Keith Vaughan: Drawing to a Close, Pagham Press, 2012

Gerard Hastings


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Available. The book presents Vaughan’s last volume of diaries. A moving account of his coming to terms with illness and depression and ultimately, death Eyewitness accounts from friends clarify and shed light on the events described. The text is published in its entirety for the first time and this runs parallel with a detailed commentary by the editor. There are 19 colour images and over 70 black and white drawings, documentary photographs and facsimiles of original documents, many of which are illustrated for the first time.


Brian Sewell, Evening Standard, Nov. 29, 2012:
Observations of a considerable painter dying of cancer, over two years. Revealing, melancholy, cool and, to me, cruelly nostalgic.

Brian Sewell, Evening Standard, ‘Picture Perfect: Art Books of the Year’, Dec. 20, 2012:
Drawing to a Close, not bowdlerised, brings [Vaughan’s Journals] to a frank conclusion in a beautifully produced and compelling final volume. Their benign editor is also co-author of a wide-ranging survey of Vaughan’s work in gouache and oil, with something of the life as leitmotiv.

William Boyd, TLS, ‘Book of the Year’ Nov. 30, 2012:
Drawing to a Close provided the year’s most compelling but harrowing read. Vaughan was a fine painter and moreover and more rarely, one who wrote very well. These journals have never been published in their entirety but now we can register the full extent of Vaughan’s eloquent ‘taedium vitae’ as he contemplates and then commits suicide. He was writing his journal until the very moment he lost consciousness and the pen fell from this hand. Hastings’s superb editing and shrewd commentary flesh out Vaughan’s life and his circle with knowing detail. Vaughan’s sobering musings on life, love, sex, art, ill heath and death reveal, with intimate unflinching candour, the inner most thoughts of this tormented, complicated, deeply intelligent man.

Jane Rye, The Spectator, ‘Tormented Talent’, Dec. 8, 2012:
Hastings has amplified each entry with useful identifications and quotations from earlier journals which broaden its scope.

Ruth Guilding, TLS, Mar 8, 2013
Now for the first time a new edition of Journals is presented unabridged in all its suicide bleakness. Hastings just missed meeting Vaughan…willingly undergoing total immersion in the subject’s tortured unconscious…the culmination of all these labours is Drawing to a Close.

Richard Canning, Literary Review, ‘Passing On’, March, 2013
Extensively annotated, beautifully illustrated, Drawing to a Close, contains the last two years’ entries, almost entirely unpublished – the darkness of Vaughan’s world finds only occasional textual relief, but its counterpoint lies in the drawings of adolescent youths, sometimes graphic but more significantly vital, instinctive and comradely.

Andrew Lambirth, Art Newspaper, ‘Deservedly Written Back into History’, No. 246, May 2013:
Gerard Hastings has done a thorough job of editing and annotating Vaughan’s diaries – sometimes giving us several pages of commentary on only three or four lines of journal – but the result is more of a biographical study of late-period Vaughan than a simple edited document. Invaluable.


  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 264 Pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-9571796-0-8
  • Size: 25 x 19.4 cm
  • Publisher: Pagham Press


  • Essays: Prelude
  • A Note Concerning Keith Vaughan’s Journals
  • Journals: Volume LXII, 1975
  • Volume LXII, 1976
  • Volume LXII, 1977
  • Essay: Postlude