A sparkling comic novel with superbly memorable characters
Auberon, the brilliant but troubled Director of the Museum of British History (known as BRIT) is preparing one Midsummer's Day for the opening of the most spectacular exhibition the Museum has ever staged. The centrepiece of the exhibition is Gainsborough's portrait of the beautiful but intriguing Lady St John; not shown in London for a hundred years, the painting shows its subject strikingly attired as Puck. As the day passes the portrait arouses in the minds of the museum staff disquieting questions, rivalries, and strangely deep affections. Tension mounts: will the gala dinner be a success? Can the Museum's Chairman be kept under control? And just what is it that's so peculiar about the portrait?
Not just a sparkling farce, one disaster following hard on the heels of another, but a blistering satire on the museum world and its many parasites. There are some memorably ghastly minor characters - Sunday Telegraph
Waterfield's comic novel, always urbanely light-hearted, hides a meaner satirical punch beneath its entertaining surface - The Sunday Times
Waterfield's uproarious portrait of museum life is daubed with flashes of silver-tongued satire, and he delights in puncturing the pomposity of its senior hierarchy. Amid the frivolity, he manages to insert some apt digs at New Labour obsessions with modernity - The Times
Giles Waterfield was brought up in Paris and Geneva. Having worked at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and for sixteen years as Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, in 1996 he abandoned arts administration in order to write, teach and curate exhibitions. His first novel, THE LONG AFTERNOON, won the McKitterick Prize in 2001.