GOLDING, WILLIAM (1911-1993)
PORTRAIT BY MARK GERSON (b. 1921), vintage photograph, silver print, three-quarter length, seated at home, head down, absorbed in a game of chess using a Nordic or Celtic set, signed by Mark Gerson on the mount and inscribed 'London', his stamp on the verso, framed and glazed, size of image 10 x 8 inches (26 x 20 cm), overall size 17 x 15 inches (44 x 35 cm), Ebble Thatch, Broadchalke, August 1970
An example of this image is in the National Portrait Gallery. It is also illustrated in Mark Gerson, Literati, 1996. Peter Carey quotes Golding's friend Tom Brown's recollection that Golding taught himself chess ('another lifelong obsession' during the 'boring times in the navy'), using a book 'by an American called Mason' [James Mason, The Art of Chess, 1905]. Golding was also obsessed with early chess computers. One of Golding's opponents said 'by God he likes to win; if he loses he worries about it for hours.' One of the much quoted lines in Lord of the Flies is: Ralph...would treat the day's decisions as though he were playing chess. The only trouble was that he would never be a very good chess player.'
PROVENANCE: Mark Gerson.