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14 September 2021
We are abandoning the book about women still-life painters, so aptly called This Dark Country (because what illustrations there are, are so dark that they are impossible to see) because Charlotte Johnson Wahl died yesterday and we want to pay tribute to her. She was a great friend to Persephone, reading our books and coming in to the shop in London occasionally after her visits to see her consultant round the corner at the National Hospital in Queen Square (she had Parkinson's for nearly forty years). Despite her eldest son, now the prime minister, about whom we cannot think without wanting to sob, she was a magnificent, warm, humane, funny and generally admirable person. (As was her father, the great Sir James Fawcett.) We were always sad that she did not disassociate herself from her son's actions and behaviour but hey ho mothers and sons... This is a very typical 'Charlotte' portrait, of a 1980s London family (with children from previous marriages happily part of the mix).
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