Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal gave the biennual Leo Baeck Lecture this evening at Queen Mary on the subject of ‘On the Eve of Departure: Art and Exile’.  He must have talked about the background to the writing of The Hare with Amber Eyes a hundred times, if not a thousand (it was published in 2010), but he still managed to invest the circumstances of his family history with extraordinarily vivid immediacy, as if he was only just telling the story for the first time of Charles Ephrussi in 81, rue de Monceau, Viktor von Ephrussi, his scholarly great grandfather, his grandmother Elisabeth who only died in 1991, his great uncle Ignace, who left Vienna to become a fashion designer, and Victor de Waal, his wonderful father who was chaplain of King’s and Dean of Canterbury.   Maybe talking to a scholarly Jewish audience gave the narrative a different edge, because, although his father had apparently suppressed his Jewish upbringing, Edmund said that a visit to the Leo Baeck library reminded him of his upbringing.   It was a tour de force.

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3 thoughts on “Edmund de Waal

  1. No surprise there : he is a remarkable man. Anyone who hasn’t yet read his THE WHITE ROAD should do so, for a further insight into his making of pots, and the whole history of Ceramics.

  2. Joan says:

    It is such a shame that the exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Camden ‘Shaping Ceramics: From Lucy Rie to Edmund de Waal’ has now finished. I managed to get to it twice but would have liked to revisit it again. Some very beautiful things on show and a Stepney link with the work of Dan Arbeid.

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