Iris Murdoch was born Jean Iris Murdoch in Dublin, Ireland on 15 Jul 1919. When she was very young Iris and her parents moved to London, England, and Iris studied at Frobel and Badminton schools. She followed this with studies in classics, ancient history and philosophy at the University of Oxford, and after the Second World War she undertook further study at the University of Cambridge. During the war years Murdoch worked for the Treasury in London, and then joined the UNRRA providing relief in formerly occupied countries in Europe. In 1948 she became a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, where she taught and researched philosophy.
Iris Murdoch wrote a number of tracts on philosophy, however it is for her novels that she is best known. She wrote 26 novels in total, her first being Under the Net published in 1954. Other notable works include The Bell and The Sea, The Sea for which she won the Booker Prize . Her last novel, Jackson's Dilemma was published in 1995.
In her youth Murdoch had relationships with a number of individuals, including Elias Canetti. She met author and scholar John Bayley while working at Oxford, and they married in 1956. She wrote to a great number of people and maintained friendships in this way.
Later in life Murdoch was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the first effects of which she had attributed to writer's block. She died in 1999.
Harry Weinberger was born in 1924 in Berlin, Germany. His family later fled to Czechoslovakia in 1933, and he was later sent by them to England in 1939. After some years in England, including a time in the British Army, Weinberger studied at Chelsea School of Art. He then went on to become an art teacher, as well as being an artist in his own right.
Weinberger's work was very colourful, and mostly featured exterior and interior scenes. He did paint occasional portraits. One of these he painted of Iris Murdoch, a long time friend of his he met in the 1970s. Throughout the rest of her lifetime he maintained a correspondence with Murdoch, and would regularly meet with her to visit art galleries. She was a great supporter of his work, owning a number of his paintings, and writing introductions to catalogues for exhibitions of his work. Weinberger had a number of exhibitions of his work held, in the UK and in Europe, including regular exhibitions at the Duncan Campbell Gallery in London.
He was married to Barbara, who died of cancer in 1996. They had one daughter.