The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

August 3, 2016

August 3, 1983

Maeve Gilmore (June 14, 1917  to August 3, 1983) was a British painter, sculptor and writer, and the wife of the well-known author and artist Mervyn Peake. A recent TLS article, by an archivist of their work, sketches a lovely glimpse of their life.

Maeve met Mervyn on her first day at Westminster School of Art, where, at the age of seventeen, she was studying to become a sculptor. Mervyn, six years her senior, was already a successful painter by this time, teaching at the school to supplement his income. Dazzled by what she described in A World Away: A memoir of Mervyn Peake (1970) , as his “native exuberance” Maeve agreed to go to tea with him. They were married a year later and stayed together until Mervyn’s death from Parkinson’s, thirty years later, at the age of fifty-seven.

For much of their marriage, they made a home on the Channel island of Sark, in a large white chalet, previously the headquarters for the German occupied forces; from the get go, a firm dynamic was established, with Maeve devoting herself to her dark and intriguing husband and their three children.

But as Mervyn’s career burgeoned with commission after commission, Maeve quietly continued to paint; her output over the years was prolific, matched only by that of her husband. So far in my inventory I have logged more than 200 paintings, with many more to go.

And here is portrait of Gilmore by her husband. It is jut a thumbnail but you can see how lovely it is, and easily find a large color copy to view.

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