Any book about Benedict Rubbra is to be welcomed and to find something so completely researched, written and illustrated as this is sheer delight. “I first saw a painting by Benedict Rubbra in the house of my friends … I was spellbound by the beautiful colour chords and the unusual combination of movement and stasis within the picture frame”, writes Jenny Pery in her introduction, where she also records that she has made the artist’s acquaintance, adding, “My thanks go chiefly to him for the patient exposition of his life and his art over many long recording sessions”.
All of this tells you most of what you need to know about the book: that this is more than just a book project, perhaps something of a labour of love, that the artist’s own words and views are incorporated in the text and also the background of musicality to Rubbra’s work: his father was the composer Edmund Rubbra. Jenny Pery also explores Rubbra’s depiction of natural forms and the rhythms and harmonies of nature. There is maybe a very slight hint of hagiography here, but it is balanced by the scholarship and the depth of research that has gone into the book and by the sheer quality of the illustrations; this is Halsgrove at their absolute best.