LARKIN, PHILIP (1922-1985) and TED HUGHES (1930-1998)
JOINT PORTRAIT BY MARK GERSON (b. 1921), vintage photograph, silver print, half length, Larkin 'beaming into the camera' and Hughes slightly looking down to the right, Nicholas Hughes turned away behind them, signed by Mark Gerson on the mount and inscribed 'London', his stamp on the verso, small crease at top right-hand corner, framed and glazed, size of image 6 ½ x 8 ½ inches (16 x 21 cm), overall size 12 ½ x 12 ½ inches (31 x 31 cm), undated [but The National Hospital, Queen's Square, 28 June 1977]
This photograph, a rare image of the two poets together (of which no example is in the National Portrait Gallery), was taken at the reception held at the time of the unveiling of 'The Silver Jubilee Flower Bowl' in Queen Square, London, by Mrs James Callaghan, for which they had each contributed a verse (printed on the inside of the card mentioned below).
Ted Hughes thought there were two Philip Larkins - the public and the private. It is the second who appears in this photograph:
'The other is a Philip I've seen only twice: once in the photographs taken in Queen's Square at the time of the unveiling of our quotations - ...he's beaming into the camera with very intense joyful gladness & affection & yet of some sort of intense brightness, a flash - ... his eye & face flash out the expression of a joyful passionate goblin.'
With the photograph is a card issued as a Christmas card by The National Hospital, Queen Square, showing the Silver Jubilee flower bowl in the square.
REFERENCE: Unpublished letter by Ted Hughes.
PROVENANCE: Mark Gerson.