London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's burgundy cloth, spine gilt, original illustrated dust jacket.
Known for her charm, beauty, wit, and of course talent, Lydia Lopokova remains a legendary name in the realm of dance and beyond. Born into a St. Petersburg family of dancers in 1892, Lopokova trained at the Imperial Ballet School before leaving Russia to tour with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Although she flourished in the ballet world, Lopokova went on to participate in other spheres of cultural life in Europe and the United States, notably finding a place among the Bloomsbury coterie after she became romantically linked to economist John Maynard Keynes, to whom she was eventually wed. This volume is an attempt to pay tribute to her wide-ranging artistry and influence, composed of twenty essays from a variety of luminaries including Bloomsbury dignitaries, economic gurus, and preeminent members of the performance world. Notable names include Cecil Beaton, who described her as "that most stimulating and entertaining of all human beings," and Bloomsbury member David Garnett, who wrote, "at the first sight of Lydia, I fell in love – the love of the moth for the star." Appendix includes a previously unpublished essay by Lopokova recounting her memories of Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova and the Diaghilev ballet, Virginia Woolf's review of her performance in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," in which Lopokova played the part of Olivia, and an appreciation by dance historian Cyril W. Beaumont: "If ever anyone was destined for the dance it is surely Lydia Lopokova, for the gods who were present at her birth bestowed their gifts unsparingly." Illustrated with numerous black-and-white photos and reproductions; with a preface and introductory essay by Lopokova's nephew, Milo Keynes, who also edited and compiled the volume. Dust jacket illustrated with a 1927 painting of Lopokova and her husband Maynard dancing the "Can-Can" by Bloomsbury painter Vanessa Bell (upper panel) and a pencil sketch of Lopokova by Picasso (lower panel). Unclipped dust jacket with shallow chipping to spine edns and flap folds, else fine. Item #1877