CHARMED LIVES IN GREECE at the British Museum

Once upon a time there were three young men who met at the end of the second world war and became lifelong friends. Meet our heroes Niko Ghika, John Craxton and Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor.  Stars of Charmed Lives in Greece: Ghika, Craxton, Leigh Fermor at the British Museum.

Niko Ghika Greece poster

I concede that before visiting this exhibition I had never heard of Ghika or Craxton.  Leigh Fermor however is one of my favourite authors.  It turns out that while I may never heard of Craxton before I do own some of his artwork.  He designed the covers for Patrick Leigh Fermor books. A quick survey of my shelves reveals five of his book covers.

Time of Gifts Leigh Fermor cover

The exhibition follows their friendship with the artworks of Ghika and Craxton on display with quotes from Leigh Fermor liberally sprinkled around the walls.  Men sitting in cafes, the sea lapping on perfect beaches it is a happy and sunny show.

Sailors in bar painting

Vitrines of memorabilia are almost as numerous as pictures.  Patrick Leigh Fermor’s typewriter is in one of them.  I know that it is just a type writer but it is the the type writer on which ‘A Time of Gifts’ and ‘Between Woods and Water’ were written, two of my all time favourite books.

Patrick Leigh Fermor Olivetti typewriter

Mostly the vitrines contains letters, photos and copies of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s books which he had inscribed for his friends like this copy of Mani which was given to Joan who Patrick Leigh Fermor later married.

Mani inscribed to Joan from Paddy

I loved this exhibition, it is small but joyous.  If you are a fan of any of three men a visit is a must but even you are not do go.  The exhibition is free and there is a fine selection of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s books available in the shop outside, you might just discover your new favourite author.


Room C, British Museum
Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG
8 March 2018 – 15 July 2018
Open: Saturday – Thursday 10am – 5.30pm, Friday 10am- 8.30pm
Admission: Free

‘A Time of Gifts’ was one of my suggestions of Books to Read in the Netherlands.


Charmed Lives in Greece


  1. March 14, 2018 / 12:54 pm

    This looks really interesting (and free!). I like it when they mix personal items into exhibitions, especially typewriters. I also find myself liking the word ‘vitrine’ very much. Must use it in a sentence.

    • March 14, 2018 / 4:27 pm

      Vitrine is a fine word, we should all try to find space for it!

    • March 14, 2018 / 5:56 pm

      My Mother has a copy and I dip into each time I visit the mothership.

Leave a Reply