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Types and Shadows Reviews

Types and Shadows by Sir Roy Strong

Types and Shadows: Diaries 2004-2015

Sir Roy Strong

4.00 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 26 Nov 2020
ISBN: 9781474617338

The third volume of diaries from the bestselling author and former director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

4 stars out of 5
13 Dec 2020

"The octogenarian’s third volume of memoirs has a change of pace"

In volume three there is a complete change of pace. The energy and vigour is still there in glimpses, but is eclipsed by a certain sadness. These are very much the diaries of a man in his seventies who, when the entries begin in January 2004, is adapting with some difficulty to the recent death of his wife, the theatre designer Julia Trevelyan Oman. So much so that, walking home from a dinner one evening, he is suddenly overwhelmed by grief and sobs the rest of the way home.


4 stars out of 5
Roger Lewis
12 Dec 2020

"The former V&A director’s waspish diaries reveal that he is a great elegist for a disappearing England"

On the other hand, Strong’s spots of commonness, revealed by his over-fastidiousness, are what redeem him, making this unique mixture of AL Rowse and Cesar Romero’s Joker into the greatest living Englishman. Unlike everyone else in the 21st century, Strong is unafraid of speaking his mind, which is genuinely well-stocked. He refuses to be anodyne. He can see “political correctness had stood the world on its head”, and is commendably doing something about it. 

4 stars out of 5
5 Dec 2020

"Roy Strong’s towering egotism is really rather engaging"

After 500 pages, I was increasingly uncertain what world these diaries recorded. But of one thing I was sure: Dr Sir Roy Strong CH, now additionally a Searcher of the Sanctuary at Westminster Abbey, is a unique, admirable and enduring invention. More true, in fact, than his temporary postures.