This year sees the publication of perhaps FAB’s most unique title: a memoir seen through a kaleidoscope of psychoanalysis, art appreciation, and family history. In The Studio, Gill Gregory, lecturer in literature and award-winning author, takes us through her Dulwich studio as a way of taking us through her life.
Each chapter centres around a painting particularly meaningful to Gregory, and she uses it to reflect on her past—especially on her relationship with her father, a pioneering psychoanalyst, and with her brother, whose severe epilepsy affected her deeply from a young age. Sometimes the subject matter reminds her of something in her life, and sometimes it’s the story of the painting itself that draws her to it.
Rigorously investigating her past doesn’t yield only psychological revelations and meaningful emotional connections, but also more tangible treasures, like the fact that a relative on her mother’s side made The Stoop Bequest in 1933—the first important modern art collection held by the Tate. It’s moments like these that make it clear Gregory was wise to use the paintings from her Dulwich home as a throughline for this work, since art is a throughline in her life.
Gregory writes without psychological jargon but with a solid understanding of how psychoanalysis works, and she writes intelligently about art and literature as well, all of which makes The Studio enjoyable for experts and laypeople alike.
Check out our most unique title yet, and enter Gill Gregory’s studio—enjoy the tour.
“Gill Gregory’s poetic memoir maps the struggle to be free from a paralysing past by way of an exploration of paintings and psychoanalysis. The Studio breaks the mould of autobiographical writing like Marion Milner’s On Not Being Able To Paint, and tells a story that is at once lyrical and scholarly, emotionally gripping and historically intriguing—moving above all. This is an outstandingly gifted and rare book.” Isobel Armstrong, Professor Emeritus at Birkbeck College, University of London