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April 24, 2005

Fifth Meeting - Period Piece

This meeting was held in St Ives.

Our fifth book was Period Piece by Gwen Raverat.


Gwen Raverat, the granddaughter of Charles Darwin, described this memoir of her late Victorian Cambridge childhood as a "drawing of the world when I was young". The observations of the small incidents in her life and of her eccentric Darwin family, recorded here both in her inimitably charming prose and her line drawings, reveal an artist's careful eye.

Vividly evoking a bygone era, it is a shrewd, touching and comic portrait of her childhood, her eccentric relations, and of Cambridge academic society. The book’s wit and charm have endeared it to several generations of avid readers and have ensured it is still in print some 50 years after it was first published.

Gwen Raverat, née Darwin, was the leading wood engraving artist of the 20th century. She married the French painter, Jacques Raverat, who died aged just 40 from MS. Her friends numbered Rupert Brooke, Virginia Woolf, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Eric Gill and Stanley Spencer. She did not start writing Period Piece until well into her 60s.

A charming recollection of a past just beyond our grasp.

Posted by nathan at April 24, 2005 01:00 PM


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