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


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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 (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Sharp-nosed and perceptive' Times Literary Supplement 'Not merely a delight to read, well researched and carefully organised, but also lavishly illustrated and beautifully designed' Country Life 'A considerable work of art in itself. The Cecils' text is very well organised, exhaustive in research and information, and enjoyable and lively. There is not a single flat sentence.' The Spectator 'A superb new biography ... which throws new light on to the artist's complex world, marks the resounding reclamation of his reputation.' Financial Times 'A beautifully illustrated biography of the multi-talented artist' Stella, Sunday Telegraph magazine 'An intensely romantic window on a lost world is opened by [this book]' -- Marcus Binney The Times 'a worthy and long-overdue appraisal' Apollo 'a fine tribute to a major artist. The text is informative and sensitive, the illustrations are truly magnificent, and the attention to detail throughout is exemplary.' Standpoint 'Probably the most tenderly beautiful book of the year, filled with Whistler's superb fantasies' Daily Express 'covers the spectrum of his work, including the astonishingly numberous items he managed to paint after enlisting in 1940. The book is a pleasure to read and the visual joys are innumerable.' Historic House 'A highly readable journey through the life of Britain's most notable 20th-century mural painter.' Art Quarterly 'sympathetically and clearly written, highly detailed with a nice mix of art and life.' -- Andrew Lambirth The Art Newspaper 'a very beautiful book that will help to re-establish a lost reputation' RA (Royal Academy) magazine 'a rich and satisfying record of the artist's achievement, as well as a vivid sense of the man' Times Literary Supplement "a visual feast ... [as well as] a concise biography of the artist and his times that is elegantly readable ... So rich is Whistler's art as portrayed in this book that it is tempting to go on and on writing about it. I can only urge anyone who cares about art or has an interest in the first half of the last century to get this book." British Art Journal

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.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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His story is very touching.
Lili Goldberg
His illustrations to the Cressett Press edition of Gulliver's Travels are the best produced for that book in the 20th century.
Michael Colon
Good biographers should fully explain the subject's life and work with illustrations to let the reader know.
Mr. A. Walker-powell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Colon on January 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By she who reads on December 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Robinson on November 12, 2013
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. Walker-powell on February 22, 2013
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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
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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lili Goldberg on February 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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