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The Rare and the Beautiful: The Art, Loves, and Lives of the Garman Sisters

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  95 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
The Garman sisters, who were born in England's Midlands and whose scandalous lives placed them at the center of European cultural activity in the middle of the twentieth century, were famous for their passion for the arts, defiance of convention, and the power to turn heads and break hearts. Their exquisite taste, colorful personalities, and unleashed pursuit of romance ea ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 10th 2004 by Ecco (first published 2004)
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Jan 31, 2013 Penny rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
The 7 Garman sisters might not have names that all begin with a K but certainly if they had been born 100 years later they'd have been all over the Celebrity Press. Strikingly beautiful and with a wild, unconventional streak, they mixed with all the artistic movers and shakers of the 1920's and 30's.

This book explores the lives of just 3 of them (Mary, Kathleen and Lorna), but in many ways each in their turn deserves a book to themselves so it often felt a bit rushed.

During a period when the
Feb 25, 2013 Lizzie rated it liked it
Biography of (mostly) Kathleen, Mary, and Lorna Garman, who were born around the turn of the century and ran around with artists and writers in England and France. Mary married poet Roy Campbell (but had affairs with other people including Vita Sackville-West); Kathleen was the lover of sculptor Jacob Epstein for 30 years and they had three children before his wife died and they married; and Lorna married a wealthy publisher when she was 16, and also had many lovers including poet Laurie Lee and ...more
Helen Smith
Jul 21, 2015 Helen Smith rated it liked it
It's a very interesting book, but I do find myself wondering how anyone can have the time or the energy to sleep with so many people

And indeed, why anyone would marry someone who had had an affair with their aunt
Jul 04, 2013 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Had never heard of this interesting family. So happy women now make their own light! London scene in the 1920s.
Jan 03, 2017 Sophie rated it liked it
There were nine Garman children - seven girls and two boys - all beautiful, wild and talented. To be fair, this book mostly looks at the lives of just four of the girls (Mary, Sylvia, Kathleen and Lorna) and one of the boys (Douglas), as they seem to be the most interesting. Living mostly in and around London, but also South Africa, Italy and France, the list of their friends and lovers is like a roll-call of literary and artistic circles in the first half of the twentieth century - Lucien Freud ...more
Oct 29, 2010 Franny rated it it was ok
Compared to the Mitford sisters, the Garmans were really dull. Besides encountering famous people, those sisters (and brothers) did not contribute much to the world. Those siblings were no writers, not married to any Nazi follower or warriors, just persons happening to meet interesting people and leading amoral lives (mostly).
As for the quality of the book, except that sometimes it was somehow difficult to follow who the writer is talking about by using inadequately the pronouns, either the rese
Apr 20, 2013 Lesley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, I can see that these were fascinating people who had significant impact on the artistic and literary etc circles in which they moved, but I found something vaguely unsatisfactory about this account (quite aside from a number of contextual detail errors). My takeaway impression is that taken as a group (which contemporaries seemed to do, it's just a bit icky the way some people just shifted their attentions from one sister to someone else within the kinship network) they were fascinating, bu ...more
Sep 08, 2010 Lynda rated it really liked it
What worryingly fascinating people. Moving in the circles of politics and art, this family were an unashamedly debaucherous, yet unselfconscious bunch.
For anyone interested in finding out more about the Garman family, the "Garman Ryan Collection" at the Walsall Art Gallery has much of the art work on display and many gems hidden in the archives.
Faith Hogan
Aug 13, 2016 Faith Hogan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: factual-history
I really enjoyed this, it transported me back to the days when Bloomsbury reigned, but the cooler girls were the Garmans (always watch the quiet ones!)
Jun 11, 2012 Analee rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
Fascinating look at the lives of six sisters, several of whom had connections to the Bloomsbury group in London.
rachael gibson
Jun 09, 2010 rachael gibson rated it liked it
Fascinating family and such beautiful women - if only there were more pictures available! Really interesting read but some shocking parenting...
Lynda Kelly
Mar 29, 2013 Lynda Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was just telling someone about this book which I have and realised I'd not added it to my catalogue. It is fascinating and I bought it as one of the sisters was local to me where I used to live.
Jul 06, 2008 Georgina rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir-nonfic
Very interesting biography, I came across it at the library and had never heard of the Garmans before but what fascinating lives they led!
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Jan 01, 2015
Jul 06, 2015 Pauline rated it liked it
Utterly fascinating lives.
Freya rated it it was ok
Jan 12, 2012
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Mar 10, 2008
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I Hedge rated it really liked it
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Micki rated it it was ok
Jun 11, 2013
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