Oct 19, 2021
For years Paul Delaney
was professor of English at the University of Moncton; prior to
this he taught at various institutions in London, England. During
his lifetime he has had an ongoing interest in Acadian genealogy, a
topic upon which he continues to publish and conduct
His biography of Charles de
Sousy Ricketts (1866-1931), published in 1990, was the first major
study of a man whose "spirited career encompassed many aspects of
late Victorian and Edwardian culture," including fine press book
design and production, stage design, typography, painting,
sculpture, art criticism, and art collecting. Friends included W.B.
Yeats, Thomas Moore, A. E.
Housman, Oscar Wilde and
many other luminaries of the period.
Drawing upon a wide range of material, much of it unpublished and/or newly discovered at the time, Delaney "reveals a man of strong opinions and
who despite a fierce
opposition to Post
Impressionism and Modernism,
was noted for his love and deep knowledge of art, as well as his wit,
generosity and artistic
illuminates cultural and artistic life in England during the 1890s and early decades of
the 20th century, and provides a detailed portrait of one of
the period's great personalities.
Ricketts, during his
lifetime, established a reputation as a great art
connoisseur. In 1915
he turned down an offer to become director of the National Gallery, a decision he later
regretted. He did
"disastrously" as adviser to the National Gallery of Canada
from 1924 until his death in 1931. He also wrote three books of art criticism,
two volumes of short stories and a memoir of Oscar Wilde. Selections from his letters
and diaries were
I met with Paul Delaney at his home in
Moncton, New Brunswick, where we talked about, among other things,
his nom de plume (J. G. P. Delaney), about
Ricketts of course, and his adventurous mother; about Ricketts'
long time companion artist Charles Shannon; about publisher and
editor Rupert Hart Davis, and about Paul's experience writing the
biography of artist Glyn Philpot.