Friday, 14 December 2018

David Hicks


My greatest contribution as an interior designer has been to show people how to use bold color mixtures, how to use patterned carpets, how to light rooms, and how to mix old with new.
— David Hicks in "David Hicks on Living—with Taste" (1968)


He married Lady Pamela Mountbatten (born 19 April 1929), the younger daughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma by his wife, the former Edwina Ashley.
David and Pamela Hicks were married on 13 January 1960 at Romsey Abbey in Hampshire. They had three children:
Edwina Victoria Louise Hicks (born 24 December 1961)
Ashley Hicks (born 18 July 1963)
India Amanda Caroline Hicks (born 5 September 1967)



David Nightingale Hicks was born at Coggeshall, Essex, the son of stockbroker Herbert Hicks and Iris Elsie (née Platten). He attended Charterhouse School and graduated from the Central School of Arts and Crafts.
After a brief period of National Service in the British army, Hicks began work drawing cereal boxes for J. Walter Thompson, the advertising agency. His career as designer-decorator was launched to media-acclaim in 1954 when the British magazine House & Garden featured the London house he decorated (at 22 South Eaton Place) for his mother and himself.

An early introduction by Fiona Lonsdale, wife of banker Norman Lonsdale, to Peter Evans initiated business partnership in London as the pair, now joined by architect Patrick Garnett, set about designing, building and decorating a restaurant chain (Peter Evans Eating Houses) in London's "hotspots", such as Chelsea and Soho.

Evans said of Hicks:

"[He] was without a doubt a genius. He would walk into the most shambolic of spaces that I had decided would be a restaurant, a pub or a nightclub and, lighting up a cigarette, would be out of the place within ten minutes, having decided what atmosphere it would generate because of what it would look like. He always got it spot on.”

Hicks and the architectural practice Garnett Cloughley Blakemore (GCB) collaborated on a series of private commissions, including a house on Park Lane for Lord and Lady Londonderry and an apartment for Hicks's brother-in-law, film producer Lord Brabourne. The firm also worked on a new house in London for Hicks's father-in-law, Earl Mountbatten. GBC achieved international recognition when it refurbished the George V Hotel in Paris for the Trust House Forte group. Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film A Clockwork Orange featured GCB's Chelsea Drugstore.

Hicks's early clients mixed aristocracy, media and fashion. He did projects for Vidal Sassoon, Helena Rubinstein, Violet Manners (who became the Duchess of Rutland), Mrs. Condé Nast and Mrs. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.[2] He made carpets for Windsor Castle and decorated the Prince of Wales's first apartment at Buckingham Palace. Hicks started to design patterned carpets and fabrics when he found none on the market that he considered good enough. These and his hyper-dynamic colour sense formed the basis of a style which was much admired and copied. In 1967, Hicks began working in the USA, designing apartments in Manhattan for an international clientele, and at the same time promoting his carpet and fabric collections. Hicks also designed sets for Richard Lester's 1968 movie Petulia, starring Julie Christie.

In the 1970s/80s Hicks shops opened in fifteen countries around the world. He designed, for example, guestrooms at the Okura Hotel in Tokyo, the public rooms of the British Ambassador's Residence in Tokyo, with only mixed success, and the yacht of the King of Saudi Arabia. Hicks was a talented photographer, painter and sculptor and produced fashion and jewelry collections. He designed the interior of a BMW and scarlet-heeled men's evening shoes.

He wrote, in one of his nine practical design books, David Hicks on Living — With Taste,[10] that his "greatest contribution... has been to show people how to use bold color (sic) mixtures, how to use patterned carpets, how to light rooms and how to mix old with new."

Some of Hicks's later work may be seen at Belle Isle, Fermanagh, where the Duke of Abercorn hired him to redecorate the interior of the castle in the 1990s. Hicks decorated the duke's main house, Baronscourt, in the 1970s.







Obituary: David Hicks
Nicholas Haslam
Thursday 2 April 1998 00:02
The Independent

DAVID HICKS was perhaps the "Dyvid Byley" of interior designers: the only exponent of that profession the man in the street might be able to put a name to. For nearly 40 years Hicks has been a household word - to many a household god - and his style a touchstone of good, mad, but never indifferent, taste.

His many books - the first, David Hicks on Decoration, published in 1966 - have been inexhaustible quarries of ideas and inspiration to the following generations of designers. His later work, with its massive overscaling and deceptive simplicity greatly influenced by his hero Sir John Soane - with frequent chapeaux to Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor - became the classical trademark by which he will be best remembered, but it was his early decors, so violently heathen to the cretonned hearths of post-Festival Britain that brought him instant recognition, a well-observed and edited transatlantic- stroke-French chic that propelled him up ladders so fast his "international fun-folk bobble shoes", as his contemporary Dominic Elwes noted, hardly touched the rungs.

That, and of course, his looks. Son of a distinguished but decidedly elderly Essex stockbroker - that his grandfather lived in the reign of George III enormously endeared David to his future father-in-law, that monarch's great-great-great-grandson Earl Mountbatten of Burma - and an intelligent and sensitive mother whose culinary skills were to be a boon to David's early bachelor life, he was born in 1929 and christened David Nightingale - perhaps the closest he ever came to natural modesty: he was probably correct in claiming that he alone had invented the profession of interior designer - as opposed to mere decorator.

He was educated at an unloved Charterhouse, followed by a hated but then obligatory stint in the Army ("smelly young men my own age") which determined him to be his own master, and he enrolled in the Central School of Art and Design in London. This led to contact with advertising agencies and photographers such as Terence Donovan, for whom he would frequently "and brilliantly" decorate sets.

At the same time he acquired the first of what was to be a series of ravishing country houses, the Temple at Stoke-by-Nayland in Essex, which he had often bicycled past as a child. Here he created his first decors, devised his first garden (the long dark canal before the Temple's facade would feature frequently in his own and clients' landscapes), gave his first parties, invited his first friends - one of whom remembers, "I'd put a slice of lemon in the gin and tonic. David was aghast. 'What do you think this is? A restaurant?' " Other friends were mainly of the more sophisticated world, headed by Bunny Roger, Arthur Jeffress, Barry Sainsbury and those veteran, inveterate matchmakers Chips Channon and Peter Coats.

In Hicks's incandescent glamour and vaunting talent, they saw vast potential. Some dazzling union must be achieved: a marriage of patrician wealth and raw ambition. It was. In 1958, joined by the equally brilliant young decorator Tom Parr (who went on to head Colefax and Fowler), Hicks and Parr opened in London on Lowndes Place, off Belgrave Square. No one who was there that first evening will forget the 27 metal African lances hung exactly five-and-a-half inches apart, horizontally, on one wall, or a thousand watts lighting, in relief, a vast baroque torso. The spare sparse energy, the space, the scale, were literally breathtaking. The David Hicks style had truly arrived.

So much so, indeed, that he moved into 22 South Eaton Place, where he and his mother would entertain - David's fantasies, her food. The decor became the cynosure of eyes. Carpets and curtains were banished. Books must be bound all white. Monotones prevailed - as Vere French confessed, "When Hicks and Parr said beige, who was I to lag behind?" The ultra-modern art hung frameless, the white flowers in lit glass tanks. Baths and beds bestrode the middle of rooms, David's pugs could only eat off Chinese blue and white. It was all very surprising.

But David Hicks could always surprise. In 1960, the announcement of his grand marriage to Lady Pamela Mountbatten amazed all but a very few. "Oh I don't call that grand," his friend Tony Armstrong-Jones remarked. (Five months and a title later revealed why.)

Henceforward Hicks's clients and life style took an acutely upward turn, the former providing the latter - a couple of beautiful 18th-century houses, one in St Leonard's Terrace in Chelsea, the other the near-stately Britwell in Oxfordshire, which his wife ran with exquisite grace and tact. Hicks joined the squirearchy, rode, learnt to shoot (extremely well) and allowed his never-over-repressed ego to blossom ("I'm very famous and clever and I'm married to a very rich lady") as well as bourgeoisie-teasing pronouncements: "Red and yellow dogs are fearfully common" (red was later applied to cattle with equal rigidity), "Daffodils are hideous"; and I remember a postcard from "the Rainforests. Another of God's mistakes" - an almost Firbankian comment.

Concurrently his fame and influence spread world-wide, his influence and hauteur making him a kind of interior dictator. One besotted client on the Iberian peninsula kept Hicks's room "as he left it" and would allow friends to glimpse the grail through a barely opened door. But clients became friends, always - Hicks's immense knowledge, enthusiasm and humour saw to that. He frequently invited Elaine Sassoon, who, when married to Vidal, had been among the first, and the intensely private Nico Londonderry Fame was a lifelong confidante. His talent for friendships echoed his temperament. His standards were high, he hated many things and people, but once in his pantheon he would never ever let them down. Hicks was too worldly to be cruel.

He was let down, himself, however, by a disastrous business liaison which wreaked unaccustomed havoc. Hicks, with his reserve of courage and that irrepressible ego, retrenched and reorganised, building and decorating in many countries, but concentrating now on garden design, at which he was perhaps even more talented and original. The best example of his new- found genius is his own garden at the Grove, the lovely house in a fold of the valley below Britwell, where Pamela and he lived their elegant, harmonious, rock-and-royalty life for the past 20 years.

Here he could indulge in forcing nature into the linear and geometric patterns he so loved to use indoors, and devise elaborate humours - a trompe church steeple was attached to a hay-cart so that he could instantly terminate a distant view. And it was here, his handsome family around him, that David Hicks left, in tranquillity, the life he had so exuberantly adorned.

David Nightingale Hicks, interior decorator and garden designer: born Coggeshall, Essex 25 March 1929; director, David Hicks Ltd 1960-98; married 1960 Lady Pamela Mountbatten (one son, two daughters); died Britwell Salome, Oxfordshire 29 March 1998.

Taste is not something you are born with, nor is it anything to do with your social background. It is worth remembering that practically anyone of significance in the world of the arts, whether in the past or today, was nobody to start with. Nobody has ever heard of Handel's or Gainsborough's father.

My passion for arranging masses of things together is part of the way I see objects and use them. It not only looks mean, but is visually meaningless, to have one bottle of gin, one of whisky, a couple of tonic water and a soda syphon on a table in the living-room, even though that might be perfectly adequate for the needs of one evening's entertainment.

It is perhaps I who have made tablescapes - objects arranged as landscapes on a horizontal surface - into an art form; indeed, I invented the word . . . What is important is not how valuable or inexpensive your objects are, but the care and feeling with which you arrange them. I once bought six inexpensive tin mugs in Ireland and arranged them on a chimneypiece to create an interesting effect in a room which otherwise lacked objects. They stood there in simple perfection.

I dislike brightly coloured front doors - they are more stylish painted white, black or other dark colours. I hate wrought iron. I loathe colour used on modern buildings - it should be inside. I do not like conventional standard lamps - I prefer functional floor-standing reading lights. Function is just as important as aesthetics . . . Function dictates design.

From David Hicks, Living with Design, Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1979


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Lady Pamela Hicks / VIDEO:Interview with Lady Pamela Hicks Mountbatten - Edit 1

Lady Pamela Carmen Louise Hicks (née Mountbatten; born 19 April 1929) is a British aristocrat. She is the younger daughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma by his wife, Edwina Mountbatten. Through her father, Lady Pamela is a first cousin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and a great niece of the last Empress of Russia, Alexandra Feodorovna. She is the last surviving child of Louis and Edwina Mountbatten.
Lady Pamela is the widow of interior decorator and designer David Nightingale Hicks (25 March 1929 – 29 March 1998), son of stockbroker Herbert Hicks and Iris Elsie Platten. They were married on 13 January 1960 at Romsey Abbey in Hampshire. The bridesmaids were Princess Anne, Princess Clarissa of Hesse (daughter of her cousin Sophie), Victoria Marten (god-daughter of the bride), Lady Amanda Knatchbull and the Hon. Joanna Knatchbull (daughters of the bride's sister Patricia). Upon returning from honeymoon in the West Indies and New York, Lady Pamela learnt of the death of her mother in February 1960.



Lady Pamela Hicks on the real story behind Viceroy's House
Susan Springate
25 FEBRUARY 2017 • 8:00AM

Ensconced in the sitting room of her splendid Georgian home, Lady Pamela Hicks is recalling a recent visit from Hugh Bonneville. The actor is playing her father Lord Mountbatten in the the forthcoming film Viceroy’s House, which depicts the finals months of British rule in India.

“I took him secretly into the study as I wanted to see his salute,” she says. “Another actor, who played my father years ago, was a terrible slouch – but Hugh held himself beautifully.

“He didn’t look like my father of course,” she adds. “He was chosen because of the success of Downton Abbey.”

Lady Pamela, now 87, was 17 when her father was entrusted with overseeing the transfer of power to an independent India in 1947. 

 Lady Pamela Hicks at home in Piccadilly
Lady Pamela Hicks at home in Piccadilly CREDIT: JEFF GILBERT
She was used to privilege: her mother, Edwina, was a glamorous heiress and her father, “Dickie”, a third cousin to the Queen and Prince Philip’s uncle. Nothing however, could have prepared her for the extravagance of life at Viceroy’s House in Delhi. With 340 rooms, marble walls and 12 indoor courtyards, the Lutyens masterpiece had come to symbolise the splendour of the Raj.

Seeing it recreated on the big screen – 70 years to the month since her her parents were sworn in as the new Viceroy and Vicereine on ornate thrones – was, says Lady Pamela, enormously enjoyable. Although she admits to nit-picking all the way through the film, which stars Gillian Anderson, Michael Gambon, Simon Callow and Om Puri.


“In the film, Viceroy’s House is swarming with pretty girls but there wasn’t a woman in sight when I was there,” she says of the 500 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants that pandered to the lavish lifestyle of the Raj in its dying days.

There were 25 gardeners to attend to flower arrangements alone, and there was one man who did nothing but prepare chickens
“The grandeur was alarming,” she continues. “There were twenty-five gardeners to attend to flower arrangements alone, and there was one man who did nothing but prepare chickens. The house was so vast that one had to allow ten minutes to arrive at dinner on time.

“My father, of course, was quite unimpressed because he spent his youth with his Russian aunt and uncle in much grander buildings,” she adds.

Today, Lady Pamela lives in The Grove, an elegant country house in Oxfordshire, decorated by her husband, the celebrated society interior designer David Hicks who died of lung cancer in 1998. The couple have two daughters, Edwina and India, a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and a son, the architect and designer Ashley.

As probably the only living witness to events within the Viceroy’s walls during that tumultuous time, Lady Pamela proved an indispensable source of information to director Gurinder Chadha, the filmmaker behind Bend it Like Beckham.

“We spoke for hours and she even sent one of her people to check the costumes while I was at the hairdresser. There I was, an array of fantastic scarlet uniforms laid out at my feet, with ladies under dryers either side of me,” Chadha says.

Despite her protestations to the contrary, the youngest daughter of Lord Mountbatten has a sharp memory. In one of the early scenes of the film, Lady Pamela’s mother, Edwina, is seen dismissing a racist maid who had accompanied the family from England.

 500 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants that pandered to the lavish lifestyle of the Raj in its dying days
500 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants pandered to the lavish lifestyle of the Raj in its dying days CREDIT: KERRY MONTEEN/PATHE UK
“That was Mrs Hudson,” she recalls. “My mother heard her say some unpleasant things and got rid of her. That was typical of the time. From the outset my father insisted that half the guests at garden parties and lunches should be Indian. I was staggered during one of them, when I inadvertently overheard someone say: 'What are all these filthy Indians doing here?’

“My parents were quite enlightened and brought us up so that we had no prejudice.”

The idea of [Nehru] betraying my father, who was a friend, by sleeping with his wife in his own house? No. It would have made it sordid
Lady Pamela’s mother, Edwina, is played by Gillian Anderson. “I thought she did a splendid job,” she says, “although she tried so hard to get my mother’s walk right, that she ended up giving her a little hump.”

Viceroy’s House does not touch on Lady Mountbatten’s rumoured affair with India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, but Lady Pamela insists, “there was no way they could have had a sexual thing at the time because they were never alone. They were permanently surrounded by police and ADCs.

“Besides, Jawaharlal was a very honourable man. The idea of betraying my father, who was a friend, by sleeping with his wife in his own house? No. It would have made it sordid.”

Despite her mother’s tireless efforts in refugee camps in the bloody aftermath of partition – as well as her work with St John’s Ambulance until she died in Borneo in 1960 aged 58 – it is her extra-marital dalliances that are most often discussed.

“The world is only interested in sex,” says Lady Pamela. “I remember, years after her death, sitting next to her former lover Bunny Phillips, who told me: 'Your mother has this reputation of being some sort of nymphomaniac, but actually she hated sex. She just couldn’t live without admiration’.

[My] mother has this reputation of being some sort of nymphomaniac, but actually she hated sex. She just couldn’t live without admiration
“Jawaharlal and my mother undoubtedly loved one another. They were soul mates,” she continues. “But my father was never jealous. He could see that the relationship made her happier and easier to be around.”

Lord Mountbatten is portrayed in the film as a well-meaning but powerless figure, whose determination to keep India united proves futile when secret Westminster politicking is revealed and partition proves inevitable.

Partition – the dividing line drawn through the nation to create India and Pakistan – brought about the largest mass migration in human history, with 14 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims displaced and many lives lost in the massacres that followed.

As the split dawned, Viceroy’s House and its contents were divided up between the new states – even down to the individual library books.  Lord Mountbatten was asked by Nehru to stay on for ten months as governor-general of India, meaning his family witnessed every struggle.

“The staff were given the choice to stay or go,” Lady Pamela remembers. “And my father said there had to be a fair division of the items in Viceroy’s House. But when they were splitting up the orchestra, they didn’t know what to do with the cymbals. How do you divide cymbals? I think India got them in the end.”

When they were splitting up the orchestra, they didn’t know what to do with the cymbals. How do you divide cymbals? I think India got them in the end
Returning to England with her parents in June 1948, Lady Pamela mourned the colour and intensity of her adopted country. “My mother and I thought of ourselves as Indian,” she says. Distractions quickly presented themselves however, first as an invitation to attend the 1948 Olympics in London alongside the Royal family and later when her family moved to Malta, where her father resumed his Navy career. (He was eventually murdered by the IRA in 1979.)

Lady Pamela accompanied Princess Elizabeth on her 1952 Commonwealth Tour, as a lady-in-waiting. It was during the trip that the future Queen learned of her father, King George VI’s death. “I gave her a hug and a kiss, but suddenly thought, 'Hang on. She is the Queen now.’ So I did a deep curtsey.”

It is her memories of India however, that Lady Pamela holds most dear – and with the 70th anniversary of independence on August 15, her recollections of that day in New Delhi remain vivid.

“A tsunami of people filled every possible space as far as the eye could see, euphoria etched on their faces,” she says. Making her way through the surging crowds, she was encouraged by Nehru to remove her high-heeled shoes and quite literally walk on the laps and shoulders of the people. “Everyone laughed and cheered us on,” she says. “It was the most important day of my life. I had witnessed the birth of two new nations and been present while history was in the making.”


Daughter of Empire : Life as a Mountbatten​ by Pamela Hicks ​is ​published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson ​(£8.99). To order your copy​,  plus p&p​, call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.telegraph.co.uk​






Pamela Hicks: 'I admired my mother, but I never liked her’
In a new memoir, Lady Pamela Hicks, daughter of the last Viceroy, reflects on childhood and friendship with the Royals
Lady Pamela Hicks, 83, who was with Princess Elizabeth in 1952 when she heard she was now Queen
By Peter Stanford10:00PM GMT 16 Dec 2012

We’re trying to work out if Lady Pamela Hicks is the only living witness to the behind-the-scenes dramas of Indian Independence Day in 1948, which she observed as the 18-year-old daughter of Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy. “Well, I was speaking on the telephone recently to Gandhiji’s granddaughter,” she confides. “She seems to think she saw everything, too, but she was only nine at the time. I don’t count that.”

She doesn’t pronounce her verdict in a sour or jostling-for-position way. She has simply got to an age – “Eighty-three and a half, though my daughter will insist on telling everyone I am 84” – where she tells it precisely as she sees it. Which makes her very amusing company and rather indiscreet – not quite what I was expecting of an intimate of the Royal family (The Duke of Edinburgh is her first cousin and she is a great, great granddaughter of Queen Victoria). “Oh, but the Queen has such a good sense of humour,” she protests. “And as for Prince Philip…”

That connection with the Windsors has meant that Lady Pamela – “Pammy” to friends and family – has been there, or thereabouts, at some of the key moments in 20th century history. As well as her handmaiden role at the end of empire in India, she was one of the tiny group with Princess Elizabeth in Kenya in 1952 on the morning the princess heard that her father, George VI, had died and that she was now Queen. “I’m pretty sure,” she says, running through the others in her mind, “that I’m the only one left.”

She was a bridesmaid at the royal wedding in 1947, too. There is plenty of newsreel footage and archive material to show and tell generations to come what happened in Westminster Abbey, but Lady Pamela can take us inside Buckingham Palace, too. In her new memoir, Daughter of Empire, she describes the bride remaining “wonderfully calm” as first her tiara breaks, then her pearls (a gift from her father) go missing and finally her bouquet is misplaced, eventually turning up in a cupboard. “It had been popped in to remain cool.”

There are also witty pen portraits of the assembled European royals – most of them distant relatives of Lady Pamela’s. Crown Princess Juliana of the Netherlands “causes a stir” by bemoaning that “everyone’s jewellery is so dirty”. “It was typical of Princess Juliana to say such a thing, for she was very down to earth.” So what does Lady Pamela think of the more relaxed style of today’s Dutch and Scandinavian royal families? “Everybody talks about how they spend their time bicycling around their capital cities,” she says, “but I can tell you that the Stockholm palace is infinitely bigger than Buckingham Palace, and they still have plenty of flunkeys.”

Lady Pamela’s own domestic set-up is more modest. She lives in a beautiful manor house in the south Oxfordshire countryside. The influence of David Hicks is all about us. A designer who made his name in the Swinging Sixties, he and Lady Pamela married at the start of that decade – “an unorthodox match”, she writes in her memoir, but a happy one right up to his death in 1998. “I came from this ordinary naval family,” she recalls, for once employing a hefty dose of poetic licence, “and as a result of my marriage I’ve now spent 50 years surrounded by dotty creative people.” Perhaps that accounts for the gentle note of irreverence in her voice – that and the slight throatiness that she says is the result of having a “permanent frog”.

As well as David’s vibrant interiors, and the avenues of trees that carry my eye out of the floor-to-ceiling windows to outdoor rooms, Lady Pamela also has work by her son, the designer Ashley Hicks, to admire and puzzle over. “Did you notice that mound of earth with hands and feet sticking out of it as you drove in?” she asks. “He tells me it is a giant trying to get out of the earth.”

She still talks about her late husband as if he is in the next room, or down the corridor lovingly restoring the dining-room panels that were originally painted in the late 1930s for her wealthy heiress mother, Edwina, by Rex Whistler. There have been biographies of David Hicks, including one, she recounts with horror, “which described me as having led a very sheltered life in the countryside before my marriage. That is why I felt obliged to mention in my book that I had 10 proposals of marriage before I met David.”

Ten sounds like an awful lot, I suggest. “It is what happens when you are young. They weren’t all serious.” She makes a proposal sound rather like asking someone out on a date. “Even when they were serious, I didn’t want to go and live in the middle of a civil war.”

She is referring to the only suitor she names in the memoir – “There were more in my first draft, but India [her daughter, the former model and now Bahamas-based businesswoman] told me it was toe-curling.” George Arida is described in the book as “a dashing young Lebanese man” who lived in Beirut – hence the not entirely historically accurate reference to civil war. But today she chooses to call him “the man in black”. As in the Milk Tray adverts, scaling castle ramparts to bring her a box of chocolates? “Oh, no,” she giggles naughtily, clearly taken by the idea. “I mean more like that American singer. You know the one.” She pauses for a moment, but her memory is crystal clear. “Johnny Cash.”

If her own marriage was blessed, Lady Pamela writes candidly about the strains on her parents’ union. “My mother had at least 18 lovers,” she says as if describing pairs of shoes, “but my father, to my knowledge, only had one other. The saving grace was that he wasn’t jealous.”

Among Edwina Mountbatten’s reported love affairs was one with “Panditji” Nehru, the first Indian Prime Minister, which is said to have played out while her husband was bringing an end to British rule. While accepting that the two were very close, Lady Pamela disagrees with those biographers who claim that a physical relationship took place between the two. She does so not to protect her mother’s reputation, but because she doubts they ever had the opportunity to be alone, with so many servants and officials always in attendance.

“I never liked her,” she says unflinchingly of her mother. “She had no idea of how to play with children, unlike my father. She was a woman who could never have a personal conversation with you, and who needed constant flattery. If she didn’t have that, she became lonely and miserable.

“As a child, I admired her for her glamour. Then when we were in India, and I saw the work she did there, especially with Japanese prisoners of war, that admiration grew.”

Her mother died in 1960 at the age of 58, but Lady Pamela’s staunch loyalty belongs to her father. “He could be so naive. To her dying day, he was always worrying that Mummy would divorce him. 'I’ll have to move out to the flat above the garage,’ he’d say to us. But although she said she had no time for royalty, and that she was a true socialist, Mummy would never have left him. Try keeping her away from a party at Buckingham Palace.”

Lady Pamela and her sister [who became Countess Mountbatten after their father was murdered by the IRA in 1979] attended the wedding of William and Kate – “they were kind enough to invite us” – but her days playing any part in the royal set-up are over, she says. “There comes a moment, when you have as large a family as the Queen does, when you just have to have a cull and cut out all the people over 80.”

Which should leave her more time to write. “Oh, no. Not after the agony of this book [her second volume of memoirs]. I’ve never been a real writer. As a young woman I once submitted an article to The Times, about my pet mongoose, and got a rejection letter by return of post.”

'Daughter of Empire: Life as a Mountbatten’ by Pamela Hicks (W&N) is available from Telegraph Books at £13.99 + £1.35 p&p. Call 0844 871 1515 or go to books.telegraph.co.uk




Sunday, 9 December 2018

Teenage daughter of the Marquess of Queensberry, 18, died at Notting Hill house party after two-day heroin and cocaine binge /John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry / Wilde's sex life exposed in explicit court files / He betrayed Wilde. But that wasn't the worst thing Bosie did.





Teenage daughter of the Marquess of Queensberry, 18, died at Notting Hill house party after two-day heroin and cocaine binge, inquest hears
Lady Beth Douglas, 18, was found dead in March with needle marks in her arm
Her death is the latest ‘Queensberry Curse’ tragedy to befall aristocratic family
Family members have endured suicide and violent deaths, married into Osama bin laden's family and 9th marquess was instrumental in Oscar Wilde's downfall
By CHRIS GREENWOOD CHIEF CRIME CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 22:02 GMT, 9 November 2018 | UPDATED: 02:41 GMT, 10 November 2018

The teenage daughter of the Marquess of Queensberry died at a house party after a two-day drug and alcohol binge, an inquest heard.

Lady Beth Douglas, 18, the youngest child of David Douglas, the 88-year-old 12th marquess, was found with needle marks in her arm.

Her boyfriend thought she had fallen asleep on a sofa but dialled 999 when he was later unable to revive her at the flat in Notting Hill, west London.

The teenage daughter of the Marquess of Queensbury died at a house party after a two day drug and alcohol binge. Lady Beth Douglas, 18, the youngest child of Lord David, the 12th Marquess of Queensbury, was found with needle marks in her arm             +5
The teenage daughter of the Marquess of Queensbury died at a house party after a two day drug and alcohol binge. Lady Beth Douglas, 18, the youngest child of Lord David, the 12th Marquess of Queensbury, was found with needle marks in her arm

He discovered she had injected heroin, possibly for the first time. Tests also revealed cocaine and morphine in her blood.

Her father criticised detectives for failing to discover the identity of the dealer who gave her the drugs or even to contact other people who attended the party.

Beth’s death is the latest tragedy to befall a colourful aristocratic dynasty which has endured centuries of misfortune once labelled the ‘Queensberry Curse’.

The 18-year-old had injected heroin, possibly for the first time. Tests also revealed cocaine and morphine in her blood                +5
The 18-year-old had injected heroin, possibly for the first time. Tests also revealed cocaine and morphine in her blood

The 9th marquess played a leading role in the downfall of Oscar Wilde and he also gave his name to the official rules of boxing after endorsing changes to the sport in 1867 that largely put an end to bare-knuckle fighting.

More recently, the family has a link by marriage to the family of Osama Bin Laden.

Beth, known to family and friends as ‘Ling Ling’, was the only daughter of the marquess’s third wife, Taiwanese artist Hsueh-Chun Liao.

She was a student and talented violinist but struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and was being treated for mental illness.

Westminster Coroner’s Court heard she died after going to a house party at the £2.5million Notting Hill flat in March.

Her boyfriend Jenan Karagoli, 21, said the pair had spent at least two days drinking and taking drugs while staying in hotels.

At the house party he went out to buy wine after she complained about drinking cognac. He returned to find her apparently asleep on a sofa where he joined her.

Mr Karagoli admitted she had asked him to obtain heroin for her. He said: ‘I really didn’t want to do it. She used to snort heroin back before I even knew her.

Lady Beth Douglas was a student and talented violinist but struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and was being treated for mental illness             +5
Lady Beth Douglas was a student and talented violinist but struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and was being treated for mental illness

‘I said I didn’t know anyone. She made a phone call and said we were going to a party.’

Mr Karagoli, who had been taking anti-anxiety medication and cocaine, said he did not know who supplied the lethal drug.

‘She asked me to get her a bottle of red wine,’ he said. ‘When I came back I saw the person who lived there in a chair with a crack pipe. Ling Ling was asleep on the couch.’ Describing how he later tried to rouse her, he said: ‘I couldn’t wake her up. The man in the flat said she had taken heroin. I just picked up her arms and saw a little peck of dots.’

The inquest heard that Beth had been known to mental health services since the age of 13, when she started self-harming and had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act aged 17.

Lord Queensberry criticised police for failing to identify the dealer who gave his daughter the heroin and possibly helped her inject it.

He said: ‘There was mention there was a lot of drug-taking in this flat. I was concerned because in this flat where my daughter died, it seems to have been connected with the injection of heroin.

In 1895, the writer and wit Oscar Wilde (L) was jailed for gross indecency after a legal battle with the 9th marquess, whose son Lord Alfred Douglas (R), nicknamed ‘Bosie’, was Wilde’s lover             +5
In 1895, the writer and wit Oscar Wilde (L) was jailed for gross indecency after a legal battle with the 9th marquess, whose son Lord Alfred Douglas (R), nicknamed ‘Bosie’, was Wilde’s lover

‘The owner of the flat is not here to make any statement. And the other people at the party, police haven’t contacted them. I am almost certain that this is the first occasion in which my daughter, who had taken a lot of drugs...but she had not had intravenous heroin before as far as I know.

‘No one takes their first intravenous injection of heroin without assistance. Someone helped her and nobody seems interested as to who that is.’

The inquest recorded Beth’s cause of death as a cardiac respiratory failure and cocaine and heroin poisoning.

Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe apologised to the family for being unable to ‘answer all of your questions’. She said: ‘It’s not possible to say what the cause of death was – cocaine ingestion, heroin ingestion or a combination of the two drugs.

‘The police found no needles or syringes. As far as they are concerned there is no further action they can take in this matter.

‘They have no evidence of any criminal act and they had no identification details for the couple who were there that evening.’

A family with tragedies dating back to the dark ages
The ‘Curse of the Queensberrys’ dates back to the Scotland of the Dark Ages when Sir William Douglas died in the Tower of London in 1298 after fighting for William Wallace against the English.

His son, Sir James Douglas, a confidant of Robert the Bruce, died in 1330 taking his dead leader’s heart on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The family were created earls in 1358. The 2nd earl died at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388, and the 4th earl was killed four years later in the Battle of Homildon Hill. The title was elevated to marquess by Charles II in 1681.

In 1858 the 8th marquess shot himself dead with his own gun while hunting rabbits. Two of his sons also died violent deaths.

In 1895, the writer and wit Oscar Wilde was jailed for gross indecency after a legal battle with the 9th marquess, whose son Lord Alfred Douglas, nicknamed ‘Bosie’, was Wilde’s lover. The case went to court after Wilde unsuccessfully sued the marquess for writing that he was a ‘sodomite’.

The current, 12th marquess, David Harrington Angus Douglas, has married three times, producing eight children by four women. Caroline Carey, half-sister of his illegitimate son Ambrose Carey, married Salem Bin Laden, a brother of terrorist Osama. When he died in a plane crash she married another brother, Khaled.

In 1995, Lady Beth Douglas’s half-sister, Lady Alice Douglas, married Simon Melia, an armed robber she met while holding a drama workshop at a prison. They divorced after he cheated on her. In 2009, Beth’s half-brother, Milo Douglas, 34, committed suicide by jumping off a tower block.


Marquess of Queensberry's daughter, 18, was 'working as a prostitute and earned money from online sex videos' before she died after taking heroin, her boyfriend reveals
Lady Beth Douglas, 18, died after injecting heroin for the first time in March
Her boyfriend Jenan Karagoli, 21, alleged she had been working as a prostitute
He said she had been earning money by taking part in online sex videos
By COURTNEY BARTLETT FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 22:00 GMT, 11 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:21 GMT, 12 November 2018

A teenage aristocrat who died from a drugs overdose was working as a prostitute before her sordid death, her boyfriend has claimed.

Lady Beth Douglas, 18 – the youngest child of David Douglas, the 12th Marquess of Queensberry – died after injecting heroin for the first time in March.

Her boyfriend Jenan Karagoli, 21, alleged she had been working as a prostitute and earning money by taking part in online sex videos. She had also been selling her underwear online for £30 a time.

‘I knew about all this adult work, escorting, so on and so forth – but I kept my mouth shut,’ he said. He added that the day before her death on March 7, the couple had argued about her sexual behaviour. She would tell him to wait in a pub while she disappeared for hours.


 ‘She told me to sit and enjoy my Guinness while she went and met a friend. Soon she would phone and say she had got us a hotel room for the night,’ he said.

When Mr Karagoli asked how she had procured £250-a-night rooms when they were penniless, Lady Beth told him ‘I did what I had to do’.

Lady Beth Douglas was a student and talented violinist but struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and was being treated for mental illness             +7
Lady Beth Douglas was a student and talented violinist but struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and was being treated for mental illness

He was ‘disgusted’ at the idea of her working as an escort, and the pair had a tearful row in the middle of a three-day drugs binge, he said.

‘I knew something had been happening, but my mind was too clouded from the drink and drugs. I told her: “I know what you’re doing, you can talk to me about it. You don’t have to hide things from me and, if you’re desperate for money, I’ll help”,’ said Mr Karagoli.

He claimed he knew she had been performing dominatrix webcam shows with men for ‘two or three months’ and then she asked him if she should sell her used underwear online.

He called that ‘a step too far’, adding: ‘I now think all of this was a gateway to her seeing men in person, hence the hotel rooms.’ Mr Karagoli met the talented violinist, known to her family as ‘Ling Ling’, through friends on her 18th birthday and they had a ten-month relationship.

But he ‘could tell she had her demons from the day we first met’. He said: ‘A lot of it stemmed from losing her half-brother Milo to suicide. She loved him and would often tell me he was the only sibling to truly accept her.’

She would also often mention the ‘Queensberry curse’ and that the dynasty has endured centuries of misfortune. He said their relationship descended into regular cocaine-taking. On March 6, they were invited to a house party in Notting Hill, West London, close to the flat they shared.

The teenage daughter of the Marquess of Queensbury died at a house party after a two day drug and alcohol binge                +7
The teenage daughter of the Marquess of Queensbury died at a house party after a two day drug and alcohol binge

He described how Lady Beth asked him to leave the party to buy wine. When he returned at around 11.30pm, she had passed out on the sofa, so he went to sleep beside her. But at 1.30am he woke to find her ‘lifeless’.

He said: ‘She was so troubled but she was a wonderful woman.’ Mr Karagoli has now sworn off all drugs and declares himself ‘clean as a whistle’.

Last week an inquest recorded Lady Beth’s cause of death as a cardiac respiratory failure and cocaine and heroin poisoning.

A family with tragedies dating back to the dark ages
The ‘Curse of the Queensberrys’ dates back to the Scotland of the Dark Ages when Sir William Douglas died in the Tower of London in 1298 after fighting for William Wallace against the English.

His son, Sir James Douglas, a confidant of Robert the Bruce, died in 1330 taking his dead leader’s heart on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The family were created earls in 1358. The 2nd earl died at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388, and the 4th earl was killed four years later in the Battle of Homildon Hill. The title was elevated to marquess by Charles II in 1681.

In 1858 the 8th marquess shot himself dead with his own gun while hunting rabbits. Two of his sons also died violent deaths.

In 1895, the writer and wit Oscar Wilde was jailed for gross indecency after a legal battle with the 9th marquess, whose son Lord Alfred Douglas, nicknamed ‘Bosie’, was Wilde’s lover. The case went to court after Wilde unsuccessfully sued the marquess for writing that he was a ‘sodomite’.

The current, 12th marquess, David Harrington Angus Douglas, has married three times, producing eight children by four women. Caroline Carey, half-sister of his illegitimate son Ambrose Carey, married Salem Bin Laden, a brother of terrorist Osama. When he died in a plane crash she married another brother, Khaled.




John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry
In February 1895, angered by the apparent ongoing homosexual relationship between Oscar Wilde and his son Alfred, Queensberry left a calling card reading "For Oscar Wilde, posing as Somdomite at Wilde's club. Wilde sued for criminal libel, leading to Queensberry's arrest.

Queensberry's lawyers, headed by barrister Edward Carson, portrayed Wilde as a vicious older man who seduced innocent young boys into a life of degenerate homosexuality. Wilde dropped the libel case when Queensberry's lawyers informed the court that they intended to call several male prostitutes as witnesses to testify that they had had sex with Wilde. According to the Libel Act 1843, proving the truth of the accusation and a public interest in its exposure was a defence against a libel charge, and Wilde's lawyers concluded that the prostitutes' testimony was likely to do that. Queensberry won a counterclaim against Wilde for the considerable expenses he had incurred on lawyers and private detectives in organising his defence. Wilde was left bankrupt; his assets were seized and sold at auction to pay the claim.

Queensberry then sent the evidence collected by his detectives to Scotland Yard, which resulted in Wilde being charged and convicted of gross indecency under the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 and sentenced to two years' hard labour. His health and reputation destroyed, Wilde went into exile in France.

Queensberry died on 31 January 1900. Ten months later, Oscar Wilde died at the Hotel d'Alsace in Paris.





Wilde's sex life exposed in explicit court files
Under the hammer: unpublished witness statements tell of 'rough' teenage boys and soiled sheets
Vanessa Thorpe and Simon de Burton

Sun 6 May 2001 02.42 BST First published on Sun 6 May 2001 02.42 BST

Explicit documents prepared for the Oscar Wilde libel case have come to light, offering a revealing new glimpse of the double life led by the celebrated Irish writer.
The shocking witness statements, previously unseen, were drawn up by employees at Day Russell of the Strand, solicitors for the defence in Wilde's disastrous 1895 legal action against the Marquis of Queensberry. Most of the papers were filed away and never used in court.

While Wilde is remembered today as the dandy-about-town, sporting bespoke suits and habitually wearing a green carnation in his buttonhole, these statements - from chamber-maids, valets, bell-boys and even a lamp-wick seller portray his private life in lurid detail.

Seedy descriptions of Wilde's bedroom are included in the damaging file, which was instrumental in Wilde's downfall and formed the background for one of the most famous cases in British legal history.

Wilde took legal action against the Marquis, father of his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, after he found a visiting card left by Queensberry at the Albermarle club. It was inscribed with the words: 'For Oscar Wilde posing Somdomite [ sic ]'.

The 52 pages of statements from 32 witnesses have never been published and are hand-written on heavy sheets of paper. They were picked up in a London junk shop for a pittance during the Fifties by a private collector whose widow is now selling them at Christie's on 6 June. The historic bundle, wrapped in pink string, is expected to fetch £12,000.

Among the more sordid details are those revealed by Margaret Cotta, a chambermaid at the Savoy Hotel, a favourite rendezvous for Wilde and his series of young male 'renters'. Describing a prolonged visit to the hotel by Wilde and Alfred Douglas, who was affectionately known as Bosie, Miss Cotta said she found a 'common boy, rough looking, about 14 years of age' in Wilde's bed, the sheets of which 'were always in a most disgusting state... [with] traces of vaseline, soil and semen'.

Instructions were given that the linen should be kept apart and washed separately. Miss Cotta added that a stream of page boys delivering letters were usually kissed by Wilde, who then tipped them two shillings and sixpence for their trouble.

Thomas Venning, a manuscripts specialist at Christie's, said the documents provided a new account of Wilde's undoing and had 'very detailed sexual content which was only mentioned in the trial euphemistically'.

The statements also show Wilde's carefree attitude to discovery. Wallis Grainger, an apprentice electrician from Oxford, told how Wilde took him to a cottage in nearby Goring-on-Thames which he had rented and where he wrote An Ideal Husband.

On the second or third night, said Grainger, Wilde 'came into my bedroom and woke me up and told me to come into his bedroom which was next door... he worked me up with his hand and made me spend in his mouth'. The former butler of the Marquis of Queensberry was in the next room.

On another occasion, during the Goring regatta, Gertrude Simmons, governess to Wilde's two sons, reported seeing him 'holding the arm of a boat boy called George Hughes and patting him very familiarly'. During the same visit she came across a carelessly discarded letter to Wilde from Bosie which was signed 'your own loving darling boy to do what you like with'.

Another statement came from a 20-year-old called Fred Atkins, who Wilde had met at the Café Royale. Atkins said Wilde 'took me to the hairdresser and had my hair curled'. Wilde later took him off to Paris as his secretary, Atkins said. The job involved 'writing out only half a page of a manuscript which took about 10 minutes' after which Wilde 'made improper proposals'.

Queensberry had used detectives to track down a circle of male prostitutes, and some of their statements are among those being sold. Wilde's action against Queensberry opened on 3 April 1895 at the Old Bailey but collapsed with a not guilty verdict. At noon on 5 April, the evidence gathered by solicitor Charles Russell was immediately forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions and Wilde was arrested on a charge of gross indecency.

On 24 May, after two further trials, he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment with hard labour, which broke his health. After his release he lived abroad as a bankrupt under the pseudonym Sebastian Melmoth. He died in Paris on 30 November 1900.




He betrayed Wilde. But that wasn't the worst thing Bosie did
Douglas Murray's Bosie is a brave attempt at rehabilitation of a golden boy who played on his charm... until it ran out
Philip Hoare

Sun 4 Jun 2000 00.01 BST First published on Sun 4 Jun 2000 00.01 BST

Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas
Douglas Murray

In 1895, as the storm clouds gathered over the already tempestuous affair between Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, Bosie's intemperate and quite possibly insane father, the Marquess of Queensberry, voiced the opinion that his son ought to have 'the shit kicked out of him'.

I'm afraid it's an idea which might occur more than once to the reader wading through incident after paranoid incident of hurt, reproach, libel suit and vicious sonnet in Bosie's life story, all employed by this 'golden boy' in the relentless pursuit of his own ends. Douglas Murray's rehabilitation of his subject is a brave attempt to redeem a character immured in the calumny of legend. Beloved of Wilde, betrayed by Wilde, betrayer of Wilde, Douglas was a man-boy who played on his charm until it ran out, then raged against Fate for that mortal fact.

After a colourful introduction to the 'black Douglases', Murray's well-researched account soon has us in the thick of the affair, and by telling it from Douglas's point of view, the author gives us an illuminating new angle, especially on Bosie's sexuality. An early experimenter with his own sex, Douglas came to Magdalen as the leader of 'the cause', a campaigner by default. Yet he would turn both straight and Catholic post-Wilde. Indeed, it increasingly seems as though it was both protagonists' heterosexuality which proved their downfall.

Bosie had the added burden of genetic instability to cope with. Murray reminds us what a monster the Marquess was. He was a vicious man who damned his family to misery. None more so than Alfred, although his other son, Percy, was described by his father as a 'sicked-up looking creature, as if he had come up the wrong way. When he was a child swathed in irons to hold him together it used to make me sick to look at him and think that he could be called my son.'


Murray's account of the familiar tragedy of Wilde's trials is well marshalled. He points out that when Bosie failed to make it into the dock to defend Wilde, the rest of his life would seem to have been a series of attempts - often in the courts - to make up for the fact. Most crucial of all is the time-bomb of Wilde's prison letter to Douglas, De Profundis, which was kept from Bosie by Wilde's 'devoted friend' Robbie Ross and which Murray correctly sees as Wilde's most 'destructive legacy' to Douglas.

Bosie became twisted up in his own past, his literary talent wastefully channelled into vituperative sonnets and magazines which seem to exist solely for the purposes of pursuing his campaigns against Robbie Ross, the Asquiths, Jews, and any other party by whom he felt wronged. This sometimes tiresome sequence of spats culminated in the infamous Pemberton Billing trial of 1918, when the protofascist MP Billing alleged the war effort was being undermined by sexual perverts in the highest positions of influence. Douglas, seizing the opportunity for revenge on Ross - and Wilde, by one remove - and encouraged by Billing in his mad conspiracy theories, took the stand to declare that Wilde was 'the greatest force of evil that has appeared in Europe during the last 350 years'.

But Douglas's public nadir came when Churchill sued him over wild allegations that he had taken part in a Jewish-financed conspiracy to have Kitchener 'murdered' in 1916; Douglas received a prison sentence. Murray depicts this as a turning-point in Douglas's life. Like Wilde, Douglas wrote an epic work whilst in prison - In Excelsis - which his biographer sees as a purging of his old obsessions, although with lines such as 'The leprous spawn of scattered Israel/Spends its contagion in your English blood', it merely repeated the kind of libels which had got Douglas into prison in the first place. Contorted in the fundamentalist pathology of the time, such accusations were little removed from those made by Billing's intellectual patron, Arnold White, that: 'Wilde, after death, was found to have a tumour on his brain, a fact that pointed to a hospital rather than Reading gaol'.

Yet Douglas did redeem himself in the Twenties and Thirties, repledging his name to Wilde's. Abandoned by his wife, his son in a mental hospital, slipping further into poverty, he was supported only by his undoubted Catholic faith and friends as disparate as Marie Stopes and Bernard Shaw. In a centennial year which threatens many more books on Wilde, Murray's book does a fine job of putting an irksome and faded legendary boy to bed.

Philip Hoare's study of the Billing case, Wilde's Last Stand , is published by Duckworth

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Specially shot interview with Costume Designer, Janice Rider, about working on the BBC series, 'All Creatures Great and Small'.



 "In the early episodes I smoked a pipe, because I knew that Donald did in the early days," continued Hardy. "By the end I was very involved with my costumes and used to wear a lot of my own clothes, because at the beginning the designer put me into some of the most frightful stuff, which really made me unhappy because it just made me look like a block of really absurd tweeds." "[In series 6] Robert Hardy was still getting his costumes from Carters Country Wear in Helmsley," recalled costume designer Janice Rider in 2016. "I purchased his green tweed jacket and several waistcoats in a selection of bottle-green, fawn and mustard colours. He always wore Tattersall checked shirts and, apart from the shape of the collar, they haven't changed a great deal over the years."







Specially shot interview with Costume Designer, Janice Rider, about working on the BBC series, 'All Creatures Great and Small', which was recorded by BBC Pebble Mill, on location in Askrigg, in the Yorkshire Dales, and in Studio A.


All Creatures Great and Small - Janice Rider from pebblemill on Vimeo.



Thursday, 6 December 2018

The Country House: Past, Present, Future: Great Houses of The British Isles / Written by Jeremy Musson and David Cannadine,





The Country House: Past, Present, Future: Great Houses of The British Isles

Written by Jeremy Musson and David Cannadine, Contribution by The Royal Oak Foundation, Foreword by Tim Parker and Lynne Rickabaugh


This exciting new book on British country houses offers an unusual and magnificent look at the lifestyle, architecture, and interior design of the country house of the British Isles.

From Brideshead to Downton Abbey, the country house is a subject of fantasy and curiosity, as well as a rich resource to explore the history of great architecture and decoration and the lives of landowners and those who made the houses work. With hundreds of photographs from the National Trust, and others from public and private collections, this visually lavish volume draws back the curtain on important historic homes in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. At the same time it reveals the complex stories of these interiors, both grand and hidden, from great halls, libraries and entryways to the kitchens and stables and gardens. Locations featured include Knole, Cragside, Castle Howard, Chatsworth, Polesden Lacey, Petworth, Bodiam Castle, Blenheim, Longleat, and dozens more.
An insightful essay by renowned British author and historian David Cannadine explores how the idea of the country house has changed over the past forty years. Additional essays reflect on how changing twentieth century values have impacted the country house, with contributions by writers and scholars such as Sarah Callander-Beckett on the private house, Dr. Madge Dresser on slavery and the country house, and Dr. Oliver Cox on the 'Downton Abbey 'effect.' The texts are woven around extensive picture essays, introduced and curated by country house specialist Jeremy Musson, which look at the identity and image of British country houses of all kinds and the stories they contain.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Queen Mary's Dolls' House


Queen Mary's Dolls' House is a doll's house built in the early 1920s, completed in 1924, for Queen Mary, the wife of King George V.
The idea for building it originally came from the Queen's cousin, Princess Marie Louise, who discussed her idea with one of the top architects of the time, Sir Edwin Lutyens at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of 1921. Sir Edwin agreed to construct the dolls' house and began preparations. Princess Marie Louise had many connections in the arts and arranged for the top artists and craftsmen of the time to contribute their special abilities to the house. As a result, the dolls' house has an amazing collection of miniature items that actually work. It even has running water through its tiny pipes. It was created as a gift to Queen Mary from the people, and to serve as an historical document on how a royal family might have lived during that period in England.
It showcased the very finest and most modern goods of the period. Later the dolls' house was put on display to raise funds for the Queen's charities. It was originally exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition, 1924–1925, and is now on display in Windsor Castle, at Windsor, Berkshire, England, as a tourist attraction, especially to people with an interest in miniature houses and furniture.
It was made to a scale of 1:12 (one inch to one foot), is over three feet tall, and contains models of products of well-known companies of the time. It is remarkable for its detail and the detail of the objects within it, many of which are 1/12 replicas of items in Windsor Castle. These were either made by the companies themselves, or by specialist modelmakers, such as Twining Models of Northampton, England. The carpets, curtains and furnishings are all copies of the real thing, and even the light fittings are working. The bathrooms are fully plumbed; that includes a flushable toilet and miniature lavatory paper.
In addition, well-known writers wrote special books which were written and bound in scale size by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle contributed the short story "How Watson Learned the Trick", and the ghost-story writer M. R. James wrote "The Haunted Dolls' House". Other authors included J. M. Barrie, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling and W. Somerset Maugham. (George Bernard Shaw rebuffed the princess's request for a tiny volume of his work). Painters also provided miniature pictures. Even the bottles in the wine cellar were filled with the appropriate wines and spirits, and the wheels of motor vehicles are properly spoked.
There is a hidden garden revealed only when a vast drawer is pulled out from beneath the main building. This has replicas of greenery and garden implements and follows a traditional ornamental garden theme.