Anyone who has visited the Red House in Aldeburgh will have been struck by the range and quality of art collected by Benjamin Britten and, in particular, by Peter Pears. A Musical Eye is illustrated with more than 200 works from the Britten-Pears collection and considers more widely the importance of art and design in their lives and work. There is also a comprehensive checklist of over 300 paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures in the collection with details including size, medium, date and purchase price.
The book is edited by former Britten-Pears Foundation Curator Judith LeGrove, who also explains how the collection evolved and provides a checklist of key works. Colin Matthews, who worked with Britten and is now BPF's Director of Music, provides an introduction, while the current Curator at The Red House, Caroline Harding, uses correspondence in the BPF archive to explore the patronage by Britten and Pears of a wide range of artists.
Julian Potter writes on the friendship between his mother, the artist Mary Potter, and Britten. Broadening the scope of the visual arts, architectural historian Alan Powers considers the buildings commissioned or modified by Britten and Bloomsbury; Britten's work for film; Sidney Nolan's artistic responses to Britten's music; and the designs for Britten's stage works, most notably by John Piper.