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The great obituarist

by
May 2004, no. 261

Art & Life by Philip Jones

Allen & Unwin, $49.95 hb, 312 pp

The great obituarist

by
May 2004, no. 261

Book covers are just expensive hints, and the jacket adorning Philip Jones’s memoir of Heide and beyond is suitably suggestive. Jones may not be especially literary, but he looms at us – first youthful, now in his early seventies – as a kind of antipodean Auden: languid, floppy-tied and with searching eyes. That direct, if hooded, gaze introduces us to a soi-disant minor figure in our cultural history, but one who had an intimate place at Heide in the 1960s and 1970s, and who has known some of the authentic characters and creators in Australian art and letters.

Like many memoirists, Jones feels his way into the book rather gingerly. ‘I am not myself a person of outstanding achievement,’ he tells us. ‘I have, however, known many of the creative people of my time and country.’ He also has a few scores to settle, and his own case to advance following the brouhaha about ownership of the old Heide house that followed Barrett Reid’s death.

Peter Rose reviews ‘Art & Life’ by Philip Jones

Art & Life

by Philip Jones

Allen & Unwin, $49.95 hb, 312 pp

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