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Books

The self-taught maritime artist who transcends ‘naïve’ cliché

Honor Clerk reviews Julia Blackburn’s delightful Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske

4 April 2015

9:00 AM

4 April 2015

9:00 AM

Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske Julia Blackburn

Cape, pp.344, £25, ISBN: 9780224097765

In the manner of Richard Holmes’s Footsteps, Julia Blackburn’s story of John Craske is as much autobiography as biography, as much about the hunt for information as the processed results of the search. The facts of John Craske’s life are briefly told: born in Norfolk in 1881 into a fishing family, he suffered some sort of mental and physical breakdown while training with the army in 1917 and for the remaining 25 or so years of his life dodged in and out of invalidism, sometimes bedridden for long periods, sometimes out fishing with his brothers, sometimes working as a fish...

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Available from the Spectator Bookshop, £20 Tel: 08430 600033. Honor Clerk is a curator at the National Portrait Gallery.

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