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Publication date
1st December 2018


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Slightly Foxed Edition 45 Drawn from Life

Author E. H. Shepard


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In this, the second part of two volumes of memoirs, the untroubled bliss of Ernest’s childhood ends in tragedy. Drawn from Life (1961) opens with the death of his adored mother, when he is 10. The children, sent away to the care of aunts, are devastated. The aunts become a steady presence from here on:Aunt Alicia, his godmother; Aunt Annie, an invalid; Aunt Fanny, ‘by far the most energetic’; Aunt Emily, ‘stout and short of breath’. They are the sort of aunts with whom things do not agree: trains, the cold, London. The loss of his mother casts a long shadow over the years of prep school, but Ernest presses on, eventually getting to St Paul’s and from there to the Royal Academy Schools. Throughout all this he is always drawing, studying the people around him, watching for those moments of expression that come to characterize his style. One of the many joys of these delightful memoirs are the sketches and their captions – Ernest was a true master of capturing the vitality of a scene, and the emotional depths of his subjects.

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