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Julia Strachey(1901-79) was born in India, where her father, one of Lytton Strachey’s elder brothers, worked in the Civil Service; her mother, Ruby Mayer, was Swiss-German. Julia lived with relations in England after her parents divorced and went to Bedales and to the Slade; she then worked as a model at Poiret, as a photographer and as a publisher’s reader. She was married to the sculptor Stephen Tomlin from 1927-34, wrote short stories for magazines, and in 1932Cheerful Weather for the Weddingwas published by The Hogarth Press. Virginia Woolf wrote: ‘I think it astonishingly good – complete and sharp and individual.’ Her 1951 novelThe Man on the Pierwas republished by Penguin in 1978 asAn Integrated Man. In 1939 Julia met the art critic Lawrence Gowing, who was 21; they spent thirty years ‘constantly in each other’s company’, fifteen of them married, in Newcastle and in Chelsea, where he ran the art schools.
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