Magazine article The Spectator

Fun and Games at Glin

Magazine article The Spectator

Fun and Games at Glin

Article excerpt

The Last Knight: A Tribute to Desmond Fitzgerald, 29th Knight of Glin by Robert O'Byrne Lilliput Press, £15, pp. 224 , ISBN 9781843514084 Spectator Bookshop, £14 I have to declare an interest: for many years the Knight and I were the closest of friends until a sequence of his unpredictable and volcanic rages drove us apart.

Robert O'Byrne explains how the Knight suffered for most of his life from the illness and strong medication of manic depression.

It is a tribute to him that I never knew of this medical diagnosis until much later and that, despite it, he achieved so much in his life, drawing international acclaim to Irish pictures, architecture and furniture and producing so many learned books on their quality and beauty.

In fact there is a photograph in this book of the Knight and I dancing a jig to the melodious tin-whistle music of Paddy Maloney. But in the caption I am described as someone else, albeit a cousin. This has prejudiced my view of the factual accuracy of this book, which has an irritatingly bad index. The title and the front cover are very alluring, but this is not a biography. I hope that will come soon. It is principally a detailed account of the Knight's lifelong and painstaking research, and of his beautifully designed books.

He wisely wrote most of his books with a partner, in particular the redoubtable and formidable (but charming) Professor Anne Crookshank (Ireland's Painters and Watercolours of Ireland). …

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