Remembering Nancy Gordon: A Life Immersed in Literature and Art

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An address given at a Service of Thanksgiving for Nancy Gordon, highlighting her love for literature and art through the books she cherished and the artists she admired.

Nancy Gordon, Literature, Art, Books, Shakespeare, Pippa Skotnes, Cecil Higgs, Gerald Sekoto, Cecil Skotnes, Peter Clarke, Italian Renaissance, David Goldblatt, Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Metaphysical Poets, John Donne, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, TS Eliot, UCT

This is an edited extract from an address given by Rev Chris Chivers at a Service of Thanksgiving at St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town on 15 November 2023 for the life of Nancy Gordon, who has died at the age of 102. It is said that you can read some people like a book. To say this of Nancy Gordon would be to completely underestimate the richness of her hinterland. But certainly, you could learn much about her from the books whose company she chose to keep. A shelf of Shakespeare.

Others, filled with reproductions of the paintings of Pippa Skotnes, Cecil Higgs, Gerald Sekoto, Cecil Skotnes and Peter Clarke — she knew them all — or her beloved Italian Renaissance masters, or again the evocative and indeed provocative photographs of the late David Goldblatt, another friend. And then there were those treasured shelves of Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf, of the metaphysical poets, John Donne, George Herbert, and Henry Vaughan alongside the complete works of TS Eliot — she lectured on all of these at UC

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