Robin Ironside: Portrait of a Neo-Romantic Visionary
Robin Ironside (1912 - 1965) became No. 2 at the Tate Gallery during the war under Sir John Rothenstein, but later gave it all up to become a painter. Thin, starving, dressed always in black and addicted to Dr. Collis Brown's Chlorodyne, an opium-based medicine, he painted the most extraordinary pictures. He described them as peopled by charcters "under the spell of some charming but vaguely dreaded hallucination". He was a fascinating conversationalist, and also wrote extensively for Horizon magazine - he coined the term Neo-Romantic - , and virtually single-handedly resurrected interest in a style of painting that had long gone out of fashion, The Pre-Raphaelites.
Virginia Ironside is Robin Ironside's niece. She has worked for forty years as an agony aunt with regular columns at present in the Independent and the Oldie; she has also written fifteen books. She is currently touring with her one-woman show Growing Old Discracefully and working on her next book.