Posts Tagged ‘natasha solomons’

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands at the National Portrait Gallery

My third novel ‘The Gallery of Vanished Husbands’ tells the life story of Juliet Montague and her emergence from a conservative Jewish upbringing to the heart of ‘60s London and it’s thriving art scene, through a series of portraits of Juliet, each chapter of the novel hinging on a different painting. The research was a treat as it sanctioned hours of padding around the National Portrait Gallery and rifling through the online archives. These are a few of the portraits that helped to inspire the novel.

I’m going to blog one each day for the next week.

Jan Morris by Arturo Di Stefano, 2004-2005 © National Portrait Gallery, London This portrait is on display in Room 6722.

Jan Morris by Arturo Di Stefano, 2004-2005 © National Portrait Gallery, London
This portrait is on display in Room 6722.

I adore Arturo Di Stefano’s painting of the writer Jan Morris. He conveys such a sense of a life lived – you can actually see it happening outside the window in the portrait. It feels like he has painted their conversation almost inadvertently as she tells him about her life, Italy, places she’s visited and loved. We’re peering into an intimate moment and catching a glimpse of the collusion between artist and subject. Di Stefano has not only captured a sense of Morris’s personality but also the experience of painting her – a delicious insight into the artistic process. I also very much like the cat – there’s something so personal and warm about it snoozing there in the corner.

And, to celebrate the launch of the book The National Portrait Gallery together with Stylist Magazine are running a competition to win a year’s membership plus to the NPG. Click on the link to enter:

‘The Gallery of Vanished Husbands’ Paperback is nearly here!

In fact it’s out next week on June 19th and to celebrate I’m doing a couple of events here in Dorset.

I’ll be at Winstone’s bookshop in Sherborne on Thursday June 19th at 6.30 pm (see the flier below) and at Gullivers’ in Wimborne on the evening of Thursday 26th. Do pop by for a drink and a chat!

Flier (1)

You are cordially invited…



I would love it if you my lovely blog readers could come to the Official Launch of ‘The Gallery of Vanished Husbands’ on Sunday 4th August at the Art Stable in Child Okeford, Dorset (details are on the invitation below).

The new novel is structured like a gallery catalogue. It tells the story of an unusual woman’s journey through life, each stage hinged on a portrait. So to tie in with the theme my friend Kelly Ross thought it would be fun to hold the book launch at her wonderful bijoux gallery, The Art Stable, alongside with a special exhibition of portraits of women at every time of life.

The remarkable Henrietta Young is painting a new portrait of her daughter Clementine especially for the show. Her first portrait of Clemmie was painted in 1986 when she was only ten and won a prize at the National Portrait Gallery (Clemmie is the little girl in red on the invitation below). Henrietta painted another when her daughter was 27 and recovering from a serious illness while the latest picture is of Clementine as a mother herself.


The day should be really fun – as well as the book launch and portrait exhibition, James’s Cheese will be holding a tasting, the Gold Hill Organic Farm shop will be open selling their home grown produce as well as serving snacks and the resident glassblowers will be giving demonstrations.


Little S will also be there keeping his grandma’s busy and hunting out mischief.