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Following art historian Bernard Smith's award-winning autobiographical account of his earlier life ("The Boy Adeodatus: the portrait of a lucky young bastard", first published in 1984) he now reflects on life in the 1940s. Themes recalling the period before the family departed for England in September 1948 include; courtship and marriage; forebodings of war and attitudes to Communism and Fascism; political involvement in cultural activities with artists and emigre European-trained art historians anxious to promote modern art and knowledge of art history (not taught in universities at that time) and early employment at the Art Gallery of New South Wales pioneering the arrangement of travelling exhibitions for regional centres. Smith's formative training as an art historian and critic is the important and recurring theme of this book. It encompasses his encounters at London's Courtauld and Warburg Institutes with art historians Anthony Blunt, Ernst Gombrich, Rudolf Wittkower and many others; his introduction to art historical methodologies and insights (such as Gombrich's insistence on the linkage between image and concept); and his obligatory 'grand tours' of a range of European cities and their museums, art works and architectural monuments.