CURIOUS WORLD WE live in,” said Franklin Merton, “where one can afford a house but not a picture of a house. That must tell us some profound truth. But what? I wonder.”
The picture he was talking about was Simon Alpheton’s Marc and Harriet in Orcadia Place,
later bought by Tate Britain—simply “the Tate” in those days—and the house the one in the picture, Orcadia Cottage. His remark about the curious world was addressed to the Harriet of the picture, for whom he had bought it and whom he intended to marry when his divorce came through. Later on, when passion...