by MICHAEL HOLROYD
676 pages. Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
"Augustus Caesar," so the poet said.
"Shall be regarded as a present god
By Britain, made to kiss the Roman's rod."
Augustus Caesar long ago is dead,
But still the good work's being carried on:
We lick the brushes of Augustus John.
With this unusual mordancy, Punch in 1929 summed up the reputation of the most famous artist in England. John was then 51, and he had been a public figure since the turn of the century; he would continue to be one, through progressive embalmings as...