Wonderful to see that there’s a major new biography of the great Kenneth Clark, Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilisation. Country Life has a review of the book. The review gives a nice anecdote about the impact of Clark’s magnificent Civilisation series, on art appreciation in Stoke-on-Trent…

“Even when the programmes were first broadcast, in 1969, quite a few young critics thought Clark antediluvian in his patrician demeanour and unembarrassed focus on a European cultural elite. … Listening to the future head of Radio 3, John Drummond, complain about Clark’s grasp of political history, [An unnamed BBC journalist then] interrupted: ‘My father is 74 years old and lives in Stoke-on-Trent. He has never been interested in art. Last week, he came to London to see me, and his first question was “Where is the National Gallery?”’

Looks like an interesting book, and it’s getting excellent reviews. The reviews make it sound somewhat prurient and muck-raking, but perhaps it just seems that way that’s because today’s press reviewers have to go straight to the most sensational bits in order to please their editors. The Amazon UK listing suggests there will soon be an audiobook version.

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