Martin Gayford is an art critic and the author of studies of Constable and Van Gogh. In 2003 he offered to sit for a portrait by Lucian Freud, whom he had known both professionally and as a friend for ten years. This book is composed of reflections and memories of the ensuing eighteen months, during which Freud completed two portraits: the oil painting Man in a Blue Scarf and an etching. Throughout the sittings Gayford kept notes on his own thoughts, Freud’s technique, conversations over dinner, the studio, and other sitters. He describes the result as a ‘painting of my own fascination with the whole process of being painted’, and ‘a sort of accidental self-portrait’, but it is also an impressionistic attempt to capture something of the essence of the mercurial Freud.