Richard Davenport-Hines

A Refined Palette

In Search of Rex Whistler: His Life & His Work


Frances Lincoln 272pp £40 order from our bookshop

Rex Whistler (1905–1944) was one of those smiling, radiant prodigies who was clutching at pencils before he could walk. He was only eight when he began submitting work to the Royal Drawing Society, an inspired organisation that sought to develop children’s observation and memory through drawing. Most of his schooling seemed to him a squalid, frustrating distraction from creativity. Notoriously he hated writing letters. Even his application for a commission in the Welsh Guards in 1939 breaks off from dreary sentences, and is embellished with ink sketches of the Royal Opera House and of a skull wearing a German military helmet. He was first and last a pictorial artist. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Here's reviewing Rachel Kushner's novel about a woman caught in the injustice of the US prison system,… ,
    • 'Hart sets out to unsettle, startle and disturb. In this strange, disconcerting, radical version of a strange, disc… ,
    • Here is @MannJessica's June crime fiction round-up, discussing books by Georges Simenon, Jack Grimwood,… ,
    • John Stubbs reviews Stephen Greenblatt's latest, 'Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power' ,
    • RT : What happened when US military strategist Herman Kahn - one of Kubrick’s three models for Dr Strangelove - took LSD… ,
    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,