The Good Bohemian: The Letters of Ida John
Ida John lived during the end of the Victorian era, when morals started to become looser and society started to open up. She studied art and against her family’s wishes married another artist, Augustus John. She was a thoroughly bohemian artist, who would love another woman besides herself during her short life, a fact that she accepted with open arms, and the three of them lived under the same roof. While she, Ida John, and her husband, Augustus John, are largely unknown today, this collection of letters helps give us a small glimpse into the late-Victorian world as it changed into modern society.
Ida John died in 1907, and her last letter in this collection is from 1906. She wrote many letters to family, friends, and her husband when they were not together. They are chatty, verbose, and provide an intimate look into late 19th-century Europe, whether in London, Paris, or Northern Italy. Ida John was not afraid to share her opinions, though reading her letters today does require reading in between the lines. She set off on her own life, going against Victorian-era conventions, and we get a look at it with this collection.
Michael Holroyd • Rebecca John