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Is She a Lady? A Problem in Autobiography - Nina Hamnett

1955 - Allan Windgate, London - First Edition
A rare dust jacketed first edition of Nina Hamnett’s second autobiographical work, the first being ‘A Laughing Torso’ [1933], and published only a year before her death.

Although more famous as the ‘Queen of Bohemia’ in Paris and written about first and foremost as a subject for the art of others (from Henri Gaudier-Brzeska to Roger Fry to Walter Sickert, ), she was a well trained and versatile artist in her own right and one of few emerging female artists of the first half of the 20th century.

‘Reading her story as a tale of the emergence of a young woman into the modern art world, her writing – breathless as it can be – creates a pithy, vivid and often amusing picture of what it felt like to throw off the constraints of the Edwardian lady and reinvent yourself as an artist’ - Alicia Foster, Art UK.

Illustrated with seven photographs and six reproductions of her drawings, including one of Anthony Powell from 1927.

Beginning in 1926, Nina Hamnett ‘
proceeds to unleash a reckless Niagara of hilarious anecdotes and preposterous incidents of the vintage Bohemian lif of London and Paris in the late twenties and early thirties. This was a world of pubs and clubs and parties, of painters, patrons, poets, boxers and tarts, of champagne drunk with the rich, quiet visits to the pawnshop and studio free-for-alls...’ 
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Price HK$ 5,000



Laughing Torso - Signed - Nina Hamnett

1932 - Constable &, London - First Edition
‘A lady was the last thing I wanted to be’

Signed the year before her tragic death, rare in first edition even more so signed.

The witty, irresistible memoirs of the self-effacing artist and ‘Queen of Bohemia’, Nina Hamnett – her always enchanting and occasionally deadpan account of Bohemian life in Paris and a bestseller upon its first appearance in 1932 in both Britain and America.

A model as well as a painter, Hamnett shamelessly name-drops the innumerable artists and celebrities she encounters at Montmarte’s popular cafés and night spots – including Modigliani, Lytton Strachey, Erik Satie, André Gide, Walter Epstein, Nancy Cunard, and Jean Cocteau, among dozens of others – and with whom she engages in fancy dress parties, all night drinking, and naked dancing. She even sang nursery rhymes with James Joyce, who she described as ‘the most respectable and old fashioned man I have ever met’.

Wonderfully illustrated throughout with 23 black and white photographs and sketches and paintings by the author, including the infamous ‘torso’ as frontispiece, which can now be found at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
 
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Price HK$ 8,000