cover of book

Roy Strong: Self-Portrait as a Young Man
by Roy Strong
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2013
Cloth: 978-1-85124-282-5

For nearly half a century, Roy Strong has been a prominent presence in Britain’s art world. Yet little is known about his life before the Swinging Sixties, when, at the age of thirty-one, he came on the scene as the revolutionary young director of London’s National Portrait Gallery.

In this book, Strong recounts his early years and the stirrings of what would become a lifelong passion for art. During a childhood spent in suburban North London, Strong recalls himself as a shy and solitary boy who spent his time painting Elizabethan miniatures and Shakespearean set designs. The book follows his progression through grammar school, which he attended alongside Alan Bennett and David Hockney, and university, where he developed a love of learning and enjoyed visits to the theater, opera, and ballet. With remarkable honesty, he explores the important relationships in his life—family, friends, and a schoolteacher with whom he maintained a long correspondence—as well as his debt to figures like Cecil Beaton, Frances Yates, C. V. Wedgwood, and A. L. Rowse.

Richly illustrated throughout with photographs, drawings, and letters, this book offers a compelling look at a young man poised for success.
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