'Two Vagabonds in
Another rare French delight
Fans of Lady Fortescue and her writing about life in Provence in those delightful pre-war years may also find enjoyment in the works of two other English writers and artists of the same era, Jan and Cora Gordon. Artists and authors of some repute in their heyday between the wars they lived in a studio in Paris and wrote of their travels in France in the 1920s, illustrating the books with their sketches and paintings. In their day they were something of a publishing phenomenon, publishing at least one book a year about their travels in various parts of Europe, in a chatty and relaxed style that they made uniquely their own. Taverners rather than Templars youíll find no lengthy descriptions of cathedrals or castles in their books, more a description of the humorous or entertaining trivia of life around them.
The very best of these books, Two Vagabonds in Languedoc, has just been republished by BeneFactum Publishing with an added introduction and preface by their biographer, Ken Bryant.
In 1923 these two wandering artists in search of paintable scenery happened by chance upon the village of Najac, in the Aveyron. Enchanted by what they saw they stayed for several months, observing the small things of life in their own unique manner; who would think of writing a book of travel as viewed from the seat outside their cafť? The result was a charming work held in high regard by the inhabitants of Najac, and will be appreciated again by modern readers. It will certainly, Iím sure, appeal to Perfume From Provence fans. Did they know Lady Fortescue? Possibly. They both wrote for Backwoods' Magazine in those pre-war years, and certainly would have had mutual acquaintances in their social and literary circle. I have on my wall a painting of Gattieres, a neighbouring village to Opio, and have records of other paintings from the area, so close itís unlikely they never met, but sadly no record has yet been found to confirm it; I prefer to think they did. They would have got on without doubt.
I feel sure fans of Perfume from Provence will derive as much pleasure from reading the Gordon's work as they do from those of Lady Fortescue, and they can gain equal enjoyment from rediscovering the places in the book themselves.
Visit the website dedicated to the life of the Gordon's at www.janandcoragordon.co.uk
Photo - Ken Bryant
'Two Vagabonds In