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portrait of the retiring Master of Jesus College, Cambridge. From the very beginning, when she needed the money and the kudos, she disliked commissioned work; but she agreed to go to Cambridge and meet her proposed subject. After an exchange of courtesies, she suggested that it might be best if she first did a drawing of the sitter. ‘To find out whether or not you can get a likeness, you mean?’ ‘No,’ Sarah said, ‘so you can see what you look like.’ Had Graham Sutherland adopted the same procedure in portraying Winston Churchill, he might have been spared the trouble of completing the portrait, which was so true, at least from the artist’s point of view, that Winston had it destroyed before it could become iconic. Sarah compared portrait-painting with being an ant crawling with searching ubiquity all over the face of the sitter. Like Goya, what she saw she drew or painted, never mind whether the sitter liked it. Mutatis mutandis, I write on the same principle. What is not on show in these pages, in the way of protracted états d’âme, has been excised at the terse suggestion of my wife, the best in-house editor a man ever had. I make no apology for the tactlessness of my reportage. I have never regarded writing as a diplomatic career (or any kind of a career at all). It is too bad if anyone finds my sketches caricatural or ‘unfair’; as Pontius Pilate said, ‘Ho gegrapha gegrapha’: what I have written I have written.

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