Best known as a poet and librarian, Larkin was also a dedicated photographer, whose pictures kept a deadpan, erotic and mischievous record of his life. A new book gives the inside story
Philip Larkin aged 14, with his sister Kitty, during one of the family’s trips to Germany, in 1936. Larkin didn’t say much about the political situation they would have encountered there, but he wrote that their father, Sydney, “liked jolly singing in beer cellars, three-four times to accordians…”
Larkin’s mother Eva. The poet wrote to Monica in 1954: “you must never come back ... till she is dead and gone if you want a quiet life, which suggests that some morbidly humorous intent went into his carefully posed photograph in a museum of wartime memorabilia near Loughborough.
This self-portrait is one of four taken on the same day in 1957, as if to record a day in Larkin’s life. The others show him reading the newspaper over breakfast in his dressing gown, smartly dressed for work, and back at his flat in the early evening in casual clothes.