Miranda Seymour

Family Affairs

The Rare and the Beautiful: The Lives of the Garmans


Fourth Estate 281pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

It was a visit to the remarkable collection of modern art given by Jacob Epstein’s widow to the hitherto unloved and overlooked West Midlands town of Walsall that started Cressida Connolly’s researches into the Garman family. Lady Epstein was born Kathleen Garman. Memories of a blissful turn-of-the-century childhood, in a rambling Jacobean house near Walsall which had belonged to their father, caused Kathleen to choose the town as a home for the paintings and sculpture collected by herself and a rich American called Sally Ryan, together with a generous number of her late husband’s own works. Tate Modern might have seemed the more obvious choice, but Kathleen, as Connolly’s warm, understanding and generous-hearted book reveals, was a woman who had never allowed convention to dictate her choices.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,