'Be yourself, Miss Dunbar. I sense you're trying to emulate someone else. You will only make an artist if you stop trying to be someone you're not. My advice to you is to go away and do nothing but draw. And every day. Leave your paints aside and concentrate on your draughtsmanship. Come and see me again in a year and I'll give your work another look. But, if you carry on like this,' he slammed the portfolio shut and pushed it back across the desk to me, 'we will be wasting each other's time. You'd be better off getting married and concentrating on bringing up a family. The world of art is not the most welcoming to women and I will only accept those I consider to be exceptionally gifted, as they will be taking a place that would otherwise be afforded to a man, for whom art will be life and livelihood.'
I was crushed by Mr Jackson's words, although I knew them to be true. I had nursed the foolish hope that he would applaud my creativity, strew metaphorical flowers at my feet and open wide the doors of the Byam Shaw to me. I wandered around Kensington Gardens feeling humiliated. I suspected my mother had set me up for a fall, and I was irritated with myself for my naiveté and my hubris
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