Invisible Ink: No 203 - A jobbing artist
Sunday 15 December 2013
Some time ago I searched for the author of the brilliant first novel Here (Away From It All), by Maryann Forrest, which I’d owned as a teenager. When I asked Independent on Sunday readers to help me locate her, I received a letter inviting me to lunch.
I visited Polly Hope, writer, artist and opera librettist, living in London’s Spitalfields, where she still thrived in her studio along with four dogs, a cat, and an opera house-shaped chicken coop. Polly, aka Maryann, had been living in Greece during the military junta, and would have faced deportation over the book. She had finished a superb new novel, and I asked publishers to rediscover her. Naturally, there were no takers.
Polly’s work graces public buildings such as the Globe Theatre and the Barbican. She exhibited all over the world, but referred to herself as “a jobbing artist”. Every Midsummer’s Eve she threw a concert party filled with the kind of English eccentrics I assumed had vanished, and gave sunflowers to the cast, accompanied by a three-legged dog.
I encouraged her to republish the first book online, which she did herself at age 80. She then made a new hardback version available, painting a fresh cover. Last week I planned to visit her for lunch, – where she would serve a hot meal to any dissident composer, pornographic poet, or misfit artist who was passing through the area – and discovered that, after a brief illness, she had died. I looked at the new version of the book she’d created. Inside is a dedication: “To Chris, for finding me.” London is less colourful without her.
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 Prince Harry leaving the armed forced to pursue conservation projects in Africa
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Seinfeld is laughing all the way to the bank: TV show generates $3.1bn in repeat fees since final episode
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Justin Kelly interview: On James Franco playing a gay man who renounces his homosexuality
Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East