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Edwin Mullins

Born, 1933

Edwin Mullins is a writer, journalist and film-maker. He was formerly art critic of The Sunday Telegraph, and has written widely on the visual arts and on medieval history and architecture.

His books include Souza, a monograph published by Anthony Blond Ltd., London, 1962. The book consisted of several texts on Francis Newton Souza written by Mullins. From the book’s Preamble: “An Indian painter, brought up in a strict Roman Catholic under Portuguese colonial rule, later a member of the Communist Party, and now living in London: these are the barest details abbout one of the most gifted and original of modern artists. Those writers on art who even today look upon all new painting as the result of age-old cultural roots, must be baffled by such a history, for it bears witness to a great number of contradictory influences which make nonsense of conventional ideas of tradition.”

In the Short Biography section, Mullins writes, “… In spite of the confusion of names, Souza is entirely Indian by blood. His ancestors were among the many thouands of Goans who took on Portuguese names when they adopted Christianity four hundred and more years ago. The name Newton came into the family because his father - also Newton - had an English godfather. The name Francis was added a little later by Souza’s mother, in thanksgiving to Goa’s patron saint, St. Francis Xavier, for having rescued her son from an attack of smallpox.”

Later on, the text states, “The period 1949-1955 was a hard time for Souza. For those six years he tried to interest London galleries in his pictures, only to be told that they were not good enough. Once he and a friend carried an enormous picture from North Kensington where he lived to Bond Street  (the Underground would not take it), because a gallery had expressed a slight interest in his work; only to have it rejected, and then carry it all the way back to North Kensington.”

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click to show details of Souza - Anthony Blond Ltd., 1962

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Book relating to an individual, 1962