“Their great friend George Wilkinson had a flat in Fitzroy Square – he shared a cottage in Sussex with them for a year and then headed off to Corfu, encouraging them to join him. Which they did, and Prospero’s Cell by Lawrence Durrell and My Family and Other Animals by his younger brother Gerald were the results,” says Joanna.
Amateurs in Eden: the Story of a Bohemian Marriage: Nancy and Lawrence Durrell recalls the life of a beautiful young art student as she comes of age in 1930s Fitzrovia and how she meets her first husband.
Born Nancy Myers in 1912 she arrives in Fitzrovia as a student of the Slade school. But bored with the way art was taught, frustrated by the restrictions her parents place on her, she strikes out with her own ideas. She pursues art and the people who interest her, settles in cheap accommodation with a couple of friends and makes the most of life hanging out in Fitzrovia’s pubs and cafes.
She meets Lawrence and after a failed business venture, they leave London for a cottage in Sussex. Tempted to the Mediterranean they get married to benefit from a cheap travel offer and make their way to Corfu. She was only to spend a few years there, but as Joanna Hodgkin writes of her mother: “Corfu was to keep a special place in her heart for the rest of her life.”
Amateurs In Eden: The Story of a Bohemian Marriage: Nancy and Lawrence Durrell by Joanna Hodgkin is published by Virago.