In the pre-digital age, before email and cell/mobiile phones, letters carried an importance that few who were not part of those times will understand. The words on the pages of a love letter carry the nuances and emotions of love and desire, passion and anger in a deeply confidential way.
The urgency and the intimacy of the writers can be clearly felt in this collection of letters between Lee Miller, Photographer, and Roland Penrose, Surrealist Artist as they conduct their long-distance romance. It begins with their meeting in Paris in 1937 and runs to 1939 when Lee Miller left her Egyptian husband Aziz Eloui Bey in Cairo and joined Roland Penrose in London at the start of World War 2.
In this real-life romantic drama, the period and their connections give us a supporting cast that includes Dora Maar and Picasso, Nusch and Paul Eluard, Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst, Ady Fidelin and Man Ray.
The nearly three hundred pages of love letters in this book show that as the relationship grew it produced and supported some of the world’s best loved art and photography. The letters have never been published before and have only been read by a handful of people since they were first written.
A selection of comments from scholars contextualises the period. The contributors; Antony Penrose (co-founder of the Lee Miller Archives, so of Lee Miller and Roland Penrose and co-director at Farleys House & Gallery Ltd), Ami Bouhassane (co-director at Farleys House & Gallery Ltd, author, curator and grand-daughter of Lee Miller & Roland Penrose), Hilary Roberts (independent curator and formerly senior curator of photography at Imperial War Museum, London, Hussein Omar (Lecturer in Modern Global History at University college Dublin), Amina Diab (PhD. art historian and curator specialising in modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art).
Also contains many photographs by Lee Miller and Roland Penrose, in both colour and Black & White, that have not previously been published from the same period as the letters. 411 pages hardback printed in 5 colours.