Mid-Month Roundup: Schoolroom Confusion

Our latest roundup starts with references to Waugh’s school days and ends with the 1970s Penguin reprints:

The Independent newspaper has published a list of what it considers the Top 10 examples of celebrities overlapping at the same school. Private schools are excluded, although the overlapping of Winston Churchill and Clement Atlee through the services of the same nanny are among the Top 10 listed. One would not have expected the nanny, a Mrs Hutchinson, to have been on the government payroll. At the end of the article, there is a brief list of unranked overlaps in private schools:

The private school rule excluded Tony Blair and Rowan Atkinson, Durham Chorister School (nominated by Peter Hutchinson); George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh and Henry Green, St Cyprian’s School, Eastbourne (John McTernan), etc…

Waugh did not attend St Cyprian’s but went to the Heath Mount school in Hampstead where he overlapped with (and bullied) photographer Cecil Beaton (of whom more below). Henry Green (aka Henry Yorke) attended the New Beacon School in Kent where he overlapped with fellow novelist Anthony Powell. St Cyprian’s was the alma mater of Cyril Connolly, who did ovelap there with George Orwell (then known as Eric Bair), and Orwell, Connolly, Green, and Powell all overlapped at the same Public School–Eton College.

–The British Journal of Photography announces a new exhibit of the photographs of Cecil Beaton and other noted photographers of the 1930s. It is Beaton’s work:

… from the 1930s that stars in The Fashion and Textile Museum, where a display titled Cecil Beaton: Thirty from the 1930s – Fashion, Film, Fantasy will show off the work that helped define an era.

The article also contains a brief biographical sketch of Beaton that begins with this:

Born in London’s prosperous Hampstead in 1904, Cecil Beaton went to school with Evelyn Waugh (who bullied him), and Cyril Connolly (who admired the beauty of his singing). Taught photography by his nanny, Beaton found work assisting cutting-edge young photographer Paul Tanqueray, and became famous for his portraits of the Bright Young Things – the decadent young socialites of the 1920s and 30s, whose hedonistic lives were captured in Waugh’s glittering, somewhat fatalistic novel Vile Bodies.

Where Beaton may have overlapped with Connolly is not explained but it may have been at St Cyprian’s to which (according to his Wikipedia entry), he was transferred from Heath Mount. He went on to Harrow School and St John’s, Cambridge. The exhibit will open on 12 October and continue through 20 January 2019 in the museum at 83 Bermondsey Street SE1.

The Spectator reviews a book by Lalage Snow entitled War Gardens. It includes discussions of gardens she has visited in Afghanistan, Gaza and Ukraine, inter alia. Waugh enters into it at one point:

Unsurprisingly, she’s conscious of light (‘candescent’) and colour (‘glaucous blue’), and scenes often feel like a photograph magicked to life. Her language is detailed and evocative: you can smell the honeysuckle exacerbated by the morning heat. In Ukraine in 2014, some berk in a bar mocks her by suggesting she is like the hapless William Boot, the nature columnist in Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop, who gets dragooned into covering a war in East Africa, but there are no plashy fens here.

–The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, has announced a talk by Alexa Alice Joubin in which she will discuss East Asian cinematic adaptations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. According to the notice on the college’s website:

This illustrated presentation explores Chinese cinematic adaptations of one of the most canonical and widely translated Western dramatic works. There has always been a perceived affinity between Ophelia and East Asian women. In May 1930, British writer Evelyn Waugh entertained the prospect of Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong playing Ophelia: “I should like to see Miss Wong playing Shakespeare. Why not a Chinese Ophelia? It seems to me that Miss Wong has exactly those attributes which one most requires of Shakespearean heroines.”

The quote comes from Waugh’s article in the Daily Mail (“My Favorite Film Star”) dated 24 May 1930, EAR, pp. 68-70. The talk will be presented at 330pm on Monday, 17 September in Washington Hall at William & Mary.

–Finally, the Ironbridge Bookstore in Shropshire has posted on Instagram a photo displaying several Penguin paperback covers for its edition of Waugh’s books sold in the 1970s. These are described as the “most distinctive designs in Penguin’s history”. In addition, this bit of background is provided:

Designed by the trio Bentley/Farrell/Burnett who were only together for a few years, but managed to make a big splash in British graphic history. Penguin Art Director David Pelham’s decision to use a cream coloured background was based on there being a substantial amount of used paper stock that would have been expensive to waste. His initial design brief was: ‘the covers were to have Art Deco architectural features in soft pastel colours’.  Happily, Bentley/Farrell/Burnett ignored him and instead produced these, their marvellous psychedelically induced illustrations!

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One Response to Mid-Month Roundup: Schoolroom Confusion

  1. James Mann says:

    Yes, Cecil Beaton was at St Cyprian’s with Connolly. In ‘A Georgian Boyhood’ from Enemies of Promise, Connolly describes Beaton standing before a hushed school and singing “If you were the only girl in the world and I was the only boy”. The effect it had was impressive:

    ‘For a moment the whole structure of character and duty tottered and even the principles of hanging on, muddling through, and building empires were called into question.’

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