[Tom Phillips died on 28 November 2022. Here is a piece I wrote on Phillips’s great work, A Humument, for the London Review of Books, ten years ago.] On a Saturday morning in November 1966, Tom Phillips picked a book at random from a pile of novels at a house-clearance sale in Peckham Rye. Phillips had never heard of W.H. Mallock’s
This is easily the best appreciation of the achievement of A Humument I have ever read. I can never understand the snobbery about Tom Phillips that emanates from certain quarters, as if obsession, repetition, boundless imagination, and a sense of fun were somehow infra dig for a *serious* artist.
What a shame there won't be any more. I will now always regret not taking up my invitation to the 2017 RA Summer Exhibition "varnishing day", where I could have introduced myself (we'd shared a few emails and blog comments) and pestered the man for a selfie.
The Phillips archive is at the Bodleian. Not sure which one it was, but an American book artist extended Phillips' idea to cutting through sections of the book to produce a sculptural version. Phillip’s donated it in 2020. Many thanks for this close appreciation of "A Humument". Cheers, Robert
Wonderful to read this - thank you