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Gwen John

A Life In Sonnets

Stephen Matthews


Augustus John felt his sister, Gwen, was the greater artist and one of the greatest female artists of all times. In a series of fifty sonnets describing fifty of her works, Stephen Matthews portrays the life and artistic personality of a deeply introspective artist.

Fully illustrated with full-colour reproductions of John’s artwork and sonnets inspired by each piece.



“A shawl, a parasol, a wicker chair –

All three are waiting in the attic room,

As the fresh flowers in the jar perfume

The still and silent, opalescent air.

The window’s gauze has made a silhouette

Of the tall, grey buildings and the rooftops

That lie beyond, as though the loud world stops

Outside and quietly she will forget,

Forget the lights and the seductive shawl,

Forget the shaded smile and parasol,

Forget the sunlit walks and night-time streets

And stay here where the quietness retreats

To share the patient suffering that lies

Where the soft light expands and fades and dies.”





Publication Date:



Paperback; 197 x 128mm




Full colour illustrations

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