John Fleming & Hugh Honour - Remembered by Susanna Johnston - review by James Stourton

James Stourton

Oh! The lotus pond…

John Fleming & Hugh Honour - Remembered


Gibson Square 192pp £20 order from our bookshop

This is the story of a beautiful – and in some ways improbable – friendship. John Fleming and Hugh Honour were brilliant art historians who lived in a magical, slightly run-down villa near Lucca. They made a perfect life for themselves, but there was nothing remotely dilettantish about them: they were ferociously hard-working and each produced an astonishing corpus of work. However, they also found time to cultivate friendships and encourage protégés, who were usually male. An exception was Susanna Johnston, née Chancellor, whose arrival in their life came in such peculiar circumstances that it might make for the opening of a novel.

At the age of twenty-one, Susanna found herself broke in Rome. An intermediary took her to meet the blind littérateur Percy Lubbock, who lived in a villa perched on a rocky promontory above the sea near Lerici, in order to take over reading duties from Honour and Fleming, who had

Sign Up to our newsletter

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

East of the Wardrobe

Follow Literary Review on Twitter