cover image Sitwells and the Arts of the 1920s and 1930s

Sitwells and the Arts of the 1920s and 1930s

Sarah Bradford, Gibson, Pearson. National Portrait Gallery, $49.5 (239pp) ISBN 978-1-85514-140-7

This lavishly illustrated catalogue of an exhibition at London's National Portrait Gallery showcases paintings, photographs and drawings that evoke London's literary and artistic circles during the 1920s and '30s, focusing on the eccentric Sitwells. Siblings Edith (1887-1964), Osbert (1892-1969) and Sacheverell (1897-1988) became well known after their production of Facade, a '20's experimental theatrical performance that featured Edith's poetry and inspired an unflattering satire by Noel Coward (London Calling). The three were united in their ardent support of the arts and frequently expressed controversial opinions about other writers. Accompanying essays by British scholars detail the Sitwells' literary achievements. Osbert and Edith both wrote poetry as well as biographies (Edith) and satirical novels (Osbert), while Sacheverell published books on architecture. The 250 illustrations, 150 in color, include works by Cecil Beaton and Pavel Tchelitchew. (Feb.)