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The novelist and chemist, Charles Percy Snow, Baron Snow (1905-1980), is best remembered for his series of novels, ‘Strangers and Brothers’, and for The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (1959), a lecture that lamented the gulf between scientists and literary intellectuals.
The text of the lecture was published in Encounter magazine in two parts, in June and July 1959, and the August number then contained a set of responses, including one by Michael Ayrton. Ayrton felt that the divorce of the visual arts from mathematics had driven the arts into isolation.
Probably as a result of this meeting of minds, the two men became friends and, in 1962, Snow wrote an introduction to the volume, Drawings and Sculpture by Michael Ayrton, in which he commented that ‘it has always seemed to me that structurally Ayrton’s mental temperament is scientific’.
Ayrton and Snow were members of the Savile Club, and the club possesses a painted portrait by Ayrton of Snow, and another by Ayrton of Kingsley Martin, the editor of The New Statesman, with whom they would both dine. Ayrton gave the present drawing to Martin.