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'This is my central philosophy: one starts off with something as an academic study but from it stems a series of important things to say which must be got over to a greater audience in a variety of forms. So to some extent one foxes everyone by simultaneously being scholar and academic, populariser and communicator, and sticking to the belief that these are not incompatible. ' - Roy Strong, 1971. For almost forty years, Roy Strong has been in the public spotlight - as the director of the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, as a broadcaster, consultant and lecturer, and as the author of many books on art, history, garden design and food. Published to celebrate Roy Strong's 70th birthday in August 2005, this collection of pieces showcases the wide range of his interests and passions: from a meditation on the nature of beauty and reflections on the English national character to the passionate defence of the importance of history and an assessment of the consequences of devolution. Along the way, we learn about Sir Roy's first years at the National Portrait Gallery as a young assistant keeper, hear his personal recollections of the Queen Mother, and read his poignant and moving thoughts on the nature of grief and happiness. This collection will be cherished by the many people who have followed Sir Roy's long career with admiration and devotion, for others, it will provide the perfect introduction to the life and work of this national treasure.