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Tuesday, 28 August 2012 13:39 Written by Tom Phillips

Only Connect...

Only Connect

Only Connect, Watercolour, 2012

Were I to write my memoirs I would naturally refer to my meeting with E. M. Forster. It was all too brief. In fact he only said two words to me when, on the Speech Day of Henry Thornton Grammar School in 1954, he handed me the Art Prize. He was the guest of honour because of his ancestral connection with the Thornton family who 'with labours philanthropic', as the school song declared, 'had loosened slavery's chains / throughout the sultry tropic.'

The two words were not those celebrated above, my constant mantra and a leitmotiv of A Humument. They embodied a more enigmatic and personal message for, as I took from his hands the huge Phaidon Leonardo da Vinci, he said them twice, ‘Fine choice… fine choice.’ Our ways parted. I never met him again. But I have for almost sixty years pondered that sibylline utterance 'Fine choice… fine choice.’

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