As the Twig is Bent

Richard's autobiography


'Tis education forms the common mind

Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined.

This is a quotation from Alexander Pope’s Epistles. It describes how the shape of a mature tree is determined in the early stages of growth.

Dad wrote the memoir in the 1950s but chose to stop the narrative at the end of 1929, the year of his first solo show in London when he was 26 years old.

Dad maintained that the earliest years of one’s life are the most interesting and revealing. He described how reminiscences about the adult years tend to descend into too much name-dropping. Having said that, he was a great reader of biographies of artists and thought they were important documents, giving young artists an idea about how demanding a career as a painter would be.

On the strength of a commission from Evelyn Waugh in 1950, Dad was emboldened to ask him what he thought of his written effort. Apparently Waugh was encouraging and offered to write an introduction but this never happened.