(16 July 1928 – 10 March 2016)
Before carving out a long and worthy career writing novels of clean, quiet, accomplished prose (mostly involving lonely, intelligent, reserved, single, upper-middle class women a lot like Anita Brookner), she was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge, a lecturer at the Courtauld, and a recognised expert on 18C & 19C painting, with excellent books to her credit on Greuze, Watteau and David. One wishes she’d continued in that vein, but we admit that her best novels (Hotel du Lac, Look at Me, The Bay of Angels) were a pleasure. Often her stories built around women who had lost in love, or fought to a draw, but they had played the game, nevertheless, and were not done down or diminshed – and her body of work remains full of clear, precise, formal, stylish, unpretentious little paragons of concision.
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