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Duchess of Cork Street By Lillian Browse

Duchess of Cork Street

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The autobiography of Lillian Browse, this volume begins with her origins in South Africa and reveals how she managed by charm, determination and good judgment to establish herself as a doyenne of the London art world between the 1950s and 1970s.

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Duchess of Cork Street Summary

Duchess of Cork Street: The Autobiography of an Art Dealer by Lillian Browse

Duchess of Cork Street is the autobiography of a remarkable woman who, educated in the culturally unsophisticated milieu of South Africa, managed by charm, determination and good judgment to establish herself as a doyenne of the London art world between about 1950 and the late 1970s. Although Lillian Browse had originally had ambitions to become a ballet-dancer, she joined the staff of the well known Leger Gallery in the early 1930s, and in 1945 she set up a new art gallery called Roland, Browse and Delbanco in Cork Street in the west end of London together with two fellow art dealers, thus coming to know through her varied experiences many of the most distinguished people of her time as clients and friends. She had worked with Sir Kenneth Clark on planning exhibitions in the National Gallery during the war. Her gallery soon acquired a reputation for quality and integrity and, with her distinctive and influential taste, she pioneered the study of important French and English painters and sculptors, among them Degas, Rodin, Sickert, William Nicholson and Augustus John, and she also gave consistent support to an expanding group of living artists. She was active in the world of art-dealing for over fifty years. During that period the character of the profession changed out of all recognition. Although the spotlight has now moved from London to New York for a variety of reasons, she is by no means despairing of the future. The number of galleries is growing fast, especially away from central London. Above all, there is a much wider interest in art and appreciation of living artists in Britain than ever before. She played a significant role in helping to bring that about. Lillian Browse, who was awarded the CBE in 1998, remains a popular and revered personality in the art world. Her book has been eagerly awaited.

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Duchess of Cork Street Reviews

' absorbing story, told with zest and great candour, so that it is entirely fitting that Browse's name should still adorn the facade of No.19 [Cork Street].' Evelyn Joll in The Spectator

About Lillian Browse

Lillian Browse was brought up in South Africa, and she returned to England in the mid 1920s to study ballet with Margaret Craske, joining the Dolin-Nemtchimova Ballet Company in 1930. She became ballet critic to the Spectator for four years in the early 1950s. She worked at the Leger Gallery from 1931 to 1939; then, during the war, she organized exhibitions at the National Gallery and for CEMA, the precursor of the Arts Council. She was a founder partner of the art gallery Roland, Browse and Delbanco in 1945, and also of Browse and Darby in 1977. It was Lillian Browse's neighbour Rex Nan Kivell, the founder of the Redfern Galley and a close friend, who christened her 'duchess of Cork Street'. She organized the Sickert centenary exhibition at the Tate in 1960, later exhibiting her own private collection at the Courtauld Instititute Galleries in 1983. Among her many books have been volumes on Augustus John's drawings, Sickert, Degas' dancers, William Nicholson (catalogue raisonne) and Forain's paintings.

Table of Contents

Part 1 South Africa: my family; being a child in South Africa; dancing days. Part 2 London in the 30th -ballet and art dealing: the most austere of disciplines; the death of my mother; new movements in ballet; my introduction to art and artists; the Leger Gallery - old masters; meeting painters and critics; Paris; more exhibitions at the Leger Gallery; prologue to war. Part 3 The war years: the National Gallery in wartime - "Browse's Academy"; exhibitions and monographs - Sickert and others; the Hugh Walpole estate; Linden Gardens; "Degas Dancers". Part 4 Settling down after the war: forming a partnership; Roland, Browse and Delbanco in Cork Street; early exhibitions and gallery artists; ballet again, from the front of the house; "in sickness and in health". Part 5 Roland, Browse and Delbanco: the rise and fall of London as art centre; Roland, Browse and Delbanco and the avant-garde; discoveries and revivals - O'Conor, Rodin, etc.; "Balzac" at Hemel Hempstead; Sickert again; Scottish artists at the gallery; a variety of exhibitions; Forain and the monograph; change at Cork Street - the opening of Browse and Darby.

Additional information

Duchess of Cork Street: The Autobiography of an Art Dealer by Lillian Browse
Lillian Browse
Used - Very Good
Giles de la Mare Publishers
Short-listed for J.R. Ackerley Prize 2000
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.