Anthony Powell, in his diary, describes Dorothy Hodgkin as a hag and a biologist ("At Lady Maggie's..." 21 January). She was neither. I painted Hodgkin's portrait in 1987 (the painting now hangs at the Royal Society of Chemistry in Burlington House), and she had one of the most interesting faces I have ever seen, serene and beautiful, a face that reflected her character and her intellect.

Dorothy Hodgkin was a crystallographer, and she was awarded the Nobel prize for chemistry in the early Sixties.

It is curious that someone so civilised and talented as Mr Powell should have made such a remark. That he should publish it is contemptible. He would certainly never have described an eminent male academic in such terms. Why is this?

Barbara Robinson Vic-le-Fesq, France

Comments