Anthony Powell was a novelist of rare gifts. He is best known for his 12-volume epic A Dance to the Music Of Time (written between 1951 and 1975, and combined, regarded as one of the longest novels in English). With a cast of over 300 characters, it charts the life of Nicholas Jenkins through the vicissitudes of London and English life over four decades.

But as well as having an acute eye for people, he was an accomplished literary critic and diarist, writing with both wit and generosity.