From the Archive | Lesley Blanch and Ludwig Bemelmans

Lesley-Blanch-and-Ludwig-Bemelmans

Ludwig Bemelmans was an Austrian-born writer and illustrator of children’s books and adult novels (notably the Madeline series: six were published, the first in 1939).

Lesley Blanch often commissioned his work for British  Vogue when she was there working as features editor. Here is one of his humorous, self deprecating letters to her: a wonderfully evocative, idiosyncratic missive.

Note his description of the offices of Victor Gollancz, the publisher and humanitarian who published Ford Madox Ford, George Orwell, Elizabeth Bowen, Daphne du Maurier and Franz Kafka. Gollancz’s wife, Ruth, was an artist who had studied at the Slade School of Art with Lesley Blanch under Henry Tonks.

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From the Archive | Lesley Blanch and Cecil Beaton

lesley-blanch-and-cecil-beaton

Writing letters is becoming a lost art outstripped by emailing, tweeting and the artsy instagraming of personal photos posted for public consumption. Image, image, image: but there’s nothing quite as rich and rewarding as private letter-writing for truly getting to know each other, well out of the spotlight, wherever you may be.

Beaton and Blanch first met in London at British Vogue in the 1940s where she was features editor; again in Hollywood in the 1950s; and they remained lifelong friends.