yet thought of reading, if you know what I mean. I don't know whether to read all the Surtees books that I haven't yet read or whether to settle down with Dance to the Music of Time and read it in sequence having read four or five of them - not easy going - or conversely to start reading Dickens. J Well, while you're busy trying to decide, I suggest you try Patrick O'Brian. That'll keep you quiet for a while. B I'm an absolute snob when it comes to reading. J Well I can tell you one thing you won't find anything higher class. When the history of literature of the 20th century is written, Patrick O'Brian will be right up there. B What do you think of Dance to the Music of Time, have you read the sequence? J No I haven't. I hadn't come across Anthony Powell until I read a little bit of his diaries which are about to be published in the Telegraph about a week ago. They're not at all literary in the literary diary sense... B Soft option, are diaries, of all writers. They're lovely reading and easy reading J Well I'm a great man for a soft option occasionally, Bryan! I just tripped over it.. B I like biographies increasingly. It amazes me whatever people did. J have you seen the Daily Telegraph books of Obituaries. They are wonderful bog reading. Superb. B Hugh Massingberd. J Yes, he's the editor. But the people who write the obits, they're quite a wide team. There are two volumes now. I've only got the second book , which is absolutely wonderful. Everything from Albert Pierrepoint to some horse coper who was known right through the gypsy community. And an English nanny who lived in the Loire all her life and became a heroine of the French Resistance. Its marvellous stuff. The


joy of it is that none of the obituaries is more than a few pages long so you have this series of staggering lives laid out for you. B I love the Obit page. I enjoy it practically every day. You've not yet , Joss, got to the age where the first thing you look for is the date of birth. If it's 1937 it's Christ, but if its 1910 it all to the good. Of course the military buggers are the one who live longest aren't they? J Those wonderful old boys. Superb. Been torpedoed three times. Survived on a Arctic raft for three weeks covered in ice and shit and fuel oil and one thing and another, and then go on and have a distinguished career in ICI and die at the age of 95.... {long pause} So you started at St Martins, but you met Perth when you were at the RCA. Did you go from St Martins to the RCA? B Yes, yes. J So you did, what three years at St Martins? B Four. J And did that lead to a formal qualification or.. B Yes. and then Carel Weight, Professor Carel Weight, would come over to the St Martin's and have a look at the people that Frederick Gore, head of the painting department would suggest as being likely applicants and against all the odds I was suggested as an applicant for the RCA; nearly missed my chance through being too glib, too articulate. Making them think I thought I knew it all while I knowing absolutely sod all, - was quite clever with what they wanted to know. I heard this afterwards. and I was accepted at the RCA which was very fortunate. J What was the course you were accepted on? B Just post-graduate three years. No teaching at all really. But a lot of good company, valuable contacts all that sort of thing. But I've recently read a novel by a man aged I suppose about ten years, fifteen years younger than myself who studied at Wakefield Art college, only down the road from my Dewsbury and Batley College of Art. And I could have been a part of that set-up. And.... what living in London, Soho, Charing Cross Road drinking clubs, the artists the broken-down people the tarts, what that did for one's education compared with the lads at Wakefield studying


under second-rate teachers. They were maybe learning a little bit about drawing and we were learning a little bit about drawing and learning a hell of a lot about other things, about life. And the distinction, the difference is forever. J As far as technique, draftsmanship and so on was it St Martin's that put you on the right rails? B Yes, yes we had very good teachers there, taught us drawing. Hard objects to draw and some very good teachers. I could quote all of their names. Excellent names. Very unplanned{?}. This stepped studio with a........ model or an out of work Shakespearian actor with a G string clutching a spear down on the rostrum and there you are drawing it, not very exciting. And the teacher would tap you on the back and say come, let's have a look at the drawing...{unintelligible}.......a good teacher, about the last generation of quality teaching. Vivian Pitchforth, - was in the first world war - stone deaf - he was a gunner- and when he came into the studio of course the door - CRASH! Bang! And you'd think what the hell??? Just Mr Pitchforth coming in without knowing he was.... and he would write notes, and we would write notes to him. He'd tap you on the shoulder and in broad Yorkshire accent: "RIGHT, LET ME SIT DOWN LAD YOU'RE GOING WRONG ON THAT LEFT LEG" And you'd stand up and he'd sit down and he'd draw that left leg relative to everything else so well so beautifully -all skill. and then he'd go "FOLLOW THE LINE NOW YOU SEE HAVE THE BALANCE OF THOSE FROM UP, PIT OF THE NECK, FOLLOW IT DOWN RIGHT BY HIS PRIVATE PARTS AND THEN GO DOWN DROP IT AND JUST GO ACROSS...." that's how he'd talk. And that was fine teaching. You don't get that sort of teaching any more. No, no rewards for that sort of teaching. You did your best, and your drawings weren't very good. But they got better. You see nowadays they encourage the students to be artists. Mr Pitchforth wasn't thinking I'm an artist, he was thinking I was a young lad who couldn't really see where the weight of the volume and the stresses were placed, and he could demonstrate that. In ten minutes with basic lines. And one could respect that he was on to the right thing. No question - I didn't question his artistic credentials. He was a watercolourist, painting big landscape watercolours. It didn't come into it though. I knew that he could see.. J they weren't half bad either. B No, not at all, none of them were bad. Archibald Zeigler, a lovely Jewish man. I'd be sitting down and making his


comments he'd always go to the back of the room and wash his hands. I don't know whether this was a Jewish thing. He'd go right around the whole class, twenty students, and after every session of drawing he'd go back and wash his hands and come to me, the next student. These were lovely teachers. J Did you ever come across a man called Luard B Luard? No J He must have been teaching at the Slade at about the same time. B The Slade was correct, traditional, an excellent place. The Royal College of Art was a little bit louche. And retrospectively, I don't think the Slade would have crushed my spirit, but it might have done, and the Royal College of Art didn't do a lot for me but didn't crush me. I benefitted by being with the wide boys! J And the social life that went with it or.. B Yes. The Bonzo Dog Doodah Band... all those funny things that were happening up and down the road. The Slade College were always great rivals with the Royal College at that time. But the Slade was always purer, always more English and more correct. And this really brings me back to: conceived in Bradford, born in Preston, brought up in Totley, a mile short of the Derbyshire border in South Yorkshire, not quite fitting or belonging. A living too perfect for me to have been a Slade boy. If I'd been born and bred in Bradford and then been accepted to the Slade via St Martin's, then I would have had a very classic upright education. But I didn't quite get that. I got a rather more rickety glamorous education, which I then threw away of course. Do you understand what I'm saying? J Yes I do. Why did you throw it away? B Well, I never played on my background or taken advantage of it. J You don't want to become a sort of art establishment figure? B I could have been, totally totally totally. I could have been a Royal Academician by the time I was 35 etc etc. But no, I had no turning toward that way. I'd come to Cornwall amongst other things and made friends and so on...


Now all the people who were violently anti RCA violently anti RA -that's another story for another tape - are now all Royal Academicians, and it was I who recommended them to cross that line from outsiders to become insiders. I recommended them, and now they are the power, although I never did it myself. I'm quite proud of that. J Who are you thinking of? B Peter de Franseer,{??} who'll probably be the next President of the RA, Joe Tilson, Sandra Blow -Oh a whole heap of them. Who were violently against the RA at the time when the RA was looking after me very well, when I was at the Royal College with Professor Weight, my mentor, and they treated me wonderfully. I had two pictures five foot by eight foot hung centre piece in Gallery 3, the gallery, - the gallery on opposite walls, the most prime positions in the whole summer exhibition and that's happened on numerous occasions when I showed there. Never been rejected. Sold pictures for a lot of money. And then they dropped out on me. Meanwhile, Tilson and de Franseer, Peter Blake were all muttering "this is the establishment you don't want anything to do...." I said "Look, you can say that, you'll never improve it. Why don't you join it. They've asked you to join it, well, accept their invitation." And now I see they're all in the high echelons of that.. J Running the show? B Yup. No, I think I'm going to go to my grave as nonclubbable and proud of it. I mean in a town like this if one were an RA they would think the world of you, what little they know. But it's much nicer just to be as one is. J What happened to make you want to do without all that? B It was nothing strong, just... J Not a single thing it was just organic...? B Yes, absolutely, nothing dramatic at all. After the RCA, One year of teaching, living in my studio in Stepney for my seventh year. Then a wonderful year in Rome, and then, having discovered Jollytown I thought that's where I must go, so another year after Rome back in Stepney, and then out to Jollytown. J, What year would that have been? About 1965?


B Maybe, thereabouts yuh, yuh 1968 I began etching and I was at Jollytown then. J Did you have a studio down here? B It was shortly after I moved down here. Then I moved over the St Ives. J You were in the Digey with Stella at one point. B I was making a mistake there. J Did you? B Always had Jollytown. I did stay there a lot in the end and so on. J But you had a studio in Porthmeor Studios. B Yes, at one stage. I was never really at St Ives. J You were becoming a bit of an item there, actually at one point. perhaps more that you're remembering now? {pause} to my younger observation anyway. B {to the cat} Katy, What d'you think of that pile of meat? Good girl! You deserve a treat. J Did you know Stella in London, or was Stella the reason you moved down here? B No, not at all, no. I met Stella in..... The first summer I spent at Jollytown was with a Yorkshire sculptor who was my neighbour in the British School at Rome. We shared a lot.... J What, male or female? B Including the redhaired XXXX Sxxxx. J I see, right….. B And I set off on my lambretta one January morning. I remember putting my arm around Jim and saying "Look after XXXX, I'll be back in two months. And bugger me, he did. When I got back I was out of the picture, ha ha. J Did that upset you a lot? B No, all red head girls are thick and fast!! Oh my God, yes... That's another tape as well! And when I came back to start


life at Jollytown with Jim Weston - it must be the second year I was here, I brought some of my paintings back from Rome. He'd finished in Rome. He'd got four months with no commitments. Yes yes that's right. I'd been living in London in that previous era and I'd cleared up there and finally got to Jollytown in late summer, the summer when Tommy Simpson, the bike rider, died. Can you remember that? J Didn't he have a heart attack on Mont Ventoux? B I travelled down in the removal wagon from Stepney to Jollytown with tears streaming down my face- that was fairly recent news. Then Jim arrived and we agreed he would stay three months at Jollytown. And I've never spent a happier three months in my life. If ever you want a recipe for domestic bliss it's two men living together in clear cut circumstances "Jim, I'm going to do the cooking and the marketing. You do the cleaning and the washing-up etcetera" "Right" And we never had a cross word. And that was the year I grew some cannabis plants, that were so tall. Thick as my wrist the main stems. We harvested these and laid them out on straw up in the spare bedroom. We weren't very good at rolling the complicated joints, but we managed. He'd never smoked in his life. And we set off to party at Brill, which is near Constantine. Of course a six foot lady with very big breasts had taken an interest in me and failed to meet me at the New Inn, Mullion, one evening. Later it transpired she had a very good reason but I stayed in the New Inn at Mullion until closing time waiting for this big bosomed lady who didn't arrive, and I rode my Lambretta back having drunk barley wine as I remember. And of course I rode...well the road went round like that and of course I carried straight on, knowing full well that the road went round, but there was nothing I could do about it. Have you ever had that experience, where you're riding in the middle of the road and then on the wrong side of the road and you know you can't do much about it? Terrible. Very drunk, very drunk.... So I walked back from where I'd had the accident with my bike, walked back about 4 miles covered in mud. Jim up the ladder "That you?" "Yes, Jim" "Why're you so late?" "Bit of a problem on the road, I think I'm badly injured, come and have a look. Daren't look at it myself", and my hands were terribly cut. Jim came down the ladder. We lit the candles and I put my arms out " Right, doctor first thing in the morning." "Right, Jim" Went to the doctor first thing in the morning got all these bandages and etcetera then went then to that girl’s party at Brill. And that was the time I plucked the first bit of the hashish. Rolled the joints as though I 'd done a bit of this before. And we were so stoned before we even left Jollytown. We had a 15 hundredweight


van with sliding doors and it was a misty Cornish late summer evening. and I suppose we were going about 15 mile an hour. Really weird really {?} Ever so stoned. We stopped at the pub in Mullion to buy a bottle of Rocamar... J Oh my God.... B You remember.... J And Nicholas...... and the pink…… B And I just couldn't believe what was happening there. Jim was sat there by his girl saying I'm all right I'm all right so we found our way to this party and that's where I met Stella. It's a long long story. J Of a party at Brill. Stoned. B Very stoned with my big breasted admirer still in the running. But I met Stella and rather fancied Stella. And I admired the way she was drinking her beer. One by one the drinkers disappeared. Jim and me slowly became the two active males and running around and Stella that's your name isn't it, Stella, have another glass right through 'til dawn, Jim and I ran, and people were collapsed, went away. Stella went away said If you want to find me, you'll find me in the Sloop on a Saturday lunchtime. And that was our introduction. J She was with Benny at that stage? B Finishing. J I just remember Benny. B That's that drawing that you noticed on the board, on the floor today The landscape from the window. that was when she was moving out from Benny's property We were popping purple hearts together at that time. J Oh bloody hellfire.... B that was the very first night we heard Sergeant Pepper the LP. We arrived through our haze of dope to a house on the top of a hill. Thick mist. We said, well this must be it. It could have been anywhere. And like up there there was a table for about 12 and they were all sat round eating. Jim and I walked in. Nobody I recognised. No hostess. Jim said "Is this right y'know..?" So we found our way into another


room where the gramaphone was and put this gramaphone record on and it was Sgt Pepper. And then about an hour later our hostess arrived and everything was good and then it was an all-night party. Then it was dawn. Everybody had gone The room littered with half-drunk glasses of beer, draught beer. And we drank and finished the beer off, washed the glasses, swept the floor, all the glasses put upside down on teatowels. Left it immaculate. the sun came up about half past six. Jim said we need some cigarettes where's the nearest town. I said Falmouth. He said well you go down to Falmouth and pick me up on the way back and we left the place like that. We left it immaculate. Perfect guests. That's when I met Stella. Never did get it together with the big bosomed lady. J well you did much better than that by the sound of things. B Stella wasn't impressed. I'd got my arm by this time in a sling after the drinking accident, and the bandage got dirtier and dirtier and Stella told me afterwards she said to herself what the hell am I doing going out with a guy like this. Rough. But we brought her out to Jollytown and she wasn't impressed at all, what with my dirty bandage and our poverty {chuckles} She thought I've been through all this it isn't what I want at all...I want some nice rich smooth man to make life easy.... J Well.... B Nine years together, Stella and I. Plus the fun of bringing up Yorick whom Benny Seroto had tyrannised. Yorick was a weed. He was in a terrible state. He'd have been about nine years old. And he'd been used to being bullied at every meal, being told don't do that and... Benny was very bad for him. And I was good for him. I had the opportunity of parenthood, and I loved it. He was just the right age for me as well. Playing football with his mates down the car park at Porthgwidden and so on. The little boys would come up and "can Bryan come out?" {laughing} Stella was "Oh, what sort of a man have I got here?!" J It was nice at The Digey, I remember that. B Well, we've not done very well with the Roquefort cheese, which I always say is the best cheese in the world. J Well I had a good go at it at lunchtime. No, I shall be seeing the little people if I do that.. if you're tossing and turning at night, the last thing you want is Roquefort cheese last thing. Definitely.


{end of tape for 12th May 1997} {Start tape for 13th May 1997} B It would be about 16 or 17 years ago in the evening in the kitchen at Jollytown with Stella and Isabelle literally just pulling the cork on a bottle of Piesporter when a head popped over the hedge and said {german acent} "Please I am lost can you help me?" So we hauled this German lady in to the kitchen, offered her a glass of her native wine. She was not interested; she had to get to Mullion. Well as you know Jollytown to Mullion is along the cliffs, what, about three miles, a good three miles. Up and down to sea level and up again. And there was no more than thirty minutes of daylight left. So I said well you can't go that way, you'll fall over the cliff and disappear for ever. "Oh no, I must go that way" I said you can't. I said I'll take you on my motorbike. "Oh no, no, my husband is walking from Mullion and he has torch.." So we had to let her go. I was wearing clogs at the time I remember. I said you must do as I do now and I broke into a run of a hundred yards, quite fast, and then a brisk walk of a hundred yards and then a run of a hundred yards she was by my side, until we got to the cliff path. I said now you cannot fail to be aware of the cliff. You must be very careful , you've got about 25 minutes before it's very dark indeed and I don't recommend this. Off you go. So she {laughs} ran off into the sunset and next day to my chagrin I saw coming down the track a green Volkswagen saloon, rather nice and old and battered, with lots of hands coming out and waving Teutonic greetings. And it was she, with her husband, with her three children, come to say thank you. Which I didn't welcome at all, because I was hoping for a quiet time with Stella. And although I was quite short with them, I couldn't deny their good will. They gave me a big bottle of Schinkenhaage, half a dozen bottles of good Bremische beer, a large piece of salami with a bunch of flowers tied to it. All typical of this family as I've since discovered. And so they really imposed themselves on me and became friends without my encouragement very much. And then that year or the following year they bought some etchings which, as you remember, to sell an etching , which was £35, was a big big event. And they bought three etchings. And then another year they said can we take a cross section of your work back to Bremen because we'd like to show them to some galleries. I let them do that, forgot all about it and a couple of years later I had a telephone call from a very excited Seigfried Mattern saying the Kunsthalle of Bremen wish to show your etchings in the Kuntverstein{??} Kabinett. Well I was so ignorant at that time that I thought the Kunstahalle Bremen I thought was a


post ofice on the corner of the street selling fluffy toys and souvenirs. "I don't want to sell my etchings in this Kunsthalle, what is this Kunsthalle anyway" "The most distinguished museum in Northern Germany." So I agreed to that. What they'd done was to take my work to Bremen's leading art critic a man called Herr Albrecht - sounds a bit Wagnerian - and Herr Albrecht had said yes, this is to be taken seriously, it's the real McCoy. They weren't quite sure whether they'd picked a bummer not being sure of their art, so that reassured them and he in turn spoke to the director of the Kunsthalle, who said as it happens there is a slot between Matisse and Kokoschev{?} {laughing} And at the same time they showed my work to a distinguished gentleman in Worpswede, the man who founded the Atelier House scheme which is a complex of studios, six studios down in the water meadows to which young artists -or old artists, artists of any age, from all over the world are invited by a jury of six people who've seen their work and if appropriate they come over from Chile, from New Zealand, from Eastern Germany as it used to be, from Russia, from Czechoslovakia. In a quiet way it was Herr Martin Kauscher's way of making reparations. Though somebody once told me what he did in the war. He was a window dresser in Berlin {laughs} I can think of no more surreal occupation in this totally ruined city than getting up and going to work for your department store. J You'd be bloody lucky if there were any windows to dress.. B Quite, quite. Anyway Herr Kauscher is a fine man and this was his brainchild. It started with a committee and one by one he like a cuckoo chucked them out of the nest - he didn't want any help, any advice from anybody. He knew what he wanted to do. Right down to the extent of if a light bulb would fail in one of the studios, the artist would phone up the Kauscher household and Martin Kauscher would come down on his bicycle with a new light bulb. Up until his sixty fifth year. Wonderful man. Anyway, he saw the etchings, saw the Kunsthalle show and without me going before a jury he said he'd like me to be their guest for nine months. I said I can afford to be poor in Cornwall but I can't afford to be poor in Germany. He said don't worry about that, I'll get you money from the German government in Bonn. And he did. And I was taken out to Worspwede and shown the studios. And I was appalled. I thought Worpswede looked like middle class mid America. Neat little gardens, neat little houses, not at all the shambling romantic village one had been led to believe through the pictures of Ahle Bendel Moderson and Heinrich Vogler. They were painted about the turn of the century, of course. and I went back to my friends and I said I


could never live there. It's an awful place. Never, never never. They were practically in tears. And I think I let it ride for a year, and I can't remember why or how but circumstances changed so I said that yes, I would be grateful for this scholarship. And so I went for nine months. At the end of nine months I was doing so well that I said may I stay for another 3 months. yes , you can, but you'll have to stay in this little cupboard underneath the stairs in the old Rathaus. I said well frankly I'm more at home here in this cupboard under the stairs than I ever was in the luxury studio with its washing machine and its bath hot water that would come up to the rim. Every modern contrivance in the the studio - it was quite unnecessary. So I stayed under the stairs which adjoined the etching department and I liked that part of it so much that the following year I said could I come now not as an official guest but as an informal guest under the stairs that way I would do scholarship people out of a place. In fact it was suggested to me, I don't think I asked. Anyway, I became very popular in the village. They loved to have a resident Englishman. Loved, love English people. And one who would talk to them in English even better. And my German speaking ambitions disintegrated.

“Worpswede” - Collage

J Well you obviously got to understand quite a bit. B Yes, not as much as people think. I think really the extent of my foreign languages in Italy, France or Germany is I can go into a bar or a restaurant and speak with good accent plausibly about the things to hand. I can order my food and drink as though I'm a perfect linguist. And it only needs for a child to wander in and look up at me and say something...


J...and you're stuffed B {laughing} No idea, totally stuffed....... "Guten Abend ... ah ja, heute ich must ein kleines bier, ein und drei, bitte, und korn, korn normalische, ja. danke shon." J preparing to distend the liver.. B And the village having this artistic heritage just as long as Newlyn, almost to within a year, as Newlyn has been a colony of artists, so has Worpswede. And the people are very self-conscious about this. They think it's a very special legacy. They think the Worpswede artists were very special indeed. In fact they're not, they're very provincial and rather boring. Interesting in their own historical period but in the broadest way not at all. J In terms of landscape is there any inspiration there? B Scarcely at all. It's flat as far as the eye can see. There's one tiny little hill of a couple of hundred feet called the Viabel with a church on top, and that's the only distinctive break in the landscape. It's not unattractive land. Often with sandy cobbled narrow roads cutting a straight line for miles and miles. Sandy sides to the road. Birch trees growing up. Birch trees are the tree of the district. Sand and peat and drained land is the nature of the land. Still drained with dykes between the meadows. The whole lot was first drained in the eighteenth century by a man called ?????? {Unintell} Quite famous. He turned it from useless land to prosperous farmland. An attractive landscape, but again the Worpswede people imagine that one goes back year after year to pay homage to Paolo Becker Modelson and to gasp in front of this landscape. Where here any square mile knocks it into a cocked hat. Once they actually come here, the penny drops. One's kidding them a bit to say Oh what a beautiful landscape it is there. They'd like Lincolnshire, I suppose. But, for the first time in my life I found as an artist I was treated with respect by ordinary people. By the garage mechanic or the man in the grocery shop, or the old farmer in the pub, and that was the first time I experienced this. I went into the pub the first time having done the shopping, and I said Ein bier, and the fellow behind the bar asked me aren't you a stranger here. What are you doing? I said I'm staying at Verdebein. What do you do? I'm an artist kunstler - Oh......and the old farmer sat there and shouted across in German Give the young man a schnapps. I was told later that this old farmer never bought anybody ever in his whole lifetime a drink but to welcome an English artist...give him a schnapps.


J Very nice. B Yes, yes and I found that that status held with every social group. One was a person to be cultivated as an Englishman and as an artist and as a guest. And the momentum of that welcome was never lessened. If anything it increased. Almost to an embarrassing degree. They loved to hear English stories. And English jokes. I told them English jokes and they would love it. And you could hold a whole room with a story. Something you wouldn't dream of trying in an English social environment. It's largely thanks to that that I developed a taste for telling stories. I would paraphrase a Conan Doyle story. The Friends,- a very strange story, and I'd been invited to a birthday party, and it was completely German speaking. We came in from the garden and sat around this enormous round table, we'd have been about forty guests, and I haven't opened my mouth once, and the chatting was general and drinking. And I though well I've got to make my party contribution and then go. I can't just silently go wouldn't be good form, so I chose a gap and then said clearly and slowly. "Now I know most of you understand English quite well. I would like to tell you a little story. It will last about five minutes." And I had my audience like that and the story all hinges on a punch-line "It is I." And the tension you could feel in the room was wonderful. The English seem to have lost the ability to listen. J Well, to an extent they've lost the ability to tell stories, but that's not just an English phenomenon. The oral tradition isn't what it was, is it? B So from that time I've been back with only two exceptions for about fifteen years sometimes staying about five months or so and working seriously - always working. Always at the end of my stay I have a studio show where I will put my new work the etchings into mounts as you see having been scattered around the workshop, put out in earlier years a burgers invitation to the studio, Kentel 6, Easter Saturday. The lads would come to drink the beer. The chicoria would come in the morning to look and I would always make a lot of money. A lot. One year about four years ago I closed my bank account because I'd gone legitimate with the tax people in this country so I didn't have an overseas bank account. It seemed silly. So I'd closed it, so I asked that everybody paid in cash. For my Sunday exhibitions I would have a girl to look after the cash, a girl to look after the serving the wine and the schmalzbrot and a girl to look after the coats, and I would be free to circulate. A very busy time, and very well organised. And this particular "cash" day I


sold a huge amount something like six or seven thousand pounds. It was a huge huge amount anyway several thousands of pounds. All in 10, 50 and 100 DM notes. And I was leaving two days later. And I had to put it into my tweed overcoat. That pocket folds down like that, this has got the overflow in there and this pocket has got a bankroll....... I actually left 2000dm in an envelope in the wardrobe left behind. Completely didn't miss it until Herr Kauscher phoned me up in a state of great excitement. Have you discovered your loss yet Bryan? No. You left 2000dm. Oh? And when I arrived at Gatwick I thought the cleverest thing would be to start changing this into large denomination English notes, and I was very clever, I went to different exchanges around the airport rather than going to one with this suspicious pile of money. So I suppose I gave a great problem to the security service watching me trot from one cambio to another with piles of notes - highly suspicious! So It has always been very - a very supportive friendly place, Worpswede. I'll tell you more about it another time. J Was it in Worpswede you met Aysel? B Yes. Yes. I almost met her in Amsterdam the year before. I was staying in Amsterdam with Giselle Dailly, widow of a very famous Lord Mayor of Amsterdam. Whose name is still currency though he was mayor either in the late fifties or early sixties. But you've only got to mention the name Dailly and people will smile and offer you a drink. He was very greatly loved, and so his widow is very respected. It was towards the end of my stay when I said I must take you out for an evening, Giselle. So we went to various bars and had a meal and we were walking back to the ???Heerenbrach??? when a black haired witch- like figure leapt out of a crowded bar with her arms wide open "BRYAN!" And it was Natascha Ungeheuer from Berlin. So we went in to join Natascha and her man Johannes Schenk, the alcoholic poet, and they were with a young Dutch girl, a long-haired girl, who I thought looked rather attractive. So I contrived to get together with this girl and went back home with her the next night and stayed for a few days. And I remember the girl saying I know Natascha and Johannes because they are staying in an apartment which is open for guest writers and they are leaving tomorrow and I know from experience they will leave total chaos and the place will be stuffed from floor to ceiling with empty bottles, cigarette ends and domestic chaos. My job, apart from being a translator, a Dutch/German translator, is to clean this flat, and prepare it for the next guest. The next guest is a Turkish writer, a woman. I thought well, that's interesting, I'd like to meet her. Anyway the Turkish writer didn't stay for more than a couple of days.


Typical, you see, even in those days. She was given this scholarship with accommodation maybe for three months, and within two days she's scuttling off somewhere else, because something was wrong. In this case there was a very good reason. She'd heard by telephone that her father had died. And the same day she heard that her mother had died in Izmir. J Oh, goodness. B Yes, so obviously she was very shaken. I don't know where she went but I never did meet this Turkish writer. And it was not until the holiday there in Worpswede that I met the Turkish writer and in the course of conversation this came out that she had been the one in Amsterdam that I almost met. Yes, that would be, I don't know eight or nine years ago? Johannes Schenk had a very distinctive style of dress. He dresses near as dammit as an orthodox Jew. Peculiar shape black - greasy black- hat, black overcoat, black three piece suit with waistcoat tightly buttoned over his belly. He was a very well loved poet, but he was killing himself with alcohol. We would go, Natascha, Johannes and myself, I in my Irish tweeds and Natascha in her furs and extravagant Berliner makeup, thick black hair - a very handsome woman, big breasted and Johannes, like the orthodox Jew, portly, half drunken and very dignified with it, walking with the special dignified gait of the half drunk, to have a drink in the Cafe America, a very big, rather grand cosmopolitan bar in Amsterdam. And when we made our entrance it was always dramatic, everybody craned to watch the three strangers being shown to their table as though we were royalty; the commotion we made among the bourgeoisie and American tourists and so on. The waiters loved us, they'd give us the best tables and smile and make us very much at home; that was rather nice. They're great friends, Johannes and Natascha. They liked stories. They could tell stories; I could listen for an hour to them and then I could talk for an hour of English stories and stories rather than jokes. J Is he still drinking? B No, he gave up about three years ago. Totally. J Excellent. B I think he's about four years younger than me. I think it was that or die very quickly. For the last couple of years of his alcoholism he was in his own world. He'd start his day, he'd take his writing material to a rough workman's bar, and


he'd sit in a corner and drink maybe three of four beers and not do any writing, go home promptly like a workman going to have lunch, sleep in the afternoon and then come early evening he'd leave Natascha and go on his drinking rounds. And he had a very eccentric way of drinking. He would always order a large beer, but he would only drink the first two centimetres from the top and then he would call the waiter and say no this drink wasn't right and please bring another. In the knowledge that he was paying for the whole drink. And he drank like that all of the time, all of the time never with apparent gusto or relish - just the first couple of inches of the beer and then send it back. But drinking schnapps along side it. Korn or whisky. I was in a bar with him - a night club - drinking whisky, and Johannes insisted to the barman it had to be twelve year old whisky, and he sipped it and he said no that's not twelve year old whisky take it away, I want twelve year.... and then he got very awkward. And he'd sit in the night-club until maybe four o'clock in the morning. Maybe make it home, maybe finish in a bush in somebody's garden, and off again in the morning for two or three beers and the pretence that he was working on his poems. And he developed a phobia. He wouldn't allow anybody to touch him. Couldn't shake hands or have any physical contact. Even if you sat too close he would start to protest. Strange mannerisms with the alcohol. J It must have been very awkward for Natascha. B Very strong woman. Very powerful painter. Painter of Berlin neuroses. Of waiting rooms; of airports; of transatlantic liners departing; of telephones - of stress. Painted in lurid colours - electric - very well painted, very realistic. Start in one corner and carry on. She would look at an empty canvas for maybe three or four days, chainsmoking, locked in a tiny little room in our printmaking area with a dirty mattress on the floor - she'd lie on that mattress just looking at the mattress. Camel after Camel after Camel, and not talking to anybody. And that was her gestation period and then she would begin work on the canvas with a minimum of drawing but everything would be fixed, every detail. And they're highly detailed pictures - of clocks just ticking up to the particular hour, an aeroplane taking off and another one ghosting in, and of somebody in a state of panic and a drunk in the corner and a portrait of Johannes looking very beautiful with his long hair and his Jewish hat. Strange pictures, and sought after - she sells almost all she's done. Very genuine, very genuine. And a fine strong woman. Ungeheurer means monster or something of that order. [Quite a few Germans have bizarre names like that. I knew an Ingol Golembiefsky.... you've


heard of a Golem (J: Hmmmm...) its another form of monster.] Natascha didn't know her parents, brought up in the Black Forest by rough people, ran away to the street theatre, travelled extensively in England without paying money at all - just with the clothes she stood up in, - had adventures every inch of the way and eventually settled in Berlin right up against the wall, in what now is the most sought-after district of all, Kreutzberg, which at that time was hell on earth, Kreutzberg - Oh totally, bars, drug addicts, white faced people selling them drugs, and then you had the ugly Wall at the bottom of every street vista covered in graffiti. She had a studio there. With a tiny bathroom, with the bath full of coal briquettes, as I remember. She didn't go in for bathing. And Johannes had a factory, as he called it, and industrial building across on the other side of the courtyard so that they could be independent ...{Unintelligible} And I suppose... I know Johannes lost his factory with the Wall coming down, and I suppose Natascha has been priced out of her studio now. It was quite close to the Brandenberg Gate - highly desirable properties. But they spent their time between Berlin and Worpswede. Johannes is a Worpsewede born man. J Oh is he? B Two half brothers who live in the village. Both mildly crackers. One a painter, one a designer. Both likeable people. One who's renounced alcohol and the other, Tobias, with whom I spent many many hours. A crazy guy. Quite normal to go into the workshop at nine in the morning and find Tobias there in a bemused state with a bottle of brandy and he'd pour you a great tumblerful and all good intents go by the board, so there you are chainsmoking and drinking cheap brandy at nine in the morning before wandering off to a beer house together - and events just take over, like in a fairyland. Enjoyable...very enjoyable! And I was as bad as any of them. I would visit my friend Kurt Schonen, a rather correct etcher, I would visit him at one period at 11 in the morning with a half bottle of Polish vodka and a bottle of tomato juice. And poor old Kurt would be working away seriously on his commissioned aquatint, but he'd be obliged to pour out the drinks and join in...almost a matter of honour....I've never behaved like that in this country - it's possibly part of the charm. You become a slightly different person I suppose. And I think those wild very rough days will increasingly be a thing of the past. As Johannes straightened out, probably I don't drink as much now. The young generation may be not as crazy. So they all become the stuff of legend, but not of everyday occurrence. Would


you like to walk down the town to the coffee shop - just for a walk? J Yes, that would be nice, it's a lovely morning. {later} B It's still confidential as I say, I 've never told anybody, but that was the summer after the Profumo affair. And as I signed the visitors book upon leaving, I noticed that the previous signatures were John Profumo and Valerie Hobson. In other words that's where the government had hidden them away. That's confidential, I've never spoken of that at all. Of course he was great chums with Alec Douglas-Home, who was just down the coast. they were great friends. Was he finally Lord Home again or was he Sir Alec, I can't remember. He died about four years ago... J He was the Earl. B But he gave up that to take the Prime Ministership in the urgency following the scandal. It's very interesting that in spite of the scandal - Perth was one of Macmillan's men - in spite of the scandal they were still standing together to support the disgraced member, which I think is nice Conservative culture. J And indeed Profumo went on and has had a distinguished career in charitable works since hasn't he? B Yes. I read recently somebody who had been disgraced in public life - I can't remember who it was - that person asked Profumo very recently, in the last year or so, do you ever get over it? Does one ever get over it - will I ever get over it. And he said "No." He just made one colossal mistake unbelievable. J It was misleading the House wasn't it, that was the problem. B Yes, he lied to his superior officer. Barefaced lie. And people then lampooned Macmillan for having trust. Well, if you can't have trust among your own caste it's a sad day for public affairs. - Not that that was Macmillan's caste, apparently Macmillan always made a great song and dance about being from humble working class crofters origins. He was. Only two generations. He liked the cloth cap, the workers image rather than the landed aristocratic one. J It's certainly not the one that follows him down the years is it?


B Well, he created himself didn't he? Like so many people. He became a totally unique figure in public life Wise, witty and everybody now thinks rather sad. With that horrible Boothroyd knocking off his wife for twenty odd years, I think. A fact known by everybody. Boothroyd was a chum of the Kray brothers. I passed them in Charing Cross Road one evening and he was wearing one of those very flash type camel hair overcoats. And ironically where I passed them was just outside the first Chinese retaurant in London which you may remember was Freddie {???Bilmans???} The boxer. Put all his savings into a Chinese restaurant. The first one in London. People flocked there because of his celebrity and it finally lost money and he couldn't keep up his payments with the Kray protection racket and he was shot just around the corner up an alleyway. Shot dead. J By the Krays, presumably. B Never proved. I know this story from a man who was on the boxing circuit at that time. He gave me all the detail, background etcetera. So it was funny passing Boothroyd and a Kray just outside the restaurant where Freddie had either just been killed or was just about to be killed around that period of time. J And you met Perth through the rector of the RCA? B Yes, through John Loon who was the Bursar I think, and Perth had asked him as a neighbour up in Perthshire, Have you got any young artists in your art college in London who can do a job on restoration? I suppose Loon probably spoke to Professor Weight. That was my first year at the College, when I was the Golden Boy. They'd sent me a piece of paper at the end of my first year to say "Dear Ingham. This is to let you know {end of tape 2}.......... {start tape 3} Royal Scholar, I don't know whether it entitled me to some arcane modes of behaviour denied to ordinary mortals whether I could walk up Picadilly with my right trouser leg rolled up to me knee or.... J A hogshead of claret is sitting somewhere waiting for you! B Very interesting how I went from that elevated status within the following two years to getting, if I remember correctly, a third, third degree. That's another story. One in which there remains some bitterness and irony in my soul. Anyway as Royal Scholar that was in praise of the realistic painting I was doing at the time, the paintings I was


showing at the Royal Academy painted in tempera, very skilful, so obviously I was seen as something of a skilled one, apart from anything else. And working at Stobhall Castle for about six weeks prior to my visit had been a lady from the -was it called the Ministry of Works or the Department of the Environment, who was the country's leading restorer and she had been confronted with the problem. A false ceiling had been removed leaving beams which were painted on the inside with a sort of gesso chalky paint in designs of flowers and acanthus leaves and the bottom of the beams were to which the false celings had been fixed and most of the design had come away. With astute reading you could just pick up enough clues to recognise that the design continued from one side underneath and back up the other side as an organic whole. well, this woman had laboured for weeks and weeks and weeks on just one flower about the size of a rose. It was a rose. And it was so patently done in the wrong manner these journeymen painters were quick workers, they wouldn't hang around spending six weeks on doing a flower. So she'd got it all wrong, so she was sent packing back to Whitehall or wherever she belonged. And I was the next one wheeled on, and I said well, I'm not going to attempt to do a chemical restoration and it's going to need as much fakery as restoration, call it what you will. Creative restoration if you like but that's the only way it can be done. Well, let us see what you can do. Start on this beam in the Priest's Room. Which was so uncomfortable and so cold. I was standing on a board, on a bed and leaning back like that. So you can imagine eight hours a day in a stone cold Scottish tower was not the greatest fun in the world, but I enjoyed the work, and I found the paints I'd taken which were largely water based paints - emulsion - that sort of thing, were appropriate. And I'd taken things like wire wool, razor blades, tapers and white powders, possibly soot. So as I worked along the beam then I would rub in adequate material or maybe smoke from lit tapers until a time that the whole thing melded imperceptibly - you could not tell that the underpart of .... 1573, I think was the date the beams were painted - well, by the time I'd finished you couldn't tell which were just painted and which were done all those years ago. Four hundred years, yup. So Perth was very enthusiastic, and I finished that Priest Room, and when I see it now I'm just astonished that I could have done that. Very impressed. Maybe it means nothing to anybody else But I'd known the beams were almost like that {indicating the raw timber beams of the studio roof} with just a trace of a design on them. So that was the first job, and other beams were revealed and I carried on. Maybe I'd go up for a week once a year and so it ticked over. he always paid me


generously, but not foolishly. I never put in a bill. when the subject cropped up of how shall I pay you Bryan, I would always say I leave that entirely to you and he was as I say generous but not excessive, except that is for the very last time, when I did a lot of significant work to a small folly which is not much bigger than that room there...{unintell} ...and I did some panels imaginatively in the manner of the rest but pure invention, on new wood panels which I then distressed with hammer nails, chisels, soot, fire, everything. And he was absolutely thrilled by that work, and if I remember rightly he bought one of these little sculptures for a thousand pounds which was a big price and he paid me for my weeks work two thousand pounds. Or was it £2,500....I think I came away from a week's work with £3,500. Which was ever so generous. But we were both on an absolute high this work having unexpectedly worked out - with a big input from his angle. A very difficult man to please. He wouldn't give you your head and say it's wonderful. He'd argy bargy and get what he wanted. And I learned how to without compromise control that. So that very last session was particularly gratifying. He drove me down on the final Sunday afternoon, drove me down, himself driving, down to Perth railway station. He said I won't drop you at the railway station, it's forty minutes yet before the train. He dropped me at the Grand Hotel across the station yard. Of course my father, when he was on his buying trips once told me a story that he met a man in Scotland who was greatly disfigured about the face, but he was also very well known, well loved and he had a thing that at that time was known as a Golden Rail card, which meant he could travel anywhere - I don't know exactly - but Father had done some business with this man, who had then said "Now Mr Ingham I'd like to have a good drink with you before you get on the train," and Father said "Yes, that's lovely but is not the train due to leave in five minutes?" "No problem at all Mr Ingham, let's just go and have a word." And they walked up the platform to the old puffing train and the man hailed the driver and said, "Hello, Angus, this is my good colleague here from Yorkshire, Mr Ingham; we're going across the road for a drink. Don't leave without us - we won't be longer than 25 minutes. " "All right, sir." {chuckles} So father went and drank with this man in this hotel. That was one of Dad's yarns. So on this euphoric high I thought now this is the time I must enter this rather forbidding Grand Hotel and make myself comfortable. And I did do, and it was very genteel and very nice. And I sat at a round table and a white-coated waiter came up, and I said I'd like a large Glenfiddich and possibly a pot of tea. "A pot of tea, sir, yes, but our licensing does not allow whisky at this hour." I said "Damn the licensing. I've had a particularly successful day


and I want to drink my own good health, so bring me the whisky and the pot." "Very well, sir" And so I was well served, enjoyed my half hour there, and that was really the climax to the work I did up there. J Excellent. B Another job I did was when he decided to build, adjoining the rather unusual complex of tiny dower house, small manor house, chapel and turrets around a kind of green courtyard, with a cypress tree in the middle of the courtyard. He decided on the edge of the ravine to build a library, which the architect came to describe as it was going through the various phases as "the Laird's buke room" - I can't do the Scottish accent - and the library of course was done in the original materials, stone and the step in the gable ends, everything so beautifully done that you would not now know that it had not been built in the sixteenth century. And to furnish the library, at the far end overlooking the River Keyne, there's a large wall with a chimney piece. And he found a very beautiful marble fireplace of substantial size. Beautiful. And then he found an enormous carved wood frame. Huge frame - absolutely superb. I can't remember...over six foot tall. And he decided he would like within this frame - for the frame framed nothing but empty wall - within this frame he would like a windometer. I believe there are only two or three examples in Great Britain. One in the Admiralty. So you have a large dial with points of the compass and the iron hand attached to a rod going up the chimney attached to a weather vane, so at a glance you can see that the wind is North nor' east veering to east. So that was a lovely idea. So it was my commission to paint this, to make something that would fit inside this magnificent frame, carrying the information of the points of the compass and as a decorative item uniting the marble fireplace, the carved wood within this very very neat space. A hell of a job. And we always thought very well together. We could bounce ideas back and forth - never had disagreements. And he said well I've got an eighteenth century map of Irish landed owners estates, let's have a look at this. A big folio volume. With beautifully drawn field patterns, acreages mentioned probably, tinted with watercolour. He said how about doing something like this incorporating my eight farms, the River Tay, Stobhall Castle itself. I said this is fine, this is wonderful. I can do this in London. So I had cut by a woodworker in Bethnal Green -then there still were small woodworking firms up there - a circle cut out with bevelled edges in a panel about so big square - I'm going by memory. So that gave an element of relief to my design, which I still employ in my pictures today.


But this element of relief meant I wasn't doing illusionism within a very positive physical frame. My paint work was going to have a similar strong physicality to the naked marble and to the carved wood. And he supplied me with various maps of his holdings and so on. And I made this design and it crept over the relief and down and across, and the points of the compass were painted in nice lettering and I think some vignettes of a view of Stob Hall, maybe the size of an orange and so on And the whole thing painted with a surprising yellow, a lot of yellow. very odd colouring. It was painted at the time of Pop Art and I suppose there was a a bit of that influence in the work - it was a work of its time, though aping previous historical times and also being its own man in that nobody has ever in living memory done such a thing. So it's a subtle amalgam. And I worked on that in my studio in Stepney, in the Spitalfields weavers loft I had there, just opposite Sophie, Jewish Sophie, her husband Sid was five foot one, had an Errol Flynn moustache wore snazzy camel overcoats. Every morning at 8 am went up west to his furriers workshop. Sid who was called after the film then popular, El Cid, that was a funny little joke. Well they lived opposite in Hanbury St. And Sophie with her big bosoms would lean out of the window and address the woman living below my studio, Mrs Goldstein, "Goldstein, Goldstein!" and then there'd be dialogue across the street. And Sophie was ever so interested in my private life, as well as Goldsteins private life, as well as Tony the homosexual, who lived in the red plush apartment below Goldstein. So it was lovely household! And Sophie was a sweet woman. And when I happened to mention to Sophie can you let me have some ice tomorrow evening? "Certainly, Bryan, but why do you want ice?" I said well I've got guests coming and I know that the lady likes to drink vodka on the rocks. "A she a lady?" I said well as a matter of fact she is. " And who are....?" So I had to tell her that Lord and Lady Perth are coming to visit my studio to see a picture that I'm doing for them. And so on the evening in question, six thirty in the evening {laughs} Sophie very carefully dressed for the occasion is leaning out of the window looking for I think a gold-plated Rolls Royce with a pennant flying to park outside in the cobbled street, and to her absolute dismay and disappointment and I lost so much face, they arrived in a Mini Minor! {Both laugh} Came up the filthy steps to the studio and loved the work, liked it very much and so it was dispatched to Scotland where it looks terrific. I'm very proud of that. J Did you do the indicator as well? B That would be done by a blacksmith in wrought iron.


J But you didn't paint finish it or..? B No, no, that's left in its raw material. And then a year or two later, I returned and he'd installed a billiard table in the library. Beautiful things in there like Ming animals, and horses this size and dogs, beautiful stuff - now it's all high security. After his grandson came up and and said Grandad you're crazy, you've got X million lying around this building, you've got to have high security. J Such a bore isn't it. B Yes, so all that's done now, and of course he's got a lovely, a wonderful library. He tended to go in there on Sunday afternoons, after lunch. Go and sit on the long soft sofas. Or before lunch if he had guests for gin and tonics before dragging them across the courtyard to the Dining room. But to complement the painting I was very touched to see that Lady Perth had chosen a carpet would it be - what is it called - Aubusson? Do they still make carpets? J I think they probably do. The French Aubusson, yes B I think this was specially made. And it was of a colour to complement the painted material inside the carved frame. J Well, it's a nice thought. B So the carpet was well as least as long as this building {35 feet approx} and the carpet must have cost thousands upon thousands of pounds, and I thought that was very nice. I can't remember whether that's still down there or not. So yes, that was one of the very satisfactory things I did. Some of the restoration work was just pure bloody hard work, hands and knees, scratching and scraping. Always cold. Come back and have a hot bath before lunch. Come back and have a hot bath before dinner just simply to warm up again. Couldn't do it now....couldn't do it now. Regardless of my condition. One of the best little yarns to come out of it was the entrance to the chapel where he'd uncovered some side panels. So deep {indicates 18 inches) by fourteen foot long at a guess and very defaced, but I soon saw that it was a recurring motif of a bunch of grapes, but then only one bunch would be visible, and you could just see where something had been a yard further on and just see if you measured the next yard what had been there but didn't know you were going to be able to pick out the design so I more or less had to paint those from scratch. More so than the beams in the Priests Room. And I studied the best


example ,and I studied the brushwork, the calligraphy, and they were done a bit like the great French painter Raoul Dufy who employed a flick of the wrist and got in a circle a black grape. So there was no way you could laboriously copy that sort of thing. So I got into my stride on that and completed two or three passages, two or three areas in one morning and went to have lunch. I never had a siesta straight back out after lunch - I hated it! Sleepy eyes at half past two in the afternoon, keep at it until six. His lordship would always arrive at a quarter to six to review the days work. So I knew I'd got to keep going. He was very clever! {chuckles} I went back in the afternoon, and I was studying this bunch of grapes, and My God they were masters, these itinerant Italian chaps. Just look at that. That hand has traced that just like that four hundred years ago..just like that...........THAT's the one I did this morning!! {Both laugh} That's true. J Very satisfactory! B That's enough about Scotland for the moment. Lets save your tape ¬¬ {In the garden at Helston} B The bloody painkilling tablets aren't working any more and the bloody sleeping tablets aren't working any more - or at least they let me go to sleep about four o'clock in the morning. 'Til ten o'clock today. It's SHAMEFUL being woken up at ten am, as I was this morning, by someone knocking on the door. I feel a sense of shame if I'm not ticking over by nine o'clock. I take the tablets two hours before bed and then I toss and turn, and I get a horrible strong pain all here {shoulder} and right down the arm, and I think that's due to the illness rather than the treatment. Which is a change of focus. Because so far I've been suffering more from the treatment than the illness. So I wonder whether things are escalating. My GP told me about a month ago -two months ago when I had a violent pain here {shoulder} and that was after the biopsy thing and he said no there's a relationship in your nervous system between here and wherever they've done something, he said, so I know exactly what you're talking about, that pain that you describe. And this is the same pain. Not as intense, but more prolonged. And of course a bit in this arm as well. So I need to see the bloke fairly soon. And I will do on Tuesday, and he's a very good man. Very frank. Sort of man who smiles and says you're going to drop down dead in about three weeks, sir. {chuckles} J Hmm ... it's better to know, I think.


B Oh absolutely. God, I had a bad experience today. About this time last year a girl who was very sweet, single, invited me for lunch. She works in the wine shop; she won't be there tonight and last year...she worked long hours so she does all her shopping once a week in a rush around Tescos, which is against all of my principles, and she buys, like ready made sauces - mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, exotic dips....last year she gave me trout with vegetables, and the trout was distinctly....badly can finish a trout very nicely with capers and a drop of wine or malt vinegar, for example. Flame it up a bit and sear it. But this was ohh flabby on the plate, and I'm sure it was just slightly off as well, just faintly off. And it took me all all my troubles to get through that trout. And I thought, well she's such a sweet girl that she's welcome to call on me any time, but I'm never going to go for lunch again. She'd been at me as a treat to ask me to come - would I have lunch. Oh I've got so many visitors, I'm so tired and I've not been to well this week. I'd run out of excuses and I was pinned down to this Sunday, before I got your card otherwise it would have saved me I could have been giving lunch to a Welshman... and so I had to go for lunch. And you know, she imagines she's a really good cook. Very strange. She gave us asparagus, which you can't go wrong with, with half a hard boiled egg. But then the whole thing smothered in this disgusting mayonnaise that she said she'd improved a bit by adding a bit of supermarket cream and so on which really was horrible. Really horrible. And the second course she said it's home made tagliatelle much better than the dried stuff. I said well the Italians don't think that way, the Italians think that dried pasta is how it should be. Home made is usually like cardboard. So up that comes with a chicken breast. So you've got a great wodge of tagliatelle and a great wodge of chicken breast side by side on the plate and yet again smothered with another instant.... chicken breast sauce I suppose. And pasta so coagulated that when you lift a forkful half the plateful comes up. And it's not al dente, it's undercooked, with the texture of cardboard and the chicken tastes of nothing at all, because it's a battery chicken and the sauce impregnates its nasty insidious flavour on everything anyway. And after that there was to be a pudding. I left all my pasta, manfully ate the chicken, and I said I'm not eating well these days. And she said Oh there's a lovely sauce to go with the pudding...... ohh.... I'd had enough of those sauces by then. And ominously one bottle of wine which we started drinking before the meal, so that by the time you sit at table there's half a bottle left for two of you. And you know you're going to run into trouble by the end of the aperitif it's going to be time for the second bottle as you're just starting to feel a bit involved. Yes, so that


took from about twelve o'clock to about half-past three. Very sweet of her, I appreciate it. She just doesn't know that she's hopeless. And I suppose that's an average British housewife. J Don't depress me like that! It is staggering the amount of ready made up food that is sold. I never ever use it, but they must sell a hell of a lot of it because there's so much of it. Somebody must buy it. B Well you see it reviewed in the newspapers now. J Do you? B Yes.... it might be Madras chicken curry, and then all of them Sainsburys, Waitrose and Tesco will all be assessed -Waitrose gets four stars for a pungent well flavoured authentic tasting curry or Asda saying unspeakable- no stars at all...So people buy that sort of stuff. Hello you lot ( to the jackdaws) what's all this noise about? No use pretending you're young ravens! (much squawking off) J They're making a good try at it though. B A very good try... (calls) You're only bloody jackdaws! Very nice, they're often in the garden hopping around, pecking away. J That's what they're beefing about I suppose we shouldn't be here.. B Oh no they don't worry about us they come as close as the nearest tree.. it might be you they're worried about.... yes that must be it.. "what the hell?" they're saying in Jackdaw language. (pause) I had the Dorian-Smiths over for lunch last week. Very nice time we had as well. Excellent. And I asked him about the Estate manager post in his island.. J Oh yes? B And he said they got thousands of applications {both chuckle} because he said they advertised it discreetly.. J But then somebody picked it up. B And it got into the national press and they were deluged. And they have chosen somebody. I said what a pity, I know


just the man. Of course it would be a major uproot wouldn't it to do something like that? But you could commute. J No... you couldn't. One would have had to give it one's full attention. It would have been fun but I think Mrs Wynne Evans would have gone on strike - too far from Harrods.... or Harvey Nichols these days!! {pause} You spent quite a bit of time in Berlin didn't you? B Not a lot. I've been there a few times. Never had any money when I was there. Walking around with big holes in my shoes through frozen slush. The coldest winter this century.... headlines... calculating am I going to spend this 3 deutchmarks on a miniature of vodka or beer in a pub where I can sit over it for an hour, that sort of thing. Very depressing place. This collared dove {pointing} it was eaten by a cat this morning. J It looks as if it’s had a bit of a drubbing. B There was girl from across the road who woke me up and said can I put it in your garden. {to the dove} all right, we're friends. I like them. I find them sympathetic. J It's a sweet little thing, isn't it? B {to the dove} Well that's not water. What can we do for you? J Did she feed it? B I don't know. She said she'd put it out at the bottom of the garden, and she thought it would survive. J As long as can fly. And get away from cats. Her main feathers seem to be all right. B Yes. {Long pause} Well, that's a clever place you've got! J Very tame isn't it? B It is , yes. {assorted clucking noises from both to bird} Doesn't look too good on its wing. Don't know what they feed on do you? J Bird seed. Bird corn. When I go out and get some vino, I'll see if I can find a bag.


B I got something a Polish girl left. Some form of seed that they cook. { to bird} you wait there, and we'll see if we can tempt you. { to J} can I get you a refill whilst I'm up there? J That's kind. {pause in tape} B That's right come and have a look at your supper { pause} It's badly damaged. Do you think it'll heal naturally? J I suppose they must heal, but the question is whether its broken or not. You'll probably find you've got a bird person in Helston somewhere. {long pause} B Somebody's bought the property next door. J What, with the black stuff? B Yup. Very nice little cottage They'll use the shop as a workshop and let the cottage. I said what do you do. She said I work in pewter. His car is registered in St Ives. I can't think of anything in pewter which is cherishable, can you? J Not really, it's not a very attractive substance is it. B It might have been OK when there was nothing else, seventeenth century.. J Very unattractive stuff really. {looking a the seed packet} To try to work out what that means in Polish you'd have to go a bit. B It's one of those pulses that swells up horribly. Probably similar to the stuff they make in, now what's it called...knib, Bremer knib, which is similar grain to that I have it it's a little bit like haggis. J It has offal in it and stuff B Yeh, and it's served with apple sauce. Very nice. But it makes you feel very strange for about two days. Does the system a lot of good {J laughs} If the bird eats that, you'll probably find it leg upwards in the morning. It'll have died happily. J It doesn't look too good to me. B No J {tapping a slab he's sitting on} Is this a well?


B More like a sewer. Not quite sure. {long pause} J I spoke to Francis this week. He sounded in reasonable nick. B Has he managed to sell anything for you? J No, but he's only got two pictures of mine anyway, one of which has just got back from Hong Kong ¬¬arrival of visitor break of recording¬¬ Later indoors: B Stella has fled St Ives at the moment. She's at Jollytown. J Oh really? How nice. B Very nice. She asked, which was even nicer, because really it's Timmy is paying his way with it and looking after the place, so it's really up to him. But no, they thought it was correct to ask and I said yes and I said to Timmy it's not really any of my business, but I don't like the bloke. Stewart. Have you met him? J No. B Been her lover since... since I left the scene. He's a bloke I've never liked. And the thought of Stewart playing the hard man in what in a spiritual sense is still my place I don't quite like. I told Timmy this and Timmy said he agrees absolutely. And he agrees with my feelings about Stewart. But I said really Timmy it's nothing to do with me so I leave it you and to Stella to make your decision on that. It's not for me to say. There's nothing to say Stella can't take her lover there, is there? J Well, it's a bit difficult to, isn't it. But equally if she's aware of your feelings she knows how to play it. B Of course she's aware of everybody's feelings. Nobody likes him. And I wrote to her. That's the sad thing. J Well he must have something going for him if he's been around so long. B Whatever the subject is, be it tin mining or coal mining or fishing, he's done it a straight in with this he-man conversation. Used to make wrought iron gates, shoe horses - he's done everything. Total shyster, total waster. Spends all his time in the pub . Or he did not, apparently. One of the


things I don't like is that he's been so bloody rude to me a few times. You know just man to man, like in the Sloop. "Oh hullo" and ostentatiously get back with the boys, the men, the in crowd, the fishermen you know... arrr... if you can't stay with someone one knows a lot about for a quarter of an hour well it's hard luck. So he's the sort of man who'd be off with a shotgun over the cliffs and playing the countryman and know all about Kynance and so on within a couple of days, and well I don't fancy it, though as I say it's not my decision really. J Well... you made the point. B Timmy said Stella was going to put it to me. Though she doesn't know he's been extremely rude to me on three occasions, because she's not been involved. But then, there might be some jealousy there on my part, who knows. J I think there probably is a bit! B Jealousy wouldn't be the right word, but some such thing. J Well, you're quite possessive about Stella, aren't you? Still. B No. No, not at all. I'm very grateful that she still considers me a close mate as she does. so it's very nice to see that we do have a reciprocating relationship. J Well, you certainly do. B We never had enough intellectual stimulus, she and I, that was the only trouble. J Do you think intellectual stimulus is an absolute essential in all human relationships of a close sort? B Maybe if one's starting again... maybe not, you know, maybe with wisdom one sees that you can't have everything. And with a girl like Stella one had a lot. J Certainly. B She was lovely in bed, she was lovely in the kitchen. And she was a fine hostess. That's three quarters of the way to nirvana isn't it? J You mad bugger, is all I can say to that. B No, no. No regrets. No. I don't think she quite appreciated me for what I was worth in those days either.


J You mean artistically? B I mean in all respects, I think she begins to see it more now. I mean, she loved my Dad. His vices and his virtues she absolutely adored. They got on together in a way that she and I never did. They really were brilliant together. And I feel she and I are much more like Dad and she were twenty years ago. And also at that time......that noise {goes to deal with kitchen. Long pause.} also at that time my social relationships were compromised very much by extreme deafness. Ironically she found a way round Father's deafness...I've never thought of it that way...That was a barrier between she and I, it really was. And also she had too many women friends visiting too often who wouldn't listen to a man. They were slightly of a feministic trait. J It was that time as well wasn't it. Quite a lot of agressive feminists around at that stage. B Yuh yuh, and they weren't prepared to hear you out. They would interrupt, and there was always a shortage of sustained conversation; it was all choppy agressive stuff. And I suppose they've all mellowed a hell of a lot since then. But I think basically as an artist- it's a pity we don't have a better word in our language; the French have painter don't they - je suis peintre J You can say that. B yeh, but then you're no different to the man who paints the windows. You can't call yourself a painter, it doesn't work. J You say... yes you have to use the noun don't you. I paint pictures. B Yes, but one uses the dreadful word artist, which puts one alongside all sorts of weirdos, queeros, poofters and God knows what. As an artist I'm quite sure you're better off living alone. Quite possibly {chuckles} as a man I think you're better off to live alone. J Well you've tested this theory so you've obviously proved it by observation? B It was very ideal to have girl friends two hundred miles away who would come and visit for three days. That was perfect. One of the big loves of my life, Sue, Sue Chudley. Part heiress to the Letraset fortune. It went on for maybe


three years. For most of that time she lived in London, but we corresponded, maybe three letters a week, that sort of thing. And that was a very passionate affair and I really believed in that and then she decided that it wasn't a good idea and withdrew just as I went to Germany for the first time. And that left me as devastated as I've ever been. And that exacerbated by being in a foreign country plus the fat that I'd got loads of money for the first time in my life from the German government, so I could buy a bottle of Schnapps and a bottle of Pernod and a bottle of brandy and three bottles of wine and lock myself in the studio and have a good cry. There's nothing like getting totally sozzled on Pernod. Have you ever done it? J No. B It's disgusting. You become just so maudlin.... J It's so disgusting you could stay sober on it! B I like the odd one. J I like it on figs. B Hmnn, we're shrewdly out of figs.... a German girl came to visit me at that time because she was frightened I'd blow my head off or something - but I didn't have a shotgun there. J You were as bad as that. B Oh yes, yes. J Well, why did she suddenly pull the plug? B Umm... I'll come round to that in a moment. As it says in the Robert Graves poem - you know? - about the creatures living in a cave in Wales, and the punctuation of each verse is {Welsh accent} " I was coming to that" {J laughs} Splendid poem if it's well read. Needs a Welsh man to read it....yes my german friend had lots of doctor friends and they doled me out sleeping tablets by the day. I mean, I didn't put two and two together at the time but of course later on I realised they thought I was in a dodgy... I don't think... I wouldn't have done it there anyway, because it would have ruined the would have been extreme bad manners. J Yes.


B I played with idea that I might go to Amsterdam and jump in a canal (J laughs} J Well, that would have been fairly sort of untidy as well. B She was fifteen years younger than me. I think I was drinking too much whisky at the time as well, and probably got not...not very nice sometimes. Never physical, but not very nice, as a man can be with certain drinks. And whisky at that time didn't..didn't suit me. She had a daughter aged three, a tiny little daughter, Joanna - Jo -, who I absolutely adored. That broke my heart as much as anything, because I really looked forward to bringing Jo up, as I had done more or less with Yorick. This would have happened about sixteen years ago. And I was extremely poor, and as I say she was very rich, but she didn't throw it around at all, it was mostly in trust investments and so on, still is I think. But that made for a slight disparity between us; it's very difficult when you've only got one and six in your pocket to do the sort of thing you'd like to do with the girl who's got five pounds in her pocket. J Well, I don't know about that, but certainly some of them. B Well we were a bit sensitive anyway about money - about my lack of it. And I was violently against art schools and art school teachers and it was her ambition to teach in Falmouth Art School, which put a bit of a rift between us. J It was her ambition for you to? B For her to. She'd taken up art maybe two or three years before.. and had a great respect for my work and for me, the way I'd carried on through thick and thin. But she wanted overnight to be my equal and so there was a strong rivalry element or her part which I saw as being potentially dangerous. But I didn't make the decision, she made the decision, and she made it very plain to me. It could have been done a lot better at a better time; she stopped off on the way from staying with her father who pottered round the Aegean in a yacht as an expat. She stopped off in Worpswede for two nights more or less to say I've decided that we're going to finish completely. But I'd already decided that I was going to have my year in Worpswede, but if she'd wanted to come and stay there she could have done. Or not. So I'd made my selfish decision which was the necessary one. And I sat in the garden about four days ago...- we've been in touch, written letters, cards, catalogues. Occasional telephone call. She heard I'd married a Turk from somebody in a fishing port in Brittany which is pretty rum isn't it? Run


into a stranger from Cornwall, you get talking... you come from Cornwall - which part of Cornwall etcetera etcetera, J The reverberations of your sex life reaching around Europe.. {B laughs} B As I say a few days ago I was sat in the garden with my vest off for the first time exposing my scar, about which I'm just a little self conscious though it's not ugly now. I heard "Hullo, Bryan." I turned round and thought I know this face....Sue! Hullo. She said we've just come from Jollytown thought you were still there. We met Stella, we had a lovely conversation and I said is he all right to visit and she said yes. We had a lovely afternoon, and she was with her second husband, or third husband, there were two after me. He was a really nice bloke. I liked him. I could see they were right. He's the sort of man who can do anything. Wood worker, he's built a boat. I think he's sailed it. He's the sort of man who does everything. Now they've got a smallholding and about forty sheep and a few cows and she's still farting around with this sculpture and he's making woodwork. And when he went away for an hour - went off to Trelowarren - we were talking about our... about the circumstances of our parting and I think I said to her (a propos nothing) I still feel about life Sue as the hackneyed Edith Piaf song "je ne regrette rien". She said I'm glad to hear that. I said though.. I think we might have made something together. She said so do I. And she said, you know I was in strange state around that time. (Well, men never notice that do they?) and she said sometimes I think I blew it. Well that's nice because sometimes I think I blew it as well. So we're both happy, and we both have that feeling that just yes it could have worked. In a much more vibrant and passionate way than with Stella. That's what I missed with Stella - we did have rows but they were dreary rows. Sniping carping rows, whereas with Sue they were flaming rows, you know, plates flying, doors banging, that sort of thing. J More sporting. B I was relieved to see that her lovely big breasts were now sort of flopping down over her tummy somewhere and she never had much of a bottom like her mum. J {laughing} You bugger! B And when I first met her Mum I thought, Oh dear what a sad backside! I studied Sue again and I thought yes still she's got no backside to talk of and her hair is very drab.


She looked nice but she didn't look... you wouldn't think this had been the passion of sombody's... J She didn't stalk in and make you eat your heart out, anyway. B No. J Well, that was very considerate of her. She probably had a bandage specially put round them to make them look droopy! B And I got on with her man really well; in fact they've got to come down in a month to collect his furniture from Trelowarren Craft Exhibition, so I said well you could stay..... {break in recording} So I wouldn't offer bed and breakfast to an old flame unless I felt it was now just a very nice friendship. And I look forward to the time. I'd got no food in the house. Completely impromptu- one packet of spaghetti and one tin of tomatoes. And they went to the car and brought two bottles of wine and we had a smashing.... a smashing time. I thought well I'm not jealous of you, matey, either. Nice looking lad -reminded me a bit of Yorick, actually. Curly hair, slight squint in the eye. not that way, but that way - a slight imperfection. Good background, good stock, nothing too grand. So.... we're nicely back in touch now. Yes it's always nice to lay old ghosts like that isn't it? J Yes. yes it is. B Make the old ghosts make room for young ghosts.......I don't feel very randy at the moment. Must ask the doctor about that. Of course, being ill makes you attractive to women. Did you know that? J I can't say I had noticed that, no. B Well, in my observation. I've been kissed on the lips by so many girls between the age of seventeen and fifty in the last month. J I this because you can't do anything about it otherwise you'll burst your stitches or... so they can do it with impunity. B I don't know. I suppose I could do something about it if it got down to it. But I don't see much reason for doing that at the moment. I'm not in the mood for a constant relationship at the moment, for a start. I'm in the mood for lots of attractive people.


J Were you always monogamous? B No. Would any man ever say yes? But reasonably so. And certainly respectful; I covered my traces if I had to very well. Stella would never have forgiven me if she'd known I'd had it off with anyone else. And by and large I didn't, but there were just the odd occasions which I've never mentioned even now. J Well, one obviously shouldn't. B Some of the lasses, they know you've got different friends, and they accept it and presumably ¬¬end of tape¬¬ ***** B I remember each station the guard would get out with his green flag and his silver whistle and his watch chain and each station or halt Nancegollen, about five stations; each station garden was an absolute beauty with roses and marigolds and Michaelmas daisies in the autumn. It was idyllic. Idyllic. And they'd shout out the name of the station. D'you know that poem by er..Thomas I forget his first name. J R.S.? B No not R.S., the gloomy one. Not the Welsh one. Killed in the first world war. Wrote a very famous poem called Adelstrop, name of a Gloucestershire village. "Yes I remember Adelstrop. Only a name." And he goes on to describe how the train stopped, somebody coughed, nothing happened and then a blackbird started singing and all the birds of Gloucestershire you could hear back into space and into distance. A beautiful evocation of pre 1914 England, really. Yes. {pause} I remember going back on that line, taking pictures from Kynance Cove that were three foot by four foot, which is pretty big, with heavy wooden battening on the back. Landscapes of Kynance that I'd painted during the summer, tied up with rope, one massive one under each arm. Heavy stuff. And the first time going back, I remember getting on the train at Gwynnear Road to Paddington and I packed two pasties from the local baker. And I'd never had a Cornish pasty in my life. I went to Henry Triggs, he used to bake good bread so I thought this was something really to look forward to. And it was one of those corridor trains with compartments, and my compartment was quite full. So I rooted in my rucksack and brought out the first pasty and


everybody looked at me enviously and I bit off the end, and the train lurched, and I must have lurched slightly, and the entire contents which were cubed potato and turnip and nothing else {laughing}, sort of shot out all across the railway carriage floor leaving me just the husk of dried pastry. the worst pasty ever, ever made. J D'you remember those ones Ferrell made in St Ives? God, they were like reinforced concrete. B Yes. J I used to cut them in half and put a fried egg on top. {B laughs} Shows I was made of steely stuff! B To what do you attribute your success, sir??!! J Yes, exactly. B Time to have a look at what Pauline has made for us. Buns and then it's that heavy cake. J Looks like Parkin doesn't it. That'll do you no harm. B Look at that. J What's that? B Pasty. J Good God, is it? Fucking hell, that's a yard and a half of angry gristle! B I have to give you that. I go down a bit and have a cheese poof. {both laugh} Like what they used to give us in the bowel operation ward. I told you that story. I tell you how bad the food was in Treliske. J Yes, you said it was foul. B Normally they would come and you would tick off your next days menu. And it always looked quite nice. Cubed potatoes, carrots and roast lamb. I thought this is lovely. It had all been cooked in South Wales. Well I was eating nothing, and then just covering it over with the covers so they couldn't see that, and then they'd just take it away. the plate cover was so heavy they couldn't tell whether you'd actually eaten your sliced carrots. One evening they advertised Cheese and Onion patties. I thought that sounds as if it could be quite tasty. But the four other old gentlemen


who'd all undergone or were about to undergo similar surgery had all decided on the same choice. So we were presented with our cheese and onion pattied which were about as big as a base ball, almost spherical and you ate it, and it was like one of those things- the sort of fishcake you used to get in the war where you couldn't make any distinction between the potato fish or seasoning - it's all ground into a grey meal J Generally scunged! B Yuh, so this was like that. Well I ate about half of it, and I thought well this is really one of the most disgusting things I've ever, ever eaten, so I left the rest. And then you always needed to lie back after the endurance of eating hospital fare and see the other men lying back - they all polished off their jelly and blancmange and custard - it's surprising how old men are gannets - amazed at it. Lie down and then ffrrrrrp! {J laughs} ffrrrrpp! And then everything got out of control -FFFRRRRRP! FFRRRRRRRP! FFRRRPPPP! And it went on like that... J A competition? B NO! Everybody embarrassed. Everybody doing their best to contain themselves. But these patties had such a devastating effect on we crippled, bowelly {laughing} what's the correct word....bowelly challenged.... and Oh my God, by the time dawn came,- the nurses rush in at about six o'clock and switch all the lights on - the air in that ward was absolutely fetid; I had to ask the nurse please, throw that window open, wide open. And I told my GP Dr Coward this story as a pure joke, and he listened with a very serious face, and he said {shocked tone} they should never serve food like that in a bowel ward. {Both laugh} J Dream on... How funny. B Now, you must be ready for your supper. I'll start to serve.. {Break in recording} B None of that delicate - bring to the boil reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes - I'm afraid I like it anyway, Joss.... J It looks wonderful B And I think you're man enough to take it.


J I think I probably am. Cheers. B What's this wine. What do you know about that? J Buzet. (long degustation) well it's mis en bouteille a la propriete so it's genuine enough. I don't know where Buzet is; it looks to be in the Gironde. "On the banks of the river Garonne" Well that must be where Ma used to live in the Duras part of the world. B That was a very evocative postcard you sent - the rooftops in the Cevennes. J Yes. B That brought it to life more than a hundred hours of talk. J I was a rather touristy postcard but it's a hard landscape, you know, when you have to make your roofs of slabs of stone three inches thick. All the timbers in those roofs are more or less complete trees to hold the weight up. Yes, it's a splendid landscape. B You could almost permeate the district. smell the woodsmoke that must

J Well, it does where there are habitations, but there are vast areas that have no habitations. It is very wild. B This is probably a comparatively expensive wine. J Inexpensive? B Expensive, well, about six pounds. J It's well made, and it will do no harm whatever. B I expect it was bought in a supermarket, because everything else he brought as a present was from the supermarket, including supermarket bread, which I take as an insult {chuckles} J Well the thing about supermarket wine is that supermarket buyers are so powerful that if you get a good supermarket buyer penny for penny you're going to be getting a much better buy. B {unconvinced} Yuh.


J I've certainly had some wonderful guidance from Mr Malcolm Gluck, the Guardian wine column. He produces this annual book called Superplonk which is a guide to supermarket wine. B Which newspaper is that? J The Guardian. B I don't read that one. J Nor do I, but I read his Superplonk books which come out every September and give the full list for every leading supermarket in the country of all their wines. Of course if you go into the supermarket and you look at the ticket and you haven't had a bottle before, you haven't got a clue what it's like. and he scores them very well on a combination of price and quality and umm... out of twenty, and you know very well that if you've got a bottle of Gluck wine with a score of sixteen or more you're in for an exceptional experience whatever the price. This is delicious {scraping his plate}. So he fulfils a valuable role. B I understand. {pause} I put a big glossy book next to your bed. With some lovely photographs of the great vineyards, which will mean a lot more to you than to me. French and Alsatian and German vineyards and small estates and growers and so it. It's a nicely produced book. Whether it's well informed I've no idea. J How did we get off the subject of your discreditable diseases? I think the thing switched itself off at the critical moment, didn't it? B Ah yes..... at the appropriate moment { J laughs} Can't talk and eat anyway. {J laughs} J It's as good an excuse as any! B Tell you what I did do with Sue the other day, and her young man James. We'd had two and a half bottles of wine mostly between.. J Have some of this? B Yes, I'll try that. So we were in a partyish sort of mood. And I was describing this experience - a nice young Welshman from Devon comes down and makes recordings for the BBC archives {both chuckle} and I was telling her how shocked and disappointed I genuinely am to hear hear


my own diction intonation, intonation, timbre - everything about my voice is a surprise, an unpleasant surprise. And how the last little bit I heard - admittedly it was only a little bit - how I sounded like Dr Roy Strong. And then out of nothing, I did I think something like a three minute solid monologue impersonation of Dr Roy Strong that was BRILLIANT! Now if you'd recorded that it would have been a classic! I'd just got it right; the words flowed. I was talking about Italian gardens... J We could never have afforded the lawyers fees! B {chuckling} Strange isn't it. I've never attempted to impersonate that man before but I know I got the voice, and I got the manner and I got the Tuscany and the English garden and that rather twee sort of manner. J That rather anally retentive sort of style. B {to his cat} Now, Katy, enjoy your chicken breast. Or was that pigeon breast? {long pause} I mentioned Philip Larkin's could call them journalistic pieces. You know his poetry? J Mmmn. B And then he wrote as a hack, like so many people. And he wrote very well. Endless prejudices. I'm trying to think what the third P it is that he totally dismisses. Picasso, Parker Charlie Parker and a third P are the biggest abberations of the twentieth century - have done more damage - he argues. He was so uninformed you see. J How anybody could argue that about Picasso.... B It shows they're foolish. In that respect.


“Head” Oil 1980

J Or ignorant. Or just wanting to make an argument. Was he just showing off, being self-indulgent, or d'you think he really believed it? B Oh really so. The same as Evelyn Waugh who said the same. Evelyn Waugh, come to think of it had a list of P's which includes plastics, Picasso... J And penises? B Oh, he was alright in that department. Son's still turning out that dreary stuff in the daily Telegraph, Auberon. J It's not always dreary. I'm rather fond of him, actually. B I'd like to be, but I don't find him very interesting. I find him a bit stretched. You see I don't think it's enough for a person to be a journalist. To be a poet like Larkin.... J Nobody's just a journalist and nobody's just a painter. B Well he is. J He must be a man as well. He must be a father and a.... B Yes, but creatively, creatively.. Auberon Waugh first came to note as a very young author of something called the Fox


Club Saga. And it was thought he was going to be a novelist. And it fizzled out and writing for money took over. And I think that's a cop-out. In nearly all cases. J Well I'm not arguing from Auberon Waugh's point of view, but merely from my own observation, and that is that somebody who's sufficently intelligent may realise that they are not sufficiently talented to proceed along the lines of creative output. And therefore they have to do something else. My own career as a singer for example; when I was at school I was very very keen on singing. I sang quite a lot. I did solo oratorio work. B Really? J And I enjoyed singing very much. Very much. I enjoyed performance, but it was very clear to me by the time I was about twenty one or twenty two that I was not a musician, and that to survive in the market place as a singer you had also be able to read music and to assimilate it quickly and to interprete it well and ... and to be in short a musician, which I wasn't. So I stopped. I thought either you do it or you don't do it. So I stopped, and I haven't sung since. Karen my sister criticises that, but I believe that to be the right decision. B I think its arguable. People aren't born with a natural ability to read music on sight. It's a skill that has to be learned, possibly more than reading a book. J Oh certainly, I accept that. But even reading by interval..... I just had the sense, the awareness that I was not a musician. I went on a course at Coventry Cathedral once and I think it was John Carol-Case was doing the tutoring, who was a very fine voice, and he listened to each of us singing a few bars in the rehearsal room. And I sang my bars, and he looked as if somebody had hit him behind the head with a sandbag and he said that is pure gold, he said. That is pure gold. And you must do this that and the other and he gave gave me an immense amount of instruction, leading up to a performance in the cathedral which we each had to do, which is a massive building, Coventry Cathedral. One had to stand on the altar steps and sing a solo. I stood on the altar steps and sang my solo absolutely as I thought I should. About half a tone flat all the way through. And I realised, you know, when I came down the steps, and everybody was looking at me as if I'd shat on the mat. I couldn't hear the organ, and I wasn't aware of doing that. And I thought, what on earth is the point of trying to sing for a career. Had I been told I was flat I would have sorted it out, but when


you're up there on your own, nobody tells you. No, it was an interesting lesson for me. And I thought a sensible move. B Yes. {pause} Well, have some more beans. J So going back to Auberon Waugh I think it's a little hard to criticise giving up his novelist career. He may have gone through a process like mine. B Not as a novelist but to settle.... perhaps it's far more than I know. He's editor of something as well isn't he - the Spectator. J He's the editor of the Literary Review. B Well maybe he's more involved in literary matters than I know of, but I do find his daily piece in the Daily Telegraph seems to be a strain, as though he's looking for something to write about. J I'm sure he is! B And he's a bit heavy-footed with his ironies and cynicism and etceteras. What he has to say in a whole broad column could usually be said in three sentences. Or Peter Simple, the original Peter Simple, could have said it. But the original Peter Simple is dead, isn't he? J Yes. I think Auberon Waugh's column is very variable, but when it's good he's very funny indeed. He relies an awful lot on the hyperbole of setting up a hypothetical and taking it to an absurd extreme, you know. But when it's funny it is really funny. B In so many ways one is in agreement with his right wing views. But one can also see, as one could with his father, the crassness of so much of the opinionation. And the unfairness and the insensitivity and the vulgarity of it as well. J I agree with that. B And as for Auberon Waugh's... Autobiography I think it's called rather than Kingsley Amis whom I'm reading at the moment called Memoirs...of course Amis doesn't give a toss about style, he's just stringing together lots of yarns and stories and reminiscences of people. Lots of language comes into it and it's not carefully written it's sloppily written. Well, it's disappointing, but then you don't expect it from him, possibly.


J Oh I don't know, he can write very well. B Well most of us never got beyond the first one.... J Lucky Jim B ...which we all think is a masterpiece. Downhill all the way from there. Iread one called. I read one called Girl Nineteen which I bought in an Oxfam shop. J Girl Nineteen. Not a promising title. B About a man... shall we say of your age, Joss.... J If you're feeling aggressive! B ...a sort of Terence Conran figure, very successful big house in Hampstead devoted family, wife etcetera and his wife happens to go into the chest of drawers and look into his underpants drawer and she sees packets and packets and packets of nicely coloured new underpants. And she knows that he's having an affair. That's her way of keeping tabs on him. His girl friends become younger and younger and younger so that somebody calculated that by the time he's sixty years old his girl friends will be ten years old, something on that scale of things....well, that wasn't a very clever book, really; doesn't make much reading. But Lucky Jim I think is one of the great books of the time. And he was obviously a very nice fellow. I think he went wrong as well you see. I think he went wrong with alcohol which soured his relationships. He was a beautiful looking man. And so were his wife and young son. The notorious Martin. Everything looked perfect. Celebrated writer. And everything dribbled away, and I think he became as an artist of less consequence than the person they all considered a failure, Philip Larkin. J Who considered? Contemporaries? B Yes, Philip Larkin would never be invited to posh literary dos. J He would now, of course... B Philip Larkin would never be spoken to by Anthony Powell or Evelyn Waugh. Or Cyril Connolly or the so-called elite of the time. He was a total outsider. Amis was on the fringe of it, but a bit dodgy, so he was accepted by some of them.....he made friends with Anthony Powell, but not with


Waugh. He hated comedy as being second rate and was snobbish and so on. It's a good book to read, a good book to read... J From a painting point of view do you put yourself in the same category as Philip Larkin in the sense of being an outsider. B What a good question. I never thought of it that way but the Hull university librarian, conscientious, good at his job is really not too far away from living at Jollytown, solitary confinement for twenty five years. J Well, I was just thinking when you were talking about Kingsley Amis and the established elite... well I was thinking of our last conversation about the RA and all that how you told all the people that you knew there years ago not to be so bloody stupid and to accept the fact that the RA was there and it would be better to be in it to change it than to scorn it from afar. Now they've gone on to do just that and you having given them the advice are now not in it. B Yes, and no hard feelings of course. J It doesn't worry you in any way, but it's an observation. B Yes, very good, very good. J I imagine your canvases are fetching as much as theirs, B More. J Exactly {laughs} so I should not OF COURSE think in these terms but..... B There was a nice little review in the Independent a couple of weeks ago about the exhibition, nice little colour reproduction, and it was quite sensible. J Francis, I think has been doing quite a bit of PR. He had somebody on the Telegraph there last week. B He doesn't do enough. We need a lot more of that. This is partially what the - I'll show you, you can read it for yourself - but the essence was that Ingham is a popular painter and his paintings sell and are enjoyed by people. J Well there's a danger in that, as there is a danger in anybody who says, you know, any praise, but I don't think it's a danger you need to worry about. For somebody to go


on next day to say that these paintings are poor because they're decorative but anodyne or something. One is suspicious of one who says Ingham is a popular painter. One feels that may be saying he's being bought by people who don't really understand painting. B It was qualified by something to the effect of "in the best sense of the word" and "full of erudite references" etcetera. It was a praising review. J Good. Well it's about bloody time. B Francis isn't very clever in that respect. J Well, Francis has had a basinful personally hasn't he? In the last year or so. My observation of Francis over the last year is that he was a man on the edge of a nervous breakdown. B What, before divorce etcetera or business as well? J Well divorce, business and everything. Divorce is an expensive business. But he's coming out of it now. He's perkier this year than I can remember him for ages. And I think you will find he's effective from now on. He's obviously turning his attention to that sort of thing a fair bit. I told him what we were doing, and he was very enthusiastic and God, he said, I'd love to come down with you, he said, when you go and visit Bryan down there. we'd have such a laugh together... B Yes we would. J You know, get on the train. B Yes that would be fun. The art psychological expert cross questioning! expert and the

J You're only saying that because I asked you that question! You still haven't answered it of course! B It's a good question as I said. Yes, obviously one would identify with, not with the wilful, crapulous outsider, but with the person who decides, having experienced the modes of fashion, having been in London in certain vital years, I'm very fortunate that I was, and I'll talk more about this at another time, in London at the time of St Martins, at the time of the first coffee bars, the afternoon drinking clubs, Robert McBride and Robert Colquoun two notorious Scottish drunken painters offering advice to young upstarts like


myself when Colquoun said to me one evening just the two of us in a pub, The Pillars of Hercules, I bought him a pint. Distinguished artist, absolutely down and out. Knows so much about painting. And he said in his Ayrshire accent which I can't begin to do and who do you admire as an artist as a young art student like yerself. And I said Oh..... I love the Pre-Raphaelites. You must be fucking jokin' he said {chuckles} with such furious anger you might say that I didn't say more... So it was a good time to be in London to learn what it was all about. One went to parties and knew some of the Bonzo Dog Doodah band and then at the Royal College. Ron Kitaj was having difficult times and David Hockney and so on and so on and so on. J Kitaj seems to be having continued difficult times. B He wasn't there. He's always quoted as being there at the same time as Hockney. Well he wasn't. But that's neither here nor there. J You've read this latest thing about him panning the critics. Moving to California..... B Yes, it's very sad. Very sad. J What is your view on him. B Well, I don't know enough about him. There's a whole trough of strawberries brought to me this morning by the farmer's daughter. With big bosoms. J You feel the big bosoms add flavour? B Yuh! one of my oldest plates.....{pause}..... it's a rum do that Kitaj business. I wish I was better informed about it. J He's obviously been badly bruised by the whole thing. B It the nineteen sixties when so-called Pop Art got off the ground, about 1962 from memory guess, he was seen as one of the founders of the Transatlantic movement and his own pictures were erudite, very skilful, very strangely constructed, very interesting pictures. Very interesting pictures. Usually using literary themes, usually European literary themes, even Jewish European literary themes. And the erudition usually above the average viewer, or the average critic, or the average artist, the average anybody. And the titles were often cryptic. Of course this appeals to some for whom it must be clever, it must be profound, and irritates others. So it seems to me that he painted these


pictures for say a decade - I may be completely wrong - and there was always the sense that one day the major galleries in the world were going to pick him up and hail him as the major British painter - he was assimilated as a British painter - of the century. He was going to occupy the position that's possibly shared at the moment by two very dubious crowned heads, Francis Bacon, the late Francis Bacon, and Lucien Freud. Now their pictures sell for a million pounds apiece etcetera, and their critical reputation is untouchable high. It won't last. It won't last because they're not great painters in my opinion, and I think I know what I'm talking about. So Kitaj was seen as being the golden.... the golden hope, and of course David Hockney sprang up and took off like a rocket and took a bit of the glamour out of it. And Hockney and Kitaj were mates. Still are, I believe, which is nice. And then I don't know what happened all the time I was down at Kynance Farm doing my etchings. In my quarter century of solitary confinement I don't know what was happening in London and I don't know what was happening with Ron Kitaj. But it appears he was slowly building up a chip on his shoulder about this and that. About art politics, art dealers and all the rest. As is inevitable if you're living in that milieu. I'd chosen to get out for that very set of reasons. I'd eight years in London. I knew what the scene was. Could have been one of the flash boys of the late sixties. Had good reviews and notices in Young Contemporaries etcetera. Got galleries interested. I could have played it like that and got a reputation of sorts, but I knew that was wrong. It was premature and it wasn't appropriate so I came to Cornwall. But he didn't. He stuck there and things went sour for him. And the next time he comes into my area of vision, which as I say was so sparsely populated was only two or three years ago before his big retrospective exhibition. and I saw two paintings reproduced which were to me - and you can't necessarily tell from a reproduction but you can usually form an initial opinion - I like that or I don't like that - one of a lady writer walking down the street, painted from the back in a very sketchy style. They were laughably bad, if anything can be laughably bad, they were terribly bad pictures. Awfully bad. A bit the same as I feel about David Hockney's present exhibition, which I haven't seen though I've got the two catalogues. Just not good, though Hockney's are a lot better.... It seemed in that last London show, he showed a lot of these bad pictures. And of course the critics are often young, and they don't have memories, and they go and attack, and they attacked him very cruelly I believe . as an artist and as I don't know what, as a poseur. All of the pictures apparently had descriptive pieces by the side - this is an evocation of Vienna in 1911. Dr Freud was at that time


talking with..... - long footnotes to every picture which got up peoples' noses. he made them feel inferior, who knows. And so young critics... {end of tape} {Start Tape 5} B It's very reprehensible that critics can pinpoint the entire career of an artist through one exhibition. I express that badly. The critic goes to the exhibition. Who is this guy Kitaj, I've heard about him, he's supposed to be a wunderkind. Now he's seventy years old. God, I don't like these pictures , and then writes a slamming, sneering, cynical, critical review. I think the critic has to have much more responsibility than that. He has to know what does Mr Kitaj have for breakfast, and what are his tastes in sculpture and literature, and does he have a favourite critic or does he hate any critic. They have to get a little bit into the subject, rather than on the evidence of maybe a dozen bad pictures, a dozen very bad pictures - I'm imagining that last exhibition, I don't know - maybe amongst a dozen very promising pictures. Very easy to slam the bad pictures and to write this man off as a disaster, and I believe that's what happened in many many cases. Well that..that...that.. that's very unfair isn't it? J Well I think there's an argument - probably quite a good argument - that if you hang your paintings or whatever in the public eye, you have to expect the flak or otherwise that then descends on you. So you know that if you've hung twelve bad pictures, then you know what's coming to you. B Yes, if you know it. But you may not know it. You may be going through some mental aberration of which you're totally unaware. You may be painting bad pictures... J But then the critics are doing you a service in putting you on the right rails. B Well they can express it in respectful terms, possibly. J Well, does it matter? B I think it matters very much. J But surely you're only going to take notice of a critic who has followed your career. You're going to give weight to a critic who has actually appreciated your pictures before. Who says Mr Kitaj's quality is not borne out by this exhibition and it's a pity that he seems to have lost his way for the time being. Or something of this sort. And gives a


reasoned summary of why. That is obviously something you're going to take notice of and is perfectly valid. Clearly somebody who goes into the Sun or the Daily Express and says this man Kitaj doesn't know how to paint, we've just been down the Whitechapel Gallery and I've never seen such a lot of shit in my life, well ,any rational individual, including the painter, is going to say well I've never heard of this guy in my life. He's been down to this exhibition and he doesn't like it, he's decided to pan it, and I give his opinion the amount of weight it is due. Which is fuck all. B Oh no, I'm afraid people take a lot of weight from the reviews, from the newspaper, from the Evening Standard. Brian Sewell had them all panicking.. J Oh I love him! I adore him! B Ha! J He's a wonderful old queen, don't you think? B Yes! me too, me too, me too! About four years ago I said to Francis out for the launch... J Francis was one of the guys who signed that letter against him. B Exactly. I said to Francis, now come on Francis, I think Brian Sewell writes as much common sense as anybody on these subjects, he's always been bemoaning the lack of quality in contemporary art, so let him see that there is quality around. And I don't give a damn what he'll say because I feel confident that he will see that there is something there to be appreciated. So Francis rather reluctantly agreed and sent off a letter to Mr Sewell. J I'd love to have heard the conversation! B And a beautiful letter came back from Mr Sewell, saying Dear Mr Graham- Dixon, I'm very surprised that you invite me to your soiree on the 27th. I do remember that you were one of the signatories to that most offensive letter and of course I will never come to your gallery. He put it much more beautifully than that - very flowery, lovely language. It was a letter to smile over and cherish. And I felt well, that's a pity, because he's refusing to see my pictures because of ..... J Yes, that is a great mistake, actually.


B I thought - as one does, one thinks of good ideas and then one doesn't do it - I should write and say dear Mr Sewell, I'm not responsible for the actions of my dealer. It was my wish that you should come and see my pictures, I respect much of what you've written. I respect the fact that you wrote favourably about Ben Nicholson's retrospective.... J How much time does this show go on? B Til the 7th. J Well, I think you ought to pick up the 'phone and ring him. B Well I don't operate like that. When the Ben Nicholson retrospective was on about four years ago again Andrew Graham-Dixon gave such a sneering review of this dead venerable English master who whatever you say, you've only got to look through so many books to see that there was a very original artist. Highly original and extremely creative artist. And you can't dismiss him. There's been nobody like him in Britain this century. You can say I don't like that sort of work or this or that but that sort of work - but it's a very wide range of work. But Graham-Dixon went on sneering about these kipper coloured pictures and .... very offensive language. Not critical, but offensive. And so many of the reviews of that Nicholson exhibition were offensive. And the one sensitive, intelligent, with a bit of insight, was in the Evening Standard, by Brian Sewell. And I think that's what made me decide to say to Francis, - it must have been about the same time, - let's invite Mr Sewell along because he does appreciate good contemporary art. And of course he's often got such a lot of rubbish to go and see, - more than his due share, because he's provocative and people like baiting an angry poodle, and he behaves like that so much of the time that fodder - let's get Sewell along and see what he does to a slice of Francis Bacon, and he'll come back spitting and fuming probably, saying homosexuality doesn't necessarily have to be like that... J Ha Ha. B And I'm sure it doesn't, by God! J I think if it did there'd be a good deal less homosexuals in the world, that's for sure! B So I would expect of any critic or anyone who's written about my work, and two distinguished people so far have, the first Brian Robertson who is the - how d'you pronounce it- the doyen, the doyenne, the old master of British art


culture. Mounted all those famous shows through the sixties at the Whitechapel. Introduced Britain to American art, to Rauchenberg, Jasper Johns, Elsworth Kelly, everybody you can think of was through Brian Robertson as an elegant young man in those days. I was on the fringe of the circle that he was choosing and never wanted to be chosen 'cause I wasn't ripe. Some of my colleagues did want to be chosen and they weren't, and they were disappointed and it wouldn't have been appropriate, - he had a good eye in other words, an honest eye. Well, when Francis showed him some pictures in Great Sutton St and asked would he write 2000 words for X magazine, I forget the one, Art and Design or whatever, Robertson looked at the pictures and said yes, I like this work, and so he was packed off down, to come to Cornwall. Josephine kindly let him stay overnight at Tremayne. So we had as we're having now, a long evening together, then a good meal with Josephine, and then a long morning and a nice lunch with Aysel down at Lady St. It was a beautiful visit, and we talked a hell of a lot, he more than I, he's a compulsive raconteur, and of course he'd met everybody. He'd tell his stories about Dufy or Picasso or whatever. And I always remember him leaning over a painting that was propped up on the seat, called Tremayne Still Life, and he said "You know, I didn't know people painted pictures of this quality any more" And I thought well, that's very nice to hear, - that was a very spontaneous remark. I thought that was very nice to hear. and he wrote a smashing review, perceptive, putting my work in historical context, which it needs; he'd taken the trouble to see the light in the studio. He mentioned that, he mentioned how the light affects the work of,,,I can't remember... Dufy... L.S. Lowry... how my light was late morning in a Cornish studio. Because he'd been there, and we'd talked and drunk a lot of whisky together and we'd swapped yarns and we'd swapped opinions. We'd a lot of people in common, of course, though with an age difference. So then the man is qualified to go back and say well, I think Ingham's art lies too much on the side of eclecticism; I would like to see the man have more courage and be his own....but that's what he could have said. What somebody might say. What people almost certainly will say at some stage, but which is not true. He knows where my art stands in the twentieth century, and in a Cornish Art context etcetera because he took the trouble to come down two times, and both articles are worth reading. They're amusing, they're beautifully expressed. And the same with the critic Mel Gooding. He, again, a professional. Francis suggested the name. I said I've heard the name, I don't know the man. I said but I'm not prepared that he write an Introduction to my catalogue on the evidence of seeing my paintings propped up around the


basement before they're hung for the exhibition. If he wants to write about me he must come down and see them in the studio - almost ready framed, most of them, - and we must spend a couple of nights together. Again, we did that with the same success. Josephine a marvellous hostess of course. Switch off at half past eight after a hard talk and whisky drinking and go over to Tremayne, drink nice wine...lovely about other matters...sleep half past nine in the morning back for another three hour session. Then down to the Blue Anchor for a pasty and a couple of pints and then a taxi to Redruth for the afternoon train. And a bloody good article came out of that. With a good jouranlistic mind who...he took notes, did Mel, but not a lot. By God he remembered so much. He didn't use one of these machines. But he quoted and he remembered nuances, turns of phrase...speech. Very, very high quality critical journalism. Well, to be written about by people like that, yes. to be written about by somebody who might come into the gallery and say, well, this looks like Paris 1914 to me, who's this bloke? Easy to do and easy to damn my entire career just through walking through the present show, if the critic wished to be unpleasant. And I would say to that critic, Look you bastard, I've lived down at Jollytown, I've made all of these etchings, I've made all of these sculptures. I've studied here. I've studied there, I've done this and I've done that, I've dropped this, I've dropped that. I know a little bit more about the whole damn thing than you believe that I ever do know. J The bottom line is despite the fact that you haven't had a great quantity of attention from the critics, your canvases are fetching good money. B Yuh, yuh yuh. Well they're fetching the sort of money which really for an artist is the ideal money. If by having a show every two years I'm managing to make enough money to last you the next two years, to be able to drink two bottles of wine a day, have whisky in the cupboard and well, go to Italy if one wants to... J Your shows have done a bit better than that, haven't they? B Not when it's all pared away. He must have made, I would guess about £140,000. that's not just the show, that includes three other expensive pictures. Well £140,000 is a lot of money. Double it and it's a quarter of a million pounds. Make it £420,000 and that's what I've just read Elton John paid for a David Hockney flower piece. Now that is absolute bollocks, but then I think Elton John is absolute bollocks as well! So I'm glad that my pictures are bought by people who


maybe have to think do we get a new car, or do we buy this picture... £12,000 ....£14,000 that's a lot of money. Well that's a big decision. But it's an aesthetic decision. And if they settle for buying the picture...God they really want it, they want it for what it is. Not for a bank vault or prestige... J That's right they're still within the range of anybody who actually decides they want to prioritise, and have one, yeah. B Well, that is really perfect for the artist's lifetime, I think. How sickening it would be if say if Mr Saatchi - who apparently does go into Francis's gallery occasionally - if he'd come in on the first day and said yes, I'll take the lot. Now I don't believe in that man's eye, judgement, aesthetic, anything. J Would Francis have sold them all? B I suppose he would have had to. And then they're out of our hands completely. Then they could be hidden away for forty years, or they could be shown, the fact that the people who want the pictures can still afford to buy them and give me a good living.....but not a big living... J What would you have done... and this is a hypothetical...what would you have done if you'd had a call from Francis saying I've had Mr Saatchi in the gallery and he wants to buy the whole show. What do I do? B Well, that's a very difficult thing to answer honestly. Francis had the pictures this time about three months before the show, and in that time he told me over the phone Oh I've already sold six or seven. Well, then you know you're off to such a good start that it's going to be OK. Then I would have been able to say, tell Mr Saatchi he can have four, but no, not the lot, because that's not genuine collecting. I find it flattering and touching that Pete Townsend, whom I like as a man, respect as a man, in his present incarnation, though I loved the pictures of him when he used to jump up on the stage - have you ever seen those photographs - he was playing his guitar, and he would leap in the air like Rudolf Nureyev. His thighs would be like that and his legs would be like that! At that sort of height, you know in this sort of frenzy of The Who. So he was obviously great in that phase, but now he's a mature man and a very nice man. He calls in occasionally. I was flattered that he bought five pictures. I don't think he bought five of the best. I think he could have done better if he'd bought the big one for fifteen thousand, that would have been a real collector's eye, but he doesn't quite have that, but he buys them


because he loved them and he knows my work he knows my sculpture, he knows my graphic work and he respects it. He said I respect the fact that it all comes together, and this is one of the things that I, Pete Townsend, am seeking too in my writing, my poetry and my music, my productions. In that sense he sees us on a similar broad pattern. Still, for someone to buy five pictures, that's a bit questionable. You think oooh, you know I'd rather it were three and somebody else bought three. But for him to buy five, no that's great. And he bought that plaster head of Aysel four or six years ago and he told me one time here I couldn't live without that thing around me, it's absolutely a part of my life. I think that's so right. J That's how it should be. B Yes, I'm sure Pete Townsend isn't spending a quarter of a million pounds on a David Hockney flower painting. Elton John is buying himself what...prestige?? J Who knows. B The guy who picks up the tab after the dinner party.. J Well, maybe he liked it. B Yes, but they're not worth it. Even if you like it common sense must prevail. You can't buy a contemporary picture for half a million pounds. You can spend half a million much more creatively, I'm sure. Even if you bought cashmere jumpers.... J I wish I could say that it isn't the case, but I do think that you know the idea that if you have the money that you can spend half a million or a million pounds on a contemporary painting is well established now. I suppose somebody like Elton John who probably hasn't got a clue except about what he feels like buying, says well yes, good name, half a million, yes OK. As simple as that. B Yeh. I suppose the root of the problem, and you know I hate saying bad things about David Hockney because you know I respect the man, I like him, I was one of his very earliest champions at the Royal College. Some of my colleagues were.... J Yes, he wasn't universally liked at the Royal College, was he?


B No. I said this is a real talent...this is a real guy. And in fact I introduced him to Kasmin who became his first big dealer. Nobody knows that..that's a little anecdote... and I don't suppose either Hockney or Kasmin would remember, but we were waiting outside the V&A lecture theatre there was an entrance from the RCA from high up. There was a lecture theatre with tiered seating. Well up at the top of the tiers there's a little door and through that door are the corridors of the RCA as we could walk from the RCA down into the V&A tea room down through a baize door and then we were in the museum. And in this instance we were waiting outside the lecture theatre, and the lecture was to be given by a man called Larry Rivers, who two or three years later was internationally famous as a New York Pop artist, a Jewish artist (not very good in my opinion). He was a whirlwind artist and one of the highest prices of the day. His pictures were selling at enormous prices along with de Kooning, Pollock and so on. He was part of the chosen in-set of New York. Well, we didn't know that at the Royal College,and we'd been told by Professor Carol Weight that we had to attend this lecture and we all went Oh Christ another bloody lecture. We were standing outside saying D'you know this Larry Rivers...No, never heard of him. English is he? Never heard of him Old is he or young ..Never heard of him. And David Hockney was in this group. Before his hair was dyed. Rather an ugly fellow in fact. Takes care to be photographed full frontal, where he looks lovely. But look at him sideways and he's got a very bent neck. Very ape like structure from his shoulders. And with cropped brown hair he was rather ugly, ugly looking chap. And a chap with big spectacles, who I recognised down in Marlborough Gallery a couple of years earlier smoking Gauloises cigarettes, a secretary in Marlborough Gallery, and that was Kasmin, who then opened his own gallery. Well I recognised this Kasmin fellow, and he said to me, who's this fellow David Hockney, is he around here. And I said yes that's him, David somebody wants to meet you....And that (chuckles) was my modest role in bringing them together. Not that they wouldn't have found each other without me! The lecture was an absolute hoot. It was wonderful. Professor Weight is a very bad public speaker. (Imitates) Rather hhhh high pitched st...stammering voice. So he stood by the microphone. Next to the microphone was a sloping book lectern and this black haired Italian-Jewish looking dago character from Manhattan, sort of shuffling around. Professor Weight got out of his duties wonderfully. He said (imitates) Our speaker day is the distinguished American I know I don't need to tell you anything about him....Mr Rivers. (Both laugh) And then Larry Rivers went into a


routine, and I've often wondered whether it was calculated. Did you ever see the Marks Brothers film where they stow away across the Atlantic, first of all in barrels and then they become general stowaways around the ship and to get off the ship they get uniforms of explorers...- sort of khaki drill, and they all have beards. And they're ushered on to the shore in New York, and they're greeted by the Mayor of New York and I think the President of the United States, and they're put up onto the podium and the microphone is put in front of Harpo, and of course Harpo as we know doesn't speak in the films. So there are carafes of water on the podium, so Harpo takes a drink of water, and the crowd falls silent, and he's looking round with those wonderful expressive eyes, takes another drink of water, and this scene carries on for for about thirty seconds until finally he's drinking the water like this and the water gets into the glue of his beard and swings aside and then the chase begins again. Well, Larry Rivers began his lecture, after such a bad introduction by Carol Weight, began his lecture in exactly the same way. He took a sip of water, put the glass down. Looked up at this very distinguished English institutional lecture hall, and then took another sip of water, and carried on in just the same way. And I've often wondered whether he was playing a game with us or whether he was just genuinely nervous. Then he gave his lecture, which I don't think made much impression. There were no slides or pictures to be shown. Didn't leave much impression, I don't think. But it was an important day. It was the day when a living American Pop artist came to the RCA. It was a significant day. I'm obviously decribing it from my point of view. Maybe somebody more au fait with the subject would interpret the whole affair in a completely different manner, but that's how I saw that. So did I digress!?? J Well, we started with Ron Kitaj's ennui with the critics and went on organically from there, didn't we? B Yes, yes. I think for the time being we can leave it. (Long pause) I'm going to take my sleeping tablets now, because it takes about six hours for them to work. I get to sleep at about four am. But my lady doctor has given me the name of the ones I should be having. J Has she? Oh good. The ones you were getting in hospital? B Yeh. She's a lovely contact to have. And would you believe it...I can tell you because you'll probably never meet her and you won't talk about it. So I'm going to tell you. She's known for about a year, and she was diagnosed about three weeks ago as having multiple sclerosis. And possibly a fairly


rampant form. She went to India recently and went completely blind in one eye and then recovered. We've talked about this you know. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of having a potentially curtailed life. And it's not all disadvantages at all. There are so many positive aspects. And she embodies these as well. She wants to do so much, - she does so much. And at the back of her mind her time is limited. She might be severely crippled or she might be dead. Or she might go on for forty years. But its changed her attitude and her attitude is nothing to do with being sad or sorry for herself. Isn't that strange. Only twenty eight. Lively, beautiful, everything. J Multiple sclerosis can be a really fickle disease. You can get really very very long periods of remission. The daughter of a friend of my mothers has had it now for about twenty five years and she's still perfectly, I don't say perfectly OK, but still perfectly functional. She has periodic problems. But it's also true that if you get it in the virulent form you can be in a ghastly state in a really short time. B She plays the violin, to a high standard. Not quite professional, but a high standard. And I was asking her what various symptoms she gets and she said I lose a lot of sensitivity in this hand, but that's not so important because it's the bowing hand. But the other way round that little part of her life would go. But this mutual awareness gives us a solidarity which is quite fun. You can joke about it. You know, let's get another eight of us and hire a minibus and all go to Blackpool... you can be quite silly about it. I suppose you can as long as it's not really painful. When that starts well then maybe the fun stops altogether. And if that does start well, that's another game altogether. J That's worrying you at the moment? B No. I've had a good talk with Mr Whiskey Daniels, and asked him whether these pains are relevant or whether they're something else...they could be rheumatism or arthritis or God knows what. No, no and I'm not worried anyway, because if things got too worse, I know what to do. It's as simple as could be. Not to linger on, not to embarrass ones friends, not to cause distress all round but to make a dignified exit. I think there's no question about that. J These things are not easy to talk about. B Don't you agree with that?


J I do, I think certainly... One of my dogs died earlier this year. It had a sudden acute condition which came on, and he'd been fine, he'd had thirteen years of happy life and so he suddenly got this acute condition. I suspect it was a tumour on the base of his brain, and he died in agony over a period of about two hours. He had a first fit, so I zoomed him off to the vet, and the vet gave him some injection, he was a perfectly charming, well-meaning young man who didn't have a fucking clue. And I brought him home and he then had another worse fit and as I say died in agony, in dire straights. But I have to say not for very long. I had to get the vet out to have him put down, as I didn't have a shotgun, and my neighbour refused to shoot him - he said that shooting dogs is not as easy as all that, which I can well believe, - umm.. and the relief I had when the vet appeared and gave Barney his injection.... umm.... was absolutely immense, you know there was not a shadow of regret about it. The fact was it was something that had to be done and the only regret if any was that I wasn't able to do it the moment he needed it B Yup, yup. J And I reflected at the time when I felt so relieved, what a curious thing it is that we can do that for our animals but find it difficult to do it for our fellow human beings. Ummm we create these artificial walls of... B Sentimentality. J Well, it's not sentimentality, I suppose it's distrust, really. If we really all trusted each other, then we would trust each other to put each other down when were in our extremity. As it is because there are strange people around who do it not when you're in your extremity, but because it's convenient... B I'd never thought of it that way. I'd never thought of distrust... J It is distrust. It is simply to safeguard against being done away with by an avaricious relative or a jealous wife or whatever. It's the human sin that has produced the human suffering. If we hadn't... B But if the sufferer himself says in private consultation with his consultant, there's no chance of recovery or remission? No, sir, there isn't. And how long is this likely to carry on. Is it going to escalate. Yes, it is going to get worse. And it could carry on for six months. Well, I don't think the quality of things are right even now, so give me a fortnight


to see my friends and have a last round-up, and then come and see me with your tablets in a fortnight. J I don't think this is something you can discuss openly with a GP. Certainly on the record. I think it depends. It's a lot to ask, because the fact is that if anyone wants to commit suicide there are probably plenty of well informed and effective ways of doing it without actually asking somebody to risk their career by doing it. B Well, I don't think it has to be like that. I think one can build up a stock-pile of potentially lethal tablets. The dosage is eight a day and you get a months supply and you don't use them, so you've got enough to kill yourself. J Fair enough, but I think it's important to check with somebody who understands that one's doing the right thing. For example nobody should ever try to commit suicide with aspirin or whatever 'cause they may just bugger up their know. B Yes, I agree it's got to be done efficiently. J But I don't think you should be thinking in these terms at all, unless there's something you haven't told me. B No, well it's only part of the general speculation. J Well you've had two doctors say to you you've got three or four years. Frankly in my view if you've got the mechanics saying that the chances are you've got as good a chance of making a complete recovery as dying! B Yes. I think so. But one has to be prepared for...for the other course. And one isn't prepared to linger for a long time, just a nuisance to oneself and everybody else. One's got to have plans in mind. J Well this is the process of mind that anyone who gets cancer tends to think. It would be idle to suppose otherwise. Certainly , when I got my melanoma I went through that process of thought. B Well, then you're prepared. Foolish not to think about it. J The great trap is to think too much about it. B Yes, well I don't. I do think of the extreme embarrassment I will cause if I live to the age of 84! That would be good fun...


(end of tape) (start new side) B Presents, cards bottles of wine, strawberries, raspberries, cream, pasties, every day every day every day. I'm being killed with kindness at the moment, which is wonderful of course, but... of course soon that'll stop. Nice in the evening here isn't it? J It's lovely. It's warmer now than the last time I was down. It was quite chilly in the evening when I came down before, but it's definitely summer now. B The electrician still only has the one heater working properly. the other two are to be fixed. J The storage heaters in the studio? B Yes. Otherwise it would be quite chill. J Well the studio when I was here last time was fine. B I haven't changed the bed linen since you were here, but the only person who has slept there since you has been the lovely Zigritte Martin, who slept there two nights alone, with her husband on the floor, so you're in good company. J What was her husband doing on the floor? B Oh they've been married for eighty eight years... no, I don't know. They may have jumped on each other, who knows, I don't know. They have separate bedrooms at home and only jump on each other sporadically. J Very wise.....(long pause for a piss) National Service. B Are we recording now? J Yup, we're always recording! B A very worthwhile time as any man of my generation will tell you. You must have escaped it by.. a few years J Yes B The great virtue of National service was that one could leave grammar school after the examinations aged about 15 and a half having secured an O level in Geography and an O level in English language, and then one could look for a job or be a waster, or what ever for two years. But there was no Tell me about your


fashion in those days for being a waster; you wouldn't live at home without working - you'd be kicked out by an oldfashioned Dad - Go out and get a bloody job... My father was in the clothing trade, Milletts and then after that John Banners, and I don't know how it was arranged but I had an interview to meet a distiguished old battleaxe of a lady called Miss Cole who was the owner of a a huge departmental store in Sheffield called Cole Brothers, she was last of the family. Old maid real Victorian. Smashing woman. Gaunt, thin, hair in a bun. Rather well spoken. And I had to go and be interviewed by her. With my mother, with my two O levels. For a job in the Gents outfitting department, understood for two years. And yes, the interview was a great success. I liked Miss Cole and respected her and we obviously got on well enough. And so I was given a job, and became the junior in...... Upstairs was the tailoring department. Bespoke suits. Ready made suits of the highest quality. Chester Barry I think they were called. Daks. All the best names in the tailoring trade of the time. Beautiful heavy silk dressing gowns at twelve guineas...wonderful... wonderful quality we sold.....hello Katy.......and downstairs was more the more plebiean department opening to the street where they sold shirts underwear, ties socks etcetera. But that was a bit more plebiean. The staff wore black jacket and striped trousers. White shirt, hard white collar, discrete tie. I as a junior was allowed to wear a dark three piece suit, silk tie, hard collar, black shoes... conforming, but not quite to the black jacket and striped trousers standard. So I was in the upstairs, the tailoring, the "posh" area. It was anarea about six time the size of this lined with beautiful jackets suits, jackets and then cubicles where you measured your customer..- I learned how to measure the arm and the depth of the sighd'you know the word sigh? J Sigh, no I don't. B Yes that's the cut underneath the armpit. I would like a fairly generous sigh, a customer might say. Or keep the sigh fairly tight. Possibly gone out of the language now, old tailoring terms. I knew how to measure the inside leg. I could measure a man for a suit for two fittings. It wasn't possibly the highest quality - it wasn't Savile Row - but it was high. And a fine suit would cost, I think, about fourteen guineas. Which was probably a lot of money. We also sold wonderful camelhair overcoats... oh what's the name of that special.....Crombie! We sold Crombies. They were something like twenty five guineas, and weighed half a ton. And we had really distinguished clients of course. Sheffield has always been a prosperous city. Or prosperous among the factory


and the steel owners and so on. And I had a boss who had the splendid name of Mr Surtees, and his name was even Richard Surtees; I don't know whether he had an S as well. And he had gold pinces nez, silver grey hair brushed rather like Earl Haig. And a florid complexion, and a violent temper which everybody feared. And I as tyro had respect certainly, but if I thought he'd said something that was not right, correct, I would say excuse me, sir, but I think it should be.....and if he felt so inclined he would say It is as I say young man; and I would say No sir, I think it is as ......and then...blazing rows.... he would go bright purple, run around the shop regardless of customers, shouting and Impudence. Young pipsqueaks from Grammar school and all this sort of thing. And early on in my career.... there was a store room of that {indicates} size, that had narrow shelves which were full of bolts of cloth..tweeds... being in Yorkshire we had all the fine cloths. And he said to me one day that storeroom hasn't been cleaned out in my time here. It's in a terrible state and nobody knows what's in there. I said I'll clean it out, sir. He said it's filthy, its a terrible job. It was. I said no, I'll enjoy to do that. And I tripped right down and got all my fine clothing off and spent something like four days taking these bolts out, brushing them down, wiping with damp cloths, hoovering. I made that storeroom immaculate. And I got dust in my throat, my hair...I was filthy. It was the most horrid job you can imagine. And I loved it! I got to prove myself like that. And after that, well he really respected that I was a good lad, he didn't say much about it, he just said well done, that's nice...well done.....not much more said, but I knew I'd won my spurs, through that. Saturday lunchtime we would get men in, sometimes with their wives, sometimes without, who has obviously had a glass of beer in the pub, 'cause I coukld smell it. By no means drunk, but in those days if I smelt beer on a man's breath, I thought I was dealing with a raving lunatic. And I remember there was one occasion when I was introducing various lovely hunting style narrow waisted full skirted jackets to a gentleman -- 38 long- they had all these measurements; you could have a 42 portly or a 32 short, a 42 long or a 42 long leg they were all graded. and this man was trying on jackets, and he said, it's a lovely Cheviot tweed is this, I said it's a beautiful cloth, sir, it's a form of thornproof. He said no, no, no this is a Cheviot. I said no, sir it's a thornproof. It's a Cheviot! It's a thornproof! It's a Cheviot! Ha Ha! And this developed into a sort of Marx Brothers huge row, at this impudent 17 year-old sales boy. I was right, and he was wrong, but of course I should have said yes, of course sir, it suits you perfectly. Instead of which we had a blazing row, and then Mr Surtees would come and see such a thing happening and come across and


say Sir, are there any problems here? The young man is saying that this is a thornproof and I'm saying it's a Cheviot. I'm sorry, sir the young man's been with us a year. He's a good young man, but will you leave us now Mr Ingham, I'd like to take over. {both laugh} And when I left that shop he gave me a silver propelling pencil, and as an ex schoolboy it was about the most dreamy gift that you could have, absolutely like a silver watch to a fifty five year old ex rail man. Inscribed from Mr Surtees. It brought a tear to the eye, did that. J You lost it I suppose? B It got squashed at one stage. I treasured it for some years, of course, it got lost as all things do. And the great beauty of this place was that it was about six stories high. And if we went straight through into the next part you had to pass the great fitting cubicles which were about twice the size of my lavatory cubicle there which the ladies corsetry cubicles, where they had special ladies who measured ladies to have whalebone elaborate structures people have these made any more? J It's a dying art, but I think theatrical costumiers still do it don't they? B Yes, well there were fitters. Special fitters. The ladies on the old side who specialised in that trade and then down the rest of the department, twice the length of this were the long glass-topped counters of the girls selling lingerie of every description; the ladies and the girls were all 21, 22...24 years old, Sheffield lasses, all in uniform, all attractive. And there was I a seventeen year old loose......what's that noise? J Must be that furniture arriving. B It might be my pen being blown by the wind {pause while investigates and calls} Oh Hullo. Wondered what the noises were....only you. Bye Bye. So you had this run of beautiful ambitious ex -not grammar school girls, secondary school girls, and the ratio would be one boy like myself to forty attractive girls. And you'd go up another flight - another flight would be the accounts department where you had to go with your cheques and bills and the girls behind the counter would flirt with you, and the most exciting of all was to go into the very attic of this building which really were Victorian attics with skylights and bare floor boards, - up to this last floor, where they did pressing of...if goods had arrived badly creased, they were


taken up there and if goods had to be lengthened or shortened they'd be taken up there and there was a long table about the length of this room with maybe about twenty girls around, sewing, and machines going. And such beauties these girls were. There was a couple of old stern harridans looking after them. And that became one of my jobs. I might have to take ....I'd say to Mr Surtees this jacket sleeve looks not so good sir, I think I'll take it upstairs and get the girls to....Do that, Mr Ingham. And off I'd go, and as you opened the door, all the girls eyes would look... and it was like the tobacco factory in know...there was one girl with rich black hair and big eyes who used to ogle me in such a way.... I was so immature...I couldn't take much advantage....somehow I inveigled this black haired big eyed tough Sheffield girl - these were the less posh ones upstairs - these were the working girls, with callouses on their hands, who lived down by the canal. I took her to the pictures one night. In those days it was the thing to get your arm around the back of the girl so you'd sit and look at the picture like ridiculous...did you ever go through that? (J affirmative grunt) Yes obviously the more natural thing is to hold hands and then maybe just straighten the thigh or just across the bosom casually but this had to go into this static arm aching position around their shoulders, which was no good for anybody 'cause the girl was still upright you're watching the flim like this. I went through the film like that and I'd bought a box of Black Magic chocolates, and I'd taken her upstairs, and I think she'd never been upstairs in a cinema in her life. And she ate the chocolates, or the best part of them, then I walked her down to the bus station where she had to get her tram to go to the working class district Attercliffe and then just for a short while I put my arms round her and we kissed, and she was a little bit more...she was a mature woman... I was a seventeen year old schoolboy nerd. All she wanted was to be taken round the corner into one of the bomb sites for a stand-up job or whatever, but certainly for a bit of full erotic love making. But I didn't know about that. I thought a box of chocolates and a kiss would be a wild night. I didn't take her out again. She told me months later..she said I was very surprised at you. I said what d'you mean? She said Oh, I'm not going to tell you. I took it as a compliment and {chuckles} she looked very disappointed. So all of that was the preliminary to your question. The National Service. And that was a marvellous way of growing up between sixteen and eighteen years old. Going back on the number nineteen bus back to Totley - six miles - with a packet of ten Sobranie No 7 cigarette, d'you remember them? Never tasted a cigarette like it. I used to smoke about three a day, one going home on the bus. Sometimes I'd sit with my


intellectual pals who would talk to me about - or we would talk about books, and at seventeen we were all pretentious, we were all reading Aldous Huxley and Arnold Bennett and poetry. We were self-educated, really. As I say that was the preliminary to the military experience, which I'd like to talk about another time when I'm fresh, because I enjoyed the military experience and I enjoyed HATING it, fighting it, and it was character building and it did me a lot of good. And it was a great period {break in recording} B I can't remember how far we got with Art School. J Well you'd given the outline; that you'd gone to St Martins and on to the RCA and you dealt with a couple of your professors at St Martins... the names escape me at this moment. B Archibald Zeigler, the Jewish man who washed his hands after his students. J Yes, and somebody else who was a First World War veteran B Vivian Pitchforth. J Pitchforth. Indeed. B Deaf as a post. Royal Academician. A marvellous teacher. Broad Yorkshire voice. His accent hadn't changed, I suppose, since the trenches. Since he was a bombardier. And when we hear recordings of people from the early part of the century, voices were more characterful then than now. And his was a Yorkshire voice. Very characterful, and of course very loud. Of course he didn't have a sense of judgement there. A very patient teacher. art came in to it. Nothing arty. Just drawing. Basic stuff. Did we get to the Royal College of Art? J Well we got to the RCA and you'd mentioned Carel Weight and... B I should remember this having read it last night...... J I think one touched on both schools more on personalities, more than what it did for you as it were, and that's an aspect which one should... B Say that again, sorry.


J One touched more on the personalities that you met there than on what happened to you developmentally, really. The effect it had on you. And what did St Martins do for you as opposed to the RCA. B As I mentioned in our last talk I was accepted into St Martins with 2 O levels which.... ten years later you would have had to have half a dozen O levels to go to a bloody art school. In those days you could go to an art school without such qualifications. In fact many people went instead of going to grammar school. Went straight to art school. When I passed to go to Netheredge...Good Heavens.... when I passed to go to my grammar school, on the list that one was required to make was Sheffield Art College. It's hard to believe that one might have been at Art College at the age of twelve. Hard to believe. But I'm sure that was the case. Anyway a lot of people went to art college at fifteen or sixteen. John Royland, who is now a very celebrated contemporary artist, went to Sheffield Art College, I think straight from school, whist I was working at Cole Bros. Occasionally we would travel back on the bus together, he dressed in a British coat worn a la Augustus John sketching in the trenches - there's a famous photograph of John with a trimmed beard and a captain's insignia and hat, drawing. I don't think he ever went near a rifle. And so John Royland had adopted this style and had a rucksack with lots of delicious oil painting brushes sticking out of the top. So I in my three piece suit with hard collar was very proud to sit next to this bohemian character who'd been painting somebody's daughter in Sheffield. He then went to the Royal Academy Schools, and we met up again when I was at St Martins, three years later I suppose. So I was accepted into St Martins on very very weak qualifications. Poor drawings as I've said. Silly adolescent literary jokes written in my sketchbooks. Particularly featuring the Sitwell family who had captured my imagination at that stage, being Sheffielders themselves...though regretfully I never went to Renishaw. Never have been. Would like to go....So I'm arriving at St Martin's. One remembers the first day and looking round at one's fellow students and wondering whether one had got it right in terms of clothing, was it necessary to have a beard to be an art student, must one wear corduroy trousers and were suede shoes still de rigeur, and yes, I found I'd got it fairly right, with a tweed jacket and corduroys and big silk scarf knotted round the neck. Yes I was off to a good start in that direction! And the thing about St Martins was that we received, as I've previously mentioned, wonderful training. The days were split into different classes. Like maybe a morning would be life drawing and afternoon the


composition, in other words painting a half-imperial picture in gouache water paints in an afternoon to a set theme. Berwick St market or Leadenhall market or my memory of a country village market - that sort of thing, which involved figures and still life groups and so on. So the pictures were necessarily pretty awful but is was a very good way of covering a lot of ground without pretentiousness. At the end of the session the pictures would be pinned up and the teacher would go around them saying I don't like this because of this and that, and I think this is admirable because you see how the student has balanced his forces, and I like this one because of the strong use of colour and this one is tonally very sensitive... I admire that. And then the pictures were virtually thrown away. Nowadays at the art school, or later, students from the outset were invited to paint art. And would spend two months on a picture. Like deeply symbolic of your inner neuroses! But you weren't learning anything about picture making, and probably you weren't doing your neuroses any favours at the same time. Just a sort of wanking exercise really, and as such deplorable. So I'm grateful for the education I got there. We were also invited to study perspective, which I couldn't get on with, architecture, a little bit of wood engraving, taught by a dear old country man called Clifford Webb, who came up from Sussex (where else), in his heavy tweed suit and his great grey sideburns he'd become like a nineteenth century John Bull farmer, with his tall slow loping countyman's walk. You'd see him passing up the Charing Cross Rd among the wide boys and the spivs. And his idea of teaching was to gather three or four of us - there'd be no more than that in his class - he'd demonstrate the tools, the way sharpen them, the way to handle them. He'd show us good examples of the craft, but best of all he'd tell us stories. Well, through the stories I don't suppose we learned anything about wood engraving at all, but we did learn about, well, history, recent history, art history of a very specialised nature. For example a very distinguished contemporary of his, Gertrude Hermes, who I believe is still alive, the most distinguished wood engraver, possibly, of this century. Dear old Mr Webb would refer to Gertrude Hermes as Dear old Gerty, and we loved this sort of thing. He told me once how he was commissioned to do the illustrations for Arthur Ransome's first book the first of the series Swallows and Amazons, and this was set in Cumberland and so off Mr Webb went, met Arthur Ransome, in fact rather a strange person, and did his drawings right through the whole book, submitted them back to the author, and the author was furious. He said that drawing is all wrong. It's hopeless. Why, said Mr Webb, rather hurt. The rock that Titty was sat on was not that shape at all. I could take you and show you the rock, you


just haven't got it right. And so on that level he lost the commission, which could have been a very remunerative lifetime's work virtually. And I think that after that Arthur Ransome elected to do the drawings himself, so he would get the right rock and the right shape for Titty and the right distance of lake and so on. So that was wood engraving. I remember one of our group was a lovely, I think African, boy... bit older than most of us. Good natured... big sparkling teeth. Not over-bright I don't think. he hacked away at the wood engraving not very successfully, but just about good enough to get through our examination which was called the National Diploma in Design, Intermediate, I think it was called. The NDD followed two years after that; it was a four year course at St Martins. And this African lad, we had one day to make our wood engraving which was then printed and submitted to the assessing board somewhere in Great Britain. the block and the print. And I elected to do do Wuthering Heights - Heathcliffe stood on a rock looking for Cathy - very much in the tradition of sentimental book illustration of the time - not very clever work at all, but adequate. And the African boy thought he would do barges on the Regent's canal which was fine and he even made quite a nice job of engraving the names on the barges, but of course he made the elementary mistake which would have failed him totally of failing to recognise that the print taken from the block would be in reverse, so on the block he would have had to engrave the name of the barge in reverse. Well, when Mr Webb saw this mistake at the end of the day, the only day we had for the examination - the work had to be sent away the following morning - Mr Webb was heartbroken for the young African lad. And so he broke all the rules, he said now here's another block, here are the tools. Go home, remember what I've just told you about reversing the lettering, and do the whole thing at home tonight and bring it in tomorrow morning and nobody will know, and nobody will say anything and consequently the boy passed his examination. That was the sort of sweet nature that some of our teachers had. J That is very nice. B Yes, you still come across his work in books of the nineteen thirties. A dormouse climbing up a sheaf of corn. Very much in the I suppose the Georgian poet style of imagery. Then after that we had a further two years to go to get our National Diploma of Design which would then make us eligible to take our Art Teachers Diploma, which was a one year course. The we could have gone away to a secondary school or a grammar school or a private school with that private diploma to become an art teacher, which of


course I never wished or intended to be. So the third year, the first of our final two years, we were put into the proper painting studios, and full-scale life drawing studios where everything was quite a bit tougher. and we were then encouraged to paint with oil paints, for the first time for most of us. Not for myself, because I'd wasted much of the government's time as a lowly airman by painting literally hundreds of oil paintings in my office in RAF Somer, near Hanover, Germany. I think I described in an earlier talk how I painted a stack of pictures so tall. Well now I can say to the recording machine a yard tall of stacked hardboard pictures which is quite a quantity. So I'd got a bit of familiarity with handing oil paint. And I found myself at the very top of the stairs in St Martins a peculiar little space that wasn't in a studio. It was wasted space at the top, the very top of the building. And I set up my little easel and chair and pallet there. the staff looked askance, but being used to oddities they let me go ahead. They said all right if you want to work there you can work there. {break in recording} B And I painted my first paintings in Tuscany, a place where I stayed over the last four years twice. He rents a place and then lets out the bedrooms to about a dozen friends. Vince Tutton. Has a daughter you might of heard of who was quite famous - there was a tragedy in their life. Daughter married a neighbour at the Tuscan farmhouse, by the name of Jonathan Zito. J Oh, Christ! He was the guy who got stabbed through the eye by that lunatic. B Jane carried on working asking the Thatcher govt why such a situation prevailed, why such people were let out prematurely etc,. He should never have been out this man. And in the course of it she's become the absolute authority. {new tape} Like Vincent, beautiful Welsh voice, very articulate, very quick minded. And apparently one time was interviewing the woman, would it be Gillian Shepherd who was Minister of Health at the time. Quite a hard-faced woman, I believe, and it was quite a long television interview and everybody who's seen this interview says Jane seems to have absolutely took the woman to pieces in her arguments, wiped her absolutely clean. Made a Minister of the Government look like an inarticulate fool. With her own knowledge of the facts and her own passion. She's slowly trying to give it up now and make another career. But she spent four years of her life doing good work for the Zito Trust, which is now well established and the money goes towards providing facilities etcetera. So that's one major


tragedy that Vince has ridden in his life, and there've been one or two other things as well. So he's a man of great dignity, courage. J And he's a good painter? B Yes, very good. Very good. Very undemonstrative. Very calculated. Thoughtful. He'll sit in front of a subject for many hours looking and then put down the essential lines or changes of light and go back to the same subject in Italy year after year. The same clump of trees. Yes, very fine, very honourable. Never going to be a star because his work is quiet. It's not modest - it's very tough - but it's quiet. Elton John, as we said last evening paid nearly half a million for a David Hockney, would not begin to see any virtue at all in a large drawing by Vince Tutton. He's an artist's artist, or a "good eye" man artist. His work is durable. It will last. So to go back to our theme.... J St Martins. B St Martins J I was going to ask you.. B Yes? J When you were doing the wood engraving did you feel that what you learned from him then later informed what you were doing in etching? B No. Not really. Not really. For a start etching is an intaglio process; the ink is in the lines. Wood engraving, wood cuts, lithography, are all surface printing. So it's a different way of thinking. And, really I didn't go deeply enough into wood engraving. It's a very meticulous craft. No room for mistakes. One skid of your bull sticker - that was one of the lovely names for the tools - and the block was ruined. Nothing you could do about it. With etching, with acid, you can do do anything. You can etch a plate until it's a thin as a wafer and back it up with a bit of metal behind. You can have etched out image after image after image and still end up with a very rich fine image at the end of the process. That's the great beauty of etching. the method is - the drawing method- is empirical; you make some lines, you don't like them, you stop them out with varnish so the acid won't bite those lines, so it's as though you never drew those lines, you draw some more lines, you cover the whole plate with lines you take your varnish and you paint out some of them that you think aren't necessary. You drop it in


the acid. You etch it for a certain length of time. The longer you etch, the deeper the line and the more ink the line will hold. You take a proof; you don't like the look of the proof, so you can by certain processes remove all of those lines and virtually start again, but with a surface that has already been heavily worked. So you're not working on the equivalent of a virgin canvas. You're working on the equivalent of a canvas that's been wiped down with a turpsy rag and had paint thrown at it and then wiped away, and in that bit of dark there J M W Turner might see a clump of trees, and in that bit of chrome yellow just to the left up in the sky he might see a shaft of sunlight. And so the picture grows. As Leonardo said, looking at an old graffitied mottled plaster Italian wall, there's your picture, you're half way there. You can pick out the faces the postures the attitudes from the broken plaster and the graffiti etcetera. Like looking into the fire, and seeing castles and faces. Whereas wood engraving takes a methodical caste of mind; you have your preparatory drawing, you transfer it carefully onto the block and then you follow that meticulously with a range of maybe six tools. And a very limited variety of marks that you can make with those tools. You can make wedge shaped marks, you can make almost circular marks, you can make multi-line marks... there's a lot you can do but it's limited, and the sort of man who's a wood engraver almost certainly will wear a tie and a collar and have well-groomed hair and his gramophone record collection will be annotated, collated, indexed. He'll be a man on top of things who will work from nine til eleven and then let his eyes rest for an hour, and then twelve til two and then maybe have a lunch of salad and boiled eggs...ahh he'll be a very sensible chap. As opposed to the etcher, who might be the leariest drunk on earth and yet get the most rich results. Not that etchers are necessarily drunks, but it doesn't come amiss, a touch of that as well. That's the difference. J Sorry, I interrupted you. You were at the top of the stairs... B I was at the top of the stairs. And literally one painted one's first serious art school painting. And this was a two foot by four foot - rather and unusual format, double square - of primed hardboard. We always battened them with wood at the back so they wouldn't warp which I don't think was necessary, but it was part of the religiosity of the took a pride in mitreing the corners and so on... I was living in Lyndhurt Way, Peckham at the time, and opposite our house was a large patch of waste land which had been bomb damaged in the war with one remaining row of houses, which again were bomb damaged and half the house had been sliced away so you could see where the


staircase had gone up you could see the wallpaper in the bedroom, you could see the pale patch on the wallpaper downstairs where a portrait of the king had hung so you had an interior view of the lives of Londoners in 1941, and they were rather attractive cottage houses anyway, probably built about 1850 1860 with the gradual expansion. A bit older than Mr Pooter's house, about 20 or 30 years before the pretentiousness of the flight of steps up to the porticoes front door, but basically the same type of house but on a more earthy cottage level. And the houses were fronted by maybe five acres of tussocky wasteland with purple loosestrife and what was that beautiful flower that grew on all the bombsites after the war? That purple flower? J Valerian? B No, not valerian. I forget the name but it grew everywhere, all around St Pauls, as though the war had unearthed seeds that had been in the land for generations. So, it was a lovely subject, and by fluke or whatever, I painted a smashing picture, my first real picture after the student and military pictures. nd it really was a good picture. and the paint was confidently applied, quite richly applied. I remeber there was a clump of dandelions in the near foreground that were painted almost with a preRaphaelite intensity, how I painted the shape of the flower in white and then glazed a deep orange paint thinly over the white so the flowers glowed, and the wallpaper was intricately painted with patterns, and the brickwork was delineated and the fenestration was carefully done, with a broken or shattered window here and there. And it was a good picture, a very good picture. And it surprised me, and more importantly it amazed my teachers. I remember even the Principal, Edward J Morse, was hauled out of his office by the Head of Painting, Gregory Gore, to see this amazing that the third year student who had so far ben a quiet nonentity had painted. And Mr Morse was very impressed, and I was very encouraged. And the picture was later framed and they recommended that I send it to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, which I did, and it was sold. And I painted two or three more versions of the same subject, my technique changing all the time becoming more the technique of Holman Hunt or Ford Maddox Brown. Thinner paint, more glazed. And a second version of the same subject was hung in the following years RA exhibition. "Landscape at Peckham" it was called. And that sold for 125 guineas which whenever it was, was quite a lot of money. And I rushed off down to the City of London and bought a beatiful eighteenth century sugar caster with its provenance and everything, from one of the old City firms,


as a present for Mum and Dad, a souvenir of my first major sale. And they kept that all their days, and on their death I gave it to the friend Eluneid Boardman. I don't have the lifestyle to accommodate that sort of thing and she appreciates it very much. J These two paintings were sold. D'you know who has them? B I know...the first one I think and another painting of that period, was shown at the art gallery just down Exhibition Road, just down the road from the Royal College, in Sloane St . A gallery called Grabowski. A Pole. A very enterprising Pole - he had some very important exhibitions of young artists. Maybe the first showing of David Hockney, Derek Bowsheer {?} Patrick Caulfield maybe. The leading lights of the RCA. Well, he showed one of my pictures and that sold. And I think that sold for £25. I remember, I remember that sale very well for two reasons. One was going back on a number 52 bus to Peckham. Well, that wasn't the right bus of course and it took me right down the Old Kent Rd, which meant I had to walk up Albany Rd as far as Camberwell Green and then... but that was the first bus that had come by and I was waiting at Trafalgar Square bus stop, rather drunk after an evening in the Pillars of Hercules, and having spent every last penny. And the conductress was one of these lovely plump black ladies, and I sat at the seat at the entrance to the bus, so that if she turned nasty I could discreetly jump off. And I hoped that she wouldn't come and ask for my fare until the journey was well advanced. Well, we were well into the Old Kent Road before she came and said Fares please. I wasn't drunk, but I'd had two or three pints of mild beer. And I said, Now do excuse me and I will get off the bus if you wish, but I don't have any money at all, and I'd really like to go as far as Albany Rd, and if you'd just turn a blind eye I'd be very grateful. And of course she was a great character, and she grinned and said OK, man, you just sit there quietly, and if the Inspector comes you just jump off quick! I said thank you very much. And I arrived home that evening literally penniless with no money to come in in the next weeks, to find a cheque from Mr Grabowski for twenty five guineas. twenty five - a lot of money again. So, I remember the sale of that painting and I also remember the exhibition was reviewed in the Daily Telegraph by a critic called Terence Malawi (?) and I called myself in those days, because I wanted the family name to be given a viewing - I'm called George, my father was called George, his father was called George and his father was called George. So instead of calling myself Bryan Ingham I called myself George B Ingham. Slightly pretentious it seems now. Well I got a rather unfavourable review, if I


remember, from Mr Malawi, who commented not very favourably about a landscape painting by George B Wigham, which I also remember with affection as the first time my name had appeared in print. I think it would be a good alias, if ever I need an alias. And third painting of this particular lot sold to a businessman in Golden Square, Soho, and he asked me to deliver the painting after the RA closed, and said would I come to his office at say 11 o'clock in the morning and he would be ready for me. And I carried the two by four framed painting under my arm from Piccadilly up to Golden Square - a short walk - and the man, very distinguished - a gentleman - received me very graciously. Sat me down. We had coffee, talked and he said I've a little place down on the Cap D'Antibes where I like to get away when I can, but I don't use it very often, and if you'd ever like to go down there, you're very welcome to use it. Just get in touch with me here at the office and we'll arrange dates and I'll let you know the form. Like so many gifts one has been offered in life, one just didn't take advantage. One said thank you very much and forgot it forever. And yet, that would have been an entree into God knows what. A clientele, or social life or just the sheer beauty of being at Cap D'Antibes... J Why didn't you go? You felt he was just being polite?... B One just didn't. One never thought more about it. There was enough going on in one's life without seeking opportunities. One thought just well that's very nice and literally forgot it. J Presumably you've got no record of who he was or anything? B No, not at all. He bought, as I've never mentioned. He bought the painting for a hundred and twenty five guineas, which was quite a high price. And years later - well maybe about six years later, I had a strange letter from a woman in London, and I didn't like the tone of the letter. And she enclosed a photograph, and it was the same painting. She said I own this painting. Whether she was related, or whether it had been auctioned I don't know. I own this painting, and I notice it is not signed. Would you please sign it for me and I think some parts of the foreground are not finished. So I thought well, no that's too much. there was nothing gracious in the letter. There was no I really enjoy the painting but can we discuss it together and could you come for tea and just put a signature on, but no, she was rather bossy and I didn't answer her letter. Impolite but I didn't. And then a few years after that the distinguished


dealer Julian Hartnell - Mason's Yard, Duke St, St James, wrote a letter. Could he come down to Cornwall and meet me. So, fine. Got him very drunk in the Blue Anchor. he was quite a drinker, member of the Chelsea Arts Club, but he couldn't take the Spingo. I suddenly realised after about four pints that he was going West quickly ( J chuckles ). So I shoved him into a fish and chip shop and left him - by this time we'd done our business. And the business was he was now owner of this painting, and he thought he had a client, and had I got any studies for the painting? Yes I had, I had a sketch book which had - I can show you later - which had studies for the painting along with all sorts of other things, just a little sketch book. he said could he buy the sketch book. I said well, you'll only break it up won't you. Only a few of these watercolours and sketches are worth framing and selling. he said well, that's what I would do, yes. I said I'd rather keep it as a sketch book unless you offer me a lot of money for it. And he said well I don't know what you mean by a lot of money. I said neither do I. He said well would a thousand pounds be a lot of money. Well it was not a bad offer, really, and I suppose I could have got one and a half thousand pounds on that. And I said no, no, no, much more serious money that that. So we dropped the sketch book idea. And later on I received a letter from him saying yes , he had got a prospective client, and would I do him a favour and write the topographical details of this picture. Just where it was. Lyndhurst Way. Now it is a public park with sodium lamps. The red brick dining room where we had breakfast lunch and tea, Ma's Dining Room, old fashioned booths, huge plates of meat and boiled potatoes for two shillings. She loved us did that lady. She was peeling potatoes in the back room and half past five in the morning, and she was open about half past six. Tramps came in there. Road sweepers. Everybody went there. Everybody went there. Clean, respectable, and she did all the work herself. A saint of a woman. And she gave us tick-credit. Big mugs of tea. Poached eggs on toast at teatime. Spotted Dick puddings. Custard. you know, all the good genuine trad food well cooked. Lots of boiled cabbage. Well her old dining rooms were wiped away with the bomb site and with the row of ruined houses. So I wrote - I can't remember - maybe a thousand words about Ma and the dining rooms, because she needs to be in history. Unsung hero like so many people. About the bomb damaged houses - how now it's anodyne park. Etcetera. And he wrote me back a very gracious letter, and we've been in touch ever since. He never paid me any commission on his sale, but he sold the painting for eight thousand pounds, about two years ago, maybe three years ago. To the Guildhall Museum, where I believe they have a collection of paintings of London. Of historical interest, of


topographical interest. So it's gone into a very worthy and distinguished collection. And the right sort of collection. Because I wouldn't want a painting like that to crop up in the sale rooms as representative of my work, because it no longer is representative, and it was very much a stepping stone phase, this Pre-Raphaelite influenced type of work. Well around this time, Professor Weight of the Royal College of Art, Head of Painting, would come over to St Ives - over to St Martin's rather - and Freddy Gore, son of Spencer Gore the distinguished artist who was killed in the trenches in 1916, I think, founder member of the Campden Town Group, - Freddy Gore, another kind man, would have earmarked three or four students for Carel Weight to come and meet and see their work, have a talk. And it was really a short-list of possibilities for the Royal College of Art. Almost short cutting the formal application business, which might mean nine hundred students applying for twenty places. As extreme as that. Not as many as that in my day , but a lot. So already one's on an informal short list. Nepotism came into it, or a word similar to that - it was a little bit..... J You'd been introduced, sort of thing B One of the boys, sort of thing. One would never have had that treatment had one been at Dewsbury and Batley Technical and Art College as I was invited to go. Had I gone there I would have submitted my work along with the other niine hundred hopefuls, and without a doubt been rejected by the Royal College. So, as I say St Martins treated me very well. And in passing over to the Royal College I had to submit my work. On the morning of my interview, I decided that the painting I was working on in my Stepney studio I must show, becaus it was different to anything I'd done before. Now Carel Weight loved these street scenes I was painting. They were not unlike his own, and in a three foot by four foot paintings I did of the Elephant and Castle building, red and white stripes, I did one with a mad looking figure with upraised arms in front representing, I suppose, a form of angst that one felt at that that period of one's life, twenty five year old. Wasn't quite enough to leave it as a painting of the Elephant and Castle, one had to have a figure with a mask just slipping from her face or some such symbolism, slightly surreal, creeping in. Well, this was up Carel Weight's street - he loved this. And so I think I would have got in quite easily. But on the morning of my interview I thought no, I must take this attempted Tondo circular painting which was an attempt at a cubistic still life of orange porcelain oil lamp on a table top with various objects. Not cubistic, but in that direction; it was definite break from the previous Pre-Raphaelite influenced work,


though I was still a long way from discovering cubism. And I remember I had to hire a car to get this painting from Stepney to Exhibition Rd. And for some reason the car was an enormous Daimler. So there I was sat in the back in my best tweed jacket like Lord Jim, driven (laughs) to the RCA in a lovely Daimler. And I've often wondered whether that painting got me in to the RCA or almost excluded me. Because their form of interview was there'd be maybe half a dozen teachers gathered in a big circle and a red chaise longue, which became quite famous historically, on which sat Professor Weight. And one was invited to sit next to the Professor and then the panel of six or eight would ply one with questions. Brought out the pictures one by one. What did you mean by that and so forth. And I heard how Peter Blake was one of the panel, and he as a naturalistic painter admired the work very much so was almost certainly on my side. Professor Weight I'm sure was. Ruskin Spear, to whom I took an instant, and mutual dislike, I'm sure spoke badly about me; we never got on and I'm sure he was strongly against this rather mannered affected young quasi Yorkshireman who seemed cockier than in fact he was - in fact I was quite modest, but I had a manner that made me appear very self-confident, and I could speak with confidence and answer their questions rather than mumbling and doing what was expected of a student. And I heard afterwards, possibly through Peter Blake, that I came within a whisker of not being accepted on the grounds that I was painting skilfully well enough, confidently, professionally enough, not to need the three years at the Royal College - somebody else would benefit better. Well, in fact nothing could have been farther from the truth. I needed shaking out of this Pre-Raphaelite idealism and plonking down into the twentieth century. That didn't happen at the Royal College, but it happened slowly though the College experience, through my colleagues, not much through the teaching. Then at the end of the first year of the Royal College. I may have mentioned this because I'm quite proud of it, I received from the Bursar, a Mr Moon, John Moon, on crested notepaper a typewritten notice saying, Dear Mr Ingham this is to inform you that you have been voted Royal Scholar of the year 1961 or 1962 or whatever. And I received that, and I didn't question it, I didn't ask any questions. And nobody ever told me anything about it. And so what the implications were, being Royal Scholar, whether it was just purely a minor honour or whether it in fact it entitled me to walk down Piccadilly with my trousers rolled up to the knee or some esoteric..... J Could have entitled you to a hogshead of claret or something!


B It could well be. And again in those days one didn't take this along to one's professor and say well, I'm very gratified and touched by this. Can you tell me how this has come about? What are the implications, but no, I said not a word. And the way that the College teaching was they said very little to me or any other student about anything. So that just was scrap of paper I kept somewhere, I think. And the irony of ot was that between being the top scholar of twenty five in the firts year, by the time the third year came and pour Diplomas were to awarded, I was so naive, I didn't know that Diplomas came in grades. I thought you either failed or were RCA or Associate RCA. I didn't know that there was the university system. You could have a first or a 2.1 or a second or whatever. And I well remember that morning looking at the list and starting at the top and right down to the very bottom (and I may exaggerate), but I got a third degree.. I like to say I got a third third; in other words I was just a whisker from not having a degree at all. And the reasons for that were not that my work had declined, but that my work had changed and moved, and I worked in this manner and that manner - I was finding my way. And I'd made plenty of enemies among the staff by my as they saw it arrogant manner or by my self-confident manner. I shouted at Roger de Grey, we had a blazing shouting row because he told me I must move my work from here up into the mural room that was three hundred yards away, and I was working on a five foot by eight foot board, and I thought this was very unfair and I say we had a blazing row then, and I think at the second time. Of course he finished up Sir Roger de Grey, President of the Royal Academy. So I wasn't choosy about who I crossed swords with. I had a terrible row with Professor Carel Weight just weeks before the Diploma Show. And he said I think you'd better leave, Bryan. And I said I think I had better leave this institution. There's no alternative is there. Goodbye, sir. And I stormed out of his office. And I can't even remember what the row was about..... I think I'd disliked a criticism he'd made of a painting where he'd misunderstood the whole point of the painting. The point of my painting being that it was painted in a posterish manner. And he'd criticised it as being painted in a posterish manner rather than in an artistic manner. And the theme of the painting we'd been given was Men and Machines. I'd painted like a big poster of the Tour de France with beautiful lettering underneath saying Il Campianissimo, the Champion, the title given to Fausto Coppi, the greatest Tour de France rider ever. Well, he didn't understand this painting and gave it a very scathing review in front of all the students. I was angry. I went to his office and said I think you were very unfair and I don't like it....and it developed


into a... well a very nasty row. And I literally walked down Exhibition Road full of anger and I got about as far as Cromwell Rd and then I thought well a) you're being extremely rude to a distinguished man who's been very kind to you, very helpful to you. That's one reason to go back and apologise. b) it's only a few more weeks to go at the College, surely you can stick that out, get your Diploma. It was just a very crass thing to do. So I turned on my heel, walked back, knocked on his office door. He looked at me with benign surprise. I said Professor Weight, I 've come to apologise, I was very much in the wrong in speaking as I did, and I'm very ashamed, and please forgive me. And we shook hands. I'm almost crying as I tell you that story (he was) He was gracious enough to say all right Mr Ingham, It's all right forget that. J And you were gracious enough to forget that you'd been feeling rather miffed about him misunderstanding your painting. B Yes, well, one should be able to take that sort of professional criticism in your stride. I think that relates back to what we were talking about last night. Let's leave it at that now, Joss. J Time for a beer definitely. B Yes (end of session) B Now whereabouts were we? We were at the RCA. J We were talking about your spat with Carel Weight. B Yes. yes, yes. That was just weeks before the Diploma shows. And I would very much like to see, I believe they keep files on students. I wonder if they keep them forever, because I'd love to see my files, because I know I'd got some real enemies there, and I'd like to know just which ones they were. But I speculate that one is a man called Leonard Rosiman RA, have you come across him? Rather precious, not totally unlike that was with Vince... we were talking about a man standing at the bar this lunchtime, and I said I take an instinctive dislike to that man , I think there is something false about his dress, his mannerism, his attitudes and you can see that as a Helstonian, he's not liked, he doesn't fit in, there's something wrong about him. Well, I didn't feel over happy with Leonard Rosiman who'd come from Edinburgh College of Art down to the Royal College. Bit of a smooth operator. And one summer, just before the summer holiday, he asked me, I don't know why me, whether I would be prepared, during the summer, to go


to his studio in Edwardes Square, custom-built studios, Edwardian sort of thing, there's a nice pub in the square you know (J grunts agreement) Well, the studio had a north light, and it was a lovely summer so you would walk along the beautiful suburban, privet smelling avenues to get to the studio and then you'd get to this rather gloomy constant lit studio. He asked me would I prepare with a certain underpaint that he'd had made up, something like eight wood panels which were let's say about nine foot by four foot and stretched from about here to the door so that's what twenty five foot long. And he wanted four coats or seven coats, I can't remember. And then he said, if you've got time, you can from my maquette, which was so big, you can sketch in the drawing, which was of the waterfront at Liverpool. It was a mural commissioned for a major bank at Liverpool. And then, when you've done that, if you've got time still, - he was expecting to be away for two weeks, three weeks I can't remember, - you can thinly with turpentine block in the colours. But you must follow my maquette pretty accurately. Well, a maquette eighteen inches long for something twenty five feet long is not a very good guide. Anyway, I got working on this priming job and did it surprisingly quickly. And then went home to my studio. I think I was living in Thurloe Square in South Kensington, in a cupboard, at the time. And the work developed so quickly I got the whole thing squared up to correspond to his squaring upon the maquette. I got the outline of the buildings drawn in, the Liver Building, the birds, and everything. And I began to think, well, this is fun. (J chuckles) So then I put the first lot of underpaint on, the browny greys and the reds, where he'd indicated that on the maquette And I was being plagued by a girl at that time, and she wanted to come and make long, long telephone calls from his bedroom upstairs, where he had a bedside telephone. And for some reason I didn't like to tell her not to do that. And then I became aware of his drinks cupboard. And at that age, twenty six, I suppose, you'd never really seen a drinks cupboard in your life. So it was great to have a couple of shots of brandy in the afternoon and so forth. And so daily life continued in the studio with the painting until I was at least at the stage which he had wished me leave the thing for him to carry on and do his masterly brushwork and so on. But I thought no, this is a bit like the painting I've been working on my own. And my painting is much more interesting because I've got light reflecting from the windows, and the windows on the actual twenty five foot long painting each window would be say the size of one's hand. So, instead of leaving little grey blank spaces, as in the tiny maquette, I thought no, I'll give him a reflected sunset in the windows. So then I started painting reds and


blues being the sunset reflected from the windows. And I thought all these colours are a bit drab. Instead of all this ochrey umbery colour I'll jazz it up with a bit of Venetian Red. And so I carried on. I drank the whisky I drank the (tape break) gin, and then we started to taking nips out of the sort of bottles like Pernod and Campari and so forth and at the back of my mind I was always saying we must replace these bottles before he comes back. He never sent a postcard. And I didn't think of it at the time because I hadn't read the book or seen the film but what it amounts to is that one did an absolute Gulley Jimpson. D'you know The Horses Mouth, by Joyce Carey? J No. B Oh, well you have to know the book. There's an excellent film, with Alec Guiness playing the role of the artist, who is lent a luxury penthouse flat by a lady admirer and her knighted husband. And I think the idea was that he would paint a nice painting to go over the marble fireplace. Well, he started painting murals all over the walls and then a chum of his from the Queen's Elm, down the Fulham Road or Finches, said he'd nowhere to work on his major sculpture, so somehow they installed a block of stone as big as my lavatory cubicle there in the flat and there was a naked woman there posing day after day like this, and then if I remember rightly, the floor of the penthouse started giving way and the stones sinking down, and then the knight and his lady arrive back unexpectedly. Meanwhile the silver had been pawned, everything had been pawned for food and drink and paints. So they came back to total devastation. Well, I'm afraid that's how it was when Mr Rosiman (J Laughing) came back. Instead of having the good manners (as I see it!) to write from Elba where I think it was he went for his holiday to say I'll be back three days early, I arrived one morning at my usual time of about nine o'clock and to my horror I saw a row of suitcases in the entrance hall. And he was there looking at this finished, completed, wonderful, mural that would have done Gallery 3 at the Royal Academy a great favour. It was a splendid thing in my most rhetorical manner! And he looked at me with white anger and I thought well, there's not a lot of point in hanging round. And he said what have you been doing upstairs? I said what do you mean? And he took me upstairs, and upstairs the temperature was like the major hothouse at Kew Gardens. It was about 120 degrees. And I said well I haven't done anything upstairs. I haven't used your bed or.... and then I realised that the idiot girlfriend had been fiddling round with plugs for the telephone and one day she put on the electric heating, and so that had been on for days


and days and days at full blast. So that the whole place was like a tinder box ready to burst into flames at a moment's notice. So quite rightly, he was a bit upset about that. And we didn't even get round to the drinks cabinet (both laughing) I just beat a hasty retreat and he never gave me the fifty quid that was to be my pay and he'd said if you do more than I've asked - if you lay it all in in monochrome colours - I'll pay you a bit more. It was pretty mean anyway, fifty quid, but I never got a penny from him! And from that day until now, he's never looked me in the eye or as a tutor ever spoken to me at all. So I suspect he was one of my downmarkers within the College staff. So that for my career to go from Royal Scholar to third third in three years, I think this episode was instrumental in accelerating the process (Both laugh). He'll probably finish up as President of the Royal Academy; he's a smarmy little go-getting guy. J He's that sort of guy? B Yes. His pictures are very clever - too clever by half. And I often wonder what happened to the mural. I've even thought maybe he just sent the whole thing off to Liverpool and they said yes, it's wonderful. 'Cause I can't imagine that he'd have scraped it all off to start again. Yes, so that was one of my tutors there. There was another tutor called Colin Hayes, another Royal Academician, another nonentity. Never had the guts to address you face to face. And I discovered they would sneak around looking at one's work sketchbooks when they knew that you were down the road in the Hoop and Toy, the pub or away or whatever. And sometimes you'd hear "Oh that Hayes man was snooping around your place the other day". And dammit not long ago, a few years ago I saw a book in a Falmouth bookshop called "Techniques in Painting" by Colin Hayes and I looked at the index, and sure enough, Bryan Ingham, pretty sure he spelt Bryan wrong; that would have been consistent, and I looked, and by Christ there was my five foot by eight foot "Doorway and window in Stepney" a sort of highly realistic almost trompe l'oeil painting of a shop facade in a state of decrepitude, one of the types of painting I was doing at that time. And a rather flowery description of the skills of this sort of painting and how the artist had employed tempera etcetera, etcetera. And of course the painting was reproduced in quite large size upside down, which makes a total total mockery of it, because the painting included posters ripped off walls, and revealed posters underneath. There's one man living who still insists that that was collage and I said no, it was paint to simulate collage,- that's a part of the joke of the whole thing. So to reproduce this painting upside down is a mockery and an insult.


J It was printed upside down? B Printed upside down. But can you imagine all the trickery he must have done, to get the photographer to photograph this painting, unbeknown to me and then to reproduce it without asking permission or even to say after he'd done it. Well, you might be interested that there's a painting of yours in my book. Not at all. So... I thought little of that man and I'm sure showed it. Then there was another man called Donald Hamilton Fraser the ultimate in to describe it .... six foot two tall, trendily, sharply dressed, Viva Zapata moustache, cropped dark hair. The Spanish/Italian look of the sixties. Rather autocratic or would-be aristocratic manner. Who came into my painting cubicle once in the three years and insulted my painting so vigorously for about half an hour that even I was speechless with astonishment and rage at this unprovoked attack. And then, whenever I tried to catch him to say hey I want a word with you - you said some strong things to me now let me answer some of the things you were saying. But no, he was too sharp for that he would disappear into an office given half a chance or disappear round the corner of a corridor if he saw me at the other end, and so he managed to avoid me for the best part of two years. So these were some of the people who said I suspect Oh, let's give that bastard, let's fail him or give him the worst degree we possibly can. And meanwhile my painting was developing. I'd discovered I was becoming too clever with oil paint, I could do a lot with oil paint, so I started painting with household emulsion paints. On hardboard. Because you get no help from the paint - no comeback - the painting is only going to be as good as it is in terms of structure, shape, general dynamic. You're not going to get away with effects. So I made life deliberately hard for myself. For about twelve months I painted like that. Then I had a period of experimenting with egg tempera, painted one of the biggest egg tempera pictures ever to be shown at the RA. Again five foot by eight foot - that's about the size of that bookcase. Hung in the centre of Gallery three, the most prestigious gallery. Since time-destroyed. A painting of a ruined colliery building in South Yorkshire with a quotation from a song done in beautiful lettering across an old mining song , a mining lament from the Bladen disaster I think it was called. "The owners have sent some white lilies to pay for those poor colliers lives," No. " You've heard of the Gressfield explosion" Some such song as that, anyway. So this was my last, poignant, reference to the working class industrial landscape of South-West Yorkshire. So anybody with two ounce of sensibility could see the sort of things I was working out of my system. I was working out


the sentimental, or the literary dross and at the same time pulling myself up by the bootlaces as a studier of art, twentieth century art. And quite a feat to keep the whole thing on the road at the same time. Well, they saw that just as pure inconsistency. Disappointing to Carel Weight that I was no longer painting figures screaming in front of derelict buildings, etcetera. But I had the last laugh on all of this. And by the way if this sounds like bitter memories. Not ever, ever. Not remotely. I cherish these memories. I cherish the Gully Jimpson assault on Mr Rosimans poncy bloody studio, I chuckle every time I think of it, and I do that quite happily. Our final Diploma show took place over a period I think of two days, in the studios of the Royal College. We were each given a space maybe fifteen foot by fifteen foot, partitioned. Difficult to hang things on partitions, - most of mine were on hardboard with the wooden battening I've described. So I didn't get on well with the hanging because at that stage of my life I was very short tempered, irascible. Doing things like knocking a nail into a surface that wasn't prepared to receive a nail and the nail would bend over, and maybe you'd dent the hardboard or hit your thumb, and that would send me into tremendous rages. And that happened to one of the best paintings I couldn't get the thing right, it fell down and I just jumped up and down, up and down on this hardboard thing until it was a totally totally ruined object. And a painting that I quite dearly loved. And so I was very angry with myself and very upset. And I remember at that juncture, mid-afternoon the day before the shows opened I thought Sod it, Fuck the whole lot. And I went down to the Toy and got nicely drunk and then came back much later that evening, and found that a dear friend had hung the whole bloody lot for me, and quite nicely hung as well. David the boy from the South of France we met the other day at the Graham-Dixon gallery. The French intellectual look-alike with the staring eyes and the black curly hair, for whom life always went wrong. The one who believed until the age of fifty that he was of Greek Armenian descent, and he telephoned me one day and said Not only do I learn now on my fiftieth birthday I'm of Greek Armenian descent, I'm Jewish as well! So dear old David had hung the exhibition and it looked quite good. So instead of getting my comeuppance because the degrees were published for all to see, Heads of Department came from Edinburgh from Manchester from Exeter, from all over the country. Out of the twenty five people showing their diploma work in this exhibition six were offered jobs, part-time teaching jobs, which was our main objective. The rest, the rest nothing at all. Now it probably sounds like exaggeration what I'm going to say. First of all a man introduced himself, he said - I'm an art dealer over from Washington DC, and I have a gallery


there, The Corcoram Gallery (which I've come across time and time again - very famous gallery) and he said, I so admire that portrait. I said well, that's my lover. He said, well, I'd like to buy it, and I said well, I've more or less given it to her. He said, are you quite sure; I'd pay you a very good price? I said well, you've caught me because I can't really do anything about it. So he presented me his card and said "Look when you've got a collection of smaller works together like this portrait together, let me know and I'd like to show your work in Washington DC". Thank you very much, very nice. And then a man with expensive suede jacket, suede shoes, trendy narrow corduroys and carefully groomed longish hair, who now we would take for a film producer or a television producer, you know the type, or even an architect, came up to me and said I'm Norman Adams, you probably know me or know of me. Well I didn't, but he's quite a famous painter - again a Royal Academician - and said I'm head of Fine Art at Manchester, and we have a job there which is a full time teaching post. I didn't know what that meant. I've since learnt, - stability for life, plus a higher rate of pay. He said I'd to fill this teaching post, but I'd like to do it in an unusual way, I'd like to do it with two artists whom I like. I've got somebody else in mind, and if you would like to do this, you can get together with the fellow, you can work out your own timetable for the year, inother words you could teach for a solid term and not at all for the next term, or you could teach alternate days, you could work exactly how you want. Well, this was a remarkable offer, a prize job. And as I say security, though I wasn't looking for security. So I said well, thank you, I'll think about that. And then he put his foot in it by saying, of course I'm an anarchist myself. And I mentally looked him up and down in his two hundred guinea suede coat and his Jermyn St suede shoes and I thought, you're a pretty poncy anarchist aren't you? I thought I don't like the look of you, - don't quite trust you. And he said I only teach three days a week at the college and I've got a cottage up in the Yorkshire dales, and when I'm teaching at the college I live in my van which I park round the corner. Well, that was quite nice and anarchistic, but I just didn't quite like the bloke. So I said I'll think about that. Then somebody else, from I can't remember, somewhere up north, said we admire your work very much and we'd like to offer you a Fellowship and it would be worth....I can't remember at would be worth £400 a year and necessitate you working on the premises for a third of the year, something like that, and be available to talk to the students periodically. Another fantastically generous offer. So I said thank you. And they all wrote the details down. And so offers of this quality kept coming in until a notorious figure, a great guy called Gerry de Rose, Gerrard de Rose, who was


head of painting at Maidstone. About five foot tall, ugly as sin, and the most notorious womaniser in Europe - a successful womaniser - approached me. He painted highly lifelike portraits in black and white which were always importantly hung in the Royal Academy. He said would you come and join my teaching staff? You can do it as you like, a whole week or two days a week, so many days per term. Maidstone is only an hour from London, got a nice staff. And I thought, yes, I like the sound of this one. And I said Yes, all right, that sounds jolly good. So I signed up for that one, and then a couple of tweedy characters from Farnham approached me and said was I looking for teaching work, I said a bit of part-time would be nice. They said would you like to do two days a week for us? I said well I've taken on one commitment, but if these two can be worked so that I'm not doing too much teaching, then yes. An hour from London again. So I accepted these two jobs, and then other job offers came in and counting the fellowship and the senior lectureship etcetera I had thirteen offers of work in the one day from that exhibition. As I say five other colleagues had an offer of part-time teaching and the other twenty of the group with their first and second degrees didn't get anything, were not offered anything. So I said to myself well, if that didn't speak for my three years at the Royal College, with what I'd been struggling to do, if the staff of the College couldn't see it, it seems that the staff of every other college in Great Britain could see it. So that was enormously gratifying. Then to cap it all, the second day well, I thought it would be quieter on the second day, I thought I've done all I need to do, I don't want any more work, there's no point my spending time watching people coming through these studios. the one without jobs were still standing by their paintings anxiously. So I trotted off back to the Hoop and Toy, and spent the better part of the day drinking down there. I came back, and somebody said Oh you've just missed him. I said who? Somebody wanted to buy that painting up there. I said Oh shit, I could do with that twenty five guineas. For the painting of a tabletop. I said any idea who it was? The Marquis of Queensbury. I thought Fuck, I'd like to meet the man as well. He was on the staff of the College, - ceramic department I think. But I never saw him, and there was never any correspondence about the painting. So that was the one loss I got through not attending as fully as I should have done. Well, that was an honourable Diploma show. So that was my third third! And the job I chose at Farnham, well I made a bad choice I think. J Why was that?


B It was a deadly place. It was shortly after that amalgamated in 1968 with Guildford College of Art where they had a lot of student unrest. And a whole troupe of highly second rate teachers were plonked down onto the Farnham staff. And to a man they were loathsome. Horrible men. Chips on their shoulder, looking over their shoulder. Mediocre in every respect. And the atmosphere at Farnham changed following that event. J What about Maidstone? B Maidstone was great fun. Really good. After a few weeks I got to know the staff who taught on the same days as I, maybe a Monday and Tuesday, say. We'd meet at Victoria station in the coffeee house there as it was. And then we'd travel up in an open carriage together, a pleasant journey. And through their - well I enjoyed the work - the first day was a bit anxiety making. I was confronted with twenty five students, the Head of Department said now this is Mr Ingham, ex Royal College of Art, he's going to teach you drawing. And I'm thinking what the hell can I say about drawing? I couldn't write half a page of a lecture about drawing. I thought the only thing I can do is to get this whole mob down by the canal with half-imperial drawing boards and pencils. So I said you all know Maidstone. Yes. You know it better than I, well between point X and point Y, half a mile stretch of canal, I would like you to choose a site and make a drawing of whatever you choose, and I, in the course of the day will come and look at whatever you're doing. Don't go away, don't be slacking because I'm not looking over your shoulder every two minutes, I'll catch up with you. So off they go and I think well, that gives me a bit of breathing space to think think what the hell I'm going to talk about. And damn me. the very first student that I came to he was sat with his half-imperial drawing board askew on his knee with a piece of paper not pinned to the board but moveable on the board. So I looked over his shoulder and thought well this is very bad set-up and I said I can't quite make out what it is you're drawing. He said Oh I'm drawing those trees and that building over there, pointing to his left. I said well, you know you're making life very difficult for yourself. I said let's go from the very first stage. First of all your paper needs to be firmly affixed to the board, and the edges of the paper parallel to the edges of the board. Well, why?? Just do as I say. So he got that pinned down. Then, I said, your board needs to be with the angles at exact right angles to yourself. He had it like that with the paper like that. So now we'd got it so. So I say you look at the right hand side of your board or the left hand side of your board and you carry that up and into the air, however you care to


call it and you've got a straight line and that straight line corresponds to the edge of your board, now d'you understand? Yes. I said right, and now let's face your subject. So then this necessitates turning round his stool, so now he's facing his subject,- he has the board like this on his knee. I say now you look at that tree, and as you look at that tree you can follow it down onto your board and make the pencil mark that indicates that tree. It's all one one gesture of mind and action. And you look over there and you do the same, and the same. And you look at that horizon line and you decide where it's going to go and so on. And from that rudimentary, but very important lesson, - nobody teaches like that now - nobody would dream of that sort of thing, - I found I could teach, and I found I was a good teacher. And I found I knew masses about drawing, but I hadn't known that I knew. That I'd obviously worked out over the seven years of art school. And so to teach like that for three years was wonderful for oneself, for the teacher because you were dragging your ideas out of the murk and showing them the light of day and saying yes, now I understand. So one gained a lot through this experience of teaching. I did that part time for about a year. I was allowed by Jerry de Rose, who was always nothing but charming and accommodating. I'd say look I've got a block of three days at Farnham next month. Can I have next month off and then make up the time. Whatever you think, Bryan, just get it down in the desk diary and write it - he was efficient - does that suit you? I'd say it's wonderful, thanks good, good. Then I clicked with one of the models. She virtually seduced me and started coming up to Stepney every weekend. And I learned that she'd been had by every member of staff, and I got, through her, (she treated me not as a member of staff, but as a sensitive and nice young man, whereas they were all slavering beasts and their habits were unspeakable). It was very very amusing to hear what really goes on in an art school like that. It was later exposed and there were a lot of people sacked and a lot of scandal. They would literally, these staff, see the incoming year of girl students, almost like a slave market. Sort of I think I'll have that one yeah. And I'll go for the black. And that's how they did it and it worked every time. The girls all thought they'd get high marks and prizes and so on. But that said, Jerry de Rose was very very sweet. At the end of that year, thanks to the goodwill of Carel Weight again, I was offered a travelling scholarship, a Leverhulme post-graduate award. Coming from the soap baron of Port Sunlight. They had a big office in Fetter lane of which a few years earlier, it had been my job to clean the lavatories in this office. One of my money earning jobs office cleaning in the morning, - dishwashing in the evening. So I said to Jerry de Rose, I'm off for a year, I


suppose that's the end of my job. He said, no. No, you come back when you come back. Enjoy your year in Italy, and there's a job here. we get on well, I like your teaching. I said Oh well, that's smashing. We shook hands on that. That's the last I saw of him. I didn't go back. but another bonus of this was that one of my models was the then not very well known Quentin Crisp. And he used to plead with me to make my poses, or his poses rather, shorter. He said the harder it is, the more dificult, the more it hurts the more I feel I'm doing the job. He said a good model, a good pose, should have to concentrate every second. And he said I can do ninety second poses which will astonish you. I said all right, let's....there may be a touch of masochism, sexual strangeness in this. But he did, he was a terrific model and a very, very fine body. He must have been, well, fifty, then. Got the blue rinse and the jaunty trilby even then. The generous makeup. Way before his time. So it was fun working with him, but the great perk was the evening train back, when the art school staff would occupy maybe two banks of seats facing each other, and the rest of the long carriage would be full of workers of various types, plus prison official from Maidstone jail, solicitors, barristers with their sacks over their shoulder, in general fairly highly respectable clientele. Well, Quentin Crisp loved nothing more than to know that he'd got an audience. And he had beatiful diction and a wonderful turn of phrase as you've probably heard in interviews and so forth. So he would entertain ostensibly the art school group, who always seemed to be in the middle of the carriage and you could see people's newspapers being lowered and eyes popping and mouths falling open as he told most outrageous stories about naughty bobbies and spanking his bum and things that were not disgusting - not obscene - but highly anarchic - anarchic I think is the word. Just devastatingly funny, and so that was Quentin's hour of absolute joy. I think probably he worked at such a school because it gave him such a theatre on the way home {chuckles}. Are you all right? J I'm fine, yes. Where did you live? You lived in Thurloe Square in your RCA days. Where did you go then. B I lived in a rather a fine place in Stepney. Hanbury St off Brick Lane. Now one of the trendiest addresses in town. But in those days you could buy, or you could have bought - I tried to persuade a rich friend to buy - a Georgian house in Fournier St that was complete in every detail inside and out. Basement fitted out with fitted Georgian dresser. Great open fireplace, I don't think a dumb waiter but there could well have been. Pure pure panelling, balustrades, glass everything eighteenth century. Twelve thousand pounds,


you could buy such a house. And this man was a solicitor, worked in the City. Lived in Islington. I said why on earth don't you walk to work rather than commuting. I said, a house like that is going to appreciate enormously. But he couldn't see it. he said I don't like the dossers on the step. I don't like the winos and the meths drinkers, and I don't like the fact that it's adjoining the synagogue. So all right he didn't buy that particular one. But Stepney at that time had not been colonised by artists. There were just three or four scattered over quite a wide radius. And I was fortunate in seeing an advert in a shop window in Chelsea: "Studio to let. £16 a month" £4 a week. A normal rent would be thirty bob/two pounds for a flat in Redcliffe Gardens -everybody lived in Redcliffe Gardens in those days, Redcliffe Square.. J Nothing changes! B So I went to see this studio, so called. The ground floor was a tailor's shop. I introduced myself to the cutter proved to be a Lancastrian - I haven't told you this? No. Spoke with quite a broad Lancashire accent. He said. well, it's not my property. I work for Alfie Marron. He's the landlord of the place and he owns this tailoring business. That's Alfie on the photograph, with David Whitfield, and that's another photograph of him with Jerry Lewis. Typical show-biz. Little Jewish Alfie sort of looking up at the big hulk of David Whitfield in an Alfie Marron suit. His door was always plastered with these things. Jack Downey was the cutter. He took me upstairs. Four flights. Threw open the door. Oh.... It was about forty foot long by about twenty five foot wide with a huge window at the southernmost end with views over the back yard and roofs of all these pure eighteenth century buildings - not a modern building in sight and Christchurch Spitalfields, by Nicholas Hawksmoor, dominating the view. Best view in London! And then to walk down the studio to the Hanbury St end, small windows, almost Elizabethan casement windows. And above the skylights. And it had been a Spitalfield silk weavers workshop, that's how it had been designed, as a weaving workshop. I never saw anywhere more perfect in my life. I said well, this is terrific. I'm a bit worried about four quid a week rent, but I said, Mr Downing, I desperately want this place. So we went back down to his cutting room. I said is there anybody else after it as far as you...he said no, no, no. And I said well can you get in touch with Mr Marron and arrange that we meet because I'd absolutely love to have it. Good, good... And I could see we were going to get on, and rather grandly took a ten shilling, red-brown ten shilling note out of my pocket and I passed it across and I said that's just good-will, Mr Downey. No, no, no I don't want anything,


I don't want anything Mr Ingham, no, no, no. I'll make sure you get it, don't worry. I thought well that was very sweet. So I looked look tired. J No, no I'm all right actually. B Not bored? J No, no I'm fine. And you were living and working there were you? B Yes, I met my landlord, who proved to be an absolute beauty, an absolute beauty. About five foot tall. Stocky. Ambitions in the acting world; he'd played minor parts in things like Carry On films or television series. He once said to me Did you watch so-and-so last night. I said no, he said Well, that was me coming out of the khazi with me braces down, didn't you catch that? No, I said I must have missed that {both chuckle} he said "Do you know..".he was really Jewish, really Jewish, and laughed at himself all the time....."they say I'm racist. Me Alfie Marron they say I'm racist". He said "down in that basement, you can smell we've got two from St Lucia - I don't mean offensive I mean their cooking". And there was indeed a very distinctive St Lucian cooking smell. Lovely couple they were, young. He said "I've got two blacks down there, lovely people, get on no problem, no trouble at all..First floor, who've I got, Tony Bailey, queer as a coot". Tony with his blue hair swept back like that, his entire suite was furnished in red velvet with black tea cups and enormous gilt mirrors, and I kept thinking he probably did a bit of drug peddling because people kept ringing his bell at all times of night and day. {end of tape} Stocky man, thick-set, with very dignified but unmistakeably homosexual style, who would leave the house immaculately dressed at six in the evening, dressed in a camel-hair overcoat, you know the style, to go up West to where he was a bar man in some fashionable night-club, and he'd come back at two in the morning. So that was the first floor. And Alfie says, "what have I got above? I've got Goldstein". Goldstein, being Mrs Goldstein who was about seventy five, had no relations left in the world. All her hair was falling out. She was constantly moaning and a drain on anybody's goodwill. A complainer. But a sweet lady And he says "I've got her. Can I get rid of Goldstein, of course I can't. As long as I've got the place she's there. There's always a place for Goldstein. What do I have next to Goldstein? That bloody Polack". That was a tailor, who worked independent of the ground floor tailor, and literally worked cross legged at his bench. And honestly slept under his bench at night.


J Did he really? B Yep, I went there. It was only a tiny room, about that size. I gained access once. He spoke scarcely any English and just sat there with his needle and thread all day long. Never saw him in the street. So there was the displaced Pole. And then we're up to the final storey, my place. he said "and who d'you think I had living up there? I tell you. South African. Queer. Drug addict. Police raids. Colin McInnes, writer. Very famous. Dedicates his books to me, to Alfie Marron. Lovely feller, lovely feller"!! {chuckles} Have you ever heard of Colin McInnes? {negative noise fr J} Very celebrated writer. Notoriously rude man. He had the bell system fixed so that the bell didn't ring. He'd got a large painted cut-out of a fish and if somebody rang the bell the blue eyed fish would attract your attention. He was a great lover of black boys and spent most of his time in black clubs in Soho and down Cable St. Hashish and marijuiana and heavy alcohol. One of his books called Absolute Beginners was made into a film not too long ago with David Bowie either singing or playing the lead part. Set in Notting Hill. Time of the Notting Hill riots. Set around the time of lambrettas and that period of London. A writer of some note; also wrote for things like the Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman and Nation. A literary figure, not a hack writer. A very good man. I met him years afterwards in the French pub. I knew him by sight, by photographs - I'd never met him - I said Oh, I used to lived in your ex flat down in Hanbury St. Oh yeh. I said, d'you ever hear any news of Alfie Marron? If you want to know news about Alfie Marron, go and ask him yourself, mate. So I thought well, fuck you, that's the end of that. And apparently this was his standard behaviour to everybody. The Queen Mum as well as to me. And he'd had an arrangement that from the street you open the street door, which was a big, heavy wooden door. You entered the foyer with the tailor's shop going off the the right. But to gain access to the rest of the house you had a second door and that was sheet metal, plate metal. You had a second key for that and then my door upstairs had a whole variety of Chubb locks and complex systems of locking; he was obviously quite paranoid. And Alfie told me with a chuckle one day that...Have you heard what's happened to McInnes? I said no. He said he was in hospital of some grave complaint, and they served a summons for bankruptcy, and shortly after that the police came to tell him that he was under arrest on drug handling charges {chuckles} J So he'd had a good week...


B He survived it. So that was Alfie Marron "they call me a racist"! You make up that household for a soap opera and it would be written off as being.... J Over the top. B Absolutely, absolutely. And to serve all this were two very broken down rickety brick built lavatories in the back yard. Ground floor. So it wasn't the most hygenic of places... And a cold water tap of course. J So you didn't have a loo upstairs? B Oh no, no. You had to go all the way down. Including Mrs Goldstein, with her chamber-pot covered tactfully with the Jewish Times or whatever. It was a very happy time, was that. But when I was accepted at the Royal College of Art, by this time I was working in Luba's Bistro in Yeoman's Row, down it the Coach and Horses.. J The Bunch of Grapes, I think it is. B Bunch of Grapes, that's correct. So I was chief dishwasher. Only dishwasher, but I was Chief dishwasher! J Luba was the aunt of a friend of mine. B Was she, really? J David Page, who was a picture dealer mate of mine who'd worked at Waddingtons. She was his aunt. I gather she didn't have a licence, and you took your own wine there. B Yep, and the Hooray Henrys used to plunge their wine into the simmering water that held the pots of sauces and so on so that within five minutes they'd have a gently bubbling Cote du Rhone. Oh she was a wonderful person. A lovely person. I know it's a cliche to say that about a big fat emotional sentimental White Russian lady, but....She'd had a hard life and she was a joy to work for. She had a volatile temper and there were scenes and rows. Not with myself in this case - with other staff. One member ran amok with a meat cleaver one evening and had to be disarmed, I don't know who did it, but he had a serious mental breakdown of which that was the culmination. So I was working there something like five nights a week. So it seemed pretty daft getting back to Stepney and I had a pal who had a cupboard in the corner of Thurloe Square, which was five minutes walk away. So I made an arrangement with my pal to swap places on a temporary basis for one year or two years, which


we did, and then we swapped back again. So.. the Royal College to Thurloe Square is five minutes walk. Thurloe Square to Luba's five minutes walk so it was a very nice circuit. Working for Luba, well there was a good team. The chief cook - the grill cook or the frying cook - I don't know what the term is. Not the person who made the saucesthat's where the skill is- and I think Luba did this in the morning. The sauces were always made and they were wonderful. And the things like the pirosshki and galuptsi were always ready and that was the quality of the place. But there were always people wanting steaks, pork chops and so on. So there was a cook whose job it was to do the frying. Then there was a vegetable chef. There was a chef who looked after the sweets and the salads. A general handyman who unblocked drains or threw out drunks; he was the one who went mad with the cleaver. And myself. A team of about five in the kitchen, and then three or four waitressing. Nearly all, if not all, related to Luba. One delicious tall homosexual, as camp as they come. Lived in Paris for years. He was an absolute scream. Sort of Kenneth Williams gone over the top sort of thing. And one of the privileges of the dishwasher was any half finished bottles of wine left by the customers, which was commonplace, was put next to the dirty dishes - that was the dishwasher's perk. And if you remember the place the kitchen was open to the restaurant with a partition about that height. So as you walked in the place my sinks were on the left and the piles of plates with glasses were there and there were my three or four bottles of Barsac or Cotes du Rhone and so on. And you needed it because you sweated like hell. But after a while, I don't know how it came about, once or twice I'd managed after I'd done my first hour between six and seven washing the big heavy pans that had held last nights curry and... big greasy pans. Quite hard work. Not dishes - it was get all the pans clean by the time the first customers come in just after seven. And if I got that done with ten minutes to spare, Luba would say well go up the road if you like and have a drink, have a quick break. So I'd trot up to the Bunch of Grapes and they used to sell a very good draught cider, you remember. J I never used the pub really. B Yes, well they had a little corner bar on the corner of was it... Knightsbridge and Brompton was split into about five bars with great glass partitions. And I'd go in the workmans' bar. And have a good pint of cider, which set you up. I can't remember how it began but Harold, the later-togo-beserk fellow, said he wouldn't mind a glass of cider. And another member of staff said they'd appreciate a glass of


cider in the course of the evening. So I said is this all right, Luba, I'll get cider for everyone. She said yes, yes, yes. She said you, you take that bucket, Bryan. God knows how much it held, but literally I used to walk up with a plastic bucket that size, order my pint and say fill this up for the restaurant, please, and they filled it up and I paid with Luba's money. And I would take this bucket back, and they made a space for it in the big refrigerator, and the cider would go in there and we'd feed off that through the course of the long night, six 'til one o'clock. And I also with my red wine chasers you might say. And of course sometimes the kitchen got a little bit chaotic, and Dolly the frier, a lovely little Cockney woman, tiny, archetypal Cockney, she would bring her own Guinness, five bottles. And by the time she was on bottle three she was going. Bottle four she was nearly gone and bottle five flames would be coming up from her pans {chuckles} And Luba rode it all, you know, shrugging her shoulders and saying " Do I employ such people. What do I deserve?..." and she would have her favourite maudlin song that she would go into... I only remember the first line. She would sing {sings} "If I could live my life again...." {both laugh} such maudlin sentiments. And the poofter waiter running around and camping it up with the guardsmen with their {chuckles} hot Cotes du Rhone wine and the surly little French waiter - son of Janine?- niece of Luba, they were all related. It was a complete magnificent mixture. And of course the company was wonderful. J I think David's mother was somebody called Leda, who was Luba's sister. B Oh Leda , I'm sure that rings a bell, sure that rings a bell. J Leda was lovely. B Did she wait on table? J She may have yeh. B I'm sure. I can see the face. I'm almost sure. She was a kind one. There was one scatty one. The saturnine boy, who wanted his own restaurant, and the outrageous camp fellow. yes, yes I'm sure, I'm sure. J Leda still lives up there in Courtfield Gardens. But Luba's is shut, of course now. B Yes.


J Luba died, didn't she? B I suppose so. I remember there used to be a young man probably highly educated, with rounded shoulders and very shabby tweeds, who'd come in about half past six. Often followed by and old genteel lady very obviously down on her luck. And Luba would serve the genteel lady with a bowl of borscht and then the old lady would go. No payment. But she used to rag the round shouldered failed student - that's what he looked like - he was probably about 35. And she would shout at him in what seemed an offensive manner, but it wasn't, it was all part of the game..."Eh, I suppose you want big bowl of soup from Luba?" He would nod and that would be set nicely before him, always at the same table, by the door. No other customers yet come in. And then she'd say "And NOW what d'you want? I suppose you want the biggest steak Luba has?" So they'd cut him a piece of steak. The steak was often served with boiled rice. And he'd never say thank you - I can't remember him speaking. And then when he was finished and ready to go she would say " Yeh, now you want two of Luba's cigarettes, don't you, here you are." And she would more or less throw the cigarettes onto his table. "And off you go." And off he'd go. And that routine was repeated almost every evening. J Luba was obviously a very sweet woman. B Oh, she was, she was. She would say to me "Now Bryan, I know it's not a nice job, but this galvanised dustbin goes outside every night with all the raw materials, cabbage leaves and so on. You clean this for me, scrub it out. I give you five shillings extra." I said Luba that's a bargain, yeh. And it wasn't such an unpleasant job, so that was my last job usually. There were two. One went out and one was clean. Scrubbing out the dustbin became part of the job, but it was always five bob extra. Then around midnight, the last customers had gone, or almost gone, - maybe a couple cooing over a candlelit table, she'd say " Come on come on", and we'd all stop working and we'd all gather round the big circular table maybe eight of us, nine of us. One cook in the kitchen - I think it used to be the saturnine waiter. "You want steak, Bryan" That would be lovely, yeh. "Rice?" Yeh. Or sometimes galupsi with that lovely rich sauce or sometimes piroshki. And we sat down and there were bottles of half empty wine - always enough to drink. And we'd have a good talk about the evening, a good laugh, maybe until half past one. And a genuine meal, you know, a real meal. And then ah yes, I can't remember where this fits in, but at one period I then had to walk back to Clapham South. Which was one hell of a way.


J What, from Luba's? B Yes. J Shit, that's a long way. B It lasted for several months. I can't remember why I was there and not at Thurloe Square or Stepney. But Clapham South, yes. I used to go up Lavender Hill if I remember rightly, across one of the bridges - Battersea Bridge. I was stopped by a policeman one night who shone his light in my face. At about two in the morning, I was exhausted. And he shone his light in my face and said what are you doing? And I just shouted at him: I just said I'm walking home to 37 so and so Road Clapham South, and I 've just been working as a dishwasher from six to one and I'm absolutely knackered and I'll thank you not to shine your FUCKING TORCH IN MY FACE! And he said I'm sorry sir, I apologise, I apologise. It works when you make this sort of reaction. J When it's genuine which it obviously was, yes. B Yes yes. No, they were good times, good times. Lovely times. I'd go in there afterwards with a guest when I left college. A couple of time at least. And Luba had been there and we had a smashing meal. It was always a bit expensive to what one could afford in those days. And I'd then gone up and asked one of the girls for the bill and Luba would come across to the table " Eh, Bryan, nothing to pay nothing to pay. You're my guests." and put an arm around us both. Oh Luba, that's sweet of you but I don't expect it, because I want to come back again. "Oh, well you pay next time." And the next time the same thing happened. She married he butcher, who was a young, good looking LAD from east Anglia. he could only have been in his late twenties. And this was towards the end of her career. He flirted with her and she fancied him, and so they got married. And I believe they were happy. J Oh, that's good. B Yeh. Sometimes there would the Pepe the Spaniard who came in and played his guitar. Before taking the hat round. She would say come in on Mondays and Thursdays if you like. And he was a lovely original Spaniard, playing nice light music from table to table. A bit more ambiance. He asked me once - he knew I was a painter - "Have you ever in London exposed yourself?" {laughs} And another regular customer was a shabby looking chap with a bald head and a


beard but obviously a personality and quality. Usually with two or three guests. And that was the painter Euan Euglow. I just read in the art rag of this week that his exhibition at Roland Brows and Delbanco coincided with mine and has been a sell-out, and his best price a hundred thousand pounds. And he was always impoverished. Always stuck to his guns, as far as I know he never married. He lived for his art. The most difficult art you can imagine, painting from the naked figure, month after month with the same model in excruciating poses. Having to pay the model. He stuck it out, always being ignored by the art establishment. "Freud is great. Bacon is great." Do you ever hear of Euan Euglow? J No. B Far, far finer painter. History will show. And now suddenly he'd getting his recognition, in his seventies I suppose. So he was another nice person to see. We just knew each other, even though I was a student and I knew he was a distinguished painter. We sort of waved in the restaurant. Yes lovely days, lovely days. Well, I think that's the end, the end of that..... J What happened then? B Well around the time of this Diploma show at the Royal College of Art - I've described it in some detail - students from the major London colleges, the Slade, the Academy, what we arrogantly call "The College" - it's never called the Royal College, it's the College, "Did you go to the College?"... are invited to submit applications for the Roman Scholarships of which there are graded versions, a twelve month version at quite a good income, a nine month version, a six month travel version and so on. And already I was very familiar with Italy. Everybody knew that. My tutors knew that. I desperately wanted to go to Italy for a year after leaving College. That would complete my education. And I applied. I don't know who formed the jury. But I was not successful. And regrettably, at least two of the ones that were successful never left London. Ever. One spent it on a customised psychadelic motor car which he'd drive up and down the King's Rd in nineteen sixty three or whatever a la John Lennon, and I thought that was pretty disgusting. And I was very, well I was upset that I didn't get one. I felt that with my track record - I'd already had two Italian Government scholarships - it was obvious that my cultural direction was Italy rather than America, which was the prevailing fashion by then. All the ambitious artists were getting...


J You say you'd been to Italy before? When had that fitted in, when you were at St Martins? B Yes, well right from the age of sixteen. J You went when you were at Coles? B Possibly just before I went to Coles, yes. I went to Lake Garda with my Uncle Leslie. I wanted to travel to le or is it La Lavandou in France and Hyeres and Cap Ferrat. And Antibes and - what's the most fashionable one there?....St Tropez. And I read library books about these places. These places were natural fishing ports then. This was the early fifties some time. I'd bought books second hand books, and read library books about all these places. And I had the maps. And my parents had said all right you can go. Yes, I'd be about fifteen and a half I think. I don't know how I was going to get there. Train and then walk I suppose. Then at the last minute Uncle Leslie, father's brother, said - I suppose they'd fixed it up between them, parents, grownup. Not a good idea to let Bryan go at that age. Leslie said well, I want to go back to Italy, and I'd like to go to Lake Garda, and Bryan will love that. So I went with Uncle Leslie to Lake Garda to a village called Tremsin, wonderful place. Stayed in a hotel Stella D'Oro. And after seven days Uncle Leslie started going mad. The very first signs of it. Not that anybody would call a nervous breakdown, because it went on for years. And then he finally hung himself. J Did he? Oh Good God. B Yes. he tried once or twice to kill himself. But by God he went mad in this hotel. Nothing that anybody else would recognise. For example some paranoia it began with. We would hear the peasants singing in the fields as they were making hay. And Leslie had been stationed down at Sorrento, Amalfi, Maiori, during the war. So he had some Italian friends and he spoke some Italian. And one afternoon he said can you hear what they're singing, Bryan. I said no, I can't understand the language. He said they're singing about me. I said what do you mean? he said they're mocking me. He said yes, and I noticed it when we went down past the tobacconist, people were talking about me. They stopped talking as soon as they saw me, but they were all talking about me. I said what do you mean? And there was no homosexuality instinct, though he was never married. Unless this was profoundly repressed. But he never ever made any pass to myself, with every opportunity - we even slept in a double bed in the Stella D'Oro. We certainly did in Soley Bridge, and never a hint of that. And he said we've got


to get out of here, we've got to get out straight away. And suddenly we were embarked on a nightmare journey back to Sheffield. Non-stop from this remote village, which involved a taxi down a thousand feet, down to the lake side and a bus at dawn to Desenzano, a train from Desenzano to Milan, a connection to Milan to and so on and so on. And I remember we were in Paris at dawn the next day, I can remember the wet cobbled streets, Paris as you think Paris used to look. I remember we went into a bar for a coffee. And he said "It's happening here as well. They're all doing it. Haven't you noticed?" I said no, no, you're imagining things. He said "No, no, no." He said "I know what they're saying". I said what? He said "They're saying I'm mad". I said but you're not mad. He said, "Well that's what they're saying, that's what they're saying. They're all saying it. Come on". We gulped our coffee and then another train to wherever it was, Newhaven... and the sea... the boat was like that in the harbour. The only time I've ever been seasick. In fact before we left harbour. And he kindly took me down into the lower part of the ship where there were these bunks which were specially designed for people who were going to be seasick, I don't know whether they still have them, it's a sort of monster vomitorium that's staffed and stewarded and cleaned up and so on. When I say seasick, you don't bring anything up necessarily because I'd had nothing to eat for twenty four hours. Nothing to eat, no food no food no food at all. No stopping to buy a croissant or anything - we'd got to get back to Sheffield. Because he'd got to read the newspapers. Because it would all be in the newspapers. And that, that that was an awful journey over the channel and then up to London, and then I remember the train from Kings Cross to Sheffield was so crowded, we had to stand all the way and it's the only time in my life I've fallen asleep on my feet. I don't know whether it's considered possible or not. An old soldier will tell you it is. Well it is. And we finally got the bus from Sheffield back home, and astonished parents - what's happened what's the matter. And he explained that it would all be in the newspapers tomorrow morning. My mother found him sitting at the bottom of the stairs at about six am waiting for the newspaper to come through the letter box and he grabbed it the moment it did. And of course nothing. And then he tried to kill himself in the bathroom, I think slitting his wrists, I'm not sure. And they kept me out of the house. That was just a couple of days later. And then the police were brought in and I was interviewed, and so on and then he was sent on this awful electrical therapy, and was never the same man again. He'd been, well he'd been a very fine man indeed. He was a hunter. Otter hounds and principally beagles. Wore fine cut breeches, jodphurs, fine boots. Of course a foot follower. He had an otter pole as tall


as that door. Eight foot metal tipped pole with which he stalked through the streets of Halifax at dawn on the way to some distant meet up in the Yorkshire dales. He was the one who used to take me to the art galleries in York and Leeds and Liverpool. His idea of a day out was to say Bryan would you like to come to York, and we'll have toasted teacakes in the posh teashop Terrys, where the officers used to go with their Sam Browne belts -impressed me enormously - the waitresses in black with little white aprons, and then he'd take me to his favourite second hand bookshop in Stonegate. I got to love the smell of old books and I'd buy as many books as he would buy, so we'd both be laden, and then we'd go to the art gallery and especially to look at his favourite nude, a very sexy thing by William Etty, the Victorian painter who specialised, like so many Victorian painters, in very, I won't say very erotic, but in sexy paintings, that went under decent titles like "At the Spring" and so forth with a voluptuous beautiful woman. Painted in the RA schools. And we'd go to York Minster and we'd walk the walls. We'd go to the cattle market and then we'd go home on the train. And that was the day out. Well obviously that's an important part of my cultural background. So that was the man he was before this tragedy began. J It's very lucky he didn't put you off Italy altogether. B Well it certainly didn't. I'd like to go back and see if that hotel is still there, and stay in the same bedroom. It was a wonderful place. No tourists, no tourists. And he was a great man for itineraries. the old Bradshaw guides. He could work out routes all around Europe, just for fun. He travelled all around Scotland on secondary lines. Highly planned. He would write of in advance to hotels. I've still got a lot of his bills and correspondence and Horse and Hound copies in a case downstairs. So you'd see that he paid ten and six at the Stags head, Lidderdale for bed breakfast and evening meal. L Ingham or L Ingham Esquire. He knew how to live. He drank, but not excessively. He was his own man. Just...he wasn't eccentric, but he was by the standards of the day. J How long after this incident did he kill himself? Was it a long time or... B A long time, yes. Yes. He was on various courses of treatment and drugs and so on. He lost a lot of weight, no longer looked like his previous self. Rarely drank. Occasionally he could be persuaded to have three or four Guinness at a sitting and then he'd perk up and almost be like the old Leslie, but more often he'd say no, no, I don't want to go to the pub. He lost the paranoia, as far as we


could see. And he finished up working in an ironmongers shop wearing brown overall coat, the lowest of the low. Whereas after his military days he'd been foreman in I think it was Crossley's carpet factory...with about forty girls beneath him. Very responsible job. He would have gone very high in the mill trade. And all of that went. Had no selfconfidence with women, that was one of his troubles. And he was too much of a gentleman. He would do anything rather than offend anybody. So he might well have thought, no, this woman is really attractive, but it would be bad manners of me to say, would you come to the opera with me next Thursday, get the train to Manchester, they're doing Lucia de L'Amore. I think you would enjoy it - he would not give that invitation, because he would think that would make her uncomfortable and embarrassed. So he would keep most of that to himself. Though there were women who adored him. A lot of my taste in books comes from his library. At Christmastime, he used to love reading things like the Hunt Breakfast from Handley Cross. Mr Jorrocks or Soapy Sponge arriving at I forget whose stately mansion - he loved it and he'd laugh and chuckle. And his upright piano with two candles, and he played the piano very well from music. At Christmas time he would play Christians Awake, and all the fine old carols, and he would play exerpts from the operas. Donicetti was his favourite. And Tosca. he'd developed all these tastes in Italy. And he had very fine Italian watercolours on the walls he'd bought from artist friends he'd made. { tape sound fails here} {Bryan went on to describe the death of Uncle Leslie and his funeral and to recount how with Carel Weight's help he obtained a Leverhulme Award for travel in Italy, and Tape 8 picks it up as he is cycling around Northern Italy.} B I left my bicycle there. And there was just one incident before I leave that, which relates back to Maxine, plump dark-haired girl. A couple of girls came to the youth hostel, Geordies. One was very very big. Not fat, but very plump. Very attractive. And we spent an evening walking around the town together. We went for a drive in motor car with somebody, up into the mountains, and then spent the dusk and the dark of the evening lying on the sands - the youth hostel was only twenty five yards away - lying on the soft dry sand at the top of the Adriatic, just cuddling and kissing and so on. Nothing heavy. And she said the next day they were going to Venice, hitch-hiking. And one didn't think far ahead in those days, did one? So I said Oh that's a great pity, I'd have loved to see you again. I woke up in the morning early, and I thought I've just got to see that girl again. She was terrific, I want to know that girl. And I dashed up into the ladies dormitory and they'd gone. And I found out from the office that there are two youth hostels


in Venice, one on the Qai Decha island, the other I know not where, so I wrote a brief letter, - I only knew the girl's first name, Sandra, I can't remember... please, please contact me. I don't know what contact address I gave, because I was floating around. But I was determined that I should see this girl again, and just so angry with myself that I'd not taken her home address, her English address or whatever. But no, never saw her again. I bet she has nice feelings about the evening as well,- it was a very good-hearted time. So I left my bicycle in the garage of the hotel, and said I'll be back for it. When d'you think you'll be back for it? A year or two, I don't know. All right, that's OK, it's not in the way. So if you do want an old fashioned red Italian bicycle, it's now been there for thirty two years and it's probably quite a vintage model because it was already dangerously close to a nineteen forties vintage at that time! And then I took one of those lovely Italian buses. Chit...CIT they used to be called...cheet. Very comfortable, with sun blinds to draw across the windows. On mountainous, precipitous roads, very fast, honking the horn. Stopping in busy litle villages, all piling out. Drink of water in the fountain in the piazza and then onwards, onwards. Then I arrived in Florence. By that time I'd decided for the rest of my stay in Italy, another ten months or so, I must have a scooter. I found a garage, tiny, tiny, hole in the wall garage such as they are in the back streets. I had a look for it the last time I was in Florence. Couldn't find my way at all. Saw a lovely lambretta. Creamy white, plae blue. With pale blue on white number plates, which were Florentine number plates FI...Firenze - so I thought well this is a real bonus, because I can go anywhere in Italy with Florentine number plates. Better than Roman number plates, because the Romans are hated - a Neapolitan would have blown it up - or a Napoli number plate the Romans will kick it into the gutter and pour petrol over it, but Florence, you're fairly safe, reasonably respected. I paid £40 for the scooter, and it gave me wonderful service. It was a pig in a poke, but they're honest, the Italian people, the workmen and so on. They didn't sell me a dud. Oh, and then such times I had, I can't remember just where or which way my route went....I remember I spent time up at La Spezia, Livorno, the Cinque Terra, and then down that Mediterranean coast road past Civatavechia, absolutely fancy-free. Lightly dressed. A la Italia. Not standing out anymore as an Englishman, but wearing protective clothing, mainly high-heeled spotted dotted white pointed shoes, real gigolo stuff, narrow white trousers, pink check shirt, close cropped hair, dark glasses whilst on the bike. Every inch the Italian Dago! That certainly can't think of a more perfect itinerary. Sorry, Katy, love but you're in the line of fire {protest from


cat} Come here, come here {meow} yes. Can you think of a more blissful existence. Day after day, knowing it can be week after week, month after month, just getting up in the morning, looking at a map, and thinking, Oh that looks interesting, that village where the road stops at the top of that mountain. Four thousand feet, not too high, I'll go there today. And you go there, and they've never seen an Englishman in their life. Really, there are such places, just a mile off the motorway, where they goggle at you. I remember passing...passing the piazza in such a dusty, flyblown village to enter through the plastic stripped curtain to go into a bar as a priest was coming out of the bar, and he made a gesture with his right hand, and I automatically made a swift sort of bogus religious gesture with my right hand. And in a split second realised that he was merely moving his right hand to squash a fly on his forehead {chuckles} The bar was just thick, black with flies, I mean this was what, nineteen sixty three or so. Such insanitary places they were. And so life went on like that week after week. Until towards the end of the summer I thought it would be clever to get some sort of base, but I had no plans, no ideas, no forethought. But I happened to be in Rome. By this time I'm riding the scooter like an Italian. It's the only way you can survive in Rome. You ride very fast, you brake very very quickly. You start very quickly at the traffic lights. You're not ill at ease if you're elbow to elbow with your fellow scooter riders, and you ride in the middle of the road. And if you follow those rules, you're quite safe! If you dither, like an English person, you see their cars lying by the side of the road every few hundred yards! On their sad GB plates where they've tried to do After You Percy stuff and then been bonked into {chuckles} by the Fiat cinquecentos. So by the time I got to Rome I really was whizzing round the city and there was a certain bella figura manner where you'd have your feet splayed off the running board, not within the running board but you heels on the running board and your feet splayed, that was very, very stylish as well, so what with the high heeled white shoes and the white trousers, one had the lot {J laughs} and by this time very handsomely brown and well travelled, and I thought, I'd look up this British School. Where they didn't think fit to give me a! I was very lucky to be let in. It was before the term had started, and the servants were extremely reluctant to give anybody admission. You walked up a massive flight of stairs to a set of doors fifteen foot tall by fifteen foot wide, with one little inset door, so you rang the bell, and it echoed down the corridors, and the little inset door would be opened a few inches by a white coated servant "Eh? Que?" So one had to do one's best to charm one's way in. I can't remember that detail, but I did get in.


And luckily for me there were two young English artists already arrived there, Mike and Mary Fairclough, -you've probably met them,- and we sat in the garden, talking about this and that. Plenty in common. And they said well, there's been always a spare, an empty, studio. If you see Signor Bruno, he's the man in charge of the booking arrangements, you could well have a good chance. And so I did that and Signor Bruno was very friendly. I'd got good credentials - it didn't mean a lot to him, but I think he recognised that I wasn't just off the street sort of thing. And they let me have this lovely huge studio, which is I think the one that Dame Barbara Hepworth had when she was there. It was a sculpture studio. It had big double doors. I think some lifting equipment. And then you had a tiny bedroom, up a wooden staircase. So as you woke up in the morning you could look over the balcony, down into the studio. Just one cold water sink, and the bathrooms across the corridor and across a courtile, a courtyard, was the dining room, the refectory. It was a very grand, high ceilinged affair. Well, being showed round I thought -this is bloody paradise! And it was ever so cheap. It was less than I would have been paying for a bed and breakfast. Then I think I went away for a week or two, and then I came back and yes, my studio was waiting for me, and the other Rome Scholars had gathered and the architectural historians were migrating through. Lady Wheeler was a big shot there, I seem to remember. The badly treated wife of Sir Mortimer. Who was called Rick,doesn't go well with Sir Mortimer Wheeler, does it? A dodgy sounding bloke. Womaniser. Egotist. I think. Shouldn't say that. And it must have got round to November time because it was announced that we were going to have a bonfire party and invite the contents of the Danish Academy to come down and party with us. And that turned out into a memorable evening where two of us got off with sensational women. Which carried on through a lot of the time in Rome. Not the only women in our lives,- of course it was a very woman-full period. Probably the most woman-full period of one's life. I don't know whether that was the high-heeled white shoes, the sun tan or what, but a very successful period. And of course at the age of thirty one was just coming to terms with sex, and multiple lovers and so on. One was reaching one's prime then. Not twenty. So that was very memorable. the food they gave us in the refectory was absolutely magnificent. It was high class restaurant style. One was invited to the long table, the high table, to sit with John Ward-Perkins, the Director, or two other long tables where you sat wherever you fancied. So there was no hierarchy - everybody moved around all of the time. All of us sat at the top table and sat where we chose at the other tables. I soon recognised that the head waiter and general


factotum, a man called Giacomo, was a very useful man, and I took to him, as you do take to some men. And I think he took to me as well. So very quickly without language we had a good understanding. On minor things like he knew I liked two plates of spaghetti before the meat course at lunch time, so I would always get my two plates of spaghetti very unostentatiously - the best service you can expect. And there came the day that Giacomo said in his not bad English that he had a girl friend in the mountains and tomorrow was his day off and he had no transport, could he borrow my lambretta. Giacomo, delighted! So off he went on the lambretta, very very pleased. The next day he says, very good I have tightened up the exhaust screw, and it needed adjustment the end he became my mechanic as well as head waiter! Didn't get on very well with the Director of the place, John Ward-Perkins. Who was an an archeologist. Big fish in his pond. Expected everybody to kow-tow. And all his archeological staff did. He was a tyrant; he had people working in the attics, like in a Bronte novel you didn't see them for weeks. They'd come down white grey and palsied for a bowl of minestrone once every three weeks! And then back to glueing up his wretched shards. I was off to a dramatically bad start with him. On the very first evening of the autumn term, it was his tradition to throw a cocktail party before dinner in the refectory. And most art students don't dress for dinner. It would have been much nicer if we did, - if we had worn black tie, but that was no longer the style and I didn't have black tie, but I did the next best thing, and I went all in white, with maybe a modest tie - I don't remember, with my white trousers, and a lovely white linen jacket, white shoes. And I looked pretty good! And I entered this large room I saw the cluster of cocktail partiers down at the end, and discerned a figure who was obviously the boss, and he was dressed all in white and so I {chuckles} like two ladies at a party who are wearing the same pin striped suit, he glared at me. He was not amused at all. That I was stealing his sartorial thunder. From that moment onwards we didn't get on. But it didn't matter a damn of course. And it was such that...well, I'm losing chronology here because I remember now being in Rome in the January/February days when tourists are never there, and it being bitterly cold, and I remember being in a very hilly suburb of Rome outside a steeply cobbled street with a tram-car track going up and the big flashes of electricity coming from the poles of the tram-car lines, and the banging and the blustering of the thunder, and the great lightnings lighting everything up vividly, and the lights in the bar going out totally and then going back on again dramatically, and then the rain coming down like rods. Just straight down, rain that you could cut through, rain like


we've never seen in this country. And on the juke-box intermittently was an English Caribbean pop song "My Boy Lollypop", which would date it to about nineteen sixty... J Lulu. B Was it? J I think it was Lulu, yes. B And I found that Rome was a very exciting place to be in those times. I did my bit of church bashing, and museum bashing. Buit that wasn't my passion. My passion really was the life as lived day to day in Italian towns, villages and cities. rather as I told the meeting in Fetter Lane, the business men when they said are you interested in 15 th century Italian art, Mr Ingham. Yes, I am, but I'm more interested in 20th century Italian cinema, for example. So that was what I nosing out, the smell of contemporary Italy. My chronology now goes very wrong because there was one period when I ran out of money, - it must have been the following year, - springtime. My money came in three installments, from Fetter Lane to the Banco di Laboro in Rome, and I calculated I had something like six weeks before the next bit of income and the equivalent of something like seventy pence a day for that period of time. So I couldn't afford to run up a mess bill and one paid for one's meals as well, and we lived quite high. We would often go into Rome after dinner. We would have dinner at eight, and at eleven o'clock little groups would mutter shall we go and have a spaghetti ala carbonara down the Via .....I forget....somewhere down by the football stadium. So we'd often turn out at eleven and go and have a second delicious spaghetti and more wine. So we spent quite a lot of money. I borrowed a tent, and took my Vespa down to Terracina, which used to be a favored place in the old Roman days - I think emperors would build their villas on the farthermost rocks of the Terracina peninsula. Since fallen into some decay. And south of there was a little village on a hump called Spellonga. And joining Spellonga and Terracina a long perfect clean beach, I suppose about eight miles in length. So I set out my tent in the dunes about half way. And settled down for I think about five weeks, - the weather was good. Outside my tent I built a little fireplace with stones. My prime job of the day was to gather driftwood sticks for the evening fire. The second job of the day was to walk four miles down the beach in bare feet to the village, and buy two large bottles, I suppose litre bottles, of local wine, which was called Frizzantino - no labels, just a screw top, if I remember, a beer bottle top. The sort of stuff that's


dangerous at Sainsburys supermarket, I'm sure. Buying it and walking it back along the beach was delicious. And a good chunk of bread and Brunetto, which I think is about three and a half ounces of Mortadella sausage, and that was it. And one litre was for the lunchtime feast, and then the siesta. And then the late afternoon job was collecting bleached plastic, of which there was a lot. Toys, childrens dolls - arms, feet, legs. Kiddies prams, cartons, boxes, bottles, bright colours all faded into pinks and bathroomy greens and turquoise, beautiful, beautiful stuff. Beautiful shapes. And down this eight mile stretch of beach I made three primary heaps, which got to be about man high. And I admit, I did fantasise about having a lorry to carry this all back to England as working material, it being so beautiful. But of course I didn't. It was left on the beach. Occasionally when I felt I could indulge myself, I would call at the Youth Hostel. There was a wooden chalet, with a wooden verandah. A very friendly place. And they made meals. And I would say, I'm not sleeping here. I'm sleeping up on the beach, but can I have the lunch? Which was very cheap. So I varied my diet that way. And of course there I met a lovely girl from London. We went walking down to Spelonga, the rain clouds came in, the sea broke over us, we got drenched and we were laughing and we were hand in hand and we burst back into this chalet, late for lunch and radiant with the zest of love {chuckles} We kept in touch. I knew her in London for a year or two after that. There I met two lovely German people, and we went into Terracina in their deux chevaux one evening and found the sort of restaurant I don't think exists any more. Just a bare room with a naked light bulb. About four rickety formica topped metal tables. Plastic bucket seats. And a knife and a fork and a bit of paper for the table cloth. So primitive. And we ordered fish, and it was one of the best meals any of us had ever, ever had. We had the most memorable, wonderful evening you could dream of. For a matter of shillings. They sent me a card about four years later remembering that evening. And so then back into Rome to collect the next installment of money, and to meet my mum, who'd come to Rome, my aunty who'd never been abroad before. The came in a coach party. And got into the spirit of it wonderfully well. Later came my father, dressed in his handsome three piece tweeds. Highly polished shoes. Englishman's pipe. Never been...well....he'd been to Belgium, when young. Never been to Italy. Travelled by rail. Arrived looking as fresh a daisy, except he was grossly drunk. J A second-hand daisy!


B I spent much of my time giving him talkings-to. The following day I took him over into Trestaveri, which then was the rough quarter. Today, it's quite chic. It was definitely still a rough quarter. And I took him to the roughest cafe-cumrestaurant that I knew, which was at the west end of Trestaveri. Under enormous plane trees the tables were set out. Again with paper table cloths. And working men, women and rogues drinking. And I'd been told on good authority - more than one authority - that that was the place where pickpockets would congregate to discuss their programme for the next day. It was next to one of the big markets. And there are petty thieves, and never leave a bicycle down there and don't take the scooter down there because you might find the front wheel has gone, but you still have the scooter. It was notorious. So Father thought all this was marvellous and we sat up under the plane trees in the sunshine and drank a couple of quarter litres of wine, white wine, the Frascati wine, and Father thought that was marvellous. And for some reason the next day I was fully occupied. can't think why. Unusual, with my father as a guest. But I said you're going to have to look after yourself. Take care now. You stand out as an Englishman. You know the are a lot of villains in this town, and whatever you do don't go to any of the places I took you to yesterday. Don't go that side of the river, and certainly don't go to that café under the plane trees. Oh, no lad. Right, lad, yes. And make sure you've got a card that shows your hotel, so if you get lost you can show it to anybody. So I thought everything was foolproof, but Father being a bigger fool than most off the leash, by himself, rubbing his hands, alone in Rome....Well, I saw him the next day, what did you do, Dad? Well, shall I tell you, lad? I say yes...yes, come on you'd better tell me. He said well, I went back to that cafe under the plane trees. I said Oh.... and what happened? Well it was very quiet at first. I sat by myself and ordered one of those carafes of wine. And there a few chaps sat at a table nearby, and they kept looking across at me. I said, well, I'm not bloody surprised, with your pipe and your tweeds and your polished brogues. And after a while he said, I don't know whether it was me or them, but they said, you have a glass of our wine. And so he was invited to take his chair over to their table. And being the sort of man he is of course straight away he was ordering, not knowing how to do it, God knows what, you know a litre of wine of wine, or half a litre for everyone...anyway. And without the language, he said, we had a lovely time. they were lovely fellers. I said well, what did they do. He said, well, one was a taxi driver. I said well, how did you know that. he said well, he took me home! I said, oh aye, well what happened? he said well when it time for me to go, well....I was a bit legless. I'm not used to this


wine you know. So they asked me where I was staying, and I took out the card. Campo di Fiore, the oldest hotel in Rome. The Campo di Fiore was the biggest hang-out of spivs after the war. It was where bicycle thieves were shot, by Vittorio de Sicca. And it still has a reputation for being a rough square. So the taxi driver took him back. Said now there's your hotel. And here is my friend in the trattoria...took him down three steps into the trattoria, sat Father down at a table, said to the proprietor, now (it went something like this), this English gentleman has had a glass or two too many. Give him a good bowl of soup, plenty of bread, no more wine, and then help him across the road - he's number five in the hotel opposite, and I'll settle up with you later, don't let him pay anything. And that's what happened. He had is meal, which settled him up very well, they helped him across the road to his bed, and he got up and his wallet was there and everything is there. Every opportunity for a monster mugging, and as always he got away with it through his simplicity and decency. And of course you can imagine what I said...You stupid...I don't make me really angry....for God's sake....{laughs}. The next thing was to get him to ride on the back of the scooter. I said the only way I can show you Rome is by us whizzing around the city, we can go everywhere. No, no, I won't go on the back of that thing. He'd tried it at Jollytown and he'd jumped off half way across the airfield, jumped off and fallen off. And I said well, it's going to spoil it if you don't, because we can't be walking and bussing, it's too hot for that. Anyway, come in this bar and we'll have a chat. Buon Giorno, due grappa. What's this, lad? Oh it's a little drink, not very strong. Drink it in one go. Lets walk down the street and have a talk about it. We walk down the street to another bar. Signori? Buon Giorno, due grappa. And after maybe the third one, I said now, traffic's very quiet at the moment _ the biggest lie I've ever told, Roman traffic is elbow to elbow any time of night or day. I said come on, let's just have a little trial. Eh, all right, lad. And he did. And I said for God's sake sit still, don't fidget about. 'Cause that's so dangerous...And there we were, down the middle of the road, six rows of traffic, Brmmmmm...!! No crash hats. And of course that made it. He was very excited. Never having done that in his life. So that was a marvellous visit, was Father's visit. I've got a photograph of him somewhere, getting back on the train at Rome terminus. Still with his suit and pipe, every inch the English gentleman. They don't travel like that any more, do they? With their shell suits and their slob outfits. Well, give us a rest a moment, Joss. {end of tape}. Where were we at? J Well, we've hopped about quite a bit, really. You didn't really tell me about National Service, you just touched on it.


B Let's go back to then. Did I tell you about working in the tailor's shop? J You told me briefly about that. You worked for a couple of years in the tailor's shop before going into National Service. B It was I think particularly fortunate in those days, the late nineteen fifties, that a young man aged eighteen had no option other than to go into the military. Your commitment was only a two year commitment but unless you asked for - I forget the word - a deferment, - if for example you had a place at university or art school one could have circumvented it, and in fact I would just have missed it had I gone to art school for three years I think or four years. But there was no thought of that. I decided I wanted to go to art school at the age of sixteen. But I was quite happy to do this National Service. And I went to the recruitment place in Sheffield, and told them I wanted to be a sailor. And I don't know why, but I don't think they took me quite seriously. They gave me an examination to sit, and I came extremely low down on this examination. And they told me, and this is quite truthful, they said we can only offer you a nine year engagement as a stoker. I think they were pulling my leg a wee bit there... but anyway there was no place for me in the Navy. The army, I don't know, I don't think I was attracted to, and the Air Force, well, I wasn't passionate about that, not being of flying instinct. But we settled for the RAF. But again on my exam results, I wasn't bright enough to go as a two year engagement, I had to sign on for three years, otherwise I would have had to go in the Pioneer Corps, again whether they were pulling my leg, I don't know, but anyway I had no option other than to accept a three year engagement rather than a two year engagement. Well, that as it proved, was a great blessing. The fine thing about National Service, and everbody says it,all my contemporaries were all saying the same thing,- it should never have been stopped, it's a wonderful discipline for a young man, it's a great education in itself, and sure, it is. There you are in a hut in the middle of England, Bedfordshire, Cardington, with twenty five wildly assorted youths. Farm labourers, ex miners, old men as well as young men, rebels, spivs, complete mix, twenty, twenty five of you in the room. I was particularly lucky in that my Uncle Leslie as a farewell gift gave me one of those beautiful editions of a Shropshire Lad. Houseman, I don't know whether you were aware of this, had all those reprints of his famous work, he'd paid for them himself. He didn't make money out of Shropshire Lad, he put it all back into making it readily available, and it has been one of the best sellers of this


century as you know. My copy was leather bound. I suppose you know the little pocket copy, no illustrations. And after the preliminary eight weeks of, what did they call it, square bashing, Basic Training, I think they called it, which really was very, very hard, Very hard, up at six in the morning, strip down all your belts and your brasses and blancoing, brassoing and spit and polishing your boots . And I got off to a jolly good start as it happens, because the day after we'd been sworn in as members of our Queens legion, we were asked to produce our Identity cards, which we'd been given the previous day, a little blue card called a 1250, it's your most important document while you're in the service, and of course I'd lost mine. Typical thing to do, but I'd lost it. So I was told that I was on a charge. I didn't know quite what that meant. And I was marched into the CO's office {imitates RSM} Left right, left right, left. And the CO heard the evidence and said, Well, confined to barracks for one week. And I thought well, that's a joke, because we're not allowed out of the bloody barracks! So I went out with a big grin on my face. But of course it wasn't as funny as I'd thought. Confined to barracks meant you had to report to the guardhouse I think at 6 am, do one hour's menial task like scrubbing the floor or polishing the floor on hands and knees in your work kit. Then you had to rush back and in about ten minutes buckle up all your belts an brasses and be on parade immaculate, and then at twelve noon instead of relaxing for half an hour, you were off to the guardroom again for another session of spit and polish and bullshit. And it's all that a living man could sustain. Just to keep going without dropping further into the shit day by day. Very easy to do that. To get off to a bad start, and to remain at square one. There was a magnificent physical specimen called Ross, who came from the Isle of Ross. he was about six foot four and as handsome a Highlander as you ever saw. Probably came from a clan of mad chieftains of fighters with claymores. And he could not accept discipline. And he suffered a similar fate, but wouldn't knuckle under when there was option but to do that. And he was still there, at the end of eight weeks he was still in his so-called first week, because he'd been on jankers all the time. He's probably still there for all I know {J laughs}. So that's pride, you see. They had to break his pride. What affected me was that all the lads in the billet gathered round, one saying, Well, I'll do your blancoing and another, Well, I'll do your brassoing, and when I dashed back with minutes to go before On Parade they all dressed me and made sure I was accoutred in correct style, so the fault could not be found. So in the very first week I became a personality in that particular intake. Not a leader of the pack, but a person who was treated with some respect and affection by one's


colleagues. Very good. So that did no harm at all. Then, later, I discovered that I had a talent for spit and polish on the toes of boots. Literally do it with spit and polish, and a rag and a spoon, and you go in tiny tiny circles over and over and over a boot cap hour after hour until you get those boot caps shining so you could literally shave in them. Well, I was the best in the billet for doing that. So I would do anybody's boots in exchange for my webbing and my brasses etc. I was very happy just to sit on the bed spit and polishing and other people doing the other jobs. We had three weeks of that - four weeks - before we were allowed out of camp, and then we were allowed out, no,no,no, we were allowed home for a brief weekend during the eight weeks, by which time every second word had become fuck. This was de rigeur. Nobody spoke any differently. What's the fucking time? Everything was....and you didn't have plugs in the wash basins in the communal wash house, so you learned to tear off strips of lavatory paper and stick those at the bottom of the bowl, so you could fill the bowl just enough to have an adequate wash. So those are two important things that one learned in that initial period. And of course the first week that one went home, one was rushing round the house saying, what's for fucking supper, Mum? What's the fucking time {chuckles} J That must have gone down very well! B: Yeah, we all compared noted afterwards and it was just the same. Then, thank God, that was completed. And we were sent to Shropshire, to Bridgenorth, by roundabout country railway line, that would be late summer, hot late summer. Magical ride from Cardington, Bedfordshire, to Bridgenorth, Shropshire. I've never traced the route on a map. One looked out the window and suddenly there was the Iron Bridge of Coalbrookdale. One had never seen it or heard of it, but there it was. In its 1850's splendour, with woodsmoke drifting in the air. Thoroughly romantic place. And so Fate had taken me where Uncle Leslie's book had anticipated. I was in Shropshire surrounded by the Long Mind, and Clee and Wenlock Edge, which Leslie insisted was pronounced Wennock Edge, but I've never heard anybody before or since call it Wennock Edge. And we settled down there for another, very enjoyable period. Let out of the camp periodically. Excursions into the town, Bridgenorth, about four miles away. Smokey little pubs. Wonderful oldfashioned pubs Like the Blue Anchor. Very few left now. Every pub was like that. Go down three steps into a dark smoky interior, with old men smoking shag tobacco, speaking in lovely broad Midlands accents. Very friendly. Lovely. Went to a dance one night. Clicked with a young girl.


She said you can come back to our caravan if you find a bloke for my mate. So I thought I'd got just the fellow in the old Scot, who was the retired coal miner, who was a married man in his late thirties. Undernourished white shrimp of a man. With a dialect you could not penetrate - you couldn't talk to him. But I put the proposition to him that if he would dance with my lady friends girl we were all right for a night in their caravan. So that's how that finished. I can remember the evening in the caravan, the four of us on the double bed. And then I can remember climbing over the wire fence at dawn. How one got from the caravan back to the camp.....these things are blotted out by memory aren't they? Very strange how memory edits. And I can remember how we were running and crawling across open spaces so the guards would not see us, until finally...we'd have been in serious trouble, serious trouble. That would have been a glasshouse job, - proper prison. But we got back, and then of course, absolute heroes! The first two men to break the rules and then get off with a couple of girls. Every detail....most of the details I didn't understand when they asked me, Did you do this and did you do that? I tried to look knowing and smirk, but I didn't really know quite what I was expected to have done. Anyway that furthered one's standing. As a two GCE grammar school boy one was climbing high in the echelons of squaddy land. Then we were asked one day, where would we like to go. And we were given a choice of places. And one of the places was Singapore. So I thought, well, that sounds interesting, I'd like to go to Singapore. And what trade would you like to do? Well. I don't have a trade. I didn't want to be a photographer or a carpenter. If I'd had any sense I would have learnt something, I would have learnt photography. But I didn't have any sense, so I simply said I'd be a clerk, which is really the lowest of the low. Any fool can be a clerk. No qualifications. So they said alright, you can be a clerk if you want to go to Singapore. So the next thing, a list is posted up, and yes, I can be a clerk and I'm going to RAF Celle near Hanover in Germany. Well, that was as near to Singapore as I got. But it was a very, very happy choice, because living in Germany at that time, late fifties, we were on what they called Active Service, which meant we were paid a small supplement. We were only a few miles from the Russian border, and of course there was great excitement about invasions from the east and so on, so it was quite a stimulating place. We were allowed out of camp; we were allowed out into Hanover and into the lovely black and white "faschwerk" town of Celle with its Schloss. And one could even go out in civvies. And we had some beautiful times. I bought the three piece suit from Hector Powe, lovely thornproof tweed, with double breasted waistcoat, and


suede shoes. Quite the dandy. And dressed so, myself and a couple of pals would go on pub crawls around the taverns and finish up with bratkartofel and roasted duck or speigelei or stammermachs - ham on slices of brown buttered bread with an egg on top - delicious peasant food cooked, always, by old ladies. Who would turn their back room into a dining room to make a bit of money. Of course they had no money. They were devastated. And they were lovely old-fashioned cooks these ladies, and not unfriendly, not unfriendly at all. On one notorious occasion we broke out of camp dressed in our tweeds but we'd ascertained that the post office wagon would be leaving the guardhouse at a quarter past five in the evening, and being pals of the officer in command of post, we said well could we hide beneath the post bags, just before the wagon popped to the guardhouse, where it would then be waved through. And Pilot-Officer Boothlay, a wild Scot, said of course. So we did that, and we had a wonderful night out. That was the evening we went to the grandest hotel in town. A fine long menu of classical French/German cuisine. And we drank wine. And afterwards we always drank cherry brandy for some reason; that was the "in" drink. And we were in such good spirits, in such a good mood. And we smiled to see these two soldierly six foot six army figures strolling across the heavily carpeted salon, with their red caps (chuckling). And with one standing behind my mate Doyle and one standing behind myself. And yes, we'd been nabbed (laughing) so we were carried off in chains and put into prison. That was a small adventure. During this time as a clerk it was slowly established that I was either useless or I did not wish to be of any use. My way of dealing with the discipline and the frequent absurdity of the situation, of doing a job you had no heart for, of being somewhere you would never have chosen to be, - nobody would have chosen to be doing three years National Service, don't get me wrong, one made it into a pleasure, but one didn't want to do it, none of us wanted to do it. So some responded by throwing themselves into it, and studying and going up in rank and becoming corporal and even becoming sargeant in three years and earning good money and learning worthwhile trades like accountancy and bookkeeping, technical trades or driving. And I chose to, not mentally, but in a sense to stagnate, not to develop. I belonged to a small coterie of what would be called intellectuals. We talked a lot about books, about Ezra Pound about Aldous Huxley, about TS Elliot, about the fashionable avant-gard artists of the day that you would expect. It doesn't follow that we understood their work necessarily. Though a lot of it did stick. We were nuts about Dylan Thomas - of course he was still alive at that time. We'd give readings to each other from Under Milk Wood. I first heard


Beethovens Ninth Symphony at the gramaphone and record club. I bought a heap of 78 rpm gramaphone records of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. So we were a cultured little group drawn from parts of the headquarters. But academically in military terms I was a definite failure. And so I realised I was being pushed around from one office to another. Quite sensitively, to see if I could find myself a place. I became the assistant to the dentist. And I didn't like him. But the job was very easy, but no I was passed on from that to another office, and then to become secretary to the Flight Sergeant in charge of administration in the Headquarters. So he was quite important. And I became the filing clerk. I had access to all the files appertaining to business on camp. Secret, Top Secret, Confidential, it was my job to file away papers, to know where to go for so-andso's Court Martial I'd be able to put my hand on that file and read all the juicy bits. How he'd been knocking off a German national and got into a fight with street thugs in Hanover and so on and so on. It was quite interesting. But what I didn't really understand was the flight sergeant was as obvious a little poofter as you could hope to see. He was little and round with piggy little round eyes and a smirk, and everything about him was slightly oily, slightly greasy. And he would play... his passion was golf, which he pronounced goaf - I'm going to play goaf this afternoon. And he did his best to strike up a sort of eye-fluttering relationship with me. I just about understood what was going on, but I didn't know much about that sort of thing. But I didn't like it. So it was time to move on again. And they finally put me into a big office - the size of this - with a German national, they were called GSO.... German what was it I can't remember... and they were dressed in crude felt Grau, a crude cheap green cloth. And they were the ones who had to do the menial tasks in this enormous headquarters. So our Commanding officer and Adjutant would be dressed in fine barathea cloths, we would be well dressed and these wretched Germans were dressed almost like Russian mujiks, if that's the word. And of course most of them had a chip on their shoulder... they didn't show a lot of affection toward the British conquering staff. And my chap, - he was under me, and I was the lowest of the low - I never went up in rank in all of the three years, which takes a lot of doing. Even people like Peter Ustinov and Peter Cook actually gained a rank in the process of doing their National Service - my chap was called Herr Blanke, Mr White, bald headed, short, tubby. Lovely I should say. And it was his job to type God knows what, nothing important, but he sat in his corner typing and I sat on the other side by my window writing poetry, and when I'd perfected a poem, I'd walk across the office and give it to Herr Blanke, who would then spend the


rest of the day laying it out in the most beautiful way on the paper and typing out my latest poem. The poems were influenced a lot by such poets as W.H Davies, -"Oh what are we, to stand and stare/ we have no time..... I can't remember quite, but that sort of ballady stuff, and Herr Blanke thought these were wonderful, and told me I would be a great poet in civilian life. And we then discovered a mutual love for Italy and we would talk, fantasise, and he would talk about Goethe and his travels in Italy, and compare notes about where we'd been. To Gardazee, to Lago di Maggiore, Perugia, Oh we became very very fond friends. And we were undisturbed in this office. And the office had two functions. One I was receipt, at least weekly, of an enormous sack, from England which contained what we called Amendments. The lads who were keeping the squadrons, the jet planes, up to date, worked from manuals, and these technical manual were in the constant process of being updated. So an amendment might say...."Page 85 para 15 (a) instead of five turns of the screw now make seven turns of the screw. So this had to be cut out and pasted into every one of the master copy of the amendments which then theoretically went out to the squadrons and then returned to me. And I suppose it was quite important. And I didn't do it! I never did it. These sacks arrived, and I found a corner where I could put them, and they mounted up until it became a sort of job where you can't go back and start doing it, -it had got too bad. It just mounted up and mounted up. And there was a constant nag there, occasionally an irate technician...sergeant, flight sergeant, technical sergeant...would come in a say what about amendment July 57? And I'd look in the latest sack....ah. this is the one, it's just arrived, not got round to dealing with it. Here you are. Occasionally there would be that. But apart from that these sacks just gathered dust. And mounted....mounted. So that was a bad thing at the back of my mind because I don't suppose most of these amendments were important , but one may have been important, and a plane could have crashed...a war could have have been lost.. And the other branch of my duties, much more interesting, I was in charge of the stationery for the whole of the camp. This was particularly for the Headquarters. So if you as a sergeant in charge of a part of the admin office needed 50 sheets of carbon paper, you would come and knock on the little flap that I could put up and peer at you through with my door locked...yes? And I soon found because everybody who came to see me wanted something I could get away with very very loose behaviour. So I soon dropped rank for example; instead of yes, sergeant, it might be yes, sarge, or Oh Hullo, or just, Yes? And that would throw them a little bit, but they wanted


something so they couldn't just say - Do you know whom you're addressing, address me as sergeant, young man, or you'll be on a charge. They didn't do that. -Have you got fifty sheets of carbon paper, blue? Hmmmn. Don't think so, don't think so. Bear with me, just a moment. Put the little shutter down....{laughs} go and smoke a fag in the corner...carbon paper like this. Go back and say, well...we've got a bit of a problem here. I've got black. Is that any good? Oh yes, thank you very much, thank you very much! It's all right, all right, for you it's a pleasure....Id give them their black.... But again, as the sacks were piling up my stock of stationery, which had been a very well equipped store, was going down, because I had to make a requisition notice every month to RAF Kidbrook, South London, saying, I want five thousand buff envelopes, manila envelopes and so on and so on. And again I didn't do it. All I did, all, literally, was draw pictures, paint some pictures - I'd got my paints in the office. And I'd got all sorts of silly sayings pinned up that I'd culled from the classics like a quotation from Ezra Pound about standing "Favella in tempesta" a butterfly in Hell {chuckles} I thought that was a rather clever thing to have pinned up. Doman, Domani, manana. And then writing my poems, and Herr Blanke bringing this little book up to its completion. And occasional locks on the door. And I had one particular bete noir. A very ugly grey haired flight sergeant in charge of pay. He was a powerful man and he was a disciplinarian. And he would shout at you. Outside headquarters. "Airman, adjust your cap." If you were wearing your beret at a bit of a jaunty angle. All that sort of thing. Well, by this time I was really getting into my stride at RAF Celle, with the intellectual bohemian crowd, and I'd taken to not wearing socks, as I suppose a display of nonconformity. And I'd taken the stiffness out of my beret so that the badge just under the beret hung more like an onion sellers beret than an airman's. And my boots had gone grey, because I no longer ever, ever polished them. And the laces had become broken and broken so my boots were held on by just maybe twelve inches of lace that secured the middle part of the boot. And then very, very baggy unpressed grey/blue grey trousers. And I no longer walked with a straight back with thumbs down etcetera, but short of shambled as one imagined Jean-Paul Sartre might walk. Another mate of mine at the time, a highly intelligent German Jewish man called Hermann, about this time had taken to walking every where with one foot in the gutter. Wherever he went, anywhere, he walked with one foot in the gutter. It was part of the same silly game we were playing. Well, obviously, my flight sergeant was aware of this. And I could see he was on a knife edge what to do about it. Because the big dream of his life. He came and knocked on


my door. Oh, good morning flight sergeant, can I help you. Yes, I want a hard cover A to Z index book. Very grand books. Oh, they're ever so hard to come by, you know that don't you? Yes, yes. And I say, And I've got some on order. I can't let you have one now. Oh can you...-I can't give you idea, but what I can you, for yourself, I can let you have six HB pencils straight away now, just between you and me. Oh...thank you very much. You see, he didn't quite know which way to jump. I'd give him six HB pencils and he'd trot off, not knowing whether he'd won or lost that particular round. And then it got to a state where my store was literally empty shelves. I'd scarcely got anything, and people were beginning to talk. News was getting round that things weren't happening as they should do. Now at that time I was particularly fond of phoning up different offices with a sheet of tissue paper between the telephone and oneself and assuming voices and identities. So I would phone up the general headquarters office, which was peopled by about six people at typewriters, and I would say {assuming plummy accents} Oh. Hello...RAF Farn here...can you hear me? Yes can hear you perf...Now this is Pilot Officer Smithson. I think you know me actually. Oh yes sir.. --- So I'd do that sort of thing and send them on silly wild goose chases. So I thought I can put this to better use. So I telephoned a stationery department, ascertained who the officer in charge of stationery was at RAF Wildenrath, about sixty miles from us. The same style. {plummy} RAF Celle here. Look we've a bit of a fix old boy. (Having introduced myself as PO somebody or other) Been let down by the chappy in our stationery office. Got bugger all here. Can you let us have a few goods if I send a lorry over, just pile it all on the back of the lorry would you? Appreciate it greatly. Jolly good. Thanks a lot. Our chap'll be over tomorrow, good, good. So then we had to arrange to steal a lorry. So we know the transport officer, -we've got a bit of dodgy business can we borrow a lorry for tomorrow. And my mate Raymond Morgan, the Swansea Welshman, could drive, though he didn't have licences or anything. And off we toddled on that excursion. I remember just driving off. Narrow cobbled streets ten foot wide. Across open countryside lined with cherry trees. D'you know those Mid-European streets? I don't remember any traffic. I don't remember any towns, I just remember those idyllic lanes over rolling countryside and a great sense of excitement. A nd when we got to RAF Wildenrath, they were waiting for us. We said we'd been sent by PO so and so. The officer in charge was very civil and said well, you chaps better have a bit of breakfast while we're loading up the wagon. So we sat down in the NAAFI and were entertained with a very handsome breakfast as I remember and lo and behold our lorry was full to the top of


the very stuff we wanted. So we trundled off back and get a few friends in the know to help us unload at dusk while the headquarters were quiet, and then my shelves were full again. So that was one of the more interesting coups that we brought off. J And they never found out about it? B No, No. You see I think one had soon learned the fairly basic thing about it, being in the military - it must be even more so in wartime - nobody knows what the hell is going on. All you have to do is assume a tone of authority and you've got your authority. They were all in the dark from top to bottom. And all of the non-commissioned officers are so shit-scared of their own rank and standing that they won't take an initiative. And ferret out something suspicious, they will look the other way. So it didn't take a lot of psychology to recognise that! And so it happened that my flight sergeant in charge of pay came again knocking on my little wooden door. And I'd got everything that he'd dreamed of by this time! And I put the A to Z index books deliberately on the very top shelf above my desk. And the only way you could get to this very top shelf was by literally standing on the desk. So this time I said, Now, Flight, (Flight is how you address a flight sergeant, it's a bit familiar is that) Now Flight I don't want you standing around in the corridor. You come in, I'll unlock the door. Now it's this A to Z book isn't it? Yes. Well, I've made big efforts and I've secured one or two, and you're top of my list. Oh, I'm really pleased about this, thank you. So I brought him across the office and then I stand on my chair, and pulling my trouser I stand on the table of course exposing about four inches of grey naked ankle above my dirty boots and below my unpressed trousers, and I could feel his eyes go out on stoppers, like something in the Beano, and I could feel him like an animal quivering with supressed rage. And again he had this terrible dilemma of whether to pounce and have me flung into irons in the jail and risk not getting his book, or whether to gulp, stomach his pride and walk away with his book. So of course I presented him with his book and still trembling he went off down the corridor with his prize... That was my biggest victory. Fortunately one left RAF Celle before the dust covered sacks were discovered. One left there with a fairly louche reputation. The card one was given to offer to prospective place of employment, mine read, "A/C1 Ingham is an artistic type of Airman." That's all it said. J That was it?


B{laughing} Yes. {Both laugh} J So you were in RAF Celle for all three years? B Yes, I suppose for a good two, two and a half years. And one discovered a strange anomaly. That on a three year term one was allowed 52 days leave, quite a lot. Which included travel passes back to England etcetera. As a two year man one was allowed fourteen days over the whole two year period, and in addition to that, one could have a travel warrant, certainly if one had mates in the Headquarters head office, one could get a travle warrant to take one fifty miles over any border. So I could go from Hanover to Paris and pay maybe a couple of pounds... [end of tape side] There was an extremely decent Northumbrian, or I should say Geordie, chap who was the head clerk, he was a sergeant in the the Headquarters. Three year man, like myself. But the sort of man who whatever he does, makes a job of it, does it well, and he was incredibly efficient. Eric Goodacre. Often wondered what happened to Eric. And he said to me one time well, at Easter time, I'm going to go down to Rome, and then I want to go to Assisi and then I want to go to Perugia, would you like to come with me? So I said yes, wonderful. I'd already been to Italy aged sixteen so this would be aged eighteen and a half. Eric booked the hotels in advance, right in the centre of Rome. Lovely oldfashioned hotel in Perugia. The travel arrangements were perfect. He knew an old man in Rome who became our guide and took us round every where we should have gone, round the Campo di Fiore etcetera. That was a wonderful holiday. And then having done that with a companion, I began to do that alone. And one year I'd calculated how many days holiday, or leave as it was called, I'd had in that year, - I'd had a hundred days leave in either either Paris, the Italian Lakes, or Perugia. And that was a wonderful bonus. Through the Alps, waking up at dawn. Bleak station between the steep mountains of Doma D'Osala, Oh wonderful! And with a lot of money in one's pocket. 'Cos one was richer than the Germans, richer than the Italians. One could afford anything really without knowing it. One time I went to Paris in January, and I decided to take the overnight train to Marseilles, and walk along the South of France. Had a huge ex-commando rucksack, full of oil paints and a sketching easel. Wearing a long English riding coat, you know those old white riding coats we used to wear, and an enormous woolen scarf down to my ankles, just stopping where the day's walk finished. Just walking along roads, main roads, not a country walk. Wonderful. Taking a lift form a motorist here, meeting somebody there. Lovely time. So that was a great education. So by the time one came out at


the age of twenty one, having applied to go to Dewsbury and Batley College of Art, which was the neighbouring place to where my parents were living, or to St Martin's, which was my idea, which was in London. They both said yes on very little evidence of work. Sketch books mostly. And of course I chose the St Martin's option. Let out of the military in I think May/June. Art school in the middle of September. All those months of freedom to oneself, in an England that still hadn't been buggered up. I took my racing bike and just rode around England, through all the old cathedral cities, visiting the second hand bookshops, sleeping under hedges, sleeping in youth hostels, bed and breakfasts, finally down to Swansea to meet my ex-military mate Raymond Morgan. Who lived in Rodney Street. Which is a street about a mile and a half long of back to back houses. No motor cars. Just beautiful old-fashioned working class dockland street, such as used to be. Raymond had told me about his father,- many a story about his father George, who was chronically workshy. He was a highly interesting state of that particular condition. He'd got it in a galloping variety of work-shyness! So I stopped at a pub at the end of Rodney Street and said I'm looking for a mate of mine called Morgan. And everybody in the pub laughed. And I said well what has he done, why do you laugh? Now, they say, d'you want Morgan next door or Morgan three doors down, or Dai Morgan or Morgan the bread over there, and we've got Morgan the bicycle a bit further down. They're all bloody Morgans down Rodney St. So I set of walking down this hot sunny street without my bike , - Oh I'd left my bike in Herefordshire, - and evry few people around, and I must have walked about a thousand yards, and I saw a figure in white tunic shirt - that is without the collar - and a pair of scruffy old grey flannels and a pair of white plimsolls, sitting on a windowsill, hands in pockets, obviously totally at ease with himself and the world. Walked past him a couple of feet. Walked back and said, George Morgan? Oh yes, boy. You've got a son Raymond? Oh you're Bryan from the bloody military, oh come in! And we had such time, such a whale of a time. Afternoon drinking. After the pubs closed they drew the curtains and locked the doors, and we drank our beer through until the evening, and then went midnight bathing, - Swansea beach was just under the railway arch. Followed in the footsteps of Dylan Thomas that was not at that time a theme park what d'you call it, well like what they've done with Robert Louis Stevenson; there wasn't a Dylan Thomas Trail at that time. there probably is now. This is the pub where of course Rodneys aunt used to work, one of Dylan's favourite drinking pubs. the one that Dylan describes so beautifully in the last story in his collection of stories, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog. The last story is called is called One Warm Saturday or


something to that...a most beautiful story, a wonderful story. And he describes an evening in this pub where he meets a tart and goes off back to a tenement, with a few drunks and his lovely tart. Any way, Raymond's aunt used to work there and she said Oh, dirty minded little man! He used to write me poems and I threw them in the waste bin, they were filthy! {both laugh} So it was still very much a living contact. Not many people knew about Dylan Thomas. They did in Swansea, and a few literary folk, but no more than that. Very exclusive - I liked that! And so one pottered around England in that way. In Worcestershire or Leominster... I was thrilled to see a battered old van with the name of a pop group scrawled on the side, - pop groups were unknown in those days, and this was Chasman Devitt and his Skiffle Group - you probably know their famous song Freight Train? (sings) Freight train, Freight train, going so fast.... J Oh that one, yes. B That one. The Vipers they called themselves, not the Weavers, which was the American group, but they were very influenced by the Weavers, the Vipers. And I stared at this band, parked in a suburban avenue, and I thought, you know, I'm in touch with great things. I could have become a groupie then and there had they appeared! And then so to Art School come the September at St Martin's, about whiich I think we've already spoken. J What...your parents had moved hadn't they. They'd moved down south hadn't they? B No, No, they didn't move out of the county. They moved...I always think of them as pure West Riding...Halifax, Elland, Bradford. But they they moved to Dewsbury. They moved to a small mining town {unintell} called South Empsall. Lost money in that shop. By this time he was no longer in the big time. He was supported by... Katy you might be blocking the sound waves {cat protesting} , yes... So by this time they were living outside Dewsbury in a village called Thornhill. Thornhill. And Father had a drapers shop called Mutton House, a real Arnold Bennett, old fashioned place with a mahogany - wide staircase with a mahogany balustrade going up to the firts floor, that was fitted out in fine Victorian fashion, and a kitchen let into the back - a great mantlepiece with big open fire that was always full of hot coals. And a bottle of sherry on a big old table. A very distinguished place. But almost a s soon as they took the shop over they started knocking down all the back to back houses around there. For miles in every direction. And that


of course had been his trade. And putting the poor folk into high rise flats miles away. J One of the great mistakes of the age. B Oh, grotesque. But even then one could see it was wrong. I used to rail against this and I was in a minority. But one could see it. I used to argue that these houses were good, could be refurbished. A lot of them stone-built. Outside lavatory. It would have been very easy to make them into dignified houses as they were. That was awful. but doubly awful that a 21 year old student could say then what people are just beginning to say now. J I think people did say it at the the time. The tenants themselves said it at the time. B Ah maybe they did yeh. J So your introduction to the joys of sex was in the course of your National service was it or were you precocious? B Oh, no. No, no, no! Very slow in those days! A sort of fumbling process really. No clear cut big event that set one on the way. One monstrous big chance that I missed. I think that's why I've pursued a certain type of particularly plump dark haired woman ever since, to try and make up for this one embarrassingly grotesque failure, oh dear, oh dear... J Why? Why the failure? You didn't realise you were being invited, or...? B Yes. I still suffer from being ultra well behaved. And to be well behaved, you didn't do all sorts of things. And you didn't take advantage of a young woman whose parents were away for a week-end. J Good Lord.... B Yes, terrible, terrible, terrible! There's still a residue of that, I think, in that regard. J You have to scrape around to find it though! {laughs} B She invited me to her house, this would be when I was about seventeen, I suppose. Maxine, she was called. She was absolutely plump and voluptuous and.....wonderful. She plied me with drink. We rolled around on the carpet as one used to do in those days. And then she said she was hot, so I thought, Oh, she's hot. She went upstairs and came down


wearing a negligee and I thought Oh well, she'll be cooler in that. So we carried on our groping around, and then she said It's hot in here, let's go up into the bedroom. And she lay on the big double bed and I didn't consolidate things. Can't believe it! But that was seventeen years old, you see. At a certain stage I said, It's time to be going now, Maxine, it was a lovely evening. Thank you for the gin. I just can't believe it, can't believe it. Ha! I mean that would have been the most perfect start, because she knew a fair bit more than I, though not sufficient to detain me, - she was still very shy as well obviously, but she couldn't do much more than she had done, could she, poor dear. J Lord, no. B No. So sexual affairs just came in slowly and.....not particularly dignified or handsome I don't think...just bit by bit, as I imagine it is for most people. J Well, of course you were at art school at the beginning of the sixties, weren't you? B Yes. J So right in the early part of the permissive era. B. Well, the late fifties or the early sixties. Philip Larkin has a lot to say for the generation the decade or a couple of decades older than myself. What's his famous poem about Sex began in nineteen sixty four....I think they were probably less adept and promiscuous than my generation; we did slowly get off the ground, but it was a slow process, with no golden dawn of awakening. But as Larkin says in so many of his poems, that's how things are. There's a lovely poem where he describes his railway train stopping travelling England by an unfamiliar line and sees Coventry and.... Oh let me read you the poem, stop the machine a moment. ^ Poem I just touched on which is rather oft quoted:

Sexual Intercourse began in nineteen sixty three Which was rather late for me. Between the end of the Chatterly ban and the Beatles first LP Up 'til then, there'd only been a sort of bargaining. A wrangle for a ring A shame that started at sixteen and spread to everything Then, all at once, the quarrel sank everyone felt the same, and every night became a brilliant breaking of the bank,


A quite unloseable game So life was never better than in 1963, Though just too late for me, Between the end of the Chatterly ban and the Beatles first LP. Can't remember the first line, dammit, dammit, dammit. {Pause} Now this poem by Philip Larkin who is, what, twenty years farther back in history than oneself, so it doesn't quite echo one's own experiences, in fact not at all. But there's something vaguely relevant. It's called I remember, I remember. Coming up England, by a different line for once, Early in the cold new year, we stopped And watching men with number plates sprint down the platform to familiar gates, "Why, Coventry!" I exclaimed. "I was born here." I leant far out and squinnied for a sign that this was still the town that had been mine so long, but found I wasn't even clear which side was which. From where those cycle crates were standing had we annually departed for all those family hols? A whistle went. Things moved. I sat back staring at my boots. Was that, my friend smiled, where you have your roots? Oh, only when my childhood was unspent, I wanted to retort. Just where I started. By now I'd got the whole place clearly charted Our garden first, where I did not invent blinding theologies of flowers and fruits and wasn't spoken to by an old hat. And here we have that splendid farrow ley I never ran to when I got depressed The boys all biceps and the girls all chest. They're coming forward. Their farm where I could be really myself. I'll show you come to that the bracken where I never trembling sat determined to go through with it. Where she lay back and all became a burning mist. And in those offices my doggerel was not set up in blunt ten point, nor read by a distinguished cousin the mayor, who told my father "There before us, had we the gift to see ahead..." "You look as though you wish the place in hell," my friend said "Judging from your face." "Oh well, I suppose it's not the place's fault, I said.


Nothing, like something, happens anywhere. I do love his dry ironic self-deprecatory tone, and of course the tone of the period too. J Of course you very much loved the place you were brought up. You're still very fond of Yorkshire. B Yes, but in a lot of ways I'm like that because I left the Derbyshire/Yorkshire border at the age of 18 and never went back. Thornhill before that I never belonged except as a student going home for a few days. South Empsall before, a wonderful mining village with wonderful miners who invited us into their houses to drink bottled beer around their black polished fiery grates and ovens. Lovely people. I could identify to a degree, but I didn't belong to any of those. No more than I belonged to Soley Bridge and Grandma Inghams Victorian style and Uncle Leslie's nine foot long metal tipped otter pole and hobnailed boots - going out beagling or otter hunting. All part of my experience but I couldn't say that was my background. So as far as that goes I can identify with Mr Larkin... J Well, wasn't it your background, though? Why do you feel it was your background, because plainly it was your roots. It was what you came from. B I like backgrounds to be a bit more consistent than that. For a start, as a Yorkshireman, I should have been born in Yorkshire. I wasn't, so I got off to a bad start. J Many people would say that was a sort of lawyers quibble. Why should it matter? B Well, maybe it doesn't matter at all, it doesn't unduly worry me. But it's a fact. J Well it obviously weighs very heavily with you, because you mentioned it more than once. B Doesn't mean it weighs heavily. It means it's there. For example, during those schoolboy years mabe no more than two years I don't recall. Living with Grandma Ingham at Soley Bridge, walking with her at Hebden Bridge, London Foot, Hebden Store Icould have passed similar flannelshorted sandalled ragged arsed youths of my own age and one might have been Ted Hughes, and one might have been Sir Bernard Ingham. Now they've become and are vociferously Yorkshiremen. because somehow they've never left it. And I have. David Hockney's a Yorkshireman, even


though he's lived in California for 25 or 30 years. But he's a Yorkshireman. And all the attributes and the defects are seen in those terms, whereas I do feel that with my own here and there from Hanover two years to Soho four years to South Kensington three years to Stepney for seven years in between those times to rome for one year to Cornwall for many years, 30 years, I 've lost the right to think of myself as a Yorkshireman. I'm not a mongrel, but I'm not a Yorkshireman. I'm not a Cornishman. J It's funny because I think a lot of your friends and people who know you would think of you as a Yorkshireman. Even if you don't think of yourself as one. B Well, I'd be pleased to hear that...but...I can't identify.... J Last time you touched on the fact that when you first came down to Cornwall you worked in a restaurant. B A cafe. J A cafe. What brought you down to Cornwall? B Two of my colleagues in St Martin's College, in the long holiday, I think of the first year. I remember seeing them off at Paddington railway station and they had six pounds between them and their ticket to Cornwall, and they were going to spend the summer in Cornwall. The summer turned out to be non-stop mist, sea fret drizzle and heavy rain for a six week period. So they slept up under bushes and under hedges. Must have had quite a rough time. And they got picked up down in Kynance Cove by Old man Merrifield who lived in Smuggler's Cottage in the cove. They just happended to emerge from under a bush one early morning, nine o'clock, as he was walking up the gloomy track, and he said what the devil are you doing, and they said well we've been sleeping under the bush; we're artists and we're travelling in Cornwall. And Harold had a reputation for being a grumpy old sod. But of course like all grumpy old sods, he had a heart of gold. And he said, well you can't live like this. And he said I've got a job I need doing. What is that? He said I need a sign painting that will say SMUGGLERS COTTAGE, CREAM TEAS, with the prices underneath that, and I can hang that outside the cottage and get more trade. If you will undertake to do that, I will let you sleep in that little stone hut on the other side of the river there, above the cottage. A bothy or barn about 8 foot by 10 foot, perfectly adequate. And of course they leapt at that, and Harold being a kind soul at sundown he would go up and say, Do you boys want a bowl of soup, because we've


cooked too much? And so that became an evening ritual and theoretically they worked on their Smugglers Cottage Cream Teas Price List, but never I think got beyond "SMUG"! or "SM" and it was never completed. But they parted good friends and Joan, Harold Merrifield's wife said if you know anybody in London, any more student friends who would like to come down and work for me next year serving cream teas, doing the shopping, washing up, cutting sandwiches. Can't offer any wages, accommodation. So I accepted that, thoroughly enjoyed it and came back I think three consecutive years for about six weeks each time. On wet days, I was allowed a day off and given a ladies bike with a Sturmey Archer gears and a basket on the front to go pottering round Mannacan doing brass rubbings, as one did in those days....and on the very first afternoon down here I walked up the other side of Smuggler's Cottage up to the top, the moor, and lay down in the heather and went to sleep. And woke up, looked all around. And in the distance I could see that long stone cottage. So asked what is that place, and they said it's called Jollytown, and people were living there at that time, and I walked over and snooped around...each year I did the same. And one year I met the father in the meadows at dusk. And I was picking mushrooms in his fields, and he said "It looks like you've got a good crop of mushrooms there, boy." And I said yes, yes these'll be lovely for our tea. Quite overlooking the fact that they may well have been coming to the fields to collect their own supper (chuckles). I said, I'm interested in that house. Does anybody live there? He said "No, d'you want to see it?" I said yes. And they showed me round the place with a stub of candle no more than an inch and a half, which he kept always in a weskit pocket. Funny, he never had a whole candle, just an inch and a half stump. And he held it with the hot wax dripping on to his horny hands - all sense of physical outrage long since departed - I've seen clegg flies settle on his cheek and leave a great red welt and he'd just absent mindedly wipe his cheek as though a butterfly had landed there. And then he said "Well, what d'you offer me, boy?" Rent this was. And I thought well, is this a pound a week job or is it a thousand pounds a year; I'd no idea. Anyway, by that time I had to go back to the Royal College of Art for another couple of years. And then I had to finish my teaching commitment for a further year, and then go to Rome for my splendid year in Italy. When I came back the place was empty, and I was offered the place, the whole place, for a pound a week. Eighteen rooms, the whole of Jollytown, with the interconnecting door. No furniture. Not a scrap. Just empty. A pound a week. And every time I went out for a walk and came back and saw the building, I just laughed. I thought I'm going to live here for my life, for a


pound a week. Wonderful. And that's virtually how it's turned out. I'm very lucky.... I think we'll break now Joss if you don't mind. {later} B How much time does that have? J About ten minutes, probably. B As you know I've always loved Italy. That's not too strong a word. It's one's centre of gravity, I suppose you might say. At one time I thought I'd inevitably live there. My time as a student in London the axis was to New York. All the artists of my generation and a bit older were off on Harkness scholarships to America. Some of them sank without trace. Some came back bloodied, and one or two made the grade. But that never did appeal. But Tuscany, and Umbria particularly, did. So having left the Royal College, taught for a further year, part-time, undergone the, -what do we call it?... -the examination, by the Leverhulme board. I passed that. They said I could have a scholarship that would last for nine months. And I had a bit of money saved, so I reckoned I could go to Italy for twelve months. So off I set. Can't remember the time of year, though it must have been spring or summer. I stayed with friends in Maturato, which is the county town of a province called Marque. Over on the Adriatic coast. Maturato a hill town forty minutes drive from the sea. Unthreatened by tourism or populism of any sort. My friends were two English lads who were teaching English to Italian soldiers. Teaching by one of these methods. In other words, my pals didn't speak good Italian themselves, but they had the classroom talking like parrots, and that was all that was required. They lived with a charming peasant family, Signor Lucelli, and they said they would put me up for a month if I cared....and this we did; it was a merry time. A lot of two litre bottles of white wine and trips in Fiat Cinquecentos to little mountain villages looking in old half-forgotten painted churches, talking a lot...telling jokes a lot... a very happy time. And there I bought a bicycle, an old, rather old fashioned Italian bicycle with upright handlebars, painted dull maroon. I thought I would begin my stay in Italy by touring over the favoured lands by bike, rather than vespa. So Crispian Pigott - a Wykhamist - his one claim to fame is that he was spanked on his bare bottom by Ted Dexter! And a lovely man, a man as nice as his name. You can only be a certain sort of man if you're called Crispian Piggott, and he was every inch a Crispian Piggott. He drove me over the mountains to Perugia with the bike strapped on the top, and then left me in Perugia. I found


modest accommodation, and then set off on a pilgrimage, seeking paintings by Giotto, but mainly Piero della Francesca, and of course it was a real eye-opener to go along white dust tracks over the mountains, often scarcely roads at all, between one village and another, and walking through the landscape portrayed in Piero's paintings. Absolutely unchanged. The white rocks, the copses of olive trees, the occasional cypress, the white lanes, the glaring light, and one was sweating one's way through this in shorts, singlet and sandals. Almost a penance. I remember pushing the bike up great mountain roads and maybe walking uphill for two, three hours, with sweat pouring off, stopping at any stream you find to bathe and drink water. But a damn sight better than going on what I'm sure is now advertised as the Piero Trail that's another trail that they've got. And I found the little chapel at the village of Monterci. And it had to be opened by an old peasant, because people didn't go there, though it was by this time recognised. Michael Ayrton had discovered it in the 1950's. Searching for a lost painting by Piero, and he came across a stone hut as big as that, you know, in a vineyard garden. And asked the old boy if he had the key, and the old boy let him in. And there were wheel barrows and little old petrol machines from studding the ground and hoes and general implements and mud, and thick with dust at the end, this heavenly Pregnant Madonna by Piero della Francesca, which probably hadn't been appreciated as a painting for four hundred years. And so it was Mr Ayrton who put it back on the Piero Trail. And then the wonderful Resurrection painting in the Borgo San Sepulchro close by of Christ standing up out of the tomb and his disciples asleep all around him. So that was wonderful, and then I beat my way back to the Adriatic. Over the mountains, over the Appenines, I suppose. Fetched up at a rather louche Youth Hostel on the Strade Stratale Adriatico, the main road that zooms down the coast, which then wasn't too bad, it was just like the A1 (!!) at the same time in history. And the Youth Hostel was also an hotel, and they served very dodgy food, with very dodgy waiters. By dodgy I mean chips with spaghetti, for tourists, that sort of thing. The owner was Italian, married to an English tart who, as they do, had gone there, enjoyed the season, got knocked up by a local waiter, and decided to throw in her lot and accept for that. There I used to take my lunches well away from this hotel. Up a little back street I discovered a tiny restaurant that would rate under the manner of Cucina, which I always see as the lowest. It's not quite the word, but let's say Cucina, then Trattoria, then Ristorante, then God knows what - Hotel Hilton! But Cucinas were few and


far between. They tended to be family run. Maybe just an old lady. Maybe just ten customers at lunchtime, regulars. Clean paper down in lieu of napiery, and a menu that you would be told. What was on, no picking and choosing. And Tuesday was Minestrone, Wednesday was thick macaroni, Thursday was spaghetti al vongole, that sort of thing. And there was a peculiarity about the place, - they only served his wine, which was a good local white wine in half pint tumblers rather like our English beer half pint tumblers. Which is all well and good, but the likes of us tend to get through a half pint tumbler pretty nifty, while we're waiting for the bowl of minestrone to arrive. And he was such a fatherly figure. The first time we went in totally suspicious. Never seen a stranger in his life. Everybody else there'd look at you out of the corner of their eye and then avert their head as though you'd got the Bubonic. But the second day, a grunting recognition. The third day over the second tumbler of wine you get into conversation with one of the other customers about bicycle racing and you mention the the name of Tommy Simpson, and then Gino Batalli, and Fausto Coppi, and then you're shaking hands and crying tears and remembering great races and great results and by that time you're totally assimilated into the place. And at the end of the meal he would say in Italian "Did you enjoy that?" "Wonderful." "And tomorrow we have spaghetti al vongole. You know vongole? Fruit di mare..." "Si, si, si." "Good." And it was only one sitting. One o'clock. You couldn't drift in at quarter past, or half past eleven for a meal. No just one sitting. And that was just so nice. So finally I got into the habit of having my aperitif the first glass, and then the second glass with the meal, and then if I was feeling good and the company was good, maybe I'd buy the customer one or he'd buy me one, and finish up having, I suppose, a bottle and a half. Not a lot. And roll away, very very happy, to the hot, bleached seaside streets, and back to the youth hostel, to lie on the camp bed through the heat of the afternoon. {end of tape} B The work one was doing in Rome followed on from the very uncertain, changeable work one had been doing at the Royal College. One was still developing very much, and in Rome I was beginning to see a bit more clearly what I wanted to do, and that was to paint larger pictures, seven foot by nine foot sort of format, with a strong physical presence, paint glued-on accretions, -maybe a lady's blouse found in the Borghese garden bushes, or bits of old wood, or anything. And I would stick these disparate items on to my boards and smother them with paint, and set myself the formal problem of hiding the alien bits to make the paint


surface, to make the painting as physically real overall as the obviously tactile component parts were physically real, but to lose that obvious reality. And in a sense that has been a continuous preoccupation. But at that time I was doing it in a more non-figurative way. So one was seeking to evoke place, and one was doing that by scale and by texture and by colour, and not by form, and not by imagery, and not by implied pictorial space. That was all very well, it was a fascinating area, and I still enjoy it, but it isn't quite enough. One has to offer a bit in a finished object, I think. Though to stand in front of a seven foot by nine foot painting it does surround you. Like broken terracotta walls or the wonderful medieval doorways that have been patched, painted and renovated over five hundred years where you get a sheet of lead banged in with big heavy tacks and next to that an area where on painting the house or the scooter or the farm cart, the peasant has rubbed his oily brushes onto the stone and you get the most beautiful build-ups of non-figurative colour all deeply evocative of the landscape. And there's browns, greys, greens, dark colours, streaks of vermilion. Beautiful passages in themselves. So the challenge was to incorporate some of that beauty into the pictures. Which I was doing reasonably well, but not quite well enough. Ultimately the aim wasn't quite high enough, because I think you have to employ form and implicit space within the picture too. So it took me long time to get round to that. But certainly the paintings were ....more like paintings than anything I'd done at the Royal College, or London afterwards. But I left them all in Rome. I left them all just lying around where they were. J And what happened to them? I wonder if they've still got them. B I was told that Mrs Ward-Perkins gave instructions very, very swiftly and crisply for them to be destroyed {chuckles} The same happened to my poor cat, who I discovered. Under a motorcar in Tresteveri. A white cat, skinny, starving, yet confident enough to come and I held it and I thought, well, I'll take you back to the British Academy and fatten you up. And that was very, very badly received by the Ward-Perkins but I stuck to my guns, I said it's living in my studio and it will be fed with the left-overs from our lunches and dinners. And I bought some very deep little plastic box affairs with lids and they were left out on the sideboard and so a couple of chunks of wild boar that hadn't been consumed would be scooped into the box by Giacomo, my friendly waiter, "fer il gato". And we called the cat Gato, "Cat", and Gato began to have three course meals lunch and dinner, and delicious puddings and souffles and sorbets and....wonderful food,


and she grew into a very handsome cat. But she suffered the same fate as my paintings. The moment I left I heard that Gato was carried down to the pit in central Rome, one of the old preserved temple sites which is now well below street level. Full of cats, all stray cats are chucked down there and then, inevitably, fed by dotty English ladies. Who devote their life to it. So Gato, from the slums of Trasteveri to the heights of Valley Julia via Granchi Cesar Duro. A year, or six months, of richness, fine foods, and then there she was heaved back down into the pit. So that's what happened to my paintings and that's what happened to Gato. It could have been a worse fate for Gato. J Well at least she was in with her mates and being looked after by endless devoted English ladies.... B Yes. Yes. So that gave me an indeterminate year in Stepney, having decided to give up the studio. My landlord, Alfie Marron who I've told you about, lovely Jewish man who says (puts on accent) "they call me a racist..." (chuckles) He was big friends with Lucien Freud. And Freud at some stage had seen the studio. And Alfie said to me confidentially, "Look, that Freud, he's rolling in money. He desperately wants the studio. So you ask him just what you want, to take over from you. It's nothing to do with me at all." Very nice of Alfie to do that. And I'd met Freud on a couple of occasions, and I just did not like him at all. Not at all. Disliked his style, his manner, and I still dislike him and dislike his paintings. And he asked me in the French pub, could he have the place and I said no, I hadn't decided what I was doing with it. And I saw an advert in the Times, "Studio sought in East End" So I contacted the man. It was an associate Royal Academician called Tony Eyke ?? (Ike) who's now a Royal Academician. And I said are you looking for a studio. He said yes, and I said well, come and have a look at this one. And it was a wonderful place, I think I've mentioned, off Spitalfields, a weavers loft, with an open fire. The only sad thing about this yarn is what wonderful pictures of Christchurch Spitalfields, Freud would have painted. Of course it was the most magnificent rooftop view you could imagine. And Freud was not bad at doing that. Instead he painted crummy stuff in...North Kensington I think. Backyards of horrible squalor. So some good paintings were lost. Eyke loved the place and said what do you want, to take it over? I said well, I paid £22 for the gas cooker, and I paid the same amount for the studio easel which used to belong to Sir Lawrence AlmaTadema. the finest studio easel you ever saw. The biggest. It was so big, the place where you hold your painting, you'd got every ratchet from slow to sort of ...wonderful thing. Took a year to get it up there. It had to be dismantled and


hauled up through the windows - windows taken out. And I'd left my departure so late I just couldn't face doing that. So I said well just give me £22 for the gas stove and £22 for the studio easel and take me out to lunch. At one of the market pubs. So we had steak and kidney pie and boiled potatoes and shook hands on it, and I think he's been there ever since. And made good use of it. And I think done a lot of Christchurch paintings. Now of course it's the modish address of all. To look over those places. Which does irritate me a little. How we'd discovered an area that was unexploited and then suddenly every twerp in the colour supplements is going on about this "just-discovered" 18C area of London and I suppose one feels a little bit of jealousy there..... J Well, you probably had the best of it. B Yes. There were some other painters, - there are always one or two everywhere, and then that nasty couple Gilbert and George moved into Fournier St, where I had a basement flat next door to them. But I didn't like them and didn't talk with them, and they didn't talk with me. They were just too arrogant for words. Though we came from the same college, St Martin's. They had been indoctrinated by the notorious Anthony Caro, who destroyed so many student aspirations with his dogma and with his cheap philosophy. He did a lot of harm to the development of British art, did Caro. And in the meantime just produced hideously bad sculpture. Ever since. But that's another day. J Well, if Gilbert and George is part of his legacy to English culture, then one could do without it. B They're two of the most famous artists in the world, you know. J I know, and it shows what the state of art is, or art appreciation, when people spend their time looking up each others arseholes to be appreciated as artists. B Yes. J I'm afraid I get a bit irritated by it, that's all. B And a bit disgusted as well. J Yes. I realise one is in danger of sounding like an old fart but if that makes me sound like an old fart, so be it.


B No, there's nothing decent or innovative, truly, about their work, I don't think. Apart from plumbing depths unspeakable, unspoken depths which is not necessary in any society. Every society has its modest social taboos. Whether you wear a loincloth or cover your breasts or whatever, there are little private decencies which are adhered to. And to pretend that it's in the interests of elucidation to strip these things away is fatuous. Crass....crass. J Well, it's not as if it's alleviated by any decent painting or anything like that. B Oh no. J After all Francis Bacon, for God's sake, his subjects are quite often pretty revolting, but the man's such a consummate painter that, you know, the works have a validity. Don't they? B Up to a point. History will sort him out, and it will sort Freud out, and they're not major artists, either of them. J Not Francis Bacon? B And the fact that he was always on such a strident, hysterical key all the time..... J Was he? B I think so.. J The nature of his work, you mean? B The nature of his work, yes, the content of his work. Buggery. Mainline drugs. Vomiting. All the side-effects of those activities. Plus gross misuse of alcohol. I don't think it's telling us a hell of a lot, really. And I don't think it's particularly well painted most of the time. And I think he got poorer and poorer as a painter. J I went to a gallery show of his in Paris a few years ago. There were some tryptychs in there that were I thought very beautiful. They were very large indeed, and the subjects were not in any way unpleasant. I was rather impressed actually. I didn't see any from his really nasty stuff. B Well, those will be from his earlier period. He painted a series of homage to Van Gogh which could be seen in the light you describe. And he was much more painterly. But latterly I think he came to rely on certain formal devices


which were abused, and a not very clever manipulation of paint either. And I find it hard to take, somebody trudging around in such a gloomy state of mind. A millionaire with a face-lift. I don't doesn't ring quite true. Baudelaire or Jaques Villaut or such folk were nearer the true selfdestructive process, the illumination. I certainly think that Lucien Freud is dreadful in what he's doing. Without humanity, without sympathy, without love, without affection. Just sneering, arrogant put-downs, they seem to me to be. And very brashly painted; I don't think it's good painting at all. A well-known London dealer said to me a few years ago. "You must remember that Lucien Freud is not a first rate English figurative painter. He's a second rate German figurative painter". And there's some truth there. And I do think that these angsty guys will sink fairly low in public appeal. I don't think that work will remain in the way that Hogarth, for example, is still a fit diet for our time in history. (J Oh. yes) In the same way as David Hockney's last thirty five years of output, that will sink without trace I think too.....without'll sink as quickly as it's allowed to sink. Once people are paying a million pounds for a painting it's very hard for anybody to.. J To allow it to become anything but excellent! B to say that it's anything other than the real thing. So that's really buying your place in the next hundred years of history. But ultimately I believe Elton John paid just under half a million pounds for one of those David Hockney flower paintings, which however you look at it were very horrible paintings. Admittedly I've not seen the real ones, I've only seen reproductions, but they're bad, they're bad, something wrong. But if the exhibition sells out for eight million pounds.... J It still doesn't mean they're good, does it? B No, but it means they've got to be around, and they've got to be talked about publicly as being great, if privately a whispering campaign develops. Nobody has dared to whisper against Freud. Or Bacon. Or Hockney. I think there are just signs of all three being questioned. The trouble is there are so few objective traditional painting critics around to have the authority to voice an opinion. One chap who was in a position to do that was called Peter Fuller, and he was killed in a motor car crash in the peak of his career in his fifties. And he wrote strongly against bad work, and highly supportive of relatively under-acknowledged work. But the whole modern art establishment is really under the aegis of Nicholas Serota. And he's responsible for this year's all


female Turner Prize list, none of whom, it is said, are painters or sculptors. One girl I heard in interview said "Well, I make quilts, and I do things with wire,.." and she was talking like a confused 26 year old ex art college girl finding her way. As she must be. But why put her into the main stream of international art? Dangerous for everybody, surely. And I just can't understand it. But he's the boss, you see. J Yes I'm not sure how well he helps the cause of painting at all... B I wonder..... J Certainly on the strength of the Turner Prize. As you know Brian Sewell has long been inveighing against it, and I rather agree with him. B Yup, and one can only but agree. One might think he goes over the top too often, Mr Sewell, but there's a lot of common sense. J Yes. But it's his style to go over the top isn't it? B And then again, I don't think it's personal prejudice, but I don't think that a thing like the Turner Prize, which can be the making of an artist, as the Booker Prize can for a writer, not just the immediate financial reward, but it should surely be available to artists over the age of fifty rather than under the age of forty or whatever the thing is. Most of the many good artists are doing their best work when they are fifty or sixty, certainly not when they're thirty. And to give them a prize for work done at the age of thirty is inviting them to consolidate on what they have achieved so far, rather than carry on evolving, exploring. Which takes a lot of doing. J I'm not sure that prizes for art, or indeed literature are particularly useful for anybody really apart from publishers and art dealers. Certainly literary prizes have turned into a complete junket, haven't they? B Well they do seem to attract, and to reward, people of not dissimilar character. The go-getter, the professional careerist. And we all know that the best painters are not careerists, they're people with a vocation. And, I suppose, with the best writers, too......I'm sorry, I feel so ill, Joss, I don't know what to do. Stop the machine. {later} B Thank you, there might be a few pauses in the course of this, because I've got to try to say things that I'm not terribly sure about some of the time. I think the best way is to go way


back as we have before in these interviews and say why did you want to be a painter...well, I think there we can say it's an instinctive thing rather than an intellectual thing. Why did you want to be a dry stone waller or a pig farmer or a fighter pilot. Some people are passionate about wanting to do certain things and to be a painter I think one.... the first attribute is certainly not talent, as the layman believes, it is what we would now call a sense of vocation, what in those days in the 1950's my religious education teacher, a dear old man called Mr Folston would call stickability. That was his advice based on a lifetime...he was Albert Schweitzer figure, he even looked like Albert Schweitzer, one hadn't heard of Albert Schweitzer at that time...straw boater, softly spoken, grey ragged nicotine-yellow moustache; a gentle sweet man and he said if we to get anywhere with our lives we must remember, - Stickability. And I think one could quote that to the young art students. J Are you saying that if you've got stickability and no talent you can be an artist of considerable quality? B Yes. yes. I think so. Did Cezanne have talent? I suspect not. On seeing the early work which goes goes up into his fifties, I think.... But he certainly had stickability and he had intelligence. Obviously one can't generalise. J Well, particularise for a moment. You were talking about Cezanne. I find it difficult to believe that somebody without talent could produce the paintings of Mont St Victoire that he painted. I see that he painted it a million times, you know, but in fact each time he painted it said something different. B Well, well that is an artist at the top of his powers where all the dross has been shed away through many decades of intelligent application. J. So what are you left with once its been shed away? If it's not talent. B A certain clarity, I suppose. Clarity of intent. J Rather like a description of the poet's art which I read, by a man who was trying to avoid defining poetry at all costs, very sensibly, saying that it was the ordering of words to produce a greater intensity of meaning. B Well, I think that's nicely expressed. J You're saying really the equivalent thing in the visual sense?


B In as far as a not particularly intelligent person, that is myself, can grasp what other people are thinking and saying, yes, I think the poet there is saying the right thing. Van Gogh to me was not a talented person, a talented artist, but a very special person with other attributes that are uncovered as he pursues,- through his stickability,- as he pursues chasing his goal, which he has a great sense of. And he gets close to it. But the evidence of his earlier work, you would pass it by in a junk shop in Truro. Early drawings of London by Van Gogh, like early drawings of London by my Dad or like your son, Nicholas, say Oh that's good it's nice, I can recognise this,got all the windows, got the proportions about right...well, that's not talent, that's just a basic ability. And that is built upon. My experience at art school was that broadly speaking the girls were talented and the men were very very slow indeed. J Which were the artists? B Nobody you would know by name now. J Well, there are so many that we don't know by name, but which would you have said would have ended up as artists B Oh the dumbos, the ones who met in the pub and growled about how difficult it was! Keith's problem in always producing a drawing with a head that was too big for the torso. And then we go in a break and look at how fellow students work up on the easel or down on the donkeys. Ah, no.........Mina Martinez always has a perfect proportioned lively, lovely drawing! Or at the Royal College my colleague Gillian Whitby - beautiful, sensitive drawings just off the top of her head, just out of her very being. But maybe its very..............Mina went the way of illustrating for television she worked for Jackanory for about twenty years, and became quite...quite rich, bought a house in Fulham after about three or fours years work for television, and presumably now is very very well off materially. She was using her talent in a different way. She never wanted to be whatever it was some of us were then trying to be. So.... I can't remember where I'd got to...Oh just one more thing... J I was sidetracking you.... B ...talking in terms of artists as opposed to untalented artists there's a smashing book by Wilenski over there which analyses various details about various painters' work. It'll show how John Singer-Sargent could produce a visual illusion that had no relationship to an organic fact. And then he


could, - I haven't looked at the book for years but if my memory serves me, -could contrast this by a detail of an eye by Vermeer or Holbein or many people where the work is topographically correct of this little detail as well as being artistically satisfying. So Sargent got away with flair and exhibitionism, brushwork etcetera which made him the most popular painter of his time, a high Edwardian painter, and every panel is....they're splendid looking things, but they don't bear analysis because they're fudged, every genuine problem is fudged. But then he's got enough icing to cover what isn't quite right in the cake mix, and he gets away with the icing, because very few people of course get round the icing; the icing is the proof of the pudding, there aren't many summer pudding experts, you know who really want to know the ratio of raspberry to loganberry to tayberry. J If you've got a summer pudding with icing you've got a serious pudding! B {chuckles} Oh, I've left the icing behind. So we're trying to learn a very difficult craft at our first art school. Just to go back briefly, before we go to art school we want to be an artist and we want to show interest, therefore we've done some things, and anybody who's ever painted a picture will be told by other people, oh it's good, marvellous. So you've got a bit of encouragement there. So you say yes, I'm going to go and study this subject, maybe imagining six years you’ll do it, as being a cabinet maker, your eye may become more sopohisticated or refined but you know your joints, you know your tools, you know your materials you know your wood, and you can put together a beautiful piece after six or ten years of apprenticeship. Maybe that's what we boldly imagined when we went to St Martin's and it was very very difficult. And the good thing of art education in the fifties and the early part of the sixties was that we were not encouraged to be artists, to express ourselves. J You were telling me about your lovely deaf drawing teacher. B Mr Pitchforth? J Yes. B We were taught to see where the weight is, where the balance is, what the relative internal proportions are, very very nuts and bolts stuff. And extremely difficult to grasp. With the consequence that not many people do. And without a forceful art education maybe its even more difficult, almost impossible now. Anyway, we were fortunate. I think one only started to go wrong at art school after maybe the second year at St Martins, where tacitly one was encouraged a little - to express ourselves, our feelings towards the world, society, whatever. And then little groups and coteries began to emerge. Like there were the


Social Realists - lads of my own age,- they knew no more about anything than I did. A little pocket of them came from the Potteries which were still functioning with their bell ovens, and these lads came from great generations of grandad and great grandad, potters related to the crafts of that district. So my contemporary fellows, at the state of development that one feels for one's father and grandfather at that stage, would paint Social Realist picture at that stage, which amounted to painting with a khaki and grey pallet, pale faced, round shouldered figures, trudging up and down dreary cobblestone streets with never a speck of sunshine or a gleam of wit, humour or joy. So one asked , well what is it you're trying to do? Well, it's Social Realism, we're protesting. Well what are you protesting? You're trying to iconoclise (is there such a word?) your forbears, trying to give them dignity, and at the same time you're complaining that the jobs that gave them dignity turned them into sourfaced old men with round shoulders. Well, that was one particular faction; it's a stage of growing up isn't it? And they were making a mistake which I was maybe to make later; that of confusing your half-chewed private cultural life, not to say emotional life I suppose, with the disciplines of that which one was trying to learn. Art. So one was on the right lines as an artist as long as one was listening to Mr Pitchforth and trying to get the masses and the stresses and the balances right... And with the lovely Jewish-born teacher I forget his name but it'll occur to me...I've mentioned his name before anyway...he wanted us to see exactly what Mr Pitchforth saw, but he wanted us to put a bit...a bit of passion into it as well. So at the end of drawing. So at the end of drawing a particularly fruity young model, Mr Pitchforth would never comment upon the physical type, but Mr Zeigler - Archibald Zeigler - would say ...I could show you an artist who really would have made something of this model. And he brought in a book of Jules Pascal - Jewish, Paris, libertine, bohemian. They were drawings, brothel scenes, ladies together frequently. Not dirty pictures at all, gentle, nice pictures. So he encouraged us just to cross the border into self-expression. But by and large, self-expression was a dangerous thing, and it was during the last two years of St Martin's that I started to employ self-expression along with my topographical abilities. So I did a beautiful 3 foot by 4 foot can only be called a topographical painting of the Elephant and Castle building, red and white stripes. A poor take-off of the Tuscan medieval architecture. And I did it correctly down to the last window and the last bit of polished stone. And in front of this I had to put a distorted figure with upraised arms, a bit like that... and wearing a half slipping mask.


J This is the painting that went down so well with that chap you did the mural for? {I meant Carel Weight rather than Rosiman} B Well there may have been – I don’t remember expressing that - a slight cross-over. J I thought he was quite impressed by that. B Well, I don't recall that at all.. But the mural was left out the poetic bits of the half strangulated figure which was a figure of complaint, the way society is going...etcetera etcetera expressed in very adolescent terms. It would have been a more powerful work without the silly figure. With the silly figure, if the picture was still extant, I'd be very embarrassed to see it, but without the figure it was really saying what I wanted to say without overegging. So I painted quite a few over-egged things! That's where my pictures, including the life paintings, *&&&&&&&&7777777777777777=’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’hjjjjjjjjjjjjj jjjjjjjjjj777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777 77777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777 7777777777777777777777777777777777777777771began to look a little bit like...Oh, they might have come out of a book of Gothic saints; I painted one life model a very sparse boney fellow called David, seated. And I chose to paint him sat as close as two foot away from me, which of course is no way to paint visually, so you were painting from your head, I suppose, and reconstructing the figure. And maybe in a sense it was quite a strong picture, but it was pretty daft. And at that time I should have been going through other phases of art which I'd skipped completely. The Camden Town School, Walter Richard Sickert, - such an intelligent and articulate man and such a wonderful painter. Tone and colour, though the colour was khaki and panes grey and opacities and very thickly applied crumbly paint. And he could "paint" in inverted commas, whereas my picture of turning David into a Gothic saint was not painting at all. It was a form of decoration using thin glazes underpainting the flesh with terre verte as did Frangelico, Piero della Francesca and so many people since right into the nineteenth century. If only my teachers at that time had, ideally, given me a kick up the arse and said, you know,- what's all this ABOUT young man. Let's go and have a pot of tea round at Patisserie Valerie and you tell me your thoughts about modern society and where you live and how you get on with your Mum and Dad and.... but they didn't. They did as Art teachers tend to, encourage one and get quite excited about you expressing yourself. So I, expressing myself, I think, wasted a lot of time. And on that level, that was the level upon which I was accepted in to the


Royal College of Art. Carel Weight being the power, the man to say yes or no. And he was very impressed. Nobody of my age or generation was trying to paint like this. And I was looking hard at the Pre-Raphaelites. Nothing wrong with that. Not so much at their self-expression, ironically, as at their technique, the way they could render the landscape. I wasn't really interested in Lorenzo and Isabella, or the Druids hunting the early Christians. They seemed as daft to me then as they do now. But the actual language he was employing, landscape, skies, was very very beautiful. Nobody could be called a fool for going wrong, going wrong at that particular signpost. Of course Carel Weight's work is all about self expression, with a very good basic quasi-pre-Raphaelite technique. And his paintings, Mr Weight's, are as individualistic as the man. So he in his fifties, or sixties maybe, was rattling along his pre-destined road. But I wasn’t. But I was accepted for the top college of the day. Probably a lot better had I applied for the Slade or …I didn’t apply for the College you see, I was invited to apply, which means you’re really certain to be accepted, - back door sort of thing…on the evidence of the paintings I’ve described. To the Slade I would have had to apply, and they would either have thought I was a big risk or not for them. But had I gone there they’d have taught me how to use opaque paint, how to put two slabs of colour side by side and they’d read spacially – beautiful. We were never taught that – it’s a great pity. And I still can’t do that sort of thing. I’d love to be able to paint. I call that proper painting, - or one aspect of proper painting. Anyway there I was with an interview for the Royal College on the strength of these slightly dotty late adolescent pictures. I suppose I would be aged 24 or 25, we were all adolescent at that age in those days, I think. They probably are just the same now, but they hide it better. And at the very last minute, just before my interview, the day of my interview…I think I was even sat in the corridor, waiting for my interview in the gloomy Victoria and Albert museum building, part of which was the Royal College of Art. And I thought I must show them the painting I’m working on now. Which was a circular picture – I think I’ve described it - of an orange oil lamp on I think a circular table with objects of still life and it was a tentative, slightly half-witted attempt at cubism. Sort of second-rate periphery of cubism…Metzinger or three or four of them…I can’t remember their names now. Who never quite understood it, and painted not very good, I think, slightly decorative pictures. And I decided I’d got to take a taxi back to Stepney and return with this picture that was about four foot square on hardboard battened by heavy 2 by 1 timber. All of my things had to be made like that, - I think there’s a clue there for later development. Well I got back with the painting either late for my interview or in time


for my interview, and that was brought in along with the other spooky Pre-Raphaelite adolescent pictures and one sat at the left hand of Carel Weight on a red chaise longue, that is famous… and the rest of the panel asked one questions. Most of the panel I learned since or I’ve come to think were pretty dozy people, and not on my wavelength at all, and not even in sympathy with me at all. But there was Peter Blake, whom I met in Soho pubs. I had admired him. He was thrilled to talk to an art student who talked Pre-Raphaelitism. He loved for me to tell him all I knew about William Holman Hunt and his holidays in Cornwall and so on. So that made a very good link between Peter Blake and I. So I suspect he shouted very strongly for me. And possibly Carel Weight did. And….. the rest of them, Colin Hayes, Hamilton Fraser, Leonard Rosiman, all tight-arsed little buggers – no generosity, no spirit, no flair, no guts. Err…I thought I did very well because I jabbered a lot. And this late painting, the late-comer to the collection, I must have told them that I went back to collect that because I felt you’ve got to see that. Whether that swung everything in my favour or almost swung everything out of my court….one day it would be interesting to see the file, if you could get access to the files of the Royal College of Art. They must have student files. I’d be really interested – I’ll probably never see it myself – but you know just how much they…. put me down a lot I think, how much some of them really almost personally hated me and how much some of them tolerated and how much some, not many, supported. There was a strong element of that, I always felt it – and I’m not paranoid! It doesn’t mean a thing, even though I refer to it at other stages of the College career, where I was accepted. But I was accepted at this literally crossroad of what I needed to be doing. And I spent a year painting really very half-baked pictures, realistic pictures, awful pictures. A blue plastic bowl on a scrubbed deal table. Trompe l’oeil as far as I could make it. Peter Blake bought that one. And I hope to hell he’s lost it! It surely must have been awful… Another one dispensed with the plastic bowl…{end of tape} and that was not too bad a painting, in that it had no subject matter. It was just a table top running up to a narrow horizon at the top, parallel to the picture plane of great white wall. And that painting was bought from my diploma show by the Arts Council. But apart from that painting…as I say most of them were pretty daft, I think. They included a big five foot by I think twelve foot triptych based on a building in West Riding Yorkshire called Scout Hall. A magnificent – not sure of the period – Jacobean?..three story building with great mullion windows in dereliction. Very spectacular. I think that was reproduced in the Royal Academy Illustrated, I’m not sure. It was shown at the Royal Academy. But again it wasn’t a sensible picture. By sensible I mean it was nothing to do


with painting.Nothing to do with the language at all. It was just to do with a place and my feelings about the place. And I think that a perceptive teacher at that stage could have again taken me out – this time it would have been down to the Polish café in South Kensington and given me a lemon tea and a cream cake and asked me what was I trying to do with painting and gently to suggest that there are other ways of looking at painting. So slowly, during my three years at the college, I was leaving that sort of thing behind and I think I described to you how I thought I was becoming over facile with the brushes, the sable brushes, the egg tempera and the highly diluted glazes. The egg tempera, the highly diluted glazes. (sounds of clattering outside) That thing all right with this trolley? J Yeah, they’re kicking a pepsi can. B Oh are they? J It’s all right, go on. How are you doing? Are you…d’you want half an hour to recuperate? B No. I’ll think we’ll keep going for a few minutes. It’s suddenly got very hot. Has it for you? J No, but I think drinking this wine has brought me out into what in the eighteenth century would have known as a laudable sweat! B Ah, yes…well maybe you should carry on with the medicine…. (both laugh) So I remember where I was…I became very skilled -not very- but I became skilled with the mediums, the oils and the various grounds and supports that one uses on paintings and so on…I felt I’d become overskilled. So that is when I went into painting with tinned emulsion paint. And I did that, I think, for about the last eighteen months of my stay at the College. Tinned emulsion paint is a bit of a two fingers to the fine art department. I was deliberately wearing sack-cloth, though it was a good thing to have done, quite sensible. But they didn’t see it. They didn’t really, I think, appreciate my confusion. I’m criticising them now as teachers. Not too much, because one doesn’t expect too much… J Did you discuss it with them or… B No. J So it would have been a bit difficult for them to mind read… B We didn’t have very close relations really. And one might meet in the pub. The pubs – The Anglesey or The Queen’s Elm or Finches. And then the chap would be well away from


personal problems at the RCA. I know I’ve been a better teacher in my varied teaching experience than anybody I met at the RCA. I’ve not been as good a teacher in a specialist sense as Mr Pitchforth or Bateson Mason, the man who always gave us Woodbine cigarettes when he stopped to talk. That was his entrée to a conversation. Dear man, very sensitive. Or Mr Zeigler. They were teachers, they were good teachers. In fact St Martin’s was packed full of very good teachers. Not all to one’s taste, but teachers. Artists, all artists, but teachers. Whereas there was nobody at the RCA who was an artist and a teacher. The ones who ought to have done the teaching were the ones who kept deliberately low. {break} The one who ought to have been doing the teaching. The one who ought to have been the dogsbodies and the wise men of the world going around amongst us twenty-five year olds, boys and girls, slightly confused –an exciting time in history – early sixties –they ought to have been capable of sensing our problems , our needs. Not on a profound psychological level. J I suppose there would have been a pastoral programme whereby you had to see them on a regular basis to discuss how you were getting on, then it would have been a bit easier to pick it up. B Yes, there were. We went generally to various of these men. Beulah. Robert Beulah. So-called distinguished Royal Academician. He would come and see one mid afternoon, after lunch time drinks, which I think were large gins, and he’d put his arm around one’s twenty six year old shoulders and say “You can draw, you can draw, boy. You’re all right. Nothing I can say to you. You’re a good one” Quick hug and away. Well that might be nice once until you’ve sucked the sugar off it, and then you find there’s nothing there. So I certainly do have a genuine complaint about the teaching at the College. Of course on the other side what one did get from being there at that time was a very lively group of colleagues, students, good quality folk, several of whom one still hears of. Big wastage rate in this racket! So by the time one left the RCA, one was not a lot clearer with regard to one’s language in painting. One was making 90% error out of the 100% trial. And I don’t think it’s differed a lot in postcollege years. There’s never been a time where I could say, now I know what I’m doing where I’m at and what I’m going for. That arrived, that time, if it has arrived, about five years ago – ten years ago let’s say to be generous to myself or to be more strictly accurate with the last exhibition of paintings just finished in my sixtieth year – then I can just about begin to see my language, where I stand in relation to the modern world, to historical and general etcetera. I can begin to see it. Only now. And that’s on of the many reasons I’ve got no upset or complaint about my surprise physical


condition that is going to cheat me out of maybe ten years of active work which admittedly would have changed the balance of my work. But I don’t feel frustrated, I feel I’ve done enough to show where I was going. But given another ten years I could have produced a substantial body of slightly more qualitative (sic) work, I think. But I don’t feel cheated. Because it doesn’t really need an extra ten years, it needs another fifty years, and at the end of that period one would say the same again. So in a sense this isn’t a bad time for the curtain to come down. I’ve had my little burst of sculpture, and I’ve had my 25 year burst of etching. I have broken through at last with the painting and if there isn’t a lot to be seen, well at least there is something to be seen. J. Certainly. Very much so. B. So the year after the college, before that wonderful year in Italy, was spent in the studio in Stepney, struggling yet again. Painting twenty foot long – was it twenty?- fifteen foot…. Seven foot by twenty I think it was – a so-called Transcription of the Battle of San Romano, which I finished in the Stepney Studio, or up to a point…And it was made – it was a physical thing, it was made out of old doors, furniture, projections er…illusionistic perspective going in to the picture frame. It was quite a fruity picture, quite a fine picture. It had all to be unscrewed to come down to Cornwall. J. Where is it now? B. Well, it was in store in Cornwall for a long time and then a little bit got used for a chicken run, and then a bit used for this or that, and then finally what is left is totally decayed. Totally decayed. It always would have decayed within thirty years because it was so ill prepared. There was sort of…it was an arrogant picture, one I flung together with machinery…- what do they can those guns that screw in nails? I had that sort of thing and I cut my own mitres and joints. I was reasonably handy with woodwork, not very, but reasonably. But when I came to Cornwall, I realised I had no electric, and I didn’t have a room big enough to put it up, so as I say it went into store for many years until I rediscovered the bits and tried to start it all over again, and it’s downstairs now in a half-finished state. Never, I suppose, to be finished. The theory at the back of my mind was it would be the painting I’d still be pattering on at the age of eighty three when I’d got, you know, just an hours patterent (sic) in me, and the photographer would come and they’d put a palette into my hand and I’d dip a brush and I’d go poke, poke, poke and then they would say “ and this is the


masterpiece he’s been working on since 1961, as yet unfinished.” But it’s going to be unfinished. Well. I think that takes us up to Italy and then there’s a natural join in our narrative so I think possibly we’ll switch off for a moment now. B. I think probably one of the greatest problems for the young artist today, I’m sure, be it dancer, sculptor or painter, is to know which direction to take. In the late middle part of this century one was confronted with so many options in a way that I think had never been available to artists before. But in 1850 you could have been an academic painter, or an oddball who painted cats or birds nests or butterflies, a visionary artist like Samuel Palmer, a little earlier, but basically the options were fairly well defined, you were an academic painter or you were somewhere running parallel to academic tradition. Even the PreRaphaelites shared the tradition of draftsmanship, colour etcetera. And it’s only with us that these simple traditions began to break up, in France, the latter quarter of the century did choice become a little varied. So now, we’re talking about the School of Paris, about 1910 onwards. All the nuances of different movements, different ways of seeing, different ways of thinking. Fauvism or Impressionism, or the science of coloured dots a la Seurat, etcetera, etcetera. Just to come back to our own country, possibly until 1950 there was something that might vaguely be called a British tradition, exemplified by painters like Walter Richard Sickert, and then classier people like Sir William Nicholson and all manner of good straightforward visual painters, painters who painted what they saw, and added their own interpretation of what they saw. But fairly limited and fairly straightforward. By 1950 odd the options were becoming more varied, and my early experience in London from whenever it was, - 1957 – the options were becoming still more wide and even overwhelming. American painting was something new and that particular branch of American painting, of abstract expressionism, and colour field painting, where the public would be confronted by enormous canvases, ten foot by ten foot, the canvas soaked in blue or red or green, sometimes very elegant, sometimes very beautiful, contemporary with that in Paris a post existential painter like Bernard Buffet, painting angst in landscape and tired clowns and working folk. Very seductive, very attractive to my pals who painted their plainest workers from the Potteries, one would think. Though on the whole I don’t think they were bright enough to get on to it, or to actually see it in a different interpretation. So they sank without trace, like the Potteries! Sank without trace, maybe to be resurrected as


theme park artists….Then in Paris there was a school called Pachism, a very genteel version of abstract expressionism where you flung the paint around and invoke the paint to express your internal, your inner confusion, angst, joy, whatever. There was one clown at the time, highly fashionable at the time who would dress himself in I believe medieval armour and then run around his studio with his paintbrushes flinging paint on very long, very narrow horizontal canvasses, jestable work. And the canvasses would be called Le Bataille de Crecy or Agincourt or whatever. So that was a rather daft European version of what the Americans were doing a little bit better with their so-called abstract expressionism. So, what’s a student to do in the middle of all of this? One had scarcely recognised Cubism, the penny hadn’t dropped. One saw that Graham Sutherland was unassumingly wrong tack with his creepy vegetable still lives, again expressing weariness, unhappiness through distortions of organic objects, twisted thorn trees invoking Christs thorn collar predicament! And so…that seemed a little bit half-baked. Francis Bacon was doing his thing, which to me always did seem a little bit halfbaked. Snap out of it, man one wanted to say. And Nicholson was doing something which seemed to lead to higher pastures. I think that’s true, as well. His work can still be seen in that context. So some of our die-hard students were getting well stuck in to Euston Road and Camden Town school paintings. Sludgy pictures of not-very-interesting parts of suburbs of London. Like Frank Auerbach, who stayed by Primrose Hill for three quarters of a lifetime. Enough for him. But he found his own language. As did Nicholson, through a lot of trial and error. As did Sutherland. The point I’m trying to make is that there was really no cutand-dried language for the well- equipped, intellectually stimulated and mentally growing young student, aged 28, to come out of College and say yes, well I subscribe to this or that school and it seems the obvious thing for me to do, to be painting in this or that manner. No, there seemed to be so many options, alternatives, that one had to go running up this alleyway and back down to the secondary road and then venture out on to a main road and then nearly get squashed flat by some great rolling force, which would then disappear into the distance never to be seen again, so you venture out…..I often thought the analogy rather than a road is that of a tree. Stick to the trunk and you’re going upwards, the boughs are going upwards quite confidently, then come the minor boughs, then the twigs. When you get to the end of the twig you’ve nothing for it but to burst into leaf or to trace your steps back down the twig to a bigger branch and to a bigger branch until you feel secure there again, and then to start exploring. So I think the problems of the


twentieth century artist have been much greater than… probably any other time in history. The medieval artist went to his guild, to his master, to the workshops. And then he learned to draw – in the manner of his master. And he learnt to look at the landscape in the true manner of his master. But we’re invited to see a cosy bit of landscape through the eyes of a wild man or through the eyes of a half-baked Pachist artist like Craigy Aitcherson or of a sexually tormented man and so on for a thousand people. We don’t know what to make of it all. There ain’t a language and there ain’t even a subject. J. Isn’t that in a way a luxury? B. A luxury? J. Yes, Not to be constrained by a certain style or a certain manner. B. I’m sure there’s a tremendously clever and appropriate quotation to be floated in there, but I don’t know of one. But a freedom without boundaries – is that freedom? J. Well, the boundaries are still there aren’t they? The world around you, the canvas in front of you. B. You can do anything. So when you wake up in the morning you’ve got your white bit of board. And you can put the paint on like Duarto or like Severini or like Frank Auerbach. J. Or like Bryan Ingham! B. Increasingly one hopes like oneself. But it’s a long way to find that – like oneself. I mean it would be a very ideal apprenticeship, but it does mean that the apprenticeship goes on for a long time. J. But don’t you think that for the ancients it took just as long except in a more contrained environment? B. No. No, I don’t think so. No I think they were down to brass tacks very early in their careers. Working for the master and then having apprentices working for them. No, no, I think they were out of the starting traps very promptly, very quickly. And then with the inventors, so-called, of impressionism for example. They opened up a seam that was adequate for one lifetime. But it isn’t rich enough a seam for our lifetime too. I don’t think one would be a very interesting painter if one said, “ Well, I’m an out-and-out Impressionist”. Because a lot of very interesting things have


happened since then, that one feels the urge to incorporate, to synthesise, to amass. And this is at once a pleasure and a great problem. It does mean a massive wastage from experiment during one’s development. And so it’s not surprising that many, many artists in their early days, their thirties let us say, become lost. Added to the problems of being a full-time artist as opposed to being a student, in some cases supporting a child or a wife, the more foolhardy ones a motorcar and a house…. [end tape 11] [start tape 13] B…In Bad Godesburg? Bad somewhere anyway. Quite a long way {from Worpswede}, and it was a big exhibition, framed, all up on the walls, looked very good. And the woman who realised it I had met and she made great claims to being a serious collector – it had been her father who was the collector. And she followed the value of works in her collection on the stock market or local Christies/Sothebys; she could tell you that Willi Baumeister was coming down and that Klee was still climbing. And she wanted a bit of text to give her an idea of how to pitch her talk, so somebody gave her a bit of text, whether it was myself or my friends the Martin family, and presumably it was a handwritten text, which she then made into six boring pages of typescript with which she then bored the arse off everybody at the opening, as they do! But very early on in the text: “Mr Inham is a painter of European traditions, he is a follower of Braque and Picarro”. And this name Picarro ran right through the whole thing, and she read that out. Isn’t that astonishing! A woman who’d come all the way to Worpswede in a huge sparkling Mercedes – three times bigger than yours, Joss – dressed all in leather, you know, all new chicorea. Art collector, potential galeriste, and… J. A great collector of Picarro, obviously…. B. Picarro, yuh, yuh. Well, that’s apropos of nothing…. So Nigel Farrow and Elfriede Winter came down to visit me; not having seen Elfriede for seven years, never having met Nigel Farrow, not knowing much about Scholar, except I’d bought their Catalogue Raisonee of one of my heroes Anthony Gross. And they wanted to look at my etchings. Which was a hell of a job at Tremayne, because I didn’t have everything organised. So I’d got something stuffed in a bottom drawer there and oh,…horrible. But I managed to pull out enough portfolios to give them a good view of my etchings – überblick – and Nigel Farrow was very, very enthusiastic. He’s a rather dry looking middle aged stick of a man, cadaverous cheeks, quite likeable. And to see a man like that suddenly lose his dryness and become enthusiastic


is very heartening. And, yes he was really enthusiastic about the etchings. And particularly about the little suite of German etchings where I used pieces of coloured paper printed over pieces of colour with German typeface, letter press and so on. And he said “Oh, we can make a book of this, we can make a book of this!” And Elfiede said “No, Nigel we’re going to make a book of the etchings.” “We could do both, we could do both!” I thought this a good picture of enthusiasm, I like it. So I said, “Well, the next thing as I see it is for me to come back to you with a markup of the book of etchings, a dummy. And then for us to start talking in more detail from then onwards. Well that, as I say was three or four years ago, and it sort of lapsed. I wrote away to a man at the Fitzwilliam Museum with a collection of my work. Somebody had said he would be interested in writing a text, but I emphasised I wanted a long text, and I wanted it written very much from art historian/print making expertise plus some knowledge of myself and Jollytown and Cornwall. So it’s a fairly wide brief, a fairly tricky brief. Anyway, that fellow wrote back after about a month, returned the material, said he was sorely tempted and he really would like to do it, but the pressure of work etcetera. Then I let everything drop. At the last London exhibition, Elfriede approached me with a new idea for Scholar Press, which I think I’ve probably mentioned, how they would like to produce some hand-made books by distinguished artists making…and I said no Illustration – decoration, you understand that. That’s important. And she said, we’ve got three poems here to start with and they all happen to be about rivers, one in German, one in French, one in English. And at that stage I said yeh, fine, thinking I could non-figurative decorations to marry with a text in French by Apollinaire, or in German by Heinrich Heiner, or in English by Edmund Spencer. Then they came to visit me here still on that project, saying would it be an idea to have an American poet as well, and to have The Hudson or the Potomac, is it called. And that sent us scurrying away into all sorts of weird and wonderful but essentially dull poetry. And I started thinking a little more seriously about it and I thought there’s nothing in any of these poems for me. Nothing at all. J. Well what would seem to me appropriate, if you’re going to do something like that it should be your choice, I suppose. You should choose the poems you’d like to decorate. You’ve got a wide knowledge and a very eclectic taste in prose and poetry, and you could produce a lovely selection. Why don’t you do that?


B. Well, I’ll carry on telling the story in sequence. No, we’ll come back to that, it’s the right point to make. I then showed them the mock-up I’d made of the back-burner project, the book of my etchings. I know I showed it to you, but I show it to you again very very briefly, just to refresh you – you could switch off, Joss,{pause} and that incidentally is the same format for the book of etchings as the catalogue on sculptures. And I do believe in uniformity of format wherever possible. And I say, for those landscape format etchings to be shown, well, even half size reduction, would mean you’d have a book so deep {indicates}. Well, where would such a book fit on even my versatile shelves? It would just be a bloody nuisance. And I’ve got such books, which just finish up in the junk room ‘cause you can’t house them. So I want a book that’s very portable, accessible, but not as dealer-downmarket as the Catalogue raisonnee, but a book that could become a little treasure, a book that one might take on holiday with hard cover and so on. Well, they were very enthusiastic about that. So then I said to them I can’t further this etching project without assistance. There are plates in Germany, there are plates in London, things need printing up, things need rescuing. The whole of my downstairs stuff needs to be reasonably catalogued. And then I can say well, that plate, that plate, that plate, they’re to be thrown away, I don’t want to keep the less successful or failures. And they said, well, we know just the person to do this. I said well, it must be a woman. Yes, they said it a woman, just by chance. I didn’t push my luck by saying an attractive woman I thought I’d take just what God sends! And they, Elfriede, wrote a very good follow-up letter to this, and I thought well meanwhile I’m not going to come out with what I think about the hand-made fine book. If they’re happy for that to be on the back-burner and for this to take precedence, that’s good, because I think really there’s only going to be time for one, and that will be the etching one. That’s the important one. That’s totally important if the chap to whom I leave my etching estate, Simon Marsh, copperplate printer, he could turn the stuff into money if he gets them printed, if he sets up a good marketing thing with the dealer chap, who works for architectural artists. The dealer chap is also a friend of Francis, so between them there’s a lot of potential money down the stairs, with etchings printed and etchings not yet printed. But to really launch the stuff you need to have one good book putting the person into the marketplace. And then follow it up with exhibitions etcetera. Well that’s all their job. So I’m happy to let the fine art book quietly in the background now and get this one going. But it occurred to me, you know, that the obvious only comes round very slowly, doesn’t it? All rivers…..River Thames – sod all to me, Pont Neuf what’s it


look like – I don’t know. And being the sort of conscientous bugger one is one would feel, even though one is not going to make literal drawing or anything, one would feel obliged to go to Paris and look at the Pont Neuf, and walk up and down and maybe draw it, or buy a postcard…one would feel obliged. I thought, well I’ve done all that all my life, I’ve got sketch books full of material I’ve never used. What do I really like drawing? What do I really run and draw? The things I put in the previous book. Trees and landscapes and jugs and flowers.

“Spotted Jug” – Painting circa 1993

J. And the occasional naked woman… B. Possibly. But what’s the biggest touchstone I’ve got for that sort of thing? I only need Jollytown, and that would be another idea. Tuscany. And then I thought again, why not go to Tuscany with your own transport, being driven, of course. And do lots of big, heavy 6B black and white childish drawings of mountains and trees, I can see it as such, in a fairly big format. But not four precious pages with four precious poems. But twenty pages and a quotation from Twilight in Italy, by D.H.Lawrence, something that really gets the spirit of it. And then the rest of it is just a sketchbook. I thought well that’s something that I would love doing. So it would make a bloody good book, and OK if they don’t like it it doesn’t matter because I’ll probably never get to do it anyway. So that’s where I stand at the moment.


J. Well, as I say it were ever to be done you should pick your own material. B. Yuh, yuh. J. Perhaps put some literary material of your own in, if only a short piece. I think you should certainly write your own introduction. As you say it doesn’t need a lot of poems at all, it’s really just a… B. Well that’s just where they started from. It’s a good start. J. Yes, the odd poem or piece of prose, perhaps, which you feel is apposite or indeed which you’re fond of, which says something to you…. B Nobody’s written about Italy better than D.H.Lawrence. His finest writing is encapsulated there. He can evoke the smell of a lemon or the taste of dust like nobody else. So that would be a lovely idea, and if I make a bit of a recovery, so I was going to go with Allie, she’s got a sort of camper van. And I thought if I had a sleeping bag and ground sheet so one could sleep out as well as staying in hotels and pensions. J. It would be much more doable from your point of view if you went to the expense of flying and hiring something over there. B. Yeh, I thought that, I thought that today. J. Well it wouldn’t be that expensive, because you could do an Alitalia fly-drive or something, and rent a combi over there. B. Probably that’s the best way. J. Because hammering right across is going to knock the stuffing out of you. B. It was funny with this birthday party on Saturday. I thought, well this is a bit of a test. We’re not going to Rouen or Nimes or Lausanne or Montreux. We’re going to Ruan Minor, seven miles up the road. And I can say when I came back from that trip, beautifully looked after, wonderful comfortable seat, umbrella over my head, couldn’t have been looked after more graciously. Came back absolute wreck. J. You didn’t smoke any dope or anything!?


B. No….just a couple of glasses of wine and just totally knackered. So that make me think seriously about……so simply, if you’re still all right for time, Joss,{J. Yes good} Switch this off, I’ve got to go downstairs. {end of tape13} {Start Tape 14, Bryan is talking about Leslie Illsley) B . One would say to Leslie, so you’ve been up to your tricks have you? What was it this time? And he would say…Doreen O’Casey. Well, how bad was it? He would say I’m not sure. Pretty terrible I think. Isabel was in tears, anyway. I said well that’s par, but Doreen is bit stronger…..yes, well….. handsome bunches of flowers he used to have to give away every week after an hour’s session on the Sloop, when the little halves of lager got too big for him. Then he would attack the Penwith and through the Penwith he’d attack Breon and through Breon he would attack the Irish and so on…Always picking superb subjects and hitting the nail on the head, so that genuine apologies were called for. I missed him a lot. I rather lost touch; I used to know him in London at St Martins, before any St Ives. I used to meet him occasionally. J . Was he at St Martins as well? B . He was. Although just where and how I can’t remember. There were three tarty girls with very pronounced bosoms and extreme mini skirts – very, very beautiful girls with dreadful faces, like Greek women. Magnificent bodies, narrow waist, full hips, thick black hair and then they turn round to reveal those huge noses and red voluptuous lips. Well, he got involved with one of those and gave her a baby. I’m not sure whether they married or not. But that held him up for many years; he had to pay this woman a huge amount of money maintenance for this slightly retarded daughter. Whether she was genuinely retarded of whether she just chose to live on junk food…she became very fat and slobbish and then started hanging round in St Ives doorways aged 14, that sort of….well on the road to Sodom and Gomorrah before she even got into mini-skirts. J . That must have depressed him… B . It did, it was a constant burden. And then he got into debt, by being encouraged by the Tommy Trevorrows of the world who made making £5,000 cash in your pocket per week sound like something we could all do, and they all carried bankrolls, all the solicitors and property agents. So Leslie thought this was money for old rope, but of course he


came in a the wrong time and lost a lot of money through bad advice. J. On property? B. On property, yeah. He thought he was being clever, though he bragged about it – he couldn’t keep quiet about anything, and that’s not the way to do it. Tommy bragged, but he usually bragged when he had the bankroll in his pocket. So he was deep in with all that, with all that gang. So by the time he went to Newlyn he was almost broken financially with the maintenance of the debts. And he just had this very strong Lancastrian woman Judy who believed in him and who kept him…who kept him at it. And they set up Troika again in Newlyn. And she used to drive Leslie over to the workshop in Newlyn. The last times I saw him, she’d drive him there about eleven in the morning from Sancreed, out that way,- Trewellard – and he’d go straight in the back room of the Dolphin and drink there until she picked him up after work at four o’clock. J. Terribly destructive stuff…. B. Absolutely, he was drinking halves, arguing, talking. Mostly arguing. Scarcely any time spend doing and scarcely any time spent in the workshop at all. So that’s when one thought he was going to die of alcoholism. And I was very impressed to see his pictures yesterday. Bloody hell, what a talent there! A talent such as I don’t have a fraction of. It takes all sorts as we know, different forms of application and ability. But he’d got talent. J A lovely eye for colour. B. Terrific. Absolutely. And he could be dead cynical, he could do pot-boilers in biro pen – he liked drawing in biro pen… put them in nasty little cheap frames up in his local pub, the Trewellard Arms. Visitors would buy them for 30 quid. And that was 30 quid. But at the same time there was always a bit of a resentment that he wasn’t being taken seriously by the establishment. J. Can’t have it both ways really….. B. Yeah, but then the establishment such as it ever was over there, the Herons and the Frosts and the Filers, are all such cold fish that they’ve got no emotional language with which to mix with a person like Leslie. Leslie was too sharp, too deep, too hard. Too talented for them. So all they could do


was smile, sneer and brush him under the carpet. And be very very patronising if they had to say anything. J. Did he ever have a show in St Ives? B. I don’t think so. Judy said there were two letters, 8 weeks after his death from different sources, each showing great interest in Troika pottery. Organising exhibitions, writing about it. Which were done – little pamphlets. But she said if only he’d known that before his death it would have given him so much encouragement. And yet one didn’t know that he needed it, really. One thought he was quite happily set in this self-destructive, cynical approach. Which was a shield. As his general agressiveness. And it’s a long story, at least father, possibly grandfather, but a least parent. His other brother Brian, a similarly tormented man. Wracked with angst. It comes out in his work. Tormented souls. J. What were the parents? B. Father was a butcher. All his life. I think quite proud of it. I think and a bully. I think they’d been badly bullied. {long pause} J. How are you getting on? B.Could we have a break? {break} B. …crossing the river near Lynton we went to a teashop… J. Yes, at Watersmeet, in the West Lyn and East Lyn valley, where the two join, in that National Trust part. B. You had a friend there, owner of the teashop… J. Oh…no.. that wouldn’t have been Watersmeet, that would have been Tarr Steps. B That’s right, that’s it. J. A lovely part of the world. They’ve left there now, but the place is much the same. B. It would be great fun to be having afternoon tea, wouldn’t it?


J. Yes, it’s a lovely spot. Mind you at this time of year it gets a bit hectic. It’s one of the two most visited spots on Exmoor. B. Really? J.The other being the Oare valley. B. I made an etching of that eventually. There was a jug in the window that I did a number of sketches of. J. I’ve still got some photocopies from the sketches you did at the Mill. B. Of the animals. J. And of the jug in the window with the mirror on the left hand side. B. Yup…yup…..well, I think we could start. There may be some overlapping with previous information, inevitably. I want to try and muster my thoughts and talk about the etching period, which as I described…..On coming down to Cornwall I began making sea-drift constructions in the empty rooms of Jollytown. Which would be wonderful if I’d carried on, ‘cause it would be a very strange place indeed. But I didn’t carry on for the main reason I felt that I couldn’t do that particular project any justice without a full complement of electrical tools at which I was adept at using at that time. Not skilfully but adequately. And it wasn’t the sort of work I wanted to become craftsman, cabinet maker and cut my joints beautifully by hand, because that didn’t seem relevant to what I wanted to do. So anyway, I abandoned the white-painted sea wood reliefs which were some form of extension of the big constructions I’d left behind in Rome – nine foot by six foot – scraps of wood, paper, clothing from the Borghese Gardens in Rome smeared across large surfaces, layered with further layers of wood and paint all on which to be working but without the ultimate focal point. Such work produced very, necessarily, very raw images, at the same time very non-referential images. They were physically what they were. And I’ve always hoped that for a work of art to be that that, {it should my edit} to [sic] add the points of reference with the observed as well as the here and now physical world. –A bit tricky to explain what I mean I don’t know whether that will make sense, when it’s printed out. I may have to think again and try and write that down. I wanted to be making in such pictures let us say an illusion of four inches depth as well as a real four inches depth. But no point making the four


inches depth unless it’s about something, and these pictures didn’t want to be about anything other the four inches depth consolidated by surface, by colour, by texture etecetera. But somehow, zooming out the core…. the essence of the picture, the pictures, were without a core, pictures without essence….is it recording… J. yes… B. Good. So that was the dilemma. And then being confronted with the wild landscape of Kynance, not to mention Cornwall, with the very delicate beautiful light that we have here,- which I can still remember, the very first morning, experiencing that light - and observing the sky to be a sort of robin’s eggshell blue, so delicate and pure, unlike anything I’d experienced. I hadn’t been taught, as I might have been at the Slade School, to mix up oil paints and to be able to plonk down in very juicy hoghair brushfuls of opaque yet translucent light spacecreating colour. They were taught that, painting a la Priga. I’d been allowed, unfortunately, been given my head to go forward with using glazing techniques, painting thin layers of colour over modelled underpainted colour often using terre verte {spells}, the colour of green earth, the colour the Italian primitives of the Cinquecento would use. In painting a head Fra Angelico would have modelled the head from light to dark in the terre verte and then float over this skeins of delicate fleshtones, the yellow ochres, diluted, very heavily diluted. And slowly build up a very luminous and flesh-seeming limb or head. The knocking, - if you care to go to the door you’ll see a jackdaw out there plumping a snail to bits. J. Oh, Is that what it is? I was wondering what on earth it was. I thought it was just a noisy neighbour. B. I used to think it was eccentric plumbing, such a you used to get in Camden Town bedsits. J. It’s the Jackdaw, having escargots for tea… B. {laughs} Escargots for tea….So that method of glazing and the painting, I think it allows for a hell of a lot of fudging in pure paint terms. You can mince around the periphery without really plunging into raw painting. And a chap who can mix up that lovely eggshell blue in juicy paint and then put a little square of white and indian red which is a pantile roof and a streak of autumn wind {???} painted into the wet eggshell blue and you’ve got the blue mountain


of Provence and that’s real painting, that’s beautiful painting. Live around it – I’m slowly coming round to it now. To say, in parentheses yet again, there so many bloody alternatives in making a painting. Everything has its alternative. Every, every, every, everything. So that any painting that ever gets finished is an absolute thrill. You know the joke about the 5000 chimpanzees armed with a typewriter apiece and allowed to bang at random for five million years, one of them will come up with a Shakespearian sonnet eventually. Well it seems to me that that’s about the odds the painter has when he starts a picture. The picture could be a bit taller, a big longer, a bit smaller, and bit bigger. It could be on a rougher canvas, or on a smoother canvas. On a shiny board, on a rough board. It could be scored, it could be built up it could be dotted, it could be smeared. And so on and so on… Anyway, I guess there’s a bit of digression there, but I didn’t have the means at my disposal to bring my very, very limited achievement to point its head in the right direction and to say, -Now, this is Cornwall. I am thirty. I’ve been painting seriously for fifteen years, now I can get started on painting. ‘Cos I couldn’t, ‘cos I didn’t have the language. And that’s when self doubts can set in. It’s probably at that juncture that most people fall by the wayside, become part-time postmen, until offered promotion unless….But I didn’t want that, and my life was geared to making things. So, I took to drawing. Pencil. Not enough to draw on a sheet of paper, not enough to draw simply in a sketch-book; to draw on a piece of paper that had been wilfully stuck down on a piece of board, and then maybe the virginity of the paper, desecrated with pigment or stain, coffee or tea or mugs until the paper was more friendly, less assertive, and then to float my lines over that surface. And hopefully to get a degree of the physicality I’ve always been after, and the visual objectivity that I’ve always wished to include in the marriage. And think some of these paintings were quite successful. The board was then stuck on another, larger, often variably random coloured board, and then the whole thing nailed in rather crude ways together and then dropped into a box-like frame construction behind glass. So by this time I had made my object, but somebody else had made the frame –but it finished up as an object. Well this was quite satisfying and this carried on for a little while and I think I could even go back to that. Using blocks of referential colour, a green or a magenta in memory of the flower in your picture… J The campion? B The campion… Fond of that campion red; fond of the various lush and dry greens we have here and the ochres and then the strips of blue and grey horizons that catch our


eyes from a motor bike or a motor car or between the clefts of the valley. So, simple little images emerge as simple little blocks of colour accentuating the vagaries of the line. Yes, I think that still is a nice formula for making paintings, drawings, whatever…evocative of Cornwall, or Tuscany. It might not work in Norfolk, and it might not work in the Orkney Isles, but it works in one’s chosen locales. So that plodded on for… maybe a couple of years… and as I have mentioned I was commuting at this time. For two days teaching per week up at West Surrey College –Farnham College of Art as it was more simply called in those days. A converted grammar school, in the High street, next door to a rather posh pub called the Wheatsheaf, and a rather posh restaurant called the Bishop’s Mitre. In other words it was the remnants of a good English market town in the early sixties. Still a very pleasant place to be. I used to ride the motor-bike from Jollytown, change my clothing in a back alleyway in Penzance, put on what I considered adequately grand clothing for commuting and teaching, in other words change out of motor-bike boots into shoes etcetera. Jump on the overnight sleeper. Twenty five shilling ticket each way for the sleeper reservation. A few beers with the steward in his little cubby hole. Sometimes me buying the beer, sometimes the steward buying the beer. Always a good yarn; got to know all their names; they all addressed me by name. Mostly Irish: Good evening, Mr Ingham, sir, and what d’ye fancy drinking this evening? Would be the first question. And then we’d sail magically out of Penzance station, along the shoreline, seeing Marazion silhouetted against the full moon sky on occasion. Very lovely way to start your two days work. The hell of Paddington at six am the next morning, the scuttling figures, the tube across London to Waterloo, and thence one hour and ten minutes up to Farnham. Two pleasant days teaching. Simple teaching. Teaching as I thought they needed. Not following any master plan of any head of department. I thought a student needed to know elementary things like foreshortening. I could set them little exercises, little tricks… where I could establish that a student, seeking to draw objectively, in other words accurately, could in a drawing 18 inches square be 10 inches out in proportion. Unbelievable. Now I tended to think that until a student had mastered such lurking errors, pitfalls….not much point in talking about Jackson Pollock’s latest jerk-off or whatever…. To do this, to encourage this, visual accuracy, I would set the simple problem of drawing a table top from a position directly confronting the narrow end of the table and the student seated at my present eye level (B was sitting in an armchair) and I’d say, -Right, simply draw that table top in


proportion. So the student would confidently assess that the front of the tabletop is so wide, and in the knowledge that the three foot wide table is six foot long the student would then draw the depth, the length of the table to be virtually twice that. So they would have drawn a map, a plan of the table. But they wouldn’t have drawn what they were seeing. And what they were seeing…. to their extreme irritation, I would say, -Now let me sit down, Let’s find a unit, with an outstretched arm and pencil. Let us find a unit that fits into this table top four times. So we juggle until we’ve got a unit, we go one…two…three…yup make it a bit more…one… two..three…four. Right that unit there fits into the front of the table four times. Now let’s see how far it fits into the table as we are looking at it from front to back. A half of that unit. So we’ve got four to a half in terms of units. Now let’s move to your drawing. You’ve got this so that’s four, lets break that into four…one…two… three… four. So that’s that. We’re agreed on this That’s four, and your drawing is four. Now lets go back…according to this present unit your table is one…two…three… four… five…six units in regression. Six units against four. And what did I say it was. Half a unit against four. Therefore that means you are out by …eleven? You’re out by eleven units. It’s all very clear on the paper when doing this exercise. So let’s measure those eleven units…one…two …three…and let’s do this on your drawing….and so we establish that the drawing so much is the observed depth of the table top is so. But according to you, Student, it is six of these. Two… three… four…five… six So it seems to me that you’re twelve inches out on a drawing that’s only eighteen inches square. Is that possible? It’s a tricky little exercise but it’s horribly true. And underlying that is the truism that we try and draw what we know rather than what we see. Well, at that stage of their visual education I believe in them being capable of drawing firstly what they see, and then utilising that ability in whatever way. Obviously if you want to make a drawing of that table top to take to your village carpenter you’re going to make a drawing as in plan, and that would be the drawing, and the carpenter would have no problem he’d say that’s three to eight, fine. But if that’s your three then what are you seeing of this now, because you know its eight, you’re going to make your drawing go on and on and on until its got what you think it ought to have. Rather than the shrewd measure that it does have which is no wider than an ice cream wafer! So simple little exercises like that I believe are necessary, and lots and lots of other things. And it was all interesting because I was formulating these exercises for myself – nobody had taught me any of this. I hadn’t read any master books on drawing theory and so on. It was very elementary


but if you can’t do something elementary you’re not going to be very well equipped at a later stage. And so I believe in it. So that’s the sort of fun and games I’d have with this group of students from nine to half past four. Sometimes a student would arrive just as I’d finished my ten minute talk before starting the day’s work and I’d say to this student – There are twenty of us in this room, we’ve waited twenty minutes for you to arrive, so what’s that…two twos are four – four hundred minutes, how many hours is that? J. 6.6 hours. B. Right. You’ve wasted 6.6 hours through your tardiness and now you expect me to go through the whole programme again, and I hope it will be a lesson to come in future that I’m not going to say a fucking thing to you. If I can get here from the tip of southernmost England and be here an hour before the lesson I’m sure you can manage it from Guildford….You see one didn’t seek to ingratiate oneself with the students, and this was just the time when all the teachers were doing just that. The teachers would say to the students – Call me Joss – I’m Bri, Brian. We’re mates together – we’d shake hands in funny special solidarity ways. I used to say, -No, no, if you want to learn to draw come to my classes; I’m not interested in your soap-boxes and I’m not interested in art school politics. I know there’s a lot of crap and I know that so much of it is wrong but you’re not here to sort out wrong and right in student education, you’re here to get yourselves an education. If you want to fritter your time on other more exciting things do so by all means, but don’t waste my time. And that was the understanding. And of course I lost a lot of students very quickly. And of course you lose a lot of staff support when you’re being tough, when you’re not being one of the student teachers with moustaches - like Che Guevara they all looked like at that time. They even wore bloody berets in 1968! But I did have some good students. Anyway that’s just digressing a little bit about what one did when one went up there. One stayed overnight with a pair of excellent trenchermen, Mike and Mary Fairclough, both liked their beer, wine and food, and they always gave me a very comfortable bed, and so we’d spend lovely evenings gossiping drinking quite a lot, and always splendid, usually pasta, but made… made from Italian recipes, just that little bit better than than you or I generally – or that I - ever come across. – Are you tired Joss? Would you like a glass….. J. No, no, I’m fine actually, it’s just this heat making my eyelids droop. I’m all right….


B. Yes, yes. And then back to Paddington, back to see Sally and Gavrik, perhaps have a couple of glasses in the Gyngleboy and then onto to overnight sleeper. Off the sleeper at 8.30 in the morning at Penzance, up the alleyway, change back in to to rough boots and the clothes, the rest all stuffed into a bag around one’s neck and the big loud hurrah as one went motoring along towards Marazion, by the side of the sea, the light sparkling on the water. Wednesday morning – the rest of the week is mine – shout a few obscenities to art school, art teachers, students… the whole bloody lot! And back to Jollytown to see how many eggs the chickens had laid. And I used to make outrageous concoctions with up to half a dozen eggs mixed with softened onions and honey.. J. Bloody hell! B. I’d read that this – I don’t know where – that it was a special with cumin, and that other very lovely fragrant spice – I’d read that this was an aphrodisiacal dish favoured by the middle eastern potentates, so I had that for my health’s sake! And then to walk around the meadows in the evening peering over the cliffs with a shotgun…bang off a rabbit… back home and paunch it in the meadow…skin it straight away sometimes from field to pot, the rabbits went. Not always, - sometimes hung for a day or two. J. Better hung a bit, aren’t they? B. Well, yes…. A very young one… I do remember one or two instances where I’d gone out, been back within forty minutes and been eating within a further hour. J. That’s not bad, is it…. B. But normally I’d paunch them and then hang them until necessary. They don’t really need it… a day maybe. So they were happy days at Jollytown. But even so it was it was an interrupted week for an artist… of course it always takes you a day to settle back, doesn’t it? So that was Wednesday gone. And I used to visit Stella at a weekend, so that would be maybe Saturday lunchtime or Saturday evening, so I suppose my working week was down to Thursday, Friday, possibly a bit of Saturday. Until I took a studio in St Ives, and maybe did a bit more then. J. But you’d probably been working stuff out during your teaching hours as well, hadn’t you?


B. Possibly. All the time I was teaching I was learning, and when I stopped learning from what I was saying I thought well that’s the time to give up teaching, it’s no longer fresh, it’s routine. J. And you were also using the trips to London to develop your etching weren’t you? B. Well, that comes on cue, because after one or two years of these pencil on paper on wash on board on board in a box-like frame, that bean to be not quite adequate so then I looked towards etching, and there was a small etching department in the old grammar school, and very charming technical assistant, as they were called they earned their bread more than any other member of staff – they worked! Kept the place clean, kept it stocked. I think that no socalled lecturer would have the with or the experience to do… lecturers were parasites. The ones who came in four days, they were full time. Could not be dismissed. There for life, and a pension thereafter. J. I’m sure that must have changed by now, surely. B. No, it’s even worse now, I think….you see in my time there was still money allocated for part-time teachers, where you’d go to the Slade or the Royal College to the “slave market” at the end of the Diploma and choose somebody you wouldn’t necessarily want for four days a week on your staff but somebody you thought would bring a bit of life to things. ¬ end tape J. It’s the heat that’s making me comatose. I might just have a drink of water…Can I get you one? B. Yes, yes, that would be nice. (pause) They prescribe…Oh wonderful, thank you…. They prescribe different sorts of laxative pills….you know that’s one of the preoccupations of all hospitalised people….is how you’re functioning… J. How your bowels are doing… B. Yup. It’s a general topic of conversation! Well, I cope fairly well with this, but I do have to take something… either liquid or whatever. And they’ve all got their side effects. And it usually results in a good old fashioned belly ache. Really quite, quite strong guts ache. You know…. when, when you’ve done your performance, and then it’ll lurk around for a day or two…


J Giving you a cramp? B. Yeh, yeh… J. I can tell you one thing my wife swears by… she had to spend various weeks in hospital during having Nicholas and various other things. And she discovered that Libbys Orange juice is a wonderful natural laxative. B. Really? J. Yes, if you can stand orange juice…. B. Oh. I can. J. Well, Libbys particularly….I don’t know what its got in it, but it’s miraculous! B. well that would be much better. J. Well give it a go… B. I’ll give that a try… J. It certainly worked for a number of people in that ward, I can tell you. B. Really… Oh. Well that’s a good tip. I took receipt of some new stuff yesterday which is a liquid as opposed to the previous tablet. And my God, it tasted horrid! And it had its adequate effect, but …it’s not nice spending days with chronic bellyache. These things are only minor, but you get two or three of them chugging on at the same time…. J. Discomfort isn’t minor, it’s a pain in the neck… B. I don’t know if there are any real definitions for pain. I don’t suppose there is any way of really measuring…. genuine pain. J. Very difficult… B. I told my chap, Dr Daniel, a few weeks ago how many of these I was taking and at what intervals, and I said well I don’t want to exaggerate…when I’m taking this I wouldn’t call it pain, pain. Lt’s just… J Discomfort?


B. Yeh. And he said no, no, no, if you’re taking that many of those at that interval that is considerable pain. Well that made me think. Of course nobody really knows. We’re all you see, locked within our own bodies, aren’t we? J. Yes, you can only really reference it by your own experience, and I suppose as good a way of any is to ask yourself out of ten how painful is it, you know? B. Yup, yup….well, we’ve done that, on a chart. Mrs McMillan was thrilled to be able to look very important with this chart, making people look like Leonardo da Vinci drawings… and then you have to say where the pain is on a scale of words, severe, very severe, intolerable, off your fucking head to …… J. yes. B. And then again you’ve got different, as the doctor said, we have different interpretations and reactions to pain. Tolerance is the word he used, tolerance. But I can’t complain. So that was a little touch of travelling up to London leading us up to.…Etching. 1968. About the only anniversary I can remember in my whole life, literally. I couldn’t tell you what year I was married. I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head when I went to St Martins, or when I left the old Royal College. The only date is 1968 I began etching. And the only number, as they say of all ex-military men, is my military number 4156816. Sah!! Pretty clever how they do that to us isn’t it? J. Three weeks beating your brain with a bog-brush, probably! B. Yuh. I think I described how, last week, when I first sniffed the waxes, the oils, the heated metal of the etching process, how I immediately thought this is not for me. I don’t like these smells….And how completely wrong I was, because those smells have become very cherished smells, -even the smell of the acid. Everything to do with the process. So….I knew nothing about etching, having avoided it at RCA. It was not a particularly esteemed branch of any art school course. I’ve even heard one of those so-called lecturers, full time tutors, say of a student, - Well so-and-so can’t draw. So he’d better do etching. _ that was very much the attitude. In other words, etching was seen as a process whereby you disguise your tracks. You disguise the fact that you can’t draw, by making all sorts of mess all over everything and making the image well nigh unintelligible


through chemical processes, which nobody else can follow or understand, so you come out the winner with a smug expression and say - Oh that’s open bit and that’s aquatint. And nobody dared question you any further! The fact that it’s disguising feeble, feeble visual dynamics never came into it. So etching was seen I think as a bit of a soft option with people who’ve got plenty of time just to potter around and lose themselves in corners for years. So I got in the habit of carrying grounded plates back and forth between Farnham and Jollytown. Drawing them at Jollytown, taking them back, biting them in the acid at Farnham. And then I slowly realised that the two phases are not really to be separated – It’s not a big drawing session and then a big biting-stroke-etching session and then a big printing session; these things can overlap consistently. Until in my latter years as an etcher, after say 25 years, I would often start with a well grounded, craftsman like grounded plate. But then break every rule in the book, take no state proofs to see what the plate was actually looking like, just go on working in the relative dark, judging what I could see bitten into the plate, occasionally rubbing ink into the lines to get a gauge, but not actually inking up a printing until I deemed the thing finished. And the last two plates, two of the most ambitious plates I ever did, went through six or seven states like that and were well nigh true to what I wished without any state proof. J. That must have been very satisfying. B. Well, something of a tour de force! But it’s more than that. You’re inviting into the arena, the metal, the acid, the heat….The nuances. The acid will work differently under different conditions. You could leave a plate in the acid overnight, for ten hours, and it would not come to any harm. In a cold room. But leave it in this temperature for an hour, and it would bubble and churn away. So you have to have an approximate understanding of the chemistry, the mechanics of things. But then you gain that. And the more you gain in confidence, the more you invite chance in. And the more chance comes into the process, the more risk comes. And I suppose those components make for a good gymnast – not just an impeccable technique, which would make for a creditable gymnast but throw in an impeccable technique that you’ve chosen to throw to one side. Bring in risk, bring in chance, then if it comes off you’ve got something that cannot be emulated. And that something is a really powerful etching. And it is for that reason that you see so few powerful etchings, because 99% of regular etchers don’t like to leave go of the ropes; they want to keep quite close to the bank all of the time, quite close to safety. And especially


in Germany, they want to control the medium absolutely. And we could actually in Germany go out and buy a textbook that would tell us that if we’re working with an X percent proof nitric acid against a copper plate in a room temperature – we measure it – eighty eight degrees, nitric degrees on its scale… correlate these etch for ten minutes for line like hair, for twenty minutes for line like..etc….every damn weight of line would be tabulated in this text book. J. Reference tables. B. Yuh. J. Quite useful. B. Absolute junk. Absolute junk! Other than for a pedant without an idea in his head. I could sit on the end of a telephone - have Kurt Schoenen in Berlin on the other end. And I could say – Now, you’ve got the textbook Kurt, it’s 86 degrees here and the acid is 46 I want to bite a mid-grey tone aquatint. Oh. One minute, Brian… flip, flip, flip through the pages. You are giving it seven minutes for mid-grey tone. Fine, right and so we could make the etching. But it wouldn’t be a very good etching. I suppose very, very briefly we should mention… what is etching. Etching is a means of incising a metal –normally- plate with marks which will then hold ink which will then print onto dampened paper reproducible marks. When I say reproducible I mena it will allow us to print fifty times…from the same inked up mark we will get the same impression on our paper. It’s a controlled and fixed mark we have on the etching plate. To achieve the mark…. To go back one step, our metal plate will be covered with a thin film of wax. We will then seek to remove the wax from here and there. The removal of the wax will be called drawing. The drawing can take place with a point a series of points, with roulettes of various degrees, with any object that will cleanly penetrate the wax rather simply smear the wax about the surface but not break the wax through to the metal. We need to expose the metal. A good etcher will tend I think in 1997 to have a range of tools at his disposal. He will have little spiked roulette wheels on wooden handles which if rolled like…like that, will produce a gravel path of marks. He will {unintel} rockers which can be used in different ways to achieve different patterns of marks. He will have a straight needle which can produce a straight pen-like mark…consistent, equidistant lines. He could use tools used in the old-fashioned house-painting trade, tools which simulate, which create effects simulating wood grain etcetera. And any one of these tools used in a conventional manner will make a sequence of marks. Which


can be added to or which can be erased by the simple expediency of painting over the mark, that is the exposed metal, with an acid resistant varnish. The good etcher will find he’s not only using a range of tools. With those tools he’s also making inventive marks; he’s not merely drawing as in a pen drawing. He’s not merely cross-hatching as in a nineteenth century illustration; but he’s building up different figurations, marks…..He will find obviously that if he draws with his pen-like tool very quickly, he will get a different character of mark than if he drew very slowly. And if he draws at a speed between quick and slow he’ll get a yet different quality of mark. So put those different variables together and you might have a plate that is drawn with quite a rich variety of potential printing marks. So then we can slide the whole plate with the back side of the metal well varnished, so the acid is now working simply where we’ve made the drawing, the marks. We can observe or we can sense, or we can even smell when the acid is working – if the acid is working. If it is working quickly, savagely, or otherwise. Let’s imagine we have four parallel lines amongst these more imaginative marks. After ten minutes I decide that line one of the four is etched to such a depth that if I were to take the whole plate out, print it – wipe it free of wax, cover it with ink, wipe the ink away - and print the thing in the normal manner, line one, as well as all the other lines would print the weight of a human hair. But I don’t want to do that to all of the lines, I want to do it only to certain lines. So those certain lines I paint out with varnish. The ones I wish to be arrested early in their development. That might be five seconds, it might be five minutes, it might be five hours, depending on strengths and various things. Strength of mark, strength of acid etcetera.. I might put then the plate, with the lines stopped out in varnish, put it back into the acid for further ten minutes, take it out, judge that the second of my equally drawn lines is now printed, etched, deeper than the first one. So I paint that out with varnish to arrest its development, and so on… the third line I might think I need to be quite thick, so I might leave that one in the acid for one hour. And then when it comes out of the acid I might poke it with a needle, I might feel through the tactile sense that yes that is quite deep, it will hold a lot more ink than the first or the second one. I might then paint out that in varnish and let the fourth line go. And the fourth line I might wish to be very very strong, a heavy black line, holding a lot of ink. And I might let it go for an hour or I might let it go for a day. And if I’m in control of the job to a degree…or rather than control if I’m confident in what I’m doing I might think yes, by all means, let’s let it go for twelve hours. Let’s only look at it once every hour, so I stop fussing now. As long as the wax doesn’t come off all


over – as long as the ground holds up, - we’ll let the plate etch. And so at the end of ten hours and twelve hours we’ve got the same four lines, one printing like a whisper and one printing almost like a black piece of string. But they all started their life as uniform. Now, it’s on those two simple principles of the character of the mark made and the tool that made it and the variety of the etching imposed upon those marks. That’s really the whole battleground of etching. J. Do you not work the plate after you’ve taken the wax off sometimes? B. Let’s say we’ve done that with the plate. So we’ve got some lines stopped out at one minute – whatever it was, and ten minutes through to ten hours. We’ve got a variety of lines made by a variety of means. So this is the exciting time. We wipe away all of the wax with a solvent. We warm the plate, cover it with ink wipe the ink away form the surface leaving only the lines and marks, the marks being called the intaglio – Italian word. And then we need soft blankets. We cover our inked up plate with a sheet of gently dampened paper, probably an expensive paper, soft paper. Cover that with two or three blankets of different character – soft and hard blankets. And roll that through a mangletype press. So the rollers, the pressure of the rollers pushes the ink down to the bottom of the intaglio. And then we gently peel away the sheet of paper which is now a print. And that’s always a very exciting moment. And nine times out of ten it’s always disappointing. Because it’s never at all what you imagined; even allowing for the fact that the image is reversed. So you’re seeing something quite in a different light, in reverse. But invariably, the student will be surprised to see the balance of black mark to white paper is not at all what they had imagined, when it was question of wax-free marks to the wax ground one would always imagine that there were a lot more marks on the image than in fact there are, the first time round. But there’s nothing lost. We can clean away the ink, put on a fresh ground, mark the first print “first state” and go through the whole process – reground the plate, add more drawing to the plate. If we wish we can allow the first state print to dry we can spread a bit of tracing paper over that and we can draw on the tracing paper over the print to see where we need different marks. More marks, different character marks, deeper marks, deeper lines. And we can set about doing that then through the new wax ground. And the new bout of etching. Print that and we’re at the second state. Many etchers never get beyond a first state; they will think that’s it, marvellous. What they tend to be doing is translating the


equivalent of a pen and ink drawing into a pen and ink drawing that can be multiplied fifty times or a hundred times into an edition. But they’re not using the medium of etching. They’re just using it as a reproductive process. Well, that is pusillanimous, second-rate and not really worth talking about. Now a good etcher may by the time there’s a third state or a fourth state have pulled the whole print together. And by the time he pulls the fourth state proof he may say whoopee, that’s it! Its got all the variety I need, its got every detail there that I…that I’m dreaming of.. that’s it, that’s finished. Or he may need to carry on. The most I’ve done was for I think twenty six states. That’s exaggerated. And that was one of those nudes of Sarah John where I removed a lot of work, scraped a lot away, added work, and it went on over a period of years. I think generally speaking between four and six states you ought to get what you want. Not with the first state or even the second state because you don’t quite know what you want when you start, and you only begin to see it in printed and etched terms when you really started using those components as part of your vocabulary as long as you’re still drawing like a draftsman you’re not making an etching. Or not to my way of thinking. Would it be a moment just to pause now, Joss? J. Absolutely if you’re… B. How much time is there there? ¬ tape paused¬ J….We’re doing very well, actually B. One of the fascinating things about etching, and I used to tell my students at Falmouth this. I would have maybe eight students per week, some who’d done it before, some who’d done it and forgotten it, some who knew what on earth it was all about! And I would tell them quite honestly I could teach you all you need to know about etching for the rest of your life in one morning. And then you can add to that. And I having been doing it as it was then for fifteen years for twenty years, as it is now for call it twenty five years, am still adding to my repertoire of modus operandi. Of possibilities. But the basic stuff the students and I could foregather in Mr Rembrandts studio in Amsterdamplatz, handle his big wooden press, look around, yes, there’s the hot plate, there’s the tarlatan there’s the inking-up dabber. Where are your acid trays, Van Rjin? Ah yes, under there. Jolly good, you use Dutch mordr- Ah you’re Dutch! Of course! You would use that. Well, we might choose to use something else. And we could settle down and learn the rudiments of etching in a studio …how old? Four hundred years old? And in fact the more sophisticated refinements


that have been stuck onto the tail of etching in the last few years – as on the tail of every process known, be it typography or silk screen printing or any process – those few oddments that have been stuck one are virtually useless, they are superficial, spurious, not-needed-onvoyage little sophistries. J. Such as what, in etching? B. Well, some etchers may favour spraying their plates with acid. Some may favour combinations of photographic sensitised plates and so on…some of these techniques are quite old, and some could be used to good effect, so I’m contradicting myself a little there! But basically everything you need to know about etching was almost exposed for us by the very first known etcher, a lad who goes under the splendid name of Hercules Seghers, and he produced some of the first colour etchings ever. Which are quite as effective as anything done today. So…so we don’t really need…we can still regard etching as a means of exploration, of discovery. And as a means of personal discovery it is absolutely invaluable. And I think that really is what I was hoping to talk about at the beginning of this tape. How etching, how learning the processes of etching, helped to lift one out of this narrow, or even shallow, arena of pencil on wash on board which in turn came from the wood constructions, which in turn came from the big Rome painted constructions, all of which in their way had been found lacking in some area or other. In different ways I had found them not ultimately satisfactory. And it was with learning the etching techniques that the visual possibilities of graphic, visual graphic art began to unfold again. So the title of this tape is How I saved my painting life by becoming an etcher. And I think we can carry on from there in the next tape. ¬¬¬end tape`¬¬start tape15¬¬¬ J. Right. B. Before resuming I’m remembering with this heat one can’t help thinking of Italy, and I’m thinking of the studio in Rome, in Via Granchi, at the British Academy, and I’m thinking of my big pictures the size of the book case (indicating) and how there is a sort of inevitability about such paintings, and if I had those long-since destroyed paintings lined up down the yard there and dressed just in shorts and singlet and great pots and tubes and pallets of paint it would be just the most natural thing in the world to develop them the little bit that they still could be developed. They could be enriched. Call made absolute.


J. Have the British Academy got rid of them? B. Oh. I’m sure. I’m sure. J. Did you ever check? B. I think I was told by somebody who came there the year after – I think so. He said that Mrs Ward-Perkins flung my cat into the cat pit as described earlier and Mr Ward-Perkins supervised the immediate even instant (chuckling) destruction of my paintings. Heh, heh! Don’t know why, but I used to worry a lot of grown-ups in those days! It’s hard to think that such an innocuous, ingenuous, simple-minded little soul could arouse such passion and anger amongst mature people. Heh, heh! J. Well it didn’t seem to worry you at the time, either…. B. No, it didn’t, then or now. You see the problem…I suppose the problem was that they all thought that I knew a lot more than I did know. They couldn’t believe that anybody could be just as simple and ordinary as I was, and imagined I was playing highly complicated intellectual and emotional games with them all. Whereas I wasn’t. If they’d taken me at the lowest common denominator they’d have found me there. An amiable chap! J. Hmnnn… B. Well, it’s the old thing of seeing ourselves as others see us.¬¬break¬¬ So, back at Jollytown, carrying copper plates between Penzance railway station and Farnham. Got off to a very good start with very good teaching. Firstly from the technician, John Butterworth, a little Lancastrian fellow, passionate Manchester United supporter, who literally, quite honestly would take to his bed for at least two days had Manchester United suffered a particularly notable defeat. Hard to believe! J. Actually went to bed? B. Went to bed. Darkened room. I visited him there. Two days. Total silence. Darkness. Cold water. That’s what it is to be a passionate supporter, and I suppose United there are none more passionate….He saw the great game against – who was it ….-Benfica - when United won 5-3, Georgie Best got a hat trick – one of those great great nights of football. He could still cry when talking about it. No mob violence


there at all! Just imagine him walking under the palm trees passing groups of bemused Europeans and John saying in his broad accent “Gereat! Gereat!” that was his fondest adjective. Anything that was above good was “Gereat! Gereat!” So he was fine teacher, was John. And he took a lot of care with the preparation, not with the aesthetic. How to make a good ground and so on. And like many craftsmen he took it far, far, far too far. Like many etchers. They do tend to make a great mystique out of the niceties of technicalities. Unnecessarily so. It’s simple and it’s complicated, but it doesn’t need jazzing up with hushed voice and the plate ground has to be totally perfect, and after a year or two I think well, bugger that! I can paint stop-out varnish across that and I may have to draw a thicker line there. And I would let a bit of chance come into it and intervene. I think that’s why he remained a competent and dazzling etcher, but never a very interesting etcher. And then the people I stayed with overnight, the Faircloughs, whom I’d met in Rome. Their father was Wilfred Fairclough, well known principal of Kingston-on-Thames art school amongst other things. Like many short me, a tyrant. Very critical, very sardonic. And if you didn’t punch his weight, or height, he’d slam you in the guts and leave you sprawling. But if you did, he was very controllable, I learned, and he represented a tradition of British etching, what you might call the tradition of British etching, which can be traced very directly back to Samuel Palmer, mid nineteenth century, through just two or three figures really, almost passing the flaming torch from one to the other. The torchbearers included at one time and relatively briefly, Graham Sutherland. And another wonderfully poetic etcher called Paul Drury, whom I had the pleasure of meeting as a old man, and they etched English Idyll, a romantic idyll, heavily laden fruit trees, orchards, rounded hills, suns setting behind the shore and beech forests and hangers. Very much an idealised Britain. Again very much a pre-1914 Britain. The quintessence of that great richness that Empire and country and craftsmanship and hope and idealism, and men lioke H G Wells and Arnold Bennet and G B Shaw were all seeing a great future ahead. Well these etchers occupied a little corner of this great future; they occupied the romantic gardens of the future. And very accessible and beautiful places they were too. They would I’m sure look frankly silly now. But as long ago as 1950 you were probably still in order to evoke that spirit of landscape and history. So I got a lot of old man …Wilfred, Wilfred his name…I got a lot of his knowledge and skill through his son Michael, himself a very distinguished aquatint artist. Who made a peculiar mistake in relatively early career of setting his sights too low. A lot of people fail from aiming too high, I think. But not


many fail from achieving what they set out to do. And Mike wanted to be the greatest aquatint artist, capable of covering miles of cornfield in a square inch of copper plate, capable of evoking Lincoln cathedral not much bigger than your thumb-nail, yet all there under a July sun. He could do these things wonderfully. And very fine they are as well. But there’s no way forward for that. He’s recently broken out – made his dash – through painting now. Rather a rougher approach. He took aquatint – three plate colour aquatint possibly as far as it can go, devising his own techniques which bemused fellow Royal Academicians, members of the Royal Society of Painters, Etchers and Engravers. Didn’t know how Mike got his so-subtle effects so uniformly. Well, he fulfilled that ambition and now all right he’s tackling the next stage. Let’s hope he breaks through that and continues developing. Good for him that he’s stopped at last, when people were beginning to say when you’ve seen one dragon you’ve seen the lot, as the fellow says on the gramophone record. Then the head of department, amiable bully, Arthur Hackney…. J. At Farnham? B At Farnham. I like to refer to him in a char ladyfish sort of voice as (imitates) Mr ‘ackney. Arthur again, had a good technique, he was a good etcher. By this time, I should have said, the etching department had expanded, had aquired a diploma, the only diploma in the country, and was accepting full-time print-making students. Which was a big mistake. Full-time print making students you’d have been spending 60% of their time drawing 30 % of their time living, and the odd bits and pieces learning how to make aquatints and open bites and so on. But no, the poor sods were shown – this is lithography, you’ll be doing that next term and dragged through the processes, which don’t have a lot in common other than they are reproductive processes Lithography prints from the surface, using a basic principle of a water/oil mutual resistance. Nothing at all to do with the intaglio, sculptural qualities of copper plate etching, but put in the same bracket as etching as print-making. As with serigraph or silk-screen printing which again has got absolutely fuck-all to do with sculpture or with etching. And not necessarily a lot to do with drawing either. So a printmaking course is highly questionable. I don’t know whether it still operates as such. I know the few wretched students I saw at that time struggling through it years later were totally confused as well they might be. So Mr Hackney had latched on in his etchings to the notion that the more marks you put on a plate the more ink the plate holds the more ink it holds the darker the image will tend to be. So what shall


we do about it. I know, let’s do the blossom tree at the bottom of the garden under a full moon. So you’ve got a lovely velvety black sky, and the shadows, and the blossoms looming out of the shadows and the radiance of the moon through the half-tones. In other words make an etching as a dark subject and it’s money for old rope really! The skill comes in evoking a hot day mebbe…then you can’t just large cross hatch the whole thing with lines…anyway blossom trees and ponies under moonlit skies were Arthur’s speciality. And very adequate they were. All these artists of a high standard…not the highest. And technically wonderfully informed. And all very, very glad to share on a one to one basis their knowledge. So didn’t have an etching teacher; I had four or five. And because I place myself very much as a beginner – I didn’t try to bluster my way – Oh I’m a painter and I’m this and that -No …I know nothing about this and I want to know something – can you help me? And of course people respond to this. So, a damn good background I got. And the new medium, etching, allowed me to take over from the previous medium – pencil, wash, board –effects. It gave me a greater scope of subject matter. I don’t know exactly why, but it did. I’ve always been suspicious of anything achieved by myself rapidly, Now that’s a mistake; it’s quite wrong. But I’ve always resisted fluency. And of course you can become very fluent with a pencil and a paper. Rather as I became very fluent with the glazing techniques at St Martins, pinched from Fra Angelico and Co and then slapped myself over the wrists and sentenced myself to two years house emulsion paint. Which I could understand but none of the tutors chose to enquire why, so they couldn’t understand. Maybe they thought it was a response to the neo-brutalist buildings going up on the South Bank maybe they thought I was much more sophisticated than I was pretending to be. So with etching as a medium I could go out, I could make my on-the-spot drawings. I could even draw any old stuff. And I could draw material that at the Royal College of Art a few years previously you’d have been laughed out into Exhibition Road! A man drawing a medieval church. Or a man drawing a farmers forge. Or a drawing a wave breaking over a rock, or drawing Soapy Cove or Lizard headland. No, sod it, with the etching you could do anything. You could even, or I could even, draw naked ladies. Which I could just about scribble down in pencil. But I could never make, barring two or three exceptions, I could never make an elaborate painting or drawing, And I could never present my swift sketches, by candlelight a a finished work. And that’s where the mystery of the medium starts to come in. For a start, armed with the drawings of the grave yard and the church. What’s the lovely white flower bush that they make the


champagne..Oh – elderflower. Drawings of elderflower trees in blossom. Take all these pencil notes back into the workshop, choose a grounded plate, then your first decision, d’you want the image to come out as it is optically in life or is it all right if the image is reversed as it print physically in fact. Well usually I would choose to draw on the plate as I draw from life. And not worry about the reversed image. In fact even welcome the reversed image because on the first glance of the first print of that reversed image and you knew you were well away from that actual church, that actual bush and place. The imagery became to a degree abstract. To a small degree, but to a degree… And then of course you were drawing with such strange tools – literally and frequently with a needle which as you draw through the wax exposes the copper, the aim never being to mark the copper, just to expose the copper. Now that copper will then delimit that quite a strong line, but of course under magnification we would appreciate that that quite strong line in fact is a line drawn by a needle, a very fine line indeed. So we’d have to invite the acid to widen this line, or if we don’t wish it to be widened we’ll use another type of acid and ask the acid to deepen this line. And the acid will go on deepening as long as we allow it. The acid will also find any weak place in your grounded plate and attack that as well, so if you’re not keeping a close look on your plate you might find nasty patterns of exposed metal beginning to appear. Well, leave those for ten minutes in a normal acid and it doesn’t matter two hoots, so shallow and so broad is the mark that you could polish those back to be accommodated in the final plate. But let is go all night and you might find you’ve got holes in your copper plate. The plate might be a tracery, it might be like a piece of lace almost. So you’ve got to take care of it, but you’ve got also to learn to let it look after itself. And that’s why etching and in later years Auchel Staat Bremen became such good companions. My studio, my workshop was 50 yards from the pub. And I would go the pub thinking, yes, I will leave that plate for one hour. And I’d look at the clock, and By Jove an hour would have passed! And with the arrogance that alcohol can give, I’d think yes, I’m going to let it run. Give it another hour. Then I might go back, and the sure enough it would behave itself, be behaving itself very well – if I’d gone back an hour earlier I would probably have painted out some of the lines, lost a bit of confidence, but no the two hour was more appropriate…So then I could think yes, if I want to stay to midnight, another two and a half hours I won’t go and look at it again. All I must remember to do now is to take the bloody thing out at midnight. So I could roll home in my cups, take the plate out, rinse it off, not look at it, go to bed; next morning look at it. Literally, as I say look at the


damage. And the damage would almost certainly be recompensed by the results of the bravery shown in staying in the pub. I suppose at Jollytown I would walk down to Soapy Cove, gather another load of driftwood or a sackload of kindling wood a job I did two or three times a day. It took about 40 minutes a round trip, gathering the wood and taking a rest coming back. So etching was, with its primitive methods and needs very appropriate. As I said I didn’t have running water, but then I’m sure Rembrandt didn’t. He probably had a bucket, as I had a bucket. If I had a bigger plate I had a running stream a hundred yards away. If I wanted a very good ground put on my plate I might still take it up to Surrey, or I might take it to a neighbour who had a larger hotplate than mine. But slowly I became quite well equipped with everything - hotplate… so I could take off a ground, take a proof, put on the new ground, do the whole process myself. And as I say, important to me, allowing subject matter, observation, reportage of direct visual experience. Which had become absent in, for example, the large Rome pictures. Important too in the etching process is the fact that the more one allowed the acid to eat the metal away, the more literally tactile the plate and the ensuing print becomes. And it is that tactile sense and that sense of object and physical reality as opposed to illusion of physical reality that I have always sought as the main component in my art work since I began to understand it. Since leaving my landscape Pre-Raphaelite manner -that was simply an excursion up the wrong gravel path. Worthwhile but…My God, if I’d followed that path I’d be a millionaire! Times over. J: You think so? B: Oh yes, probably be president of the Royal Academy. It all goes together. I would have been like the painter in, -I’ve not read it for years, - but the painter in Brideshead Revisited, Charles Ryder. Was not his job a portrait painter of country houses? So I’d have got on to that circuit and I’d have been invited to do Castle Howard and so on…. And had a rich clientele. To please my clientele I’d have shown regularly at the Royal Academy. They would have been thrilled to have such realistic and prestigious subjects in their Gallery 3….they would have discovered I had a taste for rhetoric {chuckling} I would have been a made man! I would been wearing fine tweed suits at the age of forty. And assuming all manner of alarming eccentricities by the age of fifty five! But unfortunately I had too much intelligence, or common sense, or ambition, or whatever we call it, to follow that path. Oh yes that would have been easy, easy easy. Easy as anything…


J: Easy at one level. B: Yes, Like my pal Fairclough I’d have been pitching my sights very low, and not having a taste for the life of the socialite all ¬break in tape.¬¬ Just to finsh that topic, it’s not, as many a listener might believe. Anybody in the Blue Anchor would listen with jaw agape. It’s not delusions of grandeur there, but a simple knowledge of.. J: Of the market? B: Of the market, of the workings, the social workings, of mankind or of our society. But all what would have seemed to be the perks, the high life and fine houses and the handsome women. If one doesn’t aspire to a handsome but possibly shallow woman one jolly well doesn’t wany anything to do with them! One doesn’t have a gap in one’s heart for the Tiggy Legge-Bourkes of the world – She may be a charming girl, I don’t know that particular one. But the girls that go with country houses and dukes are not really my taste! As company. J: Well, you’ve managed to squeeze in a few handsome ones, one way or another.. B: Oh certainly yes, certainly. But for example every time I came down from Scotland, much as I enjoyed my stays there, every minute, my first pleasures in coming back would be to go on gentle pub crawls up and down Brick Lane and Spitalfields talking to the dossers around their camp fire, and to the mad African deposed kings, like African Johnny. {imitates} I bring you hashish, Man! Big as bars of soap! It was an unfulfilled promise. And mixing in that really, again, not my milieu. But I enjoy it. As much as… J: Stob Hall… B: Another extreme. And I suppose it’s the one in the middle that one enjoys least of all. Like the lovely Hillaire Belloc poem – do you know? “The rich arrived in pairs/ and also in Rolls Royces/They talked of their affairs/ in loud and strident voices/ The husbands and the wives/ of this select society/lead independent lives/ of infinite variety/ The poor arrived in Fords/ whose features they resembled/they laughed to see so many lords/ and ladies all assembled/ The people in between/ looked underdone and harassed/ and out of place and mean/ and horribly embarrassed.


So it’s the people in between who’ve never really given us a lot of fun! And one’s experience of the upper echelons is limited, very limited, but limited in such a way to know that one doesn’t lust for any more. One’s had enough tasting of that. So friends and colleagues to tend to come back ultimately to a small circle of people who are neither one thing nor the other. Life, experiences, the education of life has drawn us into degrees of mutual sympathy at the ages of thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years old. Now I’ve lost my thread there ¬break in tape ¬ B: Yes, we went from imagining what sort of a painter one might have turned out to be had one stuck to one of the many options that were available. Not a painter of society women, but a painter of society architecture… which I was, very fond of, painting architecture. With what I call my PreRaphaelite techniques I could do a lot, I could do almost anything, or I certainly would have been able to with another few years at it. To paint a box hedge, a carved topiary work garden, dew-sprinkled lawns…. Elm trees…. beautiful, beautiful things. They would have been good, not junk. But not…not this other weird sort of art. Are we deluding ourselves – would that have been the right way? I don’t… I don’t, I never think so; I never regret it. But we do tend to assume that what we’ve done is right. It could be that it’s all some massive big mistake…I’ve certainly fought against my talents all my life. I’ve never let them help me. And I think that that is one’s boiler house, that is one’s strength and that of any truly fine artist.[long pause, gulls crying} The great difference between the media is that they direct us to different solutions, to different results; so if we use pencil on paper we achieve one quality of expression, if we use this ink intaglio line on soft hand-made paper we achieve an altogether different expression of what could originally have been the same idea. And so in exploring the large surfaces of for want of a better expression I will refer to as the Rome reliefs but I don’t mean that with capital letters – people to tend to do that quite a lot you know, to set themselves up historically – Chapter Three big letters – The Rome Reliefs – and we’ve all got to be very serious….no. The bloody…the things I did in Rome I could never or I thought I could never achieve by standing in Ruan Minor churchyard with great big board and a drill and a screwdriver and tubes of glue and bottles of stain and paint. No, It wouldn’t work. They were studio paintings, and the etchings allow a quality of expression achievable only through that medium. So as a musician can write a tune for piano and later he can set it for two pianos and then think it might be better to have a violin a bass and a viola, and drop one piano, and then reorchestrate it including a clarinet – all


of this can happen and it can obviously produce very different flavoured work. But the original impetus came from the piano maks, or in this case the etched marks. So I’ve always found it a very worthwhile medium, a good friend of a medium. To be sure, as a friend it can make a fool of you, and it can expose your inadequacies, so that you’ve got to admit to them. Occasionally it can give you a bit of encouragement and help you. But it’s a totally honest medium at it’s true level – not at the student level I mentioned earlier “if you can’t draw you’d better do etching”…that’s using etching as a disguise, but that’s nothing to do with etching or heart or anything. That’s to do with extremely reprehensible teaching attitude. So etching is a very, very honest and a handsome medium I think, a medium with style, with flair, a medium that can accommodate itself to all manner of uses. It can mix. With all people, with all artists, they can make it their own in very distinctive fashions. It’s subtle. And it’s always a hard task master. So there you’ve got a trusty thing upon which to lean. And I leant on my etchings for many, many years. Exclusively. And retrospectively I can see, going up so many less than major branches from the main stem. The English School of Etching Palmer through to Wilfred Fairclough, fine in it’s own way, but a dead end. A dead end in Mr Hackney’s white blossom beneath the silvery moon, nowhere to go. Other than cliché and sentimentality. Well, I followed similar paths. Some of my most popular ones – that was the largest ones, are the ones mostly in the wrong direction, like the big garden pieces of Kynance. Which I would never dismiss – none of them. But they are…they have missed the main direction. I had to come back from those rather than advance through them. J: But I don’t think that merit should simply be seen as whether it fits into the pattern of progress. I think that things like merit stand on their own… B: Well, I think that’s probably a very good point, Joss. J: They may have been in a sense irritations for you because you went down – as everybody else does – a number of culsde-sac. And had to come back to hit the main trottoir, but, you know…. I don’t think one should knock them for that. B: Well, I don’t think I’m knocking them. Possibly I’m regretting the many years I’ve spent doing things which have not ultimately been of use towards my direction and purpose. And yes there is the argument that by going through many of these…along many of these false boughs, one has enriched one’s vocabulary, if only minimally, but


positively enriched it. That is one reason why the best of my later etchings are strong. And Inimitable, because nobody ahs gone up and down those various pathways. Because most people have chosen to stick to just one bloody pathway for Heaven’s sake! Not the pathways of construction, collage, oil painting, drawing, etching, lithograph, and of their various component paths. I’ve been up and down a hell of a lot of pathways. And this is all very, very fine. And I’ve said before, if one had another lifetime, another sixty years to work, one would certainly do startling work. But it’s taken all of that time just to arrive at the beginning. I feel that about my etching, I feel that about my painting, and to a lesser extent about my sculpture. Well that’s an apprenticeship, and a good apprenticeship. But should an apprenticeship last 45 years? J: I’m sure you’re not the first person to feel that and not the last. And I’m not sure that anyone would regard you as an apprentice as far as your etching and painting are concerned! B: But I do, because I know. I know! I know, I know I can just about envisage what I might be doing next year, and in five years and in ten years. As I’ve said before I’m not lamenting a few lost years now, because in the scale in which I’m thinking those few years are as one year, nothing much to lamented over. And it does happen that by pure chance that the work on my various fronts is on pause at the moment if not full stop at fortuitous stages, of the sculpture of the etching and of the painting. I feel I’ve made breakthroughs very recently in all three of those. So it’s not a bad time if the curtain has to come down. It’s not a bad time for it to happen. {long pause} the real breakthrough as far as I am concerned in my own etchings was via a student at the Summer school, I think I mentioned him the other week, a man called Albert Herbert who is probably ten years older than myself. Very interesting painter. He was a painting tutor at the St Martins College, when I met him at my summer school at Falmouth. So he came as a student, because he too had got lost in painting, funnily enough. So we had quite lot intuitively in common, both being well experienced painters, but not painting. And he broke every – I never lay down rules per se – but he broke every would-be rule that I might lay down Albert would turn it on its head within 36 hours and I’d see that he’d got a point there….and he used one simple technical device, which to put it at its simplest was etching surfaces rather than lines and this like a good artist he acknowledged he had lifted from the technical repertoire of a German artist called Michael Harmsdorf, who had made a bit of a stir in London I think in


the late 1970s. So Albert had picked this up from Harmsdorf and I picked it up from Albert and spent that summer applying this principle to a littler suite of etchings which were called Souvenir of Falmouth. I wonder whether you ever saw them, I don’t think I showed them as such. They were about so big and had raggedy edges and asymetrical formats, and I would start with an asymetrical format the draw within that to achieve a state of motion or balance or equilibrium whatever I was after and then etch the things very vigorously……..that’s Katy there …….scrape out a lot, polish a lot – a lot of elbow grease goes into etching. A lot of vigorous polishing. To achieve plates that were very beautiful in their own right, plates which carry very few lines but were shapes, areas, dots and so forth. Carrying on developing, taking farther, some of the small revolutionary techniques that Anthony Gross had opened up in the 1950s as an etcher. Very innovative Anthony Gross, very fine artist. His best work was terrific I think; but he produced a lot of not very good work, and I think made the mistake of allowing too much of it through. Although he did die very suddenly. He was working the day before he died. So he’s not had the grace and favour which I’ve been given to try and put such things in order. I’ve got have session or two with an assistant in the next month or two, first of all getting together as many copper plates as we can find. Cataloguing the lost ones with great regret, and then weeding out the borderline ones and saying no, let’s throw those away. Let’s cancel those. I’d rather be represented by thirty, forty good etchings than by 120 including some poor ones. So maybe Anthony Gross would have done much the same. Anyway, using Albert Herberts’s technique I made what I thought was a definite breakthrough. I even wrote a little catalogue introduction to a show at the Penwith which I expressed very very lucidly, and I’ve lost that lucid expression, and the curator there says Oh it would take me a long time to find, Bryan. I said you must have an archive, Cathy for God’s sake! Yes. Well, please find it for me. Well that was about two years ago, I must start using my telephone and pestering her. Because that says very, very much what I feel etching might be as opposed to the reproducible line drawing done on copper. And then of course there’s room for overlapping the more traditional techniques of Samuel Palmer with one’s own discoveries. And leaving plenty of room for Anthony Gross’s inventions. Or for aspects of Picasso’s wonderful graphic oeuvre. Which 99 out of 100 times you can’t get near to that because one isn’t the genius of a draftsman that Picasso was. So some of his plates might break every rule – after what I’ve been saying about simple drawn lines on copper Picasso does just that and because they are so exquisitely right lines it


knocks my ball out of court completely. But then there is only one Picasso. And I think there are very very few notable etchers. There is a not very well known Frenchman called Dunoyer de Segonzac, (Andre 1884-1974) whose genius was with the still life. The picnic. The landscape of Provence. Villages like le Lavandou in 1930 J: When they were still villages… B: When they were real lived-in places. And he captures the flavour of that like nobody else. And the other great etcher, I would always claim,- Giorgio Morandi, the Bologna eccentric. {1890-1964} J: What subjects did he produce? B: He lived with his two sisters. J: Now dead? B: Now dead, maybe 1970 at a guess. Deeply, profoundly modest man. Would not court publicity or fame. Would have visitors, even as his work was gaining international recognition, would have a visitor from for example the New York Museum of Modern Art, the curator of prints would come over and say what a lovely painting or what a lovely etching, Mr Morandi, I would like to buy it. At which point Signor Morandi would be very embarrassed and mumble the equivalent in lira of “Would £40 be all right?” Now this was an already great artist. Still a minor name because the old tune still remains that if you don’t bang your own drum and play your own trumpet it takes the world a long time to cotton on. Anthony Gross is not a household word…you could drop his name in an art school today, they wouldn’t know who you were talking about. Likewise Segonzac. Likewise probably Morandi. And yet there are many infinitely tenth rate artists who for brief periods are well known. Well you know this doesn’t count, it’s not important. They more or less are the etchers I see as being, in their minor ways often, but great. Not second division. Great, though minor. I think there is such a category. There was somebody I was reading about the other day..God I can’t remember who it was….I think an artist – no, I know – a writer who placed himself in the front seats of the second raters. But at the very front seat. And that was Somerset Maugham. And that’s a fairly shrewd self-assessment. J: Somerset Maugham? Who knows? You’d have a job to find a short story writer of a greater talent.


B: Talent, yeah. Yup. Story teller, yes. But not, quite, great literature. J: Well, I suppose the argument being that for literature to be great it has to be a novel, but I’m not sure about that…. B: He’s well loved for his novels. I mean there are a number of long stories that are considered novels. Cakes and Ale, that’s one I’ve never read… J: No I haven’t either. B: It’s such a fine title. Said to be a portrait of Thomas Hardy I believe. J: I think…no it’s his short stories which are …they’re not second rate. Of short story writers I’d put him as the doyen. B: Well, second division, is that the same as second rate? J: I dunno. B: I think that second division still belongs to first-rate…… ¬end of tape¬¬ J: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 10…right it records….. B: Good evening {pause, stage voice,} This is Bryan Ingham recording Part 1 of his memoirs {both laugh} This will take us up to the age of three! {chuckles}. That is the end of my introduction, thank you very much, one and all…Good night. Note: Bryan lived about three weeks after the end of this, his last tape.

Related Interests