Book Launch – ‘The Girl in the Green Jumper’ by Renske Mann

Saturday 25 June 2022
2:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Renske Mann with her portrait by Cyril Mann, painted 60 years earlier.

On Saturday 25 June we’re hosting a book launch for ‘The Girl in the Green Jumper: My Life with the Artist Cyril Mann’ by Renske Mann. Renske Mann will talk about her memoir in the heart of the Borough, Waltham Forest, where she and Cyril Mann lived until his death in 1980. Part of the William Morris Gallery collection, you can find some of Cyril Mann’s paintings at Vestry House Museum.

About the book:

Cyril Mann (1911-80) had the potential to become one of the most important figurative painters of his time. Possessed of formidable gifts as a painter, he made a number of genuinely innovative breakthroughs. Yet, struggling with mental health problems, Mann had an unerring instinct for turning each moment of promise into bitter disappointment.

Yet when Renske van Slooten met this scruffy, unhappy and neglected figure in 1959 she fell in love with him at first sight. The 19-year-old Dutch Indonesian girl – recently arrived in London – was convinced that she had discovered a genius. She saw him as “the British van Gogh”. His visionary bombsite pictures caused a Damascene moment. It was her destiny, she sensed, to help him achieve his artistic potential.  The Girl in the Green Jumper tells the story of their life together, his work and all she did to support him.

About the author:

Renske Mann, now 83, was born in the Dutch East Indies but had to flee to the Netherlands with her family in 1950 when the former colony gained independence and became Indonesia. At the age of nineteen, she moved to London where she met Cyril Mann, a gifted but still struggling artist twenty-eight years her senior. Convinced of his genius, she offered to become his model and muse as well as giving him the financial support to paint full-time. With his encouragement, she filled in her educational gaps and embarked on a successful business career. Mark Hudson is a prize-winning author of non-fiction and is the art critic of the Independent. Edited by Liz Hodgkinson, author and journalist, about whom Renske says: ‘she was first to spot the potential in my story.  She has guided me every step of the way, transforming my life story with Cyril into a coherent book. I thank Liz for generously providing her superb writing and editing skills honed in Fleet Street. Without her, I doubt if this book would ever have seen the light of day.’

This event will be recorded and filmed.

This is a free event. Register your place here. Registration is not compulsory but ticket holders will be given priority seating on the day. In the Garden Room.


Cyril Mann painting the cooling towers in Walthamstow, 1968

Walthamstow Gas Cooling Towers by Cyril Mann