Must You Stay?

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Dainty enough to perch at the top of a Christmas stocking, Adrian Tinniswood’s celebration of the Victorian rise and mid-20th-century slow collapse of the country house party is a richly anecdotal companion to his recent and more substantial work The Long Week-End: Life in the English Country House Between the Wars. Here, as in its […]

His Second Home Was Clarence House

Posted on by Tom Fleming

‘I think these journals’, wrote William Shawcross on Kenneth Rose’s death, ‘are likely to be the most detailed, amusing and accurate account ever of the post-war world of the English Establishment.’ Rose himself was confident that his journals would set him among the great diarists of the age. His history books would survive, but his […]

Park Avenue Prince

Posted on by Tom Fleming

In New York, in the spring of 1963, I was interviewed by Alexander Liberman, the all-powerful artistic director of the Condé Nast publishing house, with a view to being employed at American Vogue. Somehow I passed his eagle-eyed test. He told me I was to go upstairs and see Miss Campbell. ‘You will start in […]

A King’s Best Friend

Posted on by Tom Fleming

In 1580, Elizabeth I lent money to Don Antonio, the Portuguese pretender, to aid the recovery of his throne from Philip II of Spain. As security, Don Antonio pledged a diamond: the thirty-carat, table-cut Mirror of Portugal. He recovered neither throne nor diamond, which passed into the English royal collection and returned to the Iberian […]

Avant-Gardeners

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

Cedric Morris is one of those mid-20th-century British artists whose star is currently in the ascendant. He was the subject of a well-received exhibition at the Garden Museum in London last year and the same venue is currently, until 15 July, showing the work of Ivon Hitchens, another visionary artist of that generation who made […]

Dancing While France Burned

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

‘In the summer of 1938, the burning question on the Riviera was not what Germany was going to do next but whether or not to curtsey to the Duchess of Windsor.’ So begins Anne de Courcy’s fascinating account of the social history of the Côte d’Azur, beginning in 1930 and ending with the Allied landings […]

Neo-Pagans at Large

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

If the Bloomsberries lived in squares and loved in triangles, the Olivier sisters lived in tents and loved in Venn diagrams. Take Noel Olivier, the youngest of the four and the star of Sarah Watling’s riveting book. David ‘Bunny’ Garnett fell in love with Noel when she was five and he was six, Rupert Brooke […]

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