A Modern Odyssey by Hugh Thompson
Tuesday, 23 January 2024
In the book which goes with the John Craxton exhibition at the Pallant Gallery Chichester(until April 21) it states, he “attended various private schools for brief stints.”
Although its invidious of any school to take credit for the increasingly fashionable artist John Craxton(1922-2009) most of the references credit Clayesmore. Though the wonderfully bohemian Craxton seems  have spent only one term at Iwerne and to put it mildly was not impressed. As he wasn’t by most of the various schools he went to.
Whatever, the exhibition at the Pallant Gallery is yet another step to Craxton reaching the forefront of Britain’s artistic brotherhood. He is of course among other things famous for his love and long hate with Bryanstonian Lucien Freud.
Freud may have got talent and ambition but his one time soul mate Craxton just had  bundles of talent. Life came first. But fame so elusive and disdained when alive is more and more coming to the fore.
 David Attenbrough collects him,he was ballerina Margot Fonteyns lover, and  was a friend and illustrator of Leigh Fermor’s books.
His life  largely in Greece was something of a dream, his gay life no secret. The establishment  although recognising his art and talent sided with Freud and largely shoved him to the side. But the Pallant among other major non London galleries is making up for lost ground. And maybe just as one time leader of the artistic pack Robyn Denny OC (1930-2014)loses fame and profile John Craxton is moving onto the top table.
Hugh Thompson