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In Search of Rex Whistler: His Life and His Work Hardcover – December 4, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"by Hugh and Mirabel Cecil...their splendid new life, In Search of Rex Whistler. Its splendor lies not so much in their very informative text as in the book’s magnificent appearance, a lovely quarto that, with copious, superb color illustrations, is altogether a credit to Anne Wilson, the designer, the publishers, and the unnamed Chinese printers." - The New York Review of Books

About the Author

HUGH and MIRABEL CECIL's previous joint biography, Clever Hearts: A Life of Desmond and Molly McCarthy (1990) won the Duff Cooper Prizr and the Marsh Biography Award. Their Imperial Marriage (2002) told the story of Lord Edward Cecil, his wife Violet and Lord Milner, with whom she was in love. Hugh Cecil's other books include The Flower of Battle: How Britain Wrote the Great War (1996) and, as co-editor, Facing Armageddon (1996). Mirabel Cecil has written A Kind of Prospero (1995), the biography of her brother, the pioneering publisher Sebastian Walker and, with David Mlinaric, On Decorating. Her last book was The Journal of Mrs Sloane's Dog Fanny, published in 2010 for the Sir John Sloan Museum.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln (December 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071123230X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711232303
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.2 x 11.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #838,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding work about an outstanding man. Rex was a free spirit, at ease with himself and his fellows, but whose life and potential were cut short. He was killed whilst serving with the Guards Armoured Division in Normandy in 1944. Hugh and Mirabel Cecil beautifully display Rex's life and the various forms of his art, which encompassed murals, portraiture, stage sets, book design and illustration. None more than the loving and lavish attention paid to his mural at Place Newyyd, Anglesea. Rex delighted to use trompe l'oeil in this and many other works. Good biographers should fully explain the subject's life and work with illustrations to let the reader know. The Cecils did this and more. It seems to me they have added another dimension by conveying that part of his character about which Rex would not have liked to be generally known, but would never have falsely denied. This they achieve by delicate illusions that they occasionally touch upon. It was not so much showing us Rex's dark side it was more like showing us the shadow whose shade some of us share. This book, therefore, brought him all the closer to me. Many others showed the same feeling for him when Hugh and Mirabel detail the tributes to Rex that were paid by so many throughout England after his untimely death. Not least was the silent tribute from his Welsh Guards' soldier servant who did not wish to ever serve another officer after Rex. A sentiment endorsed by their commanding officer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The art alone is wonderful. One of these days I'll read it all, but it's a joy just to look through the book, with beautiful pictures on almost every page (including some that fold out). The quality is excellent, with its heavy paper (it's a weighty book) that makes one want to cut out pages and frame them (although I'd never do that, of course!). I've been intrigued by Whistler's work ever since I first dined at the Tate Museum's restaurant in London, with its fanciful Whistler murals that I longed to study up close. It's sad to think of all the youthful writers and artists like Whistler who were lost in World War II.
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Wonderfully produced and sumptuously illustrated volume on little known artist Rex Whistler. Whistler was the darling of the upper crust set in England between the wars, and h went on to produce very original artwork suchlike murals and the art of the book. His illustrations to the Cressett Press edition of Gulliver's Travels are the best produced for that book in the 20th century. If you love the society of the 20's and 30's - "the bright young things" and their world, you will love this book.
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This is a wonderful book, both in illustrations and in text, which clearly shows the true artistry of Rex Whistler. Not sure if he fit the genius mold, but he was wildly talented and contributed greatly to the art of illustration and mural painting.

Particularly good for Anglophiles and those interested in the inter-war years.
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Format: Hardcover
When circles of young friend expand into public acclaim one cannot help but wonder where the fulsome fulcrum point is to be found. Maybe it is in Gwynedd. Plas Newydd on the island of Anglesey, North Wales is enchanted. Anglesey is enchanting. The home that is the seat of the Marquis of Anglesey is enchanted. The murals painted by Rex Whistler --well you get the point.
Rex Whistler was friends with Tilly Losch, Cecil Beaton, Oliver Messel, Stephen Tennant, the Sassons-everyone who was artistic and glittering in those days between the wars. The delicate filigree of art and friendships in bucolic Arcadia is exemplified by Whistler and in this lovely and beautifully researched book by Hugh and Mirabel Cecil.
It was a wistful feathery time. But ass feathers of time gone by always are the plumes are tipped with tragedy.
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A welcome biography of an extraordinarily talented artist who deserves to better known and remembered. There are ample photographs of his output in many different areas of visual expression: murals, paintings, engravings, set and costume design, and more. Whistler was England's greatest decorative artist of the 20th century and it is wonderful to see him celebrated. His premature death during the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France was a tragedy for all art lovers.
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Beautiful book and interesting story about the artist. Highly recommend to those interested in trompe l'oeil painting. His story is very touching.
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Whistler has long be a favorite artist of mine, tho there were so few of his works I could find. The book has lovely graphics, and the story of this very talented man who died too young. The books he illustrated for Beverley Nichols are my faves since they show both is great talent and equally great wit.
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