In the first photo we are in the Manse and we’re sitting in the kitchen and Ruth’s about four and Tess is a baby. Pete Mannox, the photographer, he took lots of photographs that Robin painted from. I suppose they had a bit of a partnership in that way really. And this was one of the photographs.
We’re sitting in the kitchen, Tess in on my lap and Ruth is standing next to me and she’s looking very typical because Ruth, she didn’t want friends, she just wanted a lot of animals, we had a couple of dogs and several cats and Ruth would just play in the garden with these creatures. And Tess is looking gleefully happy because she was the happiest baby ever, really, and as long as she was on my hip, she was happy. We used to call her Great Attachment.
Robin took a lot of things like acid and smoked a lot of dope and stuff like that but he was also very strict because he wasn’t a hippie, he didn’t agree with hippy-ism. He didn’t think they had any discipline at all, and he thought you had to work hard at your art and you had to be dedicated. I mean he was very serious. And I mean the girls, they both became artists too and he was always “You’ve gotta draw for 20 minutes every day, you’ve gotta do it, you’ve gotta work at it.”
And he was very strict and he was so critical of your work. He was a strange combination of being very liberal, intellectually and morally, probably, in some respects, but then total authoritarian disciplinarian when it came to anything to do with education and making art, wasn’t it? And he was a complex character, I think, it was difficult to quite work out which side he was more like. He had a great aunt, his Aunt Jemima, who was a Scot, and she said he should have been a preacher. So he could be like that.
Josephine Radcliffe and her daughters Tess and Ruth share parts of the life story of late-husband and father Robin Radcliffe, alongside some of their treasured family photographs.
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