Art: Spit & Polish

There was always something odd about Edward John Burra. His classmates laughed when they caught him daubing red paint on the noses of classical plaster casts at art school, but they watched in awed wonder when he took to drinking champagne out of ashtrays and washing his face in film developer. When Burra's health forced him to quit school and moderate his prankish ways, he retired to his parents' house in Rye, on England's South Coast, made a studio of his old top-floor nursery and settled down to work while gradually transforming the place into a fluttery nest of picture postcards,...

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