The Road is Wider than Long

Tuesday 04 Jun 2024

Antony Penrose, son of American photographer Lee Miller and British surrealist artist Roland Penrose, presents his father’s book The Road Is Wider Than Long. A love poem created as a photo-book that recounts a journey the couple made together through the Balkans in 1938, visiting Greece and isolated rural communities in Romania.

A note from Anthony Penrose: 

The Road is Wider Than Long is a love poem created as a photo-book by a surrealist artist, my father Roland Penrose. He wrote it for the new passionate love of his life, the American photographer Lee Miller, who became my mother. It recounts a journey they made together through the Balkans in 1938, visiting notable locations in Greece and isolated rural communities in Romania. He and Lee photographed a way of life that had endured unchanged for centuries. In the book the images by Penrose merge seamlessly with his words, subtly and lovingly expressing his feelings for Lee and questioning if something so good can endure. It was a metaphor for the peasant life around them that was about to be brutally swept away by the Nazi occupation in the Second World War. This unique example of a photo-book by a British surrealist was published in 1939. Roland travelled to Cairo to give Lee the first copy, thus persuading her to leave her Egyptian husband and join him in London. 

Image: ©

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About Antony Penrose

Antony Penrose is the son of Lee Miller, the American surrealist photographer, who became a WW2 combat photographer. His father was Roland Penrose, surrealist artist and poet, who foundered the ICA in 1947, and biographer of Picasso, Miró, Man Ray and Tàpies. 

Farley Farm House, his parents’ Sussex farmhouse, was a perpetual arts congress. It was here that British artists like Henry Moore, Eileen Agar, Richard Hamilton, John Craxton, Penny Slinger and Kenneth Armitage mixed with leading figures from Europe such as Picasso, Max Ernst, Joan Miró, and Jean Dubuffet. 

Antony Penrose has written numerous books, articles and two plays on the subject of his parents and their associates. His biography of his mother The Lives of Lee Miller has been made into a feature film titled LEE, (2024) starring Kate Winslet as Lee Miller in which he was the factual consultant. Broadcasting includes BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour, Today and Front Row, and on television he has appeared on BBC’s The One Show, Flog It, The Culture Show, Picasso, The Beauty and The Beast and on CNN. He lectures widely and is known as a curator of photography, an artist and film maker. Antony is the Co-Director of the Lee Miller Archives and The Penrose Collection. 


The Hellenic Centre


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