Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Country Life The voice of the countryside / VÍDEO : Land of Hope and Glory British Country Life BBC Documentary 2016

Country Life
The voice of the countryside

Country Life, the quintessential English magazine, is undoubtedly one of the biggest and instantly recognisable brands in the UK today. The magazine comments in depth on a wide variety of subjects, such as architecture, property, the arts, gardens and gardening, the countryside, schools and wildlife. This eclectic editorial mix, combined with stunning photography and high-end property advertising ensures that week after week, Country Life is read by people who live the real country house lifestyle. Countrylife.co.uk brings over 100 years of editorial and commercial excellence to the web and is one of the best and most enjoyable places to browse for luxury property for sale online. The site also showcases the best of the editorial from Country Life magazine as well as carrying its own exclusive online content covering rural news, seasonal recipes and countryside events.

Country Life was launched in 1897, incorporating Racing Illustrated. At this time it was owned by Edward Hudson, the owner of Lindisfarne Castle and various Lutyens-designed houses including The Deanery in Sonning.

At that time golf and racing served as its main content, as well as the property coverage, initially of manorial estates, which is still such a large part of the magazine. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the late Queen Mother, used to appear frequently on its front cover. Now the magazine covers a range of subjects in depth, from gardens and gardening to country house architecture, fine art and books, and property to rural issues, luxury products and interiors.

The frontispiece of each issue usually features a portrait photograph of a young woman of society, or, on occasion, a man of society: Princes William and Harry have both been frontispieces in recent years.

In 2016, in its 119th year, Country Life was the subject of a three-part documentary series made by Spun Gold and which aired on BBC Two on consecutive Friday nights in March. The magazine has also celebrated its best-ever selling issue - the double issue from Christmas 2015 - and a 6th ABC increase in a row, which is an achievement no other weekly magazine publishing original content can claim.

In 1997, the centenary of the magazine was celebrated by a special issue, the publishing of a book by Sir Roy Strong, the airing of a BBC2 TV programme on a year in the life of the magazine, and staging a Gold Medal winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. In 1999, the magazine launched a new website.

In 2007, the magazine celebrated its 110th anniversary with a special souvenir issue on 4 January.[4] Starting on Wednesday 7 May 2008 the magazine is issued each Wednesday, having been on sale each Thursday for the past 111 years, with the earlier day being achieved using electronic publishing technology.

The first several dozen pages of each issue are devoted to colour advertisements for upmarket residential property, which are one of the best known attractions of the magazine, and popular with everyone from the super rich looking for a country house or estate to those who can only aspire to own such a property.

The magazine covers the pleasures and joys of rural life. It is primarily concerned with rural communities and their environments as well as the concerns of country dwellers and landowners and has a diverse readership which, although mainly UK based is also international. Much of its success has historically been built on its coverage of country house architecture and gardening at a time when the architectural press largely ignored this building type. An extensive photographic archive has resulted, now of great importance to architectural historians.

The other rural pursuits and interests covered include hunting, shooting, farming, equestrian news and gardening and there are regular news and opinion pieces as well as a firm engagement with rural politics. There are reviews of books, food and wine, art and architecture (also many offers) and antiques and crafts. Illustrative material includes the Tottering-by-Gently cartoon by Annie Tempest. The property section claims to have more prime agents than anywhere else. In addition. monthly luxury and interiors sections offer readers some informed ideas about the latest in jewellery, style and travel, and interiors.

Recent feature articles have included Charles, Prince of Wales guest-editing an issue of Country Life in 2013, an historic revelation which revealed the true face of Shakespeare for the first time in 2015, and in 2016 an exclusive on where the Great Fire of London really began in 1666. Upcoming are a special commemorative issue in June 2016 on the occasion of the Queen's 90th birthday, and a Best of Britain celebrating the very best of what the United Kingdom has to offer, from craftsmen to landscapes.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

We are Dandy / Lifestyle & Fashion / The Elegant Gentleman around the World"/ VÍDEO below : Freedom of Fashion: Dress Codes and Sartorial Liberty" | Nathaniel Adam...

We are Dandy / Lifestyle & Fashion
The Elegant Gentleman around the World

Around the world, dandies embrace style while respecting their local cultural traditions. Dandyism transcends fashion —it is a committed way of life. An international survey of the global dandy community from the creators of I am Dandy.
Available Soon
Release Date:
November 2016
Photographs by Rose Callahan, Texts by Nathaniel Adams
22.5 × 29 cm
Full color, hardcover, 304 pages
Shop Price: €39.90
Catalog Price:
€39.90 / $60.00 / £35.00
Not Available
About This Book

From America to Africa to Asia, dandyism is a way of life. It is fashion in the best sense, self-esteem through style. And, in every country, it takes a unique form as dandies draw on the local context and fashion culture to shape their looks. We are Dandy throws open the doors of the wardrobe and explores the dandy as a global phenomenon. With texts as witty as the subjects are stylish, the book pokes between the folds to let us know these exceptional individuals. For them, their dandy fashion is more than a trend or a phase—it is who they are, the outer expression of their inner selves. Photographs and profiles paired with clever histories reveal what it takes to look your best around the world. We are Dandy unfolds with a foreword by the illustrious Dita Von Teese that conveys the authenticity of these aesthetes, their passions, and their bravely curated philosophies.

Nathaniel „Natty“ Adams has been involved with the historical and contemporary Dandy phenomenon for many years —it even informs his own wardrobe. A research grant aided the studied journalist in traveling around the world and into the eclectic homes of various Dandies.

New York is more than the current home of filmmaker and photographer, Rose Callahan; the city is also the site and start of her involvement with the Dandy. In 2008, she created the blog The Dandy Portraits, where she documents the many facets of the modern gentleman. Shortly afterwards, she met Natty Adams and the idea for I am Dandy was born

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Ernest Beaux, Chanel and the CHANEL N°5 / CHANEL N°5 - For the first time - Inside CHANEL

Coco Chanel had wanted to develop a distinctly modern fragrance for some time by early 1920. At this time, Chanel's lover was Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov of Russia, the murderer of Rasputin. The duke introduced her to Ernest Beaux on the French Riviera. Beaux was the master perfumer at A. Rallet and Company, where he had been employed since 1898. The company was the official perfumer to the Russian royal family, and "the imperial palace at St. Petersburg was a famously perfumed court."The favorite scent of the Czarina Alexandra, composed specifically for her by Rallet in Moscow, had been an eau de cologne opulent with rose and jasmine named Rallet O-DE-KOLON No.1 Vesovoi.

In 1912, Beaux created a men's eau de cologne, Le Bouquet de Napoleon, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino, a decisive battle in the Napoleonic Wars. The success of this men's fragrance inspired Beaux to create a feminine counterpart, whose jumping off point was the chemical composition of aldehydic multiflores in Houbigant's immensely popular Quelques Fleurs (1912).

His experiments with the aldehydes in Quelques Fleurs, resulted in a fragrance that he called Le Bouquet de Catherine. He intended to use the scent to inaugurate another celebration in 1913, the 300th anniversary of the Romanoff dynasty. The debut of this new perfume proved ill-timed commercially. World War I was approaching, and the czarina and the perfume's namesake, the Empress Catherine, had both been German-born. A marketing misfortune that invoked unpopular associations, combined with the fact that Le Bouquet de Catherine was enormously expensive, made it a commercial failure. An attempt to re-brand the perfume, as Rallet No. 1 was unsuccessful, and the outbreak of World War I in 1914 effectively prevented public acceptance of the brand.

Beaux, who had affiliated himself with the Allies and the White Russian army, had spent 1917–19 as a lieutenant stationed far north, in the last arctic outpost of the continent, Arkangelsk, at Mudyug Island Prison where he interrogated Bolshevik prisoners. The polar ice, frigid seascape, and whiteness of the snowy terrain sparked his desire to capture the crisp fragrance of this landscape into a new perfume compound.

Beaux perfected what was to become Chanel No. 5 over several months in the late summer and autumn of 1920. He worked from the rose and jasmine base of Rallet No. 1. altering it to make it cleaner, more daring, reminiscent of the pristine polar freshness he had inhabited during his war years. He experimented with modern synthetics, adding his own invention "Rose E. B" and notes derived from a new jasmine source, a commercial ingredient called Jasophore. The revamped, complex formula also ramped up the quantities of orris-iris-root and natural musks.

The revolutionary key was Beaux's use of aldehydes. Aldehydes are organic compounds of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. They are manipulated in the laboratory at crucial stages of chemical reaction whereby the process arrests and isolates the scent. When used creatively, aldehydes act as "seasonings", an aroma booster. Beaux's student, Constantin Weriguine, said the aldehyde Beaux used had the clean note of the arctic, "a melting winter note". Legend has it that this wondrous concoction was the inadvertent result of a laboratory mishap. A laboratory assistant, mistaking a full strength mixture for a ten percent dilution, had jolted the compound with a dose of aldehyde in quantity never before used. Beaux prepared ten glass vials for Chanel's inspection. Numbered 1–5 then 20–24, the gap presented the core May rose, jasmine and aldehydes in two complementary series, each group a variation of the compound. "Number five. Yes," Chanel said later, "that is what I was waiting for. A perfume like nothing else. A woman's perfume, with the scent of a woman."

According to Chanel, the formula used to produce No. 5 has changed little since its creation, except for the necessary exclusion of natural civet and certain nitro-musks.

Chanel envisioned a design that would be an antidote for the over-elaborate, precious fussiness of the crystal fragrance bottles then in fashion popularized by Lalique and Baccarat. Her bottle would be "pure transparency ...an invisible bottle." It is generally considered that the bottle design was inspired by the rectangular beveled lines of the Charvet toiletry bottles, which, outfitted in a leather traveling case, were favored by her lover, Arthur "Boy" Capel.[6] Some say it was the whiskey decanter he used that she admired and wished to reproduce in "exquisite, expensive, delicate glass."

The first bottle produced in 1919, differed from the Chanel No. 5 bottle known today. The original container had small, delicate, rounded shoulders and was sold only in Chanel boutiques to select clients. In 1924, when "Parfums Chanel" incorporated, the glass proved too thin to sustain shipping and distribution. This is the point in time when the only significant design change took place. The bottle was modified with square, faceted corners.

In a marketing brochure issued in 1924, "Parfums Chanel" described the vessel, which contained the fragrance: "the perfection of the product forbids dressing it in the customary artifices. Why rely on the art of the glassmaker ...Mademoiselle is proud to present simple bottles adorned only by ...precious teardrops of perfume of incomparable quality, unique in composition, revealing the artistic personality of their creator."

Unlike the bottle, which has remained the same since redesigned in 1924, the stopper has gone through numerous modifications. The original stopper was a small glass plug. The octagonal stopper, which became a brand signature, was instituted in 1924, when the bottle shape was changed. The 1950s gave the stopper a bevel cut and a larger, thicker silhouette. In the 1970s the stopper became even more prominent but, in 1986, it was re-proportioned so its size was more harmonious with the scale of the bottle.

The "pocket flacon" devised to be carried in the purse was introduced in 1934. The price point and container size were developed to appeal to a broader customer base. It represented an aspirational purchase, to appease the desire for a taste of exclusivity in those who found the cost of the larger bottle prohibitive.

The bottle, over decades, has itself become an identifiable cultural artifact, so much so that Andy Warhol chose to commemorate its iconic status in the mid-1980s with his pop art, silk-screen, Ads: Chanel.

Ernest Beaux was born in Moscow, Russia, the brother of Edouard Beaux, who worked for Alphonse Rallet & Co. of Moscow, then the foremost Russian perfume house and purveyor to the Imperial courts. In 1898, A. Rallet and Company, with approximately 1500 employees and 675 products, was sold to the French perfume house, Chiris of La Bocca.

Ernest completed his primary education that same year, and from 1898–1900 apprenticed as laboratory technician in the soap works of Rallet. After his obligatory two years of military service in France, he returned to Moscow in 1902, where he started his perfumery training at Rallet under the guidance of their technical director, A. Lemercier. He finished his perfumery education in 1907, earned a promotion to senior perfumer, and was elected to the board of directors.

In 1912 Russia celebrated the centennial of the Battle of Borodino, the turning point in Napoleon's Russian ambitions. For this celebration Ernest Beaux created the fragrance "Bouquet de Napoleon," a floral Eau de Cologne, for Rallet. It proved to be a major commercial success.[10]

The following year, 1913, marked the tercentenary of the founding of the Romanov dynasty. To follow up on his "Bouquet de Napoleon" success, Ernest Beaux created a now lost fragrance, the "Bouquet de Catherine", honoring Catherine the Great. This fragrance is not to be confused with a fragrance from Brocard, Rallet's chief competitor in Russia called "The Empress's Favorite Bouquet", which later evolved into the Soviet version, "Red Moscow."

Bouquet de Catherine was not a marketing success, perhaps due to Catherine the Great's German heritage at a time of rising tensions between Russia and Germany which would lead, in 1914, to World War I. While born and raised in Russia, Ernest Beaux's French heritage brought him into the French army. While it was generally expected that this war would last no more than a few months, he was not released from military service until 1919, having by this time seen service in the infantry fighting against Germany and then as an intelligence officer and interrogator at an Allied prison camp at the Kola Peninsula at the Murmansk Oblast during the Russian Civil War.

While serving in the French military, Ernest Beaux's perfumer colleagues at Rallet fled during Russia's October Revolution to La Bocca, France, to continue working with Chiris.In 1919 Ernest Beaux, released now from the army, settled in Paris but continued to have a relationship with the former Rallet employees at La Boca.

Chanel No. 5
In 1912, Ernest Beaux married Iraïde de Schoenaich (1881-1961), who gave birth to their son, Edouard[ (1913-1993), the following year. During the Russian Civil War, Iraïde escaped from Russia through Finland with her infant son. They reached France by sea following a dangerous two-month-long voyage, during which time Iraïde fell deeply in love with another man. Ernest divorced her and took custody of their son, while Iraïde moved to Nice to work with her lover. Ernest later married Yvonne Girodon (1893-1980), with whom he had a daughter, Madeleine.

Coco Chanel and the N°5
At that time, Joseph Robert was the chief perfumer at Chiris. With little prospect of being promoted under him, Ernest Beaux tried to use his contacts to the emigrated Russian nobility to get new projects. In 1920, with the help of the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia (1891–1941), a companion of Coco Chanel (1883–1971), he arranged a meeting in Cannes late in the summer of 1920, where he presented his current and former works to Mlle. Chanel. Chanel chose the "No. 5" as a Christmas present for her best clients. When Ernest Beaux asked her how she wanted to name that scent, she replied: "I always launch my collection on the 5th day of the 5th months, so the number 5 seems to bring me luck – therefore, I will name it 'Nº 5'".

Initially only 100 flacons of Chanel Nº 5 were produced, which she gave away on Christmas 1921 for free to her best clients. However, soon the demand was such that she decided to launch the perfume officially for sale in her shops in 1922. That year she also launched a second fragrance from the two numbered series of bottles that Beaux had presented her, which were numbered one through five, and twenty through twenty-four: Chanel Nº 22, the bottle no. 22 from the second series. However, since this didn't do as well as Nº 5, it was withdrawn and only relaunched in 1926.

Ernest Beaux left Chiris in 1922 to head a sales agency for his friend Eugene Charabot in Paris. However, Chanel Nº 5 did so well that Bader and Wertheimer, owners of Galeries Lafayette, bought the rights to it from Coco Chanel on April 4, 1924, and founded Parfums Chanel, for which they hired Ernest Beaux as chief perfumer. In his new function Ernest Beaux created many famous perfumes until he retired in 1954; his successor as chief perfumer of Perfumes Chanel was Henri Robert.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

MARGHERITA SARFATTI / VÍDEO:CIMA: Margherita Sarfatti Presentation with Rachele Ferrario

1880 – 1961
by Patrizia Acobas

Margherita Sarfatti was born in Venice on April 8, 1880, into the wealthy and cultured Jewish Grassini family. Her father Amedeo was a fiscal attorney for the Venetian government and an intimate friend of the anti-socialist Giuseppe Cardinal Sarto (1835–1914), later Pope Pius X (1903–1914). Like his father, Marco Grassini, he became a Knight of the Crown of Italy. Margherita’s mother was Emma Levi and one of her cousins, Giuseppe Levi (the father of Natalia Ginzburg), eventually became a major proponent of the anti-fascist movement in Turin. Margherita was the fourth and last child in the family. Her sister Colomba (Lina) committed suicide in 1907 after being widowed and her other sister, Nella, perished together with her husband on the way to Auschwitz in 1944. The family lived in an impressive fifteenth-century palazzo on the edge of Venice’s Old Ghetto until 1894, when they moved to the imposing Palazzo Bembo on the Grand Canal.

Sarfatti was educated by private tutors, among them Antonio Fradeletto (1858–1930), the founding director of the Venice Biennale. During her childhood, she began to be interested in art and poetry, influenced by Fradeletto, who introduced her to the theories of John Ruskin. One of her admirers persuaded her to read the works of Karl Marx and other socialist theoreticians, which caused a scandal in her family. In 1898, despite her father’s objections, she married Cesare Sarfatti (1867–1924), a Jewish lawyer from Padua, who was thirteen years her senior and whom she persuaded to join the Socialist Party. During their honeymoon in Paris she made her first purchase of Post-Impressionist art when she bought a set of lithographs and posters by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. On October 15, 1902, the couple moved to Milan, where they lived in an apartment situated on Via Brera. At this stage her major interests were the history of art and politics. Later Margherita Sarfatti began to write on feminism and on the most prominent artists of the time. In Milan she was introduced to Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863–1938), an old friend of her husband, met Filippo Turati (1857–1932) and Anna Kulischoff and became an intimate friend of Luigi Majino and his wife Ersilia, the president of the Feminist League of Milan. She gave birth to two sons, Roberto (1900–1918) and Amedeo (b. 1902). With the death of her father in 1908, Sarfatti came into a large inheritance, which enabled the family to move to a large apartment on Corso Venezia in Milan and to purchase a country home near Lake Como. In 1909 she began her Wednesday-evening salon, where she entertained the major Italian intellectuals and artists. When the Futurist Movement first appeared, Sarfatti’s salon began to be a regular setting for encounters between Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876–1944, the founder of the Futurist movement), Carlo Carrà (1881–1966), Umberto Boccioni (1882–1916) and Luigi Russolo (1885–1947). The Sarfattis spent their holidays at their Como home, Il Soldo (The Penny), where they opened their salon to well-known people such as the poet Ada Negri (1870–1945) as well as to their Milan acquaintances. In 1909 Sarfatti became art critic of the daily newspaper Avanti! and in the same year gave birth to her daughter Fiammetta. In 1912, when Anna Kulischoff started La difesa delle lavoratrici (Women Workers’ Defense), Margherita Sarfatti wrote articles in support of the publication and provided financial support. On December 1, 1912, Mussolini became the manager of Avanti!. A deep friendship between the two soon developed into a love relationship, which was apparently tolerated by Cesare Sarfatti, but not by Rachele Mussolini.

In October and November 1914, Mussolini adopted an interventionist position. He resigned as editor of Avanti!, joined with pro-war leftists outside the Socialist Party and launched a new socialist newspaper, Il Popolo d’Italia (People of Italy). The Socialist Party leadership viewed these acts as a betrayal and expelled him from the party. With the outbreak of World War I Roberto, Sarfatti’s older son, ran off to join the army, although he was under age. Though he was at first sent home, he enlisted legally at the age of seventeen, joining the elite Alpini mountain troops and was sent to the front in July 1917. On January 28, 1918, he was killed in battle while leading an attack on the Austrian front lines and was posthumously awarded Italy’s highest military honor. In 1921 Sarfatti published I vivi e l’ombra, a compilation of elegiac poetry commemorating her son.

At the end of the war, Sarfatti too was expelled from the Socialist Party because of her interventionism. Thereupon she began to work for and collaborate with Popolo d’Italia, the official newspaper of the fascist regime, but also wrote articles for the Turin newspaper La Stampa and for Gerarchia, a revue of political theory edited by Eloisa Foà. After 1922 she became the manager of this revue. Meanwhile she strengthened her liaison with Mussolini. At a public meeting on March 25 in the Piazza San Sepolcro in Rome, Margherita was at Mussolini’s side. Although formally their relationship remained secret, since both were married, Sarfatti began to collaborate in Mussolini’s writing and even prepared the plan of the march on Rome in late October 1922. Indeed, she was so close to Mussolini that she can be described as one of the planners of Fascism.

In 1924, when her husband died, Sarfatti moved to Rome, where she held her salon on Friday afternoons. In 1925 she published a personal memoir and biography of Il Duce, The Life of Benito Mussolini, in an English edition. Mondadori published the biography in Italian in 1926 under the title Dux. The book was translated into seventeen languages. In 1925 she was engaged as a vice-president of the Exposition des arts decoratifs in Paris, a task which won her the Legion of Honor. In 1926 she was a theoretician and a leading force of the first exhibition of the Italian Novecento, the opening of which was attended by the Duce himself. In 1927, in Rome, she organized an exhibit of the Dieci artisti del Novecento italiano, in the framework of the Esposizione degli Amatori e Cultori. Towards the end of the 1920s she espoused the evolution of Fascism, with its heroic rhetoric and strict discipline. In the 1930s she openly combined the Novecento movement with the aggressive passion and renewal from which the Fascist Redemptive Action (Opera redentrice del Fascismo) eventually emerged. In 1931 she was often attacked by the revue Regime Fascista but tenaciously sustained the role played by the Novecento group in the diffusion of Italian art abroad. Margherita Sarfatti was one of the protagonists of Italian political and intellectual debate in the age of Giovanni Giolitti (1842–1928).

Towards the end of 1926 Sarfatti moved to Via Rasella in Rome and when Mussolini moved to Villa Torlona in 1928 Margherita Sarfatti, together with her daughter Fiammetta, moved to live in close proximity to the Duce’s residence. That same year she converted to Catholicism. Despite her lover’s anti-Zionist and antisemitic unsigned writings in newspapers and journals she claimed that there was no “Jewish question” in Italy and declared that Mussolini would never follow Hitler’s antisemitic policies. On July 14, 1938, “The Manifesto of the Race” appeared in the Roman daily Il giornale d’Italia. Composed primarily by Mussolini himself, this document condemned the corruption of the Italian Aryan race through intermarriage with Jews.

Sarfatti sensed that, despite her conversion to Catholicism, she was not immune to the antisemitic laws passed in 1938. After her son Amedeo left Italy for Argentina in 1938, Sarfatti followed him, first traveling to Switzerland to deposit Mussolini’s letters in a safe place. In Argentina she continued to be involved in art criticism but did not meet with the same success as she had enjoyed in Italy.

Returning to Italy at the end of 1947, she continued to write, publishing an unapologetic memoir, Acqua Passata, in 1955. She died at her Il Soldo residence on October 30, 1961.

Mussolini’s Jewish Lover Who Crafted Italian Fascism
Margherita Sarfatti wasn’t just the dictator's most erudite paramour; she was his secret adviser and ideologue. The English version of her memoirs is finally out.

Saviona Mane Nov 23, 2014 8:38 PM

My Fault: Mussolini As I Knew Him, by Margherita Grassini Sarfatti, Enigma Books, 323 pages, $26

On November 14, 1938, shortly after the Italian Racial Laws were passed, Margherita Sarfatti slipped out of her home near Lake Como, got into her car and asked her chauffeur to drive her to the nearby Swiss border.
Among the few belongings the Jewish socialite and art critic had stuck in her two suitcases were 1,272 letters she had received from Benito Mussolini over their 20-year romantic and ideological relationship — a sort of insurance policy. Sarfatti, 58 at the time, would return to Italy only in 1947 after living in exile in France, Argentina and Uruguay.
In addition to art essays she wrote for local newspapers during her exile, Sarfatti published in 1945, shortly after Mussolini’s death, a series of articles in the Argentine paper Crítica in which she revealed details about her relationship with Il Duce. Scholars believe she waited until he no longer had the chance to harm the family members she had left behind in Rome.
Today, 70 years later, these articles have been published in the English-language book “My Fault: Mussolini As I Knew Him.” Dubbed by Enigma as “the unpublished memoir of Mussolini’s longtime lover,” the book’s 18 chapters come edited and annotated by historian Brian R. Sullivan, whose commentary is informed by three decades of research in Italy, France, Switzerland, Britain and the United States.
Just as the story of the long, intimate relationship between Sarfatti and Mussolini lay forgotten in archives for years until Philip V. Cannistraro and Sullivan published their 1993 work “Il Duce’s Other Woman,” Sarfatti’s memoirs remained abandoned in the shadows of history for decades.
Indeed, Sarfatti wasn’t just one of Mussolini’s hundreds of lovers. The aristocratic, intellectual and ambitious wife of wealthy Zionist lawyer Cesare Sarfatti, and mother of their three children, did not only share her bed with Il Duce. She also helped him forge and implement the fascist idea; she contributed advice — and Sullivan says, money — to help organize the 1922 March on Rome in which Mussolini seized power.
During those 20 years she was his eminence grise and unofficial ambassador, glorifying him in her 1925 biography that was translated into 18 languages.
Il Duce's many frailties
It was Clara Petacci who has gone down in history as Mussolini’s most famous lover. In April 1945, Italian partisans shot her and Il Duce and hung their bodies upside down in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto. But after their intense 20-year personal and political relationship, Sarfatti was apparently the one who knew him best — maybe even better than his lawful wife, Rachele Guidi.

From the cover of Margherita Sarfatti's book
“Mussolini and Sarfatti had shown each other their souls,” Sullivan writes in the book’s long introduction. “She had listened to his secrets … she knew most everything about Mussolini’s hidden weaknesses, his human frailties, his crude behavior, his superstitions, his ignorant misunderstandings about so many scientific and medical matters, and about his syphilis.”
But according to Sullivan, as much as Mussolini feared that Sarfatti would expose details on their sex life, he feared even more that she would reveal other shortcomings — and destroy the demigod image he had worked so hard to create.
Although Sarfatti’s 1955 Italian-language autobiography “Acqua Passata” (“Water Under the Bridge”) does not mention her relationship with Il Duce, her memoirs make up for it. She recounts a raft of personal and political anecdotes, provides quotes from Mussolini and talks about his sex addiction and cocaine use. But she never slides into bedroom gossip.
From her descriptions Mussolini comes across as a brilliant, charismatic statesman — but also an egocentric one ridden by inferiority complexes, fears and superstitions. He was also an unbridled womanizer, not to mention a manipulator who didn’t hesitate in his youth to threaten suicide in a letter to his mother “if she failed to send him some money for food.”
Sarfatti, meanwhile, comes across as a haughty, self-confident woman who often boasts of her good judgment, intuition and wisdom in both political and personal affairs.
Despite the book’s title “My Fault,” chosen by Sarfatti decades ago for the memoirs, she expresses no regret over her relationship with Mussolini, who was responsible for the deaths of her sister and brother-in-law on their way to Auschwitz, the destruction of Italian democracy and the establishment of a dictatorship. On the contrary, Sarfatti evades responsibility, putting all the blame on Mussolini.
Pesky Pact of Steel
Sarfatti maintains that fascism began as a positive idea that was distorted over the years. She claims that even Mussolini underwent a complete change. “After less than a decade in power, Mussolini seemed to me to have become someone else,” she writes. “He began to deny even the right to interior freedom and to subject the very souls of his people to the power of the state.”
As Sarfatti puts it, Mussolini’s alliance with Nazi Germany, which she opposed, was the main cause of his downfall. “But the Duce did not form the Rome–Berlin Axis or the Pact of Steel with the Führer by accident. Mussolini harbored within him a number of defects that attracted him to the Germans of his time. Thus he succumbed to the illness of power, to the madness of the Caesars.”
About one matter, though, she does accept the blame. “I cannot hide behind my work as an art critic. I must accept my responsibilities. I believed in Fascism and fought for it in the beginnings,” she writes.
“Worse, I wrote a book read by many that interpreted the goals of Fascism in a favorable light and proclaimed to the entire world that Mussolini was a hero of historic proportions. That was my fault .... It is my duty to declare that Mussolini fell because of his complete moral bankruptcy.”
Lamenting the failure of her “final, desperate attempt to guide Mussolini,” she adds: “Meanwhile, we discovered that behind the mask of Fascism lay an abyss of corruption, nepotism, favoritism and arbitrary lawlessness.”
Like most Italians, Sarfatti saw Mussolini as the embodiment of the “good tyrant,” adding that she had hoped he would turn out wiser, more level-headed and more just than the leaders produced by the ballot box.
Sullivan lambastes Sarfatti’s attempt to put all the blame on Il Duce. He writes that since it was Sarfatti, more than Mussolini, who crafted the ideological and philosophical basis of fascism between 1913 and 1919, she can’t evade responsibility for what others did based on her views. He adds that the original manuscript contains inaccuracies and spelling mistakes.
In his copious comments and remarks — often more comprehensive than the original text — Sullivan contends that after Sarfatti fled Italy, she agreed with Mussolini not to reveal details about their relationship. In exchange, no harm would befall her family still in Rome, among them her daughter Fiametta, her son-in-law and their three children.
But history lost out, Sullivan concludes, in that the book was not published in the late 1940s. Sarfatti possessed priceless photographs, letters and documents in Mussolini’s own hand.
“At least some of that historically precious material might have become available to scholars over sixty years ago,” Sullivan writes. “Instead, it passed into the possession of Sarfatti’s heirs after her death. They have refused permission to anyone to study those valuable records. Indeed, they have consistently denied their very existence. One can only hope they will have a change of mind.”

Il Duce and His Women by Roberto Olla – review
Sex was at the centre of the Italian dictator's image

Ian Thomson
Friday 13 January 2012 22.55 GMT

In 1919 Benito Mussolini, an obscure political agitator, assembled a ragbag of black-shirted followers in Milan, and launched the political movement that was to become, two years later, the National Fascist party. The party took its name from the classical Roman symbol of authority – an axe bound in rods, or fasces. Part idealist, part buffoon, Mussolini dreamed of a second Roman empire for Italy, and dominion over the Mediterranean. Occasionally he liked to wear a richly tasselled fez and would pose for the cameras, thrusting out his chin pugnaciously. He introduced the stiff-armed Roman salute, disapproving of the handshake as fey and unhygienic. As Mussolini's regime strengthened, the high priests of fascism began to hail their leader as "divine Caesar", and adopted the passo romano, the Latin goosestep, in parades. Behind the bombast, however, Italian fascism relied on bludgeons, intimidation and, according to Roberto Olla, Mussolini's vainglorious sexual antics and boastfulness.

Olla, an Italian writer and TV journalist, provides an absorbing account of Mussolini's self-proclaimed manful potency and "animal allure". In the course of his life, he had relations with hundreds of women, perhaps "as many as 400". The women were brusquely mauled by him under his desk or on mattress-like cushions installed for the purpose. Towards the end of his 23-year-dicatorship, facing defeat, he became addicted to a German-manufactured aphrodisiac pill trade-marked Hormovin. Taking this prototype Viagra was a "political act", says Olla, as it served to prolong the myth of the Duce as one who never flagged. Undeniably, sex was at the centre of the myth of Mussolini and his image as a man of power. Yet Mussolini's sexuality has been "ignored" by historians as being unworthy of study. In Il Duce and His Women, Olla remedies the deficiency, and gives us a portrait of Mussolini in all his priapic foolery – and occasional daring.

Mussolini's most notorious mistress, Claretta Petacci, saw a "god-like potency" and "bull-like" magnetism in her idol. A doctor's daughter, she began to court Mussolini in 1932 and before long, bouts of "savage, ardent sex" routinely occurred in his headquarters at Palazzo Venezia in Rome. Mussolini was by then married with five children, yet the more women he had, the more he felt puffed out with a sense of his own rank and self-importance. Petacci's diaries, first published in Italy in 2009 as Mussolini segreto ("Secret Mussolini"), are amply quoted by Olla. In spite of her adoring pillow talk ("Anchor yourself in me, my great and glorious ship"), Petacci has much to say about Mussolini's inner life, personality and politics. He forbade his daughter from marrying a Jew, yet one of his mistresses, Margherita Sarfatti, was Jewish. Sarfatti, a rather "overlooked character", according to Olla, exerted a stronger influence on the dictator than is generally realised.

She first met Mussolini in 1912, and was one of the masterminds behind fascism's pompous celebration of ancient Rome. The eagle motifs and suckling she-wolves visible today on fascist architecture in Italy are partly Sarfatti's legacy. Her bestselling 1926 biography of Mussolini, Dux, exalted the leader as a sacred manifestation of romanità ("Romanness") and the noble Italian race. Yet her name was dirt once Mussolini had committed Italy to Nazi Germany's antisemitic cause. A racial dogma that glorified blond northerners of course conflicted somewhat with the Mediterranean cult of romanità. Yet a latent tension had always existed between fascism and Italian Jews. Zionists, in particular, were seen by Mussolini as a self-regarding, supranational sect inimical to the sturdy Blackshirt. "They should mind their own business," Mussolini told Petacci while sunbathing with her one day in Rome. "They are carogne [carrion], cowards." While Sarfatti managed to escape Nazi-occupied Italy, her sister Nella and her husband died on a transport bound for Auschwitz.

To Petacci, Hitler was unappealingly furtive and rat-like beside her grandly uniformed Dux, whose smouldering, lantern-jawed features were said to radiate a sense of physical daring – ardimento – and the very masculine fascist soul. Other women were no less impressed. Ida Dalser went so far as to sell her beauty salon in order to raise funds for Mussolini. In time, she became the mother of Mussolini's first-born son and, it seems, married the dictator. Years later, after Mussolini had cynically discarded her, Dalser accused him of cowardice and dereliction of duty. Enraged, Mussolini confined Dalser to a mental home, where, shortly before Christmas 1937, she died.

Olla's biography ends that momentous year of 1937, when Mussolini paid his disastrous official visit to Nazi Germany. Having invaded Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) two years earlier, the dictator decided to hitch his carnival chariot to Hitler's funeral hearse, and a last chance for peace in Europe was lost. Olla has read widely into the cult of ducismo, and writes illuminatingly of his subject. Ultimately, his psycho-sexual study asserts the dangers of blind adherence to ideology. In April 1945, with Italy's defeat now certain, Mussolini was executed by anti-fascists and his body strung up alongside that of the starry-eyed Claretta Petacci in Milan, not far from the site where, 26 years earlier, the fascist movement had been launched.

• Ian Thomson's Primo Levi: A Biography is published by Vintage.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Cordings and Pol Roger Present Your Guide to the Autumn/Winter Season Illustrated by Oliver Preston / VÍDEO below: A Conversation with Cordings - Behind the Brand

Beverston Press publish Oliver Preston's funny skiing cards, shooting books, and funny birthday cards. His drawings regularly appear in a wide range of publications from The Field to The Polo Magazine and have been published In Country Life, Punch, The Spectator and national newspapers.

His work is beautifully drawn, and make very funny gifts. With a keen eye for social observation, Oliver Preston's books are predominantly based on country themes and modern day life.

Illustrated by Oliver Preston

When the leaves begin to go that lovely shade of russet
and linen turns to tweed, you know those long afternoons of strawberries and buzzing bees are coming to a close. Thoughts turn to log fires, lamb’s wool jumpers and finding out that your wellington boots now have more holes in them than your colander. Let Uncle Bernard and Aunt Agatha steer you through the social minefield that is the winter ‘season’. Failing this, have a read and a good laugh.
The Shoot
The spectacle of a line of guns eagerly awaiting their first drive of the season is one that lifts the spirit and starts the heart racing just that little bit faster. The shoot day brings great sport, superb food and drink, but is beset with potential conundrums.
Should I take the dog? (Aunt Agatha) If your hound is well disposed to the canine rabble, and able to maintain silence in the din, then positively yes, you should. Pinching the last rasher off the shoot breakfast table or licking the butter however is somewhat ill-thought of.
Who don’t I tip? (Uncle Bernard) When getting ready for the day this is often forgotten and yet it is so very important; nothing says thank you quite as much as ‘silent money’, so slip your notes in an envelope and take the time to remember it. It is generally considered poor form to tip the hostess, the gardener is, again, not necessarily someone to include unless you are feeling very modern, and tipping your host may leave everyone confused. However, almost
everyone else deserves to be tipped – Loaders, Keepers, Gun Cleaners (?!), Cook and the House Keeper. How much? This is discretionary, but it is recommended to follow the form from the other guns, it’s generally ill-thought of to ask the host ‘how much old fruit?’!

The Grouse Moor Form?
(UB) Shooting Grouse is quite something and bravo to you for getting on the moor. Remember, barrels in the air at all times and above you when turning; guests losing body parts to over-enthusiastic marksmanship is generally thought poor form. Focus, focus, focus – it can be a long time from start of the drive to when the birds come out and early in the season, they are likely to be gunning straight for you, later-on the squadrons tend to be more wily and evasive, so keep your wits about you. Celebratory ‘whoops’ at hitting a bird are also slightly frowned upon, unless you are wearing a ten gallon hat. Cigars are best lit at the end of the day.
Does my butt look good in this?
What to wear. Grouse days can be balmy affairs; lighter clothing is often required, and field coats can be thrown off in gay abandon. An important question to ask when choosing your colour scheme for the day is “will the birds notice me?”, under other circumstances one may hope for a resounding “why yes!”, but not on a Grouse Moor. Cream background tattersalls and bright jumpers are a sure fire way of bringing attention to yourself. Look to the moors for inspiration; a Cordings Grouse Shirt is perfect, its subtle hues
and easy movement give you the best chance of success, team with a Shooting Waistcoat and Breeks in Firley Check, for a smart, practical ensemble.

The pheasant and partridge field?
(AA) Considered by some to be a dinner party with shotguns, the partridge and pheasant season heralds a switch from dipping, driving and diving fowl to screaming long-tailed squawkers. Coupled with the old chirruping hedge hopper, the lowland game season begins proper with the first splash of ‘bullshot’ on the kitchen tiles. Form is not quite as rigid as on the predominately northern or Hebridean estates but it is nonetheless, important to observe the unspoken rules. ‘Duvet-ing’ your host with a bird in front of him at mediocre distance is regarded mildly irritating, pinching a plum sporting bird above your host’s peg is akin to flirting outrageously with the hostess. Best to avoid that. Counting the birds you hit loudly and declaring you are ‘winning’ generally gains few admirers, eye-wiping your neighbour has mixed blessings. Weather conditions will dictate how you dress for the day, but you cannot go wrong with a pair of Cordings house check plus twos and smart shooting stockings.
When to drink, what to drink?
(AA) Now we are talking dear; generally best to do this after the shoot. Lunch time tipples are of course acceptable but avoid too much vin rouge, how about a glass of the indomitable Pol Roger Brut Reserve? To go left-field, maybe a splendid glass of Josmeyer Alsace Pinot Blanc ‘Mise du Printemps’?

When the whistle on the last drive blows, the bag has been declared glorious in its limited and beautiful way, you can begin to make your declarations of thanks and dash to draw the bath. Should a pre-prandial be on offer, possibly a glass of Pol Roger Brut Vintage (terrifically fresh with beautiful acidity and delightful fruit) this will help keep your conversations sparkling. Throughout dinner you will be offered (we are sure) a cornucopia of liquid refreshment, pick wisely and be consistent.
Port is an excellent way to finish as is Hine Cognac Antique XO (cherry brandy again, often well swerved), to keep the senses perky. When your host yawns and declares your nickname ‘Bingo’ (last one out) it’s time to drink up and head for bed.
Off the peg, on the peg: what to wear?
Standing on a peg, buffeted by rain, in temperatures that would make penguins think twice about going outside for a stroll, is an exhilarating experience; but only if you are correctly attired. Stout boots, shooting stockings and breeks (or trews, now making a first-rate come back in the field) take care of your lower portions, whilst layering with lambswool, fleece and a Field Coat will take care of the rest. Always wear a tie, as a mark of respect for your quarry, but also because there are so many splendid examples to be had at Cordings, emblazoned with Pheasants, Grouse and even the odd Snipe.

“When going out in the field never forget the practical issues of comfort, warmth and ease of movement”
Eric Clapton
(musician & fieldsports enthusiast)

Guide to the Country Pub
Should I engage with the local at the bar?
(UB) Often the best path here is to gauge your quarry; be polite and don’t insult the décor or food unless you are the owner or never intend to go back.
Are cocktails permissible in a coaching inn?
(AA) Whilst this may be akin to asking for Lager at an Ale brewery, cocktails are a fine thing, and we recommend the Horse’s Neck (‘H’ by Hine and Ginger Ale) or Whisky & ice (Single- Malt and Ice remarkably enough – a fine Kilchoman Machir Bay, could be just the ticket)…but a cautionary tale, anything involving blue liquor or crème de menthe is often best avoided for safety’s sake. Generally stick to the ‘taps’, or if you are feeling adventurous, why not try a glass of ‘roulette’ house wine?

To wellie or not to wellie?
(UB) A much pondered musing, if it’s sodden and you
are worried about your loafers, go wellie in the pub but be prepared in some gentrified establishments to take them off if asked. A hole-y sock in the country is acceptable,
no-socks (or ‘going sock-less’ in the south) courts suspicion and your personal hygiene may be called into question. Your choice of wellie is significant, but we shan’t go into that here.

Amuse bouche? What about a little something from the chef? (UB) Chance your arm, the chef may take the challenge. However pork scratchings or assorted nuts may be the most enticing offering. Perhaps time for an aperitif? 21 YO Glenfarclas Single Malt Whisky, full bodied rich and with rounded flavours , goes perfectly with pork scratchings.
How to cut a sartorial swath in the snug: what to wear?
Remember: in the country, colour in the trouser department is to be applauded and considered sensible; one can never be too loud. Jeans that make ones underwear visible, leather trousers (unless you are in possession of a motor cycle) and jogging bottoms with logos emblazoned on your posterior, will certainly get the attention of the local population, but not in a good way.
“One has to always question where to park the glass on the bar top, near to the wearer of the fur and suede dangling sleeves or the rat-catcher trousers, it’s always a delicate balance of the shove and shuffle to get to the bar let alone the order. Make your order firm and precise with the barkeep, never let your guarddown and judge the offer of a pickled egg wisely”

Victoria Knowles-Lacks
(Owner and founder, The Shotgun and Chelsea Bun Club and West Country resident)

The Meet
What to do if you don’t like horses?
(AA) Generally thought of as not the place to be if you are either in fear of, or underwhelmed by, the horse. However grin and bear it, focus on the port, sherry and general back slapping. Look for the person milling around with a champagne bottle and ask if they happen to know ‘what their wine tastes like?’
Hunt buttons?
(UB) If new to ‘the Meet’, it’s generally considered bad form to wear hunt buttons even if through patrimony, often best to go plain and get the advice of each hunt’s MFH (Master of the Fox Hounds). Turning up in a hunting pink and blowing your own horn (so to speak) may end in an ignominious dressing down from the seniors members.

Good conversation?
(AA) ‘What a fine looking beast, jumped much?’ (only about a horse) – ‘looking fairly hard out there, do you think you’ll go on past 1st horses?’ / ‘Hounds sound in good voice’ ad nauseum.
Stirrup cup of choice?
(AA) Stay clear of home brew, focus on your drive home or walk to lunch and go for an elegant tipple, maybe a sip of vintage Cognac? Domaines Hine Bonneuil 2005 for instance….smooth and discerning. You’ll feel warm and possibly ‘smug’ at the decision.
‘Standing to’ at The Meet
(AA) Tweed coats, sensible wellies and a jolly smile will often be the uniform of choice for those waiting to cheer

the gallop and hear the cry of the hounds. Have a large pocket in the coat for a hip flask and don’t forget the woolly hat (bobble optional).
“The meet is a wonderfully diverse gathering of folk from all walks of life. There is a real buzz of anticipation and excitement of the day ahead. Dress appropriately and put a sandwich in your pocket for later in the day. Meets are very family friendly so do take children, and even better if you can get out on horse!”
Harry Meade
(International Three Day Event Rider, part of Team GBR, ChampagnePol Roger and Cordings of Piccadilly Brand Ambassador)

The Point to Point
(UB) You’ll need a capable vehicle should things turn inclement. The Point to Point circuit is not a place to impress the King’s Road set; turning up in your two-seater complete with stilettos might be over-gunning it. So we suggest the long wheel base Land Rover because nothing says failure like the obligatory ‘tractor tow’. Extra house points can be given for negotiating a RWD German car through the bog, in suede loafers.
Weather check?
(UB) Interweb information abounds – do not be caught short, brace yourself and by jove, if it looks hopeless hit the local hostelry, order the best steak and kidney pudding and a large glass of red (a hearty cabernet like a Staglin Family Vineyard 2008 from the Napa valley, California would suit the occasion). Consider yourself well out of it as the stalwarts try to look cheery in the biblical deluge.
Correct picnic form?
(AA) No one obviously opens their boot without a proper bottle of fizz – Pol Roger Brut Reserve slung in a (probably useless or over-full) cool bag, is a real boon to keep the spirits high! The food at these events has in the past dampened the spirits: a greying Scotch egg, the forlorn chicken sandwich, the obligatory ‘explode in the container before you get there’ soup and home-made sausage roll used to be the order of the day, …..but thankfully Waitrose has changed all of these slightly trying stalwarts; roasted vegetable antipasti options? Sundried tomatoes? Samosas? It’s a veritable cornucopia of finger food. We suggest soup (optional sherry to be added to the consommé) and cheese straws….it could be a long day after all!

Pint to pint? What to drink?
(AA) Beer is a particular favourite amongst hardened pointers, as is wine, Maison Joseph Drouhin Savigny les Beaune for a refreshing pinot noir and maybe a delightful bottle of Crown Estates Tokaji 5 puttonyas 2000. The Tokaji pairs exquisitely with a rich paté or even foie gras, should one want to push the boat out. And for the obligatory nip from bottle or hip flask, Glenfarclas Single Malt Whisky 15YO wins every time. Don’t forget the corkscrew and proper glasses.
A short course on what to wear?
This being Britain, the answer to this could be as divergent as a linen shirt, chinos and loafers, or Schoffel interactive coat, waterproof trousers and wellington boots.
“What I love most about point-to-pointing is that however professional the jockeys and trainers have become, it’s still a proper old-fashioned country sport run by hunting people with a great friendly atmosphere
where the weather – rain, howling gales, spring sunshine
– is all part of it. For this reason, I especially love the west-country meetings, which are timeless. I belong to the Plantation Farm Picnic Syndicate and, as you might have guessed it’s (nearly) all about the picnic – and the fizz when we win!”
Kate Green
(News Editor, Country Life)

Is this a covert operation?
(AA) Yes it is! There is nowhere a covert coat feels more at home than jostling amongst the crowds, the dun colour was after all originally designed to cope with horse hair and the occasional splattering of mud and still stay immaculate. Team with a tweed suit and trilby and you have the ultimate Cheltenham kit. Shiny office suits are
ill-advisedly becoming prevalent and are more to be pitied than censured. For the ladies, a smart tweed ensemble, topped with a splendid fur hat will cut a dash. Lurid pink prom style dresses, worn with ‘dead parrot’ style fascinators are best avoided as they have a habit of frightening the jockeys who are, through years of careful breeding, a highly strung sort.
Should I bring the hound?
(UB) Yes just make sure it is correctly attired, little dogs in handbags are a little, Chelsea, not Cheltenham.
Correct footwear?
(AA) You want dry feet? Wellingtons and sturdy boots are the way forward, plus you can drink out of them later if you lose your glass.
Who am I likely to see?
(AA) The ladies and gentlemen of the jump racing community, a smattering of West Country royalty, corporate guests, persons from across the water and lots and lots of splendid red trousers.
Carriage of choice?
(UB) Train, taxi or chauffeur – to drive would make this a very dull day indeed.
Champagne or cider?
Either really but try not to drink out
of your trilby. We do think a nice glass of Pol Roger Brut Vintage 2006 tastes terrific at 9am, on auspicious occasions such as this.
“Cheltenham is the highlight of the National Hunt season and brings absolutely everything to the table. The horses are the elite from England, Ireland and France and the world’s best jockeys, along with the most sporting crowd that any event can put together. To many this is an annual pilgrimage and, to all of us, the pinnacle four days of every year”
Nicky Henderson
(3 times Champion NH trainer and trainer of 47 winners at the Cheltenham Festival)
Which car park should I head to?
(UB) Well, if you’re not in the west car park let’s just say it is a bad old day.
Where should I be aiming to sit?
(AA) Mid-tier east or west stand, somewhere close to facilities, and gone are the days of bringing your own tipple, it’s a pint of the black stuff or maybe a tepid GnT for you my dears! You are there for stirring rugby anyway…best not to blur the lines during the match.
Form on chat with fans?
(UB) You’ll want to discuss England’s latest midfield worries, the demise of the scrum and a return to off-field discipline. Avoid someone wearing a football shirt for fear of being proffered advice on your choice of sport. You’ll know who to look for; beginning a salvo with ‘my dear old thing…’ should see you through.

Black velvet?
(AA)If you insist dear, although best to stick to Pol Roger Brut Reserve.
Tweed, Wax or padded jacket?
All three are eminently suitable, accessorise with a generous glass of red wine and gingham table cloth. Wellies are wholly acceptable whereas loafers will do you no credit here, stout walking boots or sturdy brogues with thick socks are just the ticket.
“Don’t be afraid to go very casual - you’ll be surrounded by men in badly fitting jeans and jumpers decorated with dog hairs. It’s all about comfort. Do a bit of reading beforehand so you have half a clue who the key players are and what’s going on. Buy the headphones so you can hear what the ref is saying - that way you’ll be the only person who knows why a penalty is being given. Arrive early and leave late. The car parks are where the party is at.”
Clare Balding
(Broadcaster and avid Rugby fan)
The Christmas house party
Which host should you pass the booze to?
(AA) If you want to see it drunk on the day/evening, the hostess, if you want to hear about it drunk that night, privately, your host…
How to eat the cocktail sausage elegantly?

(UB) Attack the entrée with real verve, grab it and positively shove it in….avoid conversation while macerating and take a moment to savour.
When to leave?
(AA) When the hostess is bellowing ‘whose taxi is outside….’ or ‘right then, who’s for washing up…?’. Watching for signs is quite easy, the minute the decent wines are down to the sediment, or the port has been spilled, it’s time to head for the highway.
Lunchtime drinks – the plan?
(UB) Avoid the Gin and Tonic in favour of a Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis, and Robert Sinskey Vineyard’s Pinot Noir from Los Carneros for a red is a real winner! Cote du Nuit is more of a supper sip. Manzanilla is a positively inspired choice to accompany salted almonds and olives.
How to avoid the slightly-odd Uncle Bernard?
(AA) Make pains to suggest you know very little about cricket or the latest on Syria, declare an interest in popular music and the latest streaming service from Apple.
Declare yourself devoid of a decanter at home and that you have never heard of Wilbur Smith. Above all stay away from the drinks trolley – wait for it to come to you. This should save you hours of your life.

The Christmas jumper
However ironic your intentions
are, do not succumb to knitted garments with the following motifs: Snowmen, Father Christmas, Elves or Baubles, and if anyone approaches you wearing a garment emblazoned with any of the above (we can include ties in this), move very quickly towards the drinks trolley (see note above ref Uncle Bernard). Lambswool V necks found downstairs in Cordings of Piccadilly (and now Harrogate) in festive colours, and smart Fair Isles, are the order of the day, giving the message ‘I am a fun chap or lady, who has not lost their sense of style/ marbles’.
“Christmas jumpers are in my experience exclusively worn by ordinarily sane adults who stupidly believe that Christmas is an excuse to look like, behave like and sound like a 6 year old with OCD. Knitwear is a tricky enough issue without burdening it with aesthetic IEDs like appliquéd snowmen. Revolt against the revolting and plump for some lambswool”
Laurence Llewelwyn-Bowen
(Designer and broadcaster)
Since 1839 Cordings have clothed explorers, rock stars and royalty in understated British clothing, all from our iconic store in Piccadilly. With timeless cuts, traditional cloths and painstaking attention to detail creating an enduring elegance that is never out of style.
19 Piccadilly, London W1J 0LA
Westminster Arcade, Harrogate HG1 2RN
Champagne Pol Roger has been producing exceptional champagne for over 165 years. To this day the house remains small, family-owned, fiercely independent and unrivalled in its reputation for quality. Pol Roger Portfolio was founded in 1990 by the Pol Roger family, to establish its own subsidiary in Great Britain, the premier export market for Pol Roger Champagne. Since 1990 Pol Roger Portfolio has grown to include a select number of first class wines and spirits from family owned houses; Crown Estates, Glenfarclas, Hine, Joseph Drouhin, Drouhin-Vaudon, Josmeyer, Kilchoman, Robert Sinskey, Staglin Family, Abreu and Dalla Valle.
Champagne Pol Roger
Illustrated by Oliver Preston and
Designed by Emma McCall

Oliver grew up in London and the Cotswolds and from an early age developed a love of cartoons and caricature through the books of H M Bateman, Thelwell, Tintin and Charles Addams. As a child and at school Oliver drew extensively. He is completely self taught. After Eton College, where he won the Gunther Graphics Prize for Art, Oliver attended Exeter University, and then spent ten years working in the City of London, latterly as a director of bond sales at Lehman Brothers.

However he saw the light in 1995 and left the City to become a full-time cartoonist and illustrator. His early cartoons were published in Punch Magazine, The Beano, The Dandy and The Spectator, and since 1995, Oliver has been the regular cartoonist for The Field Magazine.

His funny cartoons have also appeared in Cotswold Life, The Polo Magazine and Country Life amongst others, and he has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The Independent newspapers.

With a keen eye for social observation, his cartoons are beautifully drawn with a very individual style. The situations are very close to people’s everyday lives, and there is often a splattering of languid lovelies, dilettantes and doting dogs. Oliver has developed a wide following, especially for his shooting and skiing cartoons, and drawings that depict the quirkiness of British town and country life.

He has held one man shows at The Fine Art Society in Bond Street (1999), The Addison Ross Gallery, London (1990), The Mall Galleries, London, (2014) and regularly at the Gstaad Palace in Switzerland.

He has also produced fifteen funny books of his cartoons, which can also be purchased as limited edition prints, and as funny birthday cards. His latest books, "The Imperfect Shot" and "Lively Limericks" are on sale now for Christmas 2015.

Oliver returned to Gloucestershire in 1998 and over the next fifteen years, he has developed a loyal customer base, working for a diversity of clients, on caricature commissions, christmas cards, cartoon invitations, and much more.

Today, Oliver Preston’s funny cards are published by Beverston Press which ships to trade and retail customers around the globe. You can see more here:

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Lucie Aubrac / VÍDEO:Mort de Lucie Aubrac

Lucie Aubrac
French resistance heroine whose later years were clouded by allegations that her husband was a Nazi informer

Julian Jackson
Friday 16 March 2007 23.56 GMT Last modified on Sunday 15 April 2012 21.05 BST

Lucie Aubrac, who has died aged 94, was one of the legendary figures of the French resistance, so famous that in 1997 her story was made into a colourfully romantic film in which she was played by the actor Carole Bouquet. The movie recounted how Lucie tricked the Gestapo and organised a daring raid to free her husband, Raymond, from imprisonment at the hands of the Germans.

A few weeks later, however, the journalist Gérard Chauvy published a book documenting inconsistencies in Lucie's account of her life, insinuating that Raymond, far from being a resistance hero, might have been a German informer. From being resistance legends, the couple found themselves mired in one of those controversies that has punctuated the memory of France's dark years of wartime occupation.

Born into a modest family of Burgundy winegrowers, Lucie Bernard, a brilliant student, obtained in 1938 the agrégation in history - the most prestigious higher degree in France. On the eve of the second world war, she began teaching history at a school in Strasbourg. This was a period of great political conflict in France, and during the 1930s she had become an active supporter of the Communist party, which, like others of her generation, she saw as the most effective bulwark against fascism. In December 1939, she married Raymond Samuel, a young engineer who was also a committed communist.

After the defeat of France in 1940, Lucie resumed teaching at a school in the unoccupied zone in Lyon. That autumn, she met in a cafe Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie, one of those hoping to organise resistance to the German occupation. It was out of such chance encounters that the first resistance groups were formed. Lucie and Raymond became founding leaders of d'Astier's organisation, Libération-Sud, which was to become one of the most important resistance movements in France. There were many women involved in resistance, but relatively few in such prominent positions. This alone would have marked Lucie out as an exceptional individual.

For the first two years of the war, she and Raymond continued their professional occupations - she as a teacher, he as an engineer - while also living double lives as resistance organisers under various pseudonyms. (After the war, they officially adopted as their new name Raymond's resistance alias, "Aubrac"). In May 1941 Lucie gave birth to her first child, Jean-Pierre. So she was living a triple existence as teacher, mother and resister; as she wrote in her memoirs, being the mother of a baby was an excellent cover to divert suspicion from the Germans, and at one meeting between her husband and General de Gaulle's envoy, Jean Moulin, in a Lyon public garden, her presence with her baby boy proved particularly useful.

At the end of 1942, the Germans occupied the whole of France and Lyon became the headquarters of the notorious Gestapo chief, Klaus Barbie. In March 1943 Raymond was arrested. It seems, however, that the Germans and Vichy authorities thought they had only caught a small-time black marketeer, and he was released in May, after Lucie intervened with the local Vichy public prosecutor. Then, on June 21 1943, Raymond was arrested again, along with Moulin himself, at a top level meeting of resisters in a doctor's surgery in the Lyon district of Caluire.

It did not take the Germans long to work out the identities of Moulin and most of the others they had captured. Moulin was horribly tortured and transferred to Paris, where he died. Meanwhile, Raymond was held in the Montluc prison, in Lyon, and beaten up. Lucie mounted an extraordinary scheme to release him. Pregnant again, she presented herself to the Gestapo, claiming to be the recently engaged fiancée of someone she believed to be called "Ermelin", one of Raymond's aliases, who, she claimed, had been innocently caught up in the raid while visiting the doctor. When told that her "fiancé" was a resister who was to be executed, she begged to be allowed to save her honour and legitimise her expected child by marrying him under a French legal clause which allowed an engaged couple to wed if one of them is about to die. The Gestapo lieutenant swallowed her story, and on the day Raymond was being transferred back from Gestapo headquarters to prison after the "marriage", armed resisters attacked the lorry and freed him and 15 other prisoners.

Lucie and Raymond went into hiding until a plane could take them to London, where they arrived in February 1944. Their second child, Catherine, was born a few days later. On March 20 1944, De Gaulle's provisional government announced that once France was liberated, women would - for the first time - be given the vote. In anticipation of this, and before elections could occur, the general had appointed a consultative assembly, which Lucie joined as a resistance representative. She thus became the first woman ever to sit in a French parliamentary assembly.

In 1945, once the war was over, she published a short history of the resistance - the first to appear - and then returned to teaching. In retirement, she saw it as her duty to ensure that the memory of the resistance lived on in the memories of younger generations of French men and women, and she would regularly visit schools to provide her own testimony as survivor and historian.

This is how Lucie's life might have ended had she and Raymond not been catapulted into controversy in 1983 after Barbie's extradition from Bolivia to stand trial in France. Before his trial, Barbie let it be known that he would reveal new facts about the resistance, including the claim that after his first arrest Raymond had turned informer and betrayed Moulin. The allegations never came to anything, but were troubling enough for Lucie to write her own memory of the affair (translated into English as Outwitting the Gestapo).

After Barbie's death in 1990, however, a document - the so-called Testament of Barbie - began circulating in newspaper offices and repeating the allegations about Aubrac. It was also at this point that Chauvy produced his book. Although distancing itself from Barbie's more extreme accusations, Chauvy's work was based on genuine archival material, and its overall effect was to cast a cloud of suspicion over the veracity of Lucie's account.

Twenty leading resistance survivors published a protest letter, but the Aubracs were deeply upset by the book, and asked to be given a chance to explain themselves before a panel of leading French historians. The newspaper Libération organised a discussion between the historians and the Aubracs.

But what had been intended by the Aubracs as a way of clearing their name turned into an acrimonious exchange in which they found themselves almost on trial. None of the historians accepted the idea that Raymond had been an informer, but they noted inconsistencies and contradictions in the various versions Lucie had given over the years. There were oddities in the case which have never been entirely elucidated: what were the exact circumstances of Raymond's first release from prison?; why was he the only resister arrested at Caluire not to have been moved to Paris (thus making it possible for Lucie to save him)?

The arrest of Moulin, in which the Aubracs were caught up, was the greatest drama of the resistance. And the Aubrac affair of the 1990s reminded people that, apart from the cases of betrayal that provide rich fodder for conspiracy theorists, the resistance was also plagued by internal conflicts of ideology and personalities. The fact that the Aubracs remained communist sympathisers long after the end of the war may have had something to do with the attacks on them.

In exasperation, at one point, Lucie protested that her memoirs - written 40 years after the events, when she was in her 70s - could not be expected to be accurate in every detail: she said she had been writing her story, not history. To which the historians present could only reply that their job was to write history, even if it meant unpicking the stories people wished to tell.

The tragedy of the situation was that Lucie, herself a historian and historical actor, was at the end of her life caught between the conflicting imperatives of historical truth and legendary memory. None of which detracts from the fact that, whatever happened in Lyon in the summer of 1943, she was a woman of great courage, character and energy, one of the last survivors of a generation that, between 1940 and 1945, helped to save the honour of France. Raymond and her three children survive her.

· Lucie Aubrac, teacher and resistance leader, born June 29 1912; died March 14 2007

Lucie Aubrac: The French Resistance Heroine Who Outwitted the Gestapo by Siân Rees

In May 1943, a young Frenchwoman called Lucie Aubrac engineered the escape of her husband, Raymond, from the clutches of Klaus Barbie, the feared Gestapo chief later known as the "Butcher of Lyon." When Raymond was arrested again that June, Lucie mounted a second astonishing rescue, ambushing the prison van that was transporting him. As a founding member and leader of the important French Resistance group Liberation-Sud, Lucie served as a courier, arms carrier, and saboteur who engineered these and other escape plans on behalf of her husband and other Resistance fighters.

Spirited out of France with Raymond by the RAF, Lucie arrived in London a heroine. For the postwar generation the couple embodied the spirit of "the real France": the one that resisted, and eventually expelled the Nazis. However, in 1983, Kalus Barbie made the bombshell claim that the Aubracs had become informers in 1943, betraying their comrades. The French press and the couple themselves furiously denounced this as slander, but as worrying inconsistencies were spotted in Lucie's story, doubts emerged that have never quite gone away.

Who was Lucie Aubrac? What did she really do in 1943? And was she truly the spirit of la vraie France, or a woman who could not resist casting herself as a heroine? Siân Rees’s penetrating, even-handed account draws from letters, newspaper articles, and other archival materials, as well as several interviews, to decipher the truth behind Lucie and her husband's wartime endeavors and near fall from grace. It offers a thrilling portrait of a brave, resourceful woman who went to extraordinary lengths for love and country.

Lucie Aubrac: The French Resistance Heroine Who Outwitted the Gestapo / Hardcover – June 1, 2016
by Siân Rees

Review By E. Bukowskyon / June 15, 2016

Lucie and Raymond Aubrac, who died in 2007 and 2012 respectively, are revered in France, more than seventy years after they risked their lives to thwart their Nazi occupiers. This valiant couple, who fled their homeland in 1944, arrived in London when Lucie was eight months pregnant with their second child. In 1943, the Gestapo captured Raymond Samuel (who had adopted the alias Aubrac). Obersturmführer Klaus Barbie, the infamous "Butcher of Lyon," might have executed Raymond had Lucie not hatched an audacious plan to free her husband.

Siân Rees, in "Lucie Aubrac," focuses on the political and social climate in France under Field Marshal Philippe Pétain's Vichy government. In opposition to Pétain's puppet regime, competing groups sprang up, all determined to resist the German juggernaut. Two of their most energetic and outspoken leaders were Lucie and Raymond, who hid in plain sight while helping organize the various factions into an effective force. Lucie was politically engaged, took risks when she believed they were warranted, and firmly embraced the values of social justice, tolerance, and pacifism. She was instrumental in creating and distributing an underground newspaper and played a key role in rescuing detainees from "internment camps, military prisons, and police cells." Lucie and Raymond's home was "both a political headquarters and a safe house for people on the run."

Rees puts Lucie's life, before, during, and after the Second World War, in historical context. Especially galling are the outrages perpetrated by the Vichy government, whose functionaries actively participated in the deportation of thousands of Jews to concentration camps. The author also discusses other important resistance figures, such as Emmanuel d'Astier and Jean Moulin, some of whom paid the ultimate price for their selflessness. Lucie Aubrac (she and Raymond adopted the name "Aubrac" legally in 1950) was not a saint. Some of her acquaintances considered her to be impetuous and overly excitable. In addition, she embellished the truth when it suited her, perhaps in an attempt to make her tales more interesting and entertaining. "Lucie Aubrac" drags at times, especially in the lengthy section dealing with the Aubracs' postwar activities. Overall, however, this is an intriguing and informative portrait of a compassionate and independent woman. Although she could have emigrated to America, Lucie chose to remain in France during its "Dark Years." Freedom fighter such as Lucie and Raymond "upheld French honor at a bleak time in their country's history."