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June 12, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 5:45 pm
  • In Conversation

Maggi Hambling in conversation with James Cahill

Maggi Hambling and James Cahill 3x2 uncropped


Hedingham Castle, Castle Hedingham, Halstead, Essex CO9 3DJ
+ £2 handling

Box Office:

EA Festivals

James Cahill, art historian and critic, and Maggi Hambling, the fiery contemporary artist born in Sudbury, trade notes about creativity. Hambling will tell Cahill about her latest projects, themes and inspirations, chief among them, the perennial influence of East Anglia, while Cahill will explain what led him to write Tiepolo Blue, his first novel (hitting bookshelves on 9th June 2022).

Photo of Maggi Hambling © Douglas Atfield
Photo of James Hill © Darren Wheeler

In partnership with EA Festival


About the Speakers

Maggi Hambling

The painter and sculptor Maggi Hambling (born 1945) lives and works in London and Suffolk. Hambling became the First Artist in Residence at the National Gallery, London, and in 1995 won the Jerwood Painting Prize (with Patrick Caulfield).

Her public sculpture includes A conversation with Oscar Wilde London, Scallop, a sculpture to celebrate Benjamin Britten (Aldeburgh, Suffolk – which was awarded the Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture) and , most recently, for Mary Wollstonecraft, unveiled in 2020 on Newington Green, London. Museums that have held solo exhibitions of her work more recently include the National Gallery and the British Museum, London, and in 2019 both retrospectives were held at CAFA Museum, Beijing, and the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China. This year, Maggi Hambling : Real time opens at Marlborough New York on 10 March (through to 30 April).

Hambling has established a reputation over the last four decades as one of Britain’s most significant and controversial artists, a singular contemporary force whose work continues to move, seduce and challenge.


James Cahill

James Cahill has worked in both the art world and academia for the last ten years, combining writing and research with a role at a leading contemporary art gallery. He is currently a Fellow in classics at King’s College London. His writing has been published in the TLS, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the London Review of Books and The Burlington Magazine, among other publications.

Twitter @JamesCahill


Tiepolo Blue by James Cahill

Tiepolo Blue Cover

An exquisite mid-life coming-of-age story charting one man’s sexual awakening and his spectacular fall from grace, raising questions about art and beauty, sex and censure.

Cambridge, 1994. Professor Don Lamb is a revered art historian at theheight of his powers, consumed by the book he is writing about the skies ofthe Venetian master Tiepolo. However, his academic brilliance belies a deepinexperience of life and love. When an explosive piece of contemporary art is installed on the lawn of hiscollege, it sets in motion Don’s abrupt departure from Cambridge to take upa role at a south London gallery. There he befriends Ben, a young artist whodraws him into the anarchic 90s British art scene and the nightlife of Soho. Over the course the long, hot summer of 1995, Don glimpses a liberatingnew existence. But his epiphany is also a moment of self-reckoning, as hisoldest friendship – and his own unexamined past – are revealed to him in adevastating new light. As Don’s life unravels and takes a darker, wildercourse, he suffers an ignominious fall from grace that that shatters hisworld into pieces.

“The story of Tiepolo Blue and its people have invaded my dreams…This is the best novel I have read for ages. It is so beautifully written, not a false note in any sentence. Cahill’s presentation of the agonising clash of aesthetics, of culture, of generations… is just masterly. Don’s disintegration is painful to read, but it all grips you like a thriller. My heart was constantly in my throat as I read… There is so much to enjoy, to contemplate, to wonder at, and to be lost in.”
Stephen Fry

“Tiepolo Blue, the divine debut from art critic and academic James Cahill, is the smart, sexy read you need in 2022. Expect to see it on prize lists as well as Instagram feeds… an addictive pageturner…that feels incredibly relevant for our testy times.”
Evening Standard

“Imagine if Hollinghurst and Murdoch collaborated on a witty update of Death in Venice and you’ll see the appeal of James Cahill’s assured debut.”
Patrick Gale

“Sensual, treacherous and elegiac’ Maggi Hambling ‘Wow. It is magnificent. Simply magnificent…Tiepolo Blue really has blown me away… The last debut novel I read that had this much talent buzzing around inside it was Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming-Pool Library.”
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, author and former Man Booker judge


Buy Tiepolo Blue on Bookshop.org (ships 13th April)



Hedingham Castle
Castle Hedingham, Halstead, Essex CO9 3DJ + Google Map