June Rose obituary

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Biographer and author who wrote about Modigliani, Marie Stopes and Elizabeth Fry

Art, social and women’s issues dominated the life and works of the writer and journalist June Rose, who has died aged 91. She was particularly fascinated by Modigliani. Her biography of the Italian artist, Modigliani: The Pure Bohemian (1990), perceived him as an elegant stylist rather than the great sensualist described in earlier studies that had drawn heavily on lurid stories of his chaotic lifestyle.

She said that in her books she felt driven by “an urge to tell the story of a person … who had an extremely worthwhile life which was either mis-told or wrongly perceived or not told at all”. A notable example was Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution (1992). Long an iconic figure for women’s rights campaigners, Stopes proved under June’s scrutiny also to be an enthusiastic eugenicist. While still an admirer of Stopes’s achievements, June was taken aback by this disclosure and concerned about how it would be received.

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