John Fleming and Hugh Honour, Remembered by Susanna Johnston

John Fleming and Hugh Honour, Remembered

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File Size: 756 KB.
Print Length: 288 pages.
Language: English.
Formats: PDF, ePUB & mobi.

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John Fleming and Hugh Honour, Remembered

The prodigiously gifted John Fleming and Hugh Honour were the last titans of art history, living in a beautiful, secluded Italian villa that cocooned their private lives as their world fame grew. To Susanna Johnston, however, they were simply John and Hugh, an inseparable couple and two of her closest friends. They had met at Gli Scafari, the opulent villa on the Italian Riviera of the blind writer Percy Lubbock – one of Henry James’ inamoratos and Iris Origo’s step father – when she was twenty one, on holiday, penniless and in need of a job. John and Hugh had convinced Percy that she would take over as his reading companion despite being a girl, and she thus freed them to embark on careers that would propagate their wide-ranging enthusiasms and rigorous knowledge, enriching the lives of millions of art lovers.

Originally part of the Anglo-Italian world orbiting Bernard Berenson’s I Tatti and Harold Acton’s La Pietra, John Fleming and Hugh Honour were bemused by being lionised by the super-rich who beat a path to their Villa Marchio. Privately poking merciless fun at this (to them) puzzling phenomenon, their reluctance to engage with the outside world increased precipitously following a traumatic burglary in the 1980s, just as they won prestigious prize after prize, when two truck loads of priceless, meticulously-collected but uninsured works of art were pillaged from their secluded villa. This candid memoir, full of private anecdotes, illuminates these two celebrated, passionate, and very English geniuses, through a close-up of a well-seasoned friendship of over 60 years.


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