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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Queer people

Friday, March 26th., Berkeley Hotel, Piccadilly.

E. V. Lucas and wife to lunch.

Edward Verrall Lucas, CH (1868 – 1938) was a famous English humorist, essayist, playwright, biographer, publisher, poet, novelist, short story writer and editor. Lucas joined the staff of the humorous magazine Punch in 1904, and remained there for the rest of his life. He was a prolific writer, most celebrated for his short essays, but he also produced verses, novels and plays.

We went to picture show, "London Group" at Goupil. Some nice things but all imitative.

Goupil Gallery, London
The London Group was formed by an amalgamation of the Camden Town Group and the English Cubists (later Vorticists) in 1913. This grouping of radical young artists came together as a reaction to the stranglehold which the Royal Academy had on exhibiting new work. Founder members included Spencer Gore, Wyndham Lewis, Sickert and Epstein. The London Group decided on a written constitution and a number of officers to run the Group's affairs. Members were to be elected to the Group based on a democratic election. A Working Party was set up to organize London Group exhibitions which were to revitalize contemporary visual art, bringing in new European developments in painting and sculpture, especially from France. Artists exhibited their own choice of work. The London Group made no judgmental decisions on members' work, a tradition proudly defended to this day. The beginning of the First World War and the early death of the first President, Harold Gilman, were inauspicious moments for the new group, yet it survived and, in the Twenties, developed into a progressive and critically acclaimed venue for contemporary artists. Roger Fry and the Bloomsbury set were extremely influential in the Group during this decade.

Dinner at Morrells: Lowes Dickinson, Bertrand Russell, Whitehouse. All these very much upset by the war, convinced that the war and government both wrong, etc. I first met Morrell and Lady Otteline in Paris about a year ago, and they came to lunch here last week. She has very distinguished features, in fact quite a personality.

Lady Ottoline Violet Anne Morrell (1873 – 1938) was an English aristocrat and society hostess. Her patronage was influential in artistic and intellectual circles, where she befriended writers including Aldous Huxley, Arnold Bennett, Siegfried Sassoon, T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence, and artists including Mark Gertler, Dora Carrington and Gilbert Spencer. In February 1902, she married the MP Philip Morrell, with whom she shared a passion for art and a strong interest in Liberal politics. They shared what would now be known as an open marriage for the rest of their lives. Philip's extramarital affairs produced several children who were cared for by his wife, who also struggled to conceal evidence of his mental instability. The Morrells themselves had two children (twins): a son, Hugh, who died in infancy, and a daughter, Julian. Morrell's lovers may have included the philosopher Bertrand Russell, the painters Augustus John and Henry Lamb, the artist Dora Carrington, and the art historian Roger Fry. Her circle of friends included many authors, artists, sculptors and poets. Her work as a patron was enduring and influential, notably in her contribution to the Contemporary Art Society during its early years. During World War I, the Morrells were notable pacifists, not a popular position then. They invited conscientious objectors such as Duncan Grant, Clive Bell, and Lytton Strachey to take refuge at Garsington. Siegfried Sassoon, recuperating there after an injury, was encouraged to go absent without leave as a protest against the war.

Afterwards an immense reunion of art students, painters and queer people. Girls in fancy male costume, queer dancing, etc. A Japanese dancer. We left at 12.15. Pianola. Fine pictures. Glorious drawings by Picasso. Excellent impression of host and hostess

Additionally for March 26th., see 'Not John Baines'

I was walking in Selfridge's basement yesterday afternoon, idling between two appointments, when I met Selfridge in a rather old morning suit and silk hat. He at once seized hold of me and showed me over a lot of the new part of his store. Cold-storage for furs - finest in the world. Basement hall 550 feet long. Sub-basement with a very cheap restaurant where they serve 3,000 to 4,000 customers a day. he introduced me to the head of his baby-linen department saying: "Here is a gentleman wants things for three of his children, one is three months, another ten months, and another a year old." Then up his own private lift to the offices and his room, where I had to scratch my name with a diamond on the window - with lots of others. He showed me a lot of accounting. Then downstairs to book department. Fine bindings etc. His first remark was, taking up a book: "Human skin." I had to hurry away. He kept on insisting that it was wonderfully interesting. And it was.

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