Love, paint and poverty

As in many marriages, childcare and housework weren’t divided evenly. ‘Colquhoun did no domestic chores whatsoever,’ says Christopher. MacBryde did virtually everything while Colquhoun painted.

‘I used to peek into the studio, and there’d always be a work in progress.’ Despite the cruel indifference of the art world, the quality (and quantity) of Colquhoun’s work remained undimmed. With four children to care for, MacBryde had a lot less time to paint, but whatever he painted was superb. ‘They influenced each other. MacBryde’s work crept into Colquhoun’s.’

After a few years, Elizabeth started earning good money as a copywriter, and could afford to bring her children up to London and send them to boarding school. Their Essex commune was no more. Elizabeth paid off their bar bill at the local pub. It came to £1500, an absolute fortune in the 1950s.

Christopher still saw The Two Roberts at his mother’s London parties. They were

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