Just finished reading John Richardson's Sorcerer's Apprentice, a witty and perceptive memoir. Once his early life is sketched out - delightfully - the bulk of the book concerns his time living in the South of France where he was friendly with Picasso, Cocteau and other artists and collectors of the same vintage. A well-examined life, some high-end gossip, a collection of fascinating portraits and intriguing art historical insights make for a readable brew (thanks to Barendina for the recommendation, which I pass on).
I bought it second-hand (Abe Books?) for £0.01 plus p&p. It's an unused copy acquired, catalogued and laminated by the University of Huddersfield, an institution that is new to me. I know it's unused as it's in pristine condition and has an unstamped library flyleaf.
This transaction, or series of transactions, seems wasteful and even somewhat melancholy (despite my ending up with a bargain). Perhaps a librarian's aspirations for his student readers outstripped their interests, or at least their reading lists? Or was the book's withdrawal before it had a chance to be read a matter of policy - the product of a purge of perceived snobberies or in favour of art-theoretic approaches? Was a new art history course stillborn because of a change in funding or fewer applications than anticipated?
In any event, the University of Huddersfield and Picasso's Provence won't be communing within the covers of this book.