HOME/DiY: patching a hole in the kitchen ceiling

As so often, I didn’t think to take any photos when I started this job. And consequently I have no record of the hardest and most time consuming parts of my labours. This whole sorry scenario has come about because I’m determined to add a utensil hanging rack to our kitchen ceiling, over the sink/window area.

In a bigger kitchen that might not be the place for it. But our kitchen is appallingly tiny, and, frankly, totally unworkable. And consequently that’s the only area it can go. By way of illustration of our situation, due to the lack of space we have our fridge and freezer in the lounge… fer chrissakes!

Anyway, I made a wooden hanging rack a few days back. And then I started in on attaching anchor points in the ceiling. The first two appeared to take fast. Although whether they’ll hold in the long term I don’t know. I’m not confident!

The second two were patently not holding at all. Just applying slight downward stress on the wall-plugs via the eye-hooks pulled them straight both out. So I had to investigate the sub-strata. Most of our home has hideously textured artex ceiling (and even walls… aaargh! ). In some such areas I’ve struggled to remove this execrable stuff with Ex-Tex. Never again!

The artex is on plasterboards. And in the kitchen, in turns out that beneath that – or rather above, in the reverse stratification of ceilings – is old fashioned (Victorian, perhaps, like the building itself?) lath and plaster.

To get sufficient purchase or anchorage in the intended spots, I needed to create a hole in the artex/plaster/lath large enough for me to reach two rafters, and to work in. And then I’d need to attach wooden boards or beams between said very old and very solid – at last something substantial – rafters. Once this was done – oh so much easier said than done (working in a confined space, and worse yet up a ladder in the ceiling space, wasn’t easy!) – I’d have to build back and re-plaster.

We’d love to get someone in to professionally skim all the artex surfaces. But I very much suspect that that’s well beyond our current fiscal reach. I’m trying to get a plasterer over to quote on the job. But it seems they’re so busy they don’t even feel the need to respond to our enquiries!

I initially tried scavenging some plasterboard at the so called local ‘recycling centre’, aka, the dump. But they wouldn’t let me have any. I only needed a tiny bit. But nope, no can do. Pathetic! So next I drove around town looking for skips, with bits of plasterboard in them. But no dice. So I just wound up screwing a piece of chipboard to the two lateral beams or batons that I’d screwed between the rafters.

And only at this point did I start taking a few photos. Aren’t they something. The excitement! The drama! The sheer aesthetic delights! Well, anyway, I added a bit of chicken wire to the chipboard, attaching that with a staple-gun. This would give the filler something to grab hold of in addition to the surface of the chipboard itself.

After a first thick slathering coat of said filler, I took a break. Intended to be a short lunch break, I wound up dozing off to the doings of Andrew Camarata, as he destroyed and removed a load of crap from a client’s property.

This longer than expected break was actually good, as it meant that I returned to the plaster several hours later, to add a second and hopefully final layer. Obviously, thanks to the thickness of the first coat, I needed to wait longer than normal before applying a second.

Also, thanks to the hideous artex, there’s no chance of a clean matching finish. And that’s where I find myself now, beer in hand, writing this.

I had a little bit more filler than I really needed, so I slathered it on, slightly exceeding the area required. I did this to see whether or not I could flatten out the artex surfaces myself. Maybe then we’d not need to hire a plasterer? Truth be told, there is such an enormous acreage of the evil material in our property that a professional is definitely indicated!

I’m now left waiting for the second coat of plaster to dry, before I can sand it flat. Then the anchors for the hanging rack will need to be fitted, and the filler probably ought to be painted.

Rather annoyingly I strongly suspect that I’ll have to repeat this entire rigmarole for the first two anchor points.

HOME/DiY: Garden Gates, cont.

‘Mary shut the garden door’ Donald Fagen

The latest addition to our front garden.

Yesterday I built this little wooden garden gate. I didn’t really document the making. Other than this lone pic of the Z-frame elements.

Building the gate.

But I’ve taken a few pics of it in situ’. I put it up today before heading out to teach. I actually took it apart and re-built it as well! I’d put the screws in from the wrong side, such that they didn’t reach far enough through and into the wood of the verticals.

This Z does not signify Russian aggression!

I wound up re-assembling it and gluing it all, as well as screwing it all together. I’m glad I did. The result is much better and stronger. Getting it hung is very satisfying!

From the front. Note dripping wood glue!

Next I need to add the latch. I also have a spring, designed to auto-close the gate. It’ll be interesting to see if I can install that and make it work satisfactorily. And then I’ll be painting it all to match the other gate pillars.

The ensemble.

HOME/DiY: Front Garden/Driveway Gate, etc.

Thar’ she blows! Casting a nice long shadow.

Ok, so the project at hand right now… so sayeth Andrew Camarata, prolific YouTuber and handyman extraordinaire, at the commencement of many of his strangely compelling videos. But more about him elsewhere and later!

One of my latest projects, which has been pending for ages now, got done rather quickly recently. Partly spurred into action, alas, by a small local crime-wave.

Getting the first post in.

Last week I dug down about 40cm in two spots, measured and marked up, for two 4” x 4” fence posts. These were 120cm tall. so I was burying and fixing one third of their length in the ground. And these posts are pretty hefty. They need to be strong, as I’m hanging iron gates from them.

Fixed in situ.

One of these holes was very hard work, as I was removing lots of concrete and aggregate. My Hitachi hammer-drill, with a large-ish hammer attachment, was essential to this work. The other hole was much easier, being mostly earth (or, as Yanks like Camarata call it, dirt).

Some fiddling and extra wood was required.

Despite all my measuring and marking efforts, once rooted firmly in place, the two posts were about two inches too far apart. So I had to add two strips of timber, one for each side/post. None of the timber I had was appropriately dimensioned for this. So I had to cut down something suitable for this task.

It also transpired that the whole driveway slopes a little, so I had to add a bit of height to the lower of the two posts. Once all this lot was cut and installed, I could hang the gates. This was both fun and pretty easy. It was very gratifying seeing it all come together, and lining up pretty nicely.

Posts, gates and decorative stuff done.

My 2.4m 4” x 4” post yielded two 1.2m posts. And with 40cm buried, only 80cm remained above ground. The tops of these posts were thus well below the tops of the gates. I was constrained in this by my available lumber. But such constraints are sometimes fine. We bought end-caps and ball style finials, to top the posts off, weatherproof them, and give them the necessary height, and a bit of pizazz!

Painting gets underway…

With the gates in pace, and the posts fully assembled, it was time to paint them. Teresa wanted a dark blue. I was less sure about this, favouring a pale sagey green. But in the end we found a dark-ish blue we could agree upon. And I think it’s turned oot reet grand!

Looking quite nice.

Once the posts, the gates, and the decorative caps were all done, and painted, it was time to decide how to address the spaces on either side. The one at right – as you face our house (the left if looking out from the front door) – we decided should get a little brick wall. The larger one on the opposite side will get a bespoke little wooden gate.

A wee wall!

Dimensioning the bricks for the wee wall was tricky. With a cold chisel and various hammers I eventually got the shapes and sizes I needed. But not without a fair amount of crumblage and wastage.

I used the remaining postcrete, with sand and water, as mortar. This seems to have worked ok.

ART: Hockney at The Fitz

This image just about sums this show up…

Myeah… or perhaps I should say M’naah?

Pretty underwhelmed and disappointed with the Hockney thing at the Fitz. If the beautiful sunny day hadn’t put me in such a good mood I’d ordinarily have been pretty miffed at the £10 we splashed on parking in town.

His time in the US was barely represented.

We were a bit nonplussed some years back at a Fitz offering called Vermeer’s Women (or something similar), which, I/we felt, rather disingenuously, used the pull of Vermeer’s name to lure you into a show with only one or two paintings actually by the titular artist.

Likewise, the amount of Hockney we saw today would’ve only filled one of the normal temporary display areas visiting shows usually use. Rather notably one of these rooms was completely closed, whilst the other was mostly blocked off, the small open portion being bulked out with modern screen-media stuff.

I’ve now had it pretty thoroughly confirmed that I’m not a fan of Hockney’s forays into iPad land. It was notable how the largest crowds of spectators in the show were to be found worshipping at the several screens. Guess I must be some kind of artsy fuddy-duddy? Such stuff is of literally zero interest to me.

I quite liked these big paws…

Strangely, for a somewhat maverick magpie type artist, it’s his most trad stuff, at least on this occasion, I get most from. Whether that’s his portraits – and I preferred some of the lower profile subjects to the more typical ‘great and good’ (or is that just celebs, in our era?) – or his landscapes (whether peopled or semi-abstract).

But little or rather none of this stuff, er, sorry… art, is really very remarkable. The juxtapositions with the permanent collection items seemed both a bit lazy and often quite tenuous or slapdash. All told, a rather paltry effort. The only thing this was big on, for me, was disappointment.

Unremarkably pleasant.

The show was called Hockney’s Eye. And I suppose there was some kind of theme in there somewhere. But, just as I wasn’t remotely tempted to shell out the £39 for the accompanying book, nor was my interest piqued by the ideas the exhibition may or may not have been presenting.

I recently said somewhere else here on ye blogge that Hockney might be the closest contemporary British art comes to having a Vesuvian talent like Picasso. But on the evidence of this showing this is a volcano long since gone dormant.

In one word, disappointing.

MEDiA/BOOKS: Bertie’s HOWP, & More…

Distinguished gent look, avec le pipe!
Phew! What a corker!

I wanted to embed the Reith lecture by Bertie I listened to this evening. But it – whether it’s the link itself, or the WordPress app, I don’t know!? – won’t let me. Prob’/poss’ some BBC thing whereby they’re trying to constrain one to only listening via their own app?


The Reith lecture is about that classic thorny ol’ issue, the freedoms of the individual vs the demands of society. And it’s a very interesting listen. Highly recommended.

But back to the matter quite literally in Hans these last few stays, Bertie’s opus/meisterwork, the HOWP. I find that every page, nay, every paragraph, almost, is filled with memorable and quote-worthy sentences.

I don’t always agree with (or, for example when he first cites a mathematical proof, follow/understand) everything he says. And a lot of it begs for further reading/exploration. But by gum, it’s a well written highly compelling read.

I’m still in the Classical world at the time of posting this, having just read Bertie’s enthused but still critical judgements on Pythagoras. Rather fortuitously we’re having some great sunny weather right now, which helps evoke a rather Hellenistic vibe!

One of the marks of truly great writing is that it stimulates further and wider reading. Great fiction may inspire you to read more by the same author, whereas great non-fiction will often inspire you to read further on the subject, or era. HOWP certainly meets this criteria!

BOOK REViEW: Tove Jansson, The Illustrators

Due out October, this year.

I just put in an advance order for the book pictured above. Partly because I’m a trifle disappointed with this:

A book of removable prints.

The above is, in some respects, a thing of great beauty and loveliness. The reason I’m a tad disappointed in it is the picture selections. I adore Tove Jansson’s art. And I was hoping there would be more of my favourite images in this book.

Designed to be removable, for framing, the card stock the images are printed on is appropriately heavy. And the image quality is terrific. It’s just the selections that cause my less than jubilant feelings.

Stilt walking in Comet in Moominland.

I really hope the new pre-ordered book has a lot more of what I like best!? Of the 22 main or large images reproduced in this frame-able prints book, only one – pictured above – is from the choices I would’ve made.

Below are a few of the images I was disappointed not to find in this book:

The haunting Lonely Mountains.
Another absent favourite.

The above cover image is from a fab Jansson book, in which there are numerous lovely illustrations. Sadly barely any of which are in the book.

There are, in addition to the full size colour ‘plates’ (as they used to call ‘em!), a number of delightful smaller black and white images. But again, the dejection is not as rich as I’d have liked.

DAYS OUT: Ely Cathedral

There’s lots of fabulous stained glass.

We went for a little wander around Ely, taking in the Cathedral, and Topping Books. At the latter we bought a terrific book on William Morris (more on that in a separate post).

But the largest chunk of time was given over to strolling around the cathedral, soaking up the magnificence of the architecture and its adornments.

A big old bell!

The building itself is breathtaking. And inside there are countless things to draw the eye. So much that it’s easy to overlook all sorts of oddments, such as this bell, sat on the floor by a wall. It’s a whopper! One wonders how it was made, and how and why it came to be sat, silently, where it currently rests.

These heaters really chuck out some warmth.

Although it’s nearing mid-March, and is warming up outside, It’s still a wee bit nippy. Especially so inside this large cold stone edifice. One passes several of these enormous cast iron tubular radiators, as one circumnavigates the cathedral. And each time you can feel the heat emanating from them as you get closer.

Everything is on an epic scale.

As huge as these heaters are, they’re dwarfed by the space they’re situated in. And look at the size of the many-fluted columns. Extraordinary!

DAYS iN: Home & Garden – Can You Dig It?

Shot on iPhone ‘pano’. Can’t see the near side!

‘Come on down to the big dig. Can’t get around the big dig.’ Don Van Vliet, aka Capt. Beefheart.

Every day that I can, I get out in to the garden. And I dig. It hasn’t been easy recently, with a lot of rain. But most days that I haven’t had full days of teaching work, I’ve dug another narrow strip.

The light’s a bit better here; one can see both sides!

The plan is to dig down about eight to ten inches, and then level out the ground as flat and horizontal as I can manage. The footing will be a foot thick, so higher than ground level by two to four inches.

The floor of this dig will form the lower or under surface of the concrete pour. And that will, in turn, be the upper face or ceiling of the drum bunker/man cave (and now ‘escape from Mad Vlad‘s nuke threat’ bunker!).

View from the back; a slightly different angle.

Each time I dig a strip it’s about a foot wide. Some of the earth, or ‘dirt’*, is recycled for the garden; I use a soil sieve to process it for use in places like the greenhouse, flower pots, and the cold frames, etc. Some goes to the municipal dump, where the local council recycles it.

* As our American cousins call soil or earth. I always find this a bit weird and jarring. Dirt has kind of ugly even ‘sinful’ connotations!

Viewed from the house or ‘front’ end.

I’m also weeding out bits of tree root and the root systems of all the plants (make that weeds!) that formerly colonised this area – indeed all – of our once totally abandoned garden. Those roots ‘n’ bits also go to the dump, as does any rubble or other detritus.

If I keep up the current pace of work – which is a bit weather dependent – I’ll be done in about ten or so days time. But I might get Teresa, and any friends or neighbours I can enlist, to help. The sooner this is dug out, the sooner I can make the ‘forms’, and get the concrete poured.

We watched this video this morning, after breakfast in bed. Very inspiring!

I’ll be pouring what’s called a ‘raft’ type foundation. This is like a combination of the strip and slab foundations. I’ll most likely draught something in Adobe Illustrator to work out dimensions. If/when I do that, I’ll probably post it here.

BOOKS: World Book Day, 25th Year

Today, 3rd March 2022, is World Book Day. And this year the institution is 25 years old!

I decided to list 25 titles, in no particular order, other than that in which they occurred to me. I’ll not say much about each book, but instead just post a cover pic (where I can of the edition I first owned/read), and a few words.

So, here goes.

Ah, the nostalgia!

The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien.

‘Epic and homely’. Damn right! I read this numerous times in my childhood, and absolutely loved it. If I’m honest, the growing legacy of the Peter Jackson movie franchise is kind of spoiling it all for me now.

The Hobbit, Tolkien.

Beautiful 75th anniversary edition.

Before I read the LOTR I read the more kiddie friendly The Hobbit. Equally enchanting, if more modest in scale.

Another trilogy in its single volume guise.

1812 Trilogy, Paul Britten Austen.

This historical trilogy, a tapestry of interwoven first-hand accounts, condensed into a single volume with Bible-thin pages, was an incredibly exhilarating read.

My copy doesn’t have the hard slipcase, alas.

Picasso, The Early Years, 1881-1907, Josep Palau i Fabre.

This was my first ‘plush art book’. I was somewhere around 16-18 yrs old at the time. Massive, and massively inspiring. (The book, not me!) I mean no disrespect to the author, but for me it’s all about the pictures, not the text.

A much more recent purchase.

Picasso, Cubism, 1907-1917, Josep Palau i Fabre.

Many moons after buying i Fabre’s first voluminous work, I got the second. This time with the slip-case! And it’s equally flabbergasting in terms of Picasso’s Krakatoan artistic powers.

A whopper!

Michelangelo, Complete Works, Zoller et al.

This is both the biggest and most expensive art book I’ve ever bought. But that kind of befits the Titan that was Michelangelo. World Book Day is primarily about reading, one supposes. And with my art entries to this list of books, it’s all about the pictures. But hey, picture books have their place!

Ok, so I’m obsessed…

1812, Adam Zamoyski.

Another 1812 themed book? And it’s not the last on this list. This was a cracking good read. Not at all like Paul Britten Austin’s ‘word film’, this more trad’ history nonetheless crackled.

What is it about invading Russia?

Barbarossa, Alan Clark.

‘An unimaginable harvest of sorrow’ sayeth Alan Clark. Aye, and a rollicking good read. An oldie, but a goodie. Now, with Putin invading Ukraine, it all seems frighteningly close or familiar…

Jack’s debut.

The Town & the City, Kerouac.

A fantastic book. The descriptions of the everyday minutiae of life are spellbindingly rhapsodic and beautiful, in a very real, humble and down to earth way.

This was the edition I first read.

Doctor Sax, Kerouac.

One of my favourites by the sad-eyed Dharma Bum. Very evocative of childhood, tinged with the saudade of looking back whilst growing older, like much Kerouac.

I racked up library fines gawping at these!

Arms & Uniforms, Napoleonic Wars Vols I & II, L & F Funcken.

In terms of the pleasures a book can give, the two Napoleonic volumes of the Arms And Uniforms series, by the prolific Frenchies Liliane et Fred Funcken, rank very highly with me. As a kid they had me totally mesmerised!

I learned much later that L and F Funcken worked quite a lot with/for Hergé. It’s nice to discover such connections!


The Calculus Affair, Hergê.

From arty picture books to kid’s ones. I love almost all the Tintin adventures. The best are a sublime mix of fabulously evocative art with simple but stirring storytelling

Absolutely ruddy marvellous!

Destination Moon, Hergé.

Bizarrely I had Explorers On The Moon years before I got and read the first part of this fab two-part adventure, Destination Moon. Once I got the latter, it quickly became a favourite.

Oh, and, by and large, I much prefer the texts in Hergé’s adventures – brilliantly rendered into English by Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper*, and Michael Turner – to the cloudy verbosity of most art history/criticism.

* She died Dec 12, 2021, aged 97!

This was the edition I had.

A Bridge Too Far, Cornelius Ryan.

I got a copy of this book on a secondary school trip to Ely, when we visited the market. Ryan also wrote The Longest Day (which I haven’t read). Both were used as the basis for epic WWII movies. And both this book and the film based on it are integral to my childhood.

A dreadful cover, but…

The Battle, Alessandro Barbero.

Whilst I don’t like the cover of this book (it’s the same edition I bought and read), it’s a very good read. And, what’s more, despite my dislike of the design the cover is very resonant for me; it was an Eagle Annual article on Sgt. Ewart’s capture of an Eagle (the echoes are accumulating!), as depicted on this very cover, that first introduced me to the titular epochal battle.

The beautiful Folio edition.

The Campaigns of Napoleon, David Chandler.

Anyone reading my list will detect certain themes: childhood nostalgia, Tolkien,Tintin, Kerouac, art books, and military history, with a emphasis on The Napoleonic Wars and WWII. This David Chandler trilogy on Boney’s battles was terrific. And the Folio edition – which is what I have – is beautiful.

I read this whilst visiting Waterloo in 2015.

Journal of the Waterloo Campaign, Cavalie Mercer.

Avoid the abridged Pen & Sword version of this like the plague! It’s littered with editorial errors. This full version, also from Pen & Sword, is incomparably better produced. And Mercer’s tale is ace.

It was very poignant and affecting to read whilst visiting Belgium and the Waterloo battlefields in 2015, on the 200th anniversary of those terrible few days. I even stood on the spot, where a memorial now stands, where Mercer’s artillery troop did their bloody business.

A bit out of my normal way…

Shanghai 1937, Peter Harmsen.

For us in ‘The West’ we almost always think of WWII as 1939-45. Not so for Japan and China! They were already at it, hammer and tongs, in ‘37, as this truly excellent book relates.

Yet another ‘picture book’!?

Panzer Colours, (?).

Once again the criteria here is pleasure per square inch. And as a kid this was another military themed book that totally fascinated me. My dad and a lodger, Tim Seward (now an artist living and working in France!), made terrific 1/72 model tanks. This was part of their ref’ library.

A handsome edition, and the one I have.

On The Origin of Species, Darwin.

Around the 200th anniversary of his birth, and the 150th of the publication of this, his major work, I was reading quite a lot about Darwin and evolution, and related stuff.

I’ve tried to avoid ‘worthy’ titles, and choose those books I’ve enjoyed the most. But Darwin’s origins is, whilst sometimes a pleasure to read, and sometimes like swimming through molasses, just too important to the development of modern science and thought, and (one can hope/dream) the trajectory our culture might take, to be omitted.

Some might choose The Bible. An awful book, in my view. This is nearer to that point, for me.

A breeze-block of a tome.

War And Peace, Tolstoy.

Ok, another ‘worthy’ entry. Initially Tolstoy really got my goat, but as I read on, I began to enjoy this 1812 themed epic. By the time I finished it, I loved it. Flawed, like it’s hero, Pierre, and all humanity. But an epic masterpiece nevertheless.

Ripping good yarns.

The Virgin in the Ice, Ellis Peters.

So, from Darwin and Tolstoy to more pulpy pleasures. I first met Cadfael in audiobook form, whilst working with illustrator Tim Oliver. Thanks Tim! I’ve subsequently collected nearly all of Ellis Peters’ monkish mysteries. They are formulaic. But by gum, the formula’s a good ‘un!

Flashy, in full fig.

Royal Flash, George MacDonald Fraser.

I have another pal to thank/blame for more furtive pulpy paperback pleasures. Thanks to Jeffers Mayo for this one! And, as with Cadfael, Flashman is such a charmer I went out and bought the whole series, and read ‘em all. Such fun!

Kerouac, a slight return…

Dharma Bums, Kerouac.

Pictured above is one of two editions of this book I’ve owned and read. I like this because it’s one of Jack’s more straight journalistic novels, and we find him as a mountain top fire lookout, and meet poet and fellow Dharma Bum Gary ‘Japhy Ryder’ Snyder…

‘As your attorney I advise you to…’

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson.

I laughed like a drain reading this. Often in public. And I occasionally worried folk might think me as unhinged as the gonzo lizards that populate this madcap book. Looking back on it all now, it’s a bittersweet chapter in my life and my reading. But the laughter got it on this list.

Okay, so there’s my 25 books. I found coming up with this list much harder than I’d an anticipated. Given how much I enjoy reading, and how much I’ve read over the years, I really struggled to think of what I’d enjoyed most!

BOOK REViEW: Picasso, From the Ballets to Drama, 1917-1926, Josep Palau i Fabre

This arrived today. It’s the third instalment in what may have been intended to be a complete history of Picasso’s prodigious output.

Although Josep Palau i Fabre, poet, author and Picasso nut, lived to the ripe old age of 90, he didn’t get much further than this (there might be a final follow up), which ends relatively early in Picasso’s lengthy career, in 1926.

A few spreads, showing the rich diversity…
and wide range of styles…
… Picasso favoured in this era. From Cubism to neo-Classicism.

The choice of cover image is not my favourite, from the many potential alternatives in this, as ever, very voluminous selection. There are 1800 images, 700 in colour! But the overall quality of the book is in keeping with the first two instalments.

What I love most about Picasso, in addition to that portion of the work that meets my own personal aesthetic preferences, is Picasso’s sheer artistic fecundity. It’s truly astonishing how he not only works through ideas in whole series of variants, but how freely he moves between different styles and approaches, even mediums.

I love his colour choices, and his design abstractions.
I like some of these still lives.
Such strong colour and graphic design!

This aspect of his volcanic output makes him almost unique, in my experience, both in modern art and, indeed, art of all the ages. The only other artist that comes close – as far as I’m aware? – might be David Hockney.

Of the three volumes I now have, I’m inclined to think that, perhaps, the first two have more art I really like. But there’s still an immense amount I love. But, as I already said, as much as the qualities of individual works themselves, it’s the sheer life energy manifested in Picasso’s massively multifaceted output that is, in and of itself, very compelling.

Throughout the book there are a few sections of hands…
in themselves both quite varied and quite similar…
… quite sculptural!

I’ve included a number of images of artworks I like. I did think about including some of the stuff I don’t like. There’s plenty of it! The only thing in that line that I’ve included pictorially is the photo of bizarre theatrical costumes, including a kind of ‘pantomime horse’!


This isn’t a review of the text of this book (which I’ve only dipped into thus far). As I’ve said elsewhere, about the other two books i Fabre wrote, about earlier phases of Picasso’s life and work, my primary interest is predominantly visual.

And as with those two former titles, I do love this one. I feel a bit mean giving this four and a half and not five stars. But I decided to do so, on the grounds that I slightly prefer more of the art works in the first two instalments of this very detailed and comprehensive series of large plush art books.