Charmed Lives in Greece:  Ghika, Craxton, Leigh Fermor  (British Museum, until 15th July 2018)

This delightful exhibition features the work of painters John Craxton and Niko Ghika, alongside the work of their friend, the traveller and writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. It provides a warm and fascinating account of their fifty year friendship, illustrated by wonderful paintings, photographs and archival material and capturing the places in Greece which they knew and loved.  

Craxton discovered Greece in 1946, glorying in the light and the landscape after the bleakness of war-time London. The pictures in this exhibition show how imaginatively he responded to that light – bright, zingy colours outline his dancing figures while landscapes are created from rich and vibrant dashes, mimicking the glare of the Mediterranean sun.  

Alongside his paintings of sailors, goats and landscapes you’ll find the cover designs Craxton made for Patrick Leigh Fermor’s magnificent volumes of travel writing, published by John Murray.  These beautiful jackets really captured the character of the books – gloriously wrought pieces of prose, capturing Leigh Fermor’s impressions of pre-war Europe as he crossed it on foot in the mid 1930s.  

These were three remarkable men, and this affectionate exhibition charts their friendship and their love for the landscape and people of Greece.