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'A drawing of the world when I was young.' So Gwen Raverat, the grand-daughter of Charles Darwin, described Period Piece, her classic memoir of a Cambridge childhood, which since its initial publication in 1952 has never been out of print. Vividly evoking a bygone era, it is a shrewd, touching and comic portrait of her eccentric relations, and of Cambridge society in a time when it was restricted enough to be treated as an extension of the family. As a child she thought it impossible that she would ever succeed as an artist, and yet the observations of the small incidents in her life, recorded here both in word and drawing, reveal an artist's careful eye.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780571067428
ISBN-10: 0571067425
Format: Paperback
(200mm x 130mm x 20mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publish Date: 20-Jun-1974
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » Daughter of an American mother and an English father and granddaughter of Charles Darwin pens her tart to tender reminiscences of a childhood in Cambridge - and includes her own innocent illustrations. Mother's letters (with their wide open spelling) to her family in the United States background the progression of her rugged attitude towards new customs, people and life; Mother's educational and health theories take up a large part of dearly remembered days which include governesses, boarding school, the house by the water, Newnham Grange; but, for all her American unorthodoxy, Mother's strictures are quite in keeping with the proprieties of the period. And there are the relatives - aunts and uncles and their households - all a little lunatic or absurd but each with some endearing quality. Naturally the sheltered era bred Ladies and Gentlemen; you considered The Horses and the servants; children were chaperones during a courtship; youngsters led and lived their secret lives. English social history here is identified with university, London and country backgrounds and is recalled with honesty and affection and a feeling for the ridiculous. Very nice. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Gwen Raverat

Gwen Raverat (1885-1957) was the granddaughter of Charles Darwin. In 1911 she married the French painter Jacques Raverat, and she was an artist, illustrator and wood engraver in her own right. She published her memoir, Period Piece, in 1952.