Magazine article The Spectator

Explorer of the Last Domain of Childhood

Magazine article The Spectator

Explorer of the Last Domain of Childhood

Article excerpt

In 1946 the novelist Forrest Reid (1875-1947) presented to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford some 700 wood-engravings by artists including Arthur Hughes and J. E. Millais, most of which he had cut out of Victorian magazines while researching his pioneering work, Illustrators of the Sixties (1928), despite the fact that in that work he comments, `To mutilate a volume of the Cornhill or Good Words is an act of vandalism.' (His collection of illustrated books of the period, which he hung on to, followed another path, to the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York.)

The Ashmolean recently exhibited some of these images, and has published an attractive illustrated catalogue, including nine essays on aspects of Reid's life and work. A friend of E. M. Forster and Walter de la Mare, Reid, a repressed homosexual who lived all his life in Belfast while rejecting the values of the Presbyterian middle class he had been born into, wrote delicate fictional studies of the flowering emotions of young boys and two compelling autobiographies. …

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