Paddy Leigh Fermor

A cancelled lecture meant that I was able to call in at the exhibition in the British Museum devoted to a triumvirate of friends in Greece in the post-war period – John Craxton, Paddy Leigh Fermor and Niko Ghika.   It reminded me of the fact that the NPG commissioned John Craxton to paint Leigh Fermor, based on a knowledge of their friendship and the fact that Craxton had done the dustjackets for all of Leigh Fermor’s books from Mani onwards.   It never happened.   By then, it was perhaps too nostalgic an exercise and Craxton had become more interested in his life in Crete than in answering the demands of a formal commission.   But it’s sad nonetheless and means that Leigh Fermor is recorded in the NPG only by photographs (Craxton by an early Self-portrait because Freud claimed that his portrait of him was not of him).

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