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James Joyce (1921)
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
© The Estate of Mrs G.A. Wyndham Lewis: The Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust

In 1914, Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound were close allies in the Vorticist movement, which Pound named and Lewis led. Pound introduced Lewis to T. S. Eliot, and in 1920, Eliot and Lewis delivered a parcel from Ezra Pound addressed to James Joyce in Paris. The three modernists, particularly Joyce, were embarrassed to find that the parcel contained old clothes and shoes for him.

Lewis had a tendency to alienate his friends because of his unsparing criticism of their work, but his portraits of these hugely influential writers offer a fascinating and intimate view of men once described by Lewis as “so hopelessly avant-garde! so almost madly up-and-coming!”