Once again in harmonious and luminous prose emerges a portrait of stature, this time the artist and critic who effected the recognition of modern painting. Fry broke away from his austere and circumscribed Quaker background to paint, but after years of study realised his primary function was that of criticism in which he excelled,rather than painting which he preferred. The first to introduce the moderns in England, to override the militant reaction which resulted, he became the leading teacher and interpreter. His was the ability to ""accept impressions implicitly and then submit them to the test of reason"" -- to make painting real to the outsider. A man of deep integrity and conviction, he retained until his death a personal and aesthetic elasticity which enabled him to further new trends. No other writer today has Virginia Woolf's purity of style, critical subtlety, but here there is greater perfection than warmth, intellect than feeling. This will limit the sales potentialities of the book.