13 December 2018, The Tablet

DJ Taylor reflects on BBC Radio 4’s portrait of the painter Lucy Jones


The Art of Living: Lucy Jones, Painter
BBC Radio 4

Putting art on the radio is always a risk, if only for the lack of any visual reference points. However impassioned the presenter, the listener is always liable to feel what he or she felt when – say – watching the Iris Murdoch biopic in which Kate Winslet, brow furrowed and pencil to hand, hunches over a notebook and pretends to write a novel: that no amount of explanation will ever make the aesthetic experience on display entirely penetrable.

To his credit, Tom Shakespeare, the genial host of this portrait of the artist Lucy Jones (10 December), was all too aware of the cul-de-sac into which broadcast art criticism occasionally strays. So avid was he to convey the full majesty of Jones’ canvases – quite something from his account of them – that at one point he breezed off into the Shropshire countryside to view the material at source, glorying in the discrepancies between locale and projection that rapidly came to light.

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