Beryl Bainbridge

Beryl Bainbridge

Artist, Writer, Friend

  1. Psiche Hughes
  2. Preface by Brendan King
  • ISBN 9780500516515
  • 23.00 x 15.50 cm
  • Hardback
  • 208pp
  • With 108 illustrations in colour and black and white
  • First published 2012

Beryl Bainbridge needs no introduction as one of the finest novelists of our times. But few people know that painting 
and drawing were also lifelong passions, which she found relaxing and altogether less pressurized than writing.

‘An extended love letter … an informative, amusing and pretty thorough account of Beryl’s life and loves: the first that we have had … finely produced … the pictures are remarkably appealing in their immediacy, the constructions and perspectives quite terrific’ – Ham & High

Beryl Bainbridge spread
Beryl Bainbridge spread
Read the Introduction to Beryl Bainbridge: Artist, Writer, Friend

From her youth in Formby and Liverpool through her decades in London, art, life and writing intersect. Beryl Bainbridge painted landscapes, scenes from her novels, and above all people – friends, lovers, her children, and fictional and historical characters. Wholly undeterred by her lack of formal training, Beryl had an exuberance of technique to match her imagination.
 She would often incorporate everyday materials such as paper doilies, newspaper or cut-out photographs. As one of her many friends observes, the paintings were like Beryl herself: ‘irreverent, funny and highly original.’

Psiche Hughes first met Beryl in summer 1963, when they were neighbours in north London. Psiche became a confidante to Beryl in both her personal and her artistic life, and their close friendship endured until Beryl’s death in 2010.

Beryl’s eldest grandson, Charlie, recalls how his grandmother gave him the feeling that everything was possible, ‘and that creativity for its own sake coming out of your head and your own past was the real meaning of life.’

Her power to inspire is vividly conveyed in this first-hand portrait of a woman who combined towering creative talent with a tremendous sense of fun and an incorrigible free spirit.

Psiche Hughes is a former lecturer in Latin American and comparative literature at the University 
of London. She has published several translations of prose and poetry.