Born in Ferrara, Govoni (1884-1965) was a poet whose work was initially Symbolist in character. He was associated with Futurism during the movement’s early years, but this proved to be only a fleeting affiliation, represented by volumes such as Electrical Poems (1911-14) and Rarefactions and Words in Freedom (1915).

The latter was Govoni’s most radical Futurist work, being entirely handwritten and characterised by a highly original interplay between text and imagery. During the Fascist era he occupied an official role within the National Union of Authors and Writers, where he once again came into contact with the Futurist leader, F. T. Marinetti. Yet Fascism was to blight Govoni’s life with tragedy.

On 24 March 1944 his son Aladino, a member of the Resistance, was one of 335 individuals murdered by Nazi forces in the infamous massacre at Rome’s Fosse Ardeatine. Two years later, Govoni wrote a moving elegy titled Aladino: Lament for my Dead Son in his memory.

History of the Collectors

Eric Estorick (1913-93) was an American sociologist and writer who began seriously to collect works of art after he came to live in England following the Second World War. Born in Brooklyn, Estorick studied at New York University during the early 1930s. It was there that he discovered The Gallery of Living Art in Washington Square College, a remarkable collection containing masterpieces by Picasso, Léger, Miró and Matisse which was to inspire him to become a collector himself.

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The Building

The Estorick Collection is housed in a beautiful Georgian building previously known as Northampton Lodge. It was constructed between 1807 and 1810 by the entrepreneur Henry Leroux of Stoke Newington, who leased a plot of land from the Ninth Earl of Northampton in 1803 to build a series of house.

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The Estorick Collection Library holds a large number of volumes relating to twentieth-century Italian Art. It is open to researchers and Members of the Estorick by appointment.

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