Friday 31 December 2021

Paul Bettany and Claire Foy introduce A Very British Scandal – BBC / A Very British Scandal 2 reviews


A Very British Scandal review – Claire Foy is masterful as the ‘dirty duchess’ out for blood


Buckle up and enjoy the ride! … Claire Foy as the Duchess of Argyll in A Very British Scandal.

The crowd outside the divorce court screamed ‘Slut!’ But Margaret of Argyll would not be cowed by them, the judge or the explicit photos – as this mean, lean drama brilliantly shows


Lucy Mangan


Sun 26 Dec 2021 17.00 EST


Well NOW it’s Christmas. Sarah Phelps has delivered. Not an Agatha Christie adaptation this time but an original drama, A Very British Scandal (BBC One), about the notorious case of Argyll v Argyll – the only one any erstwhile law student ever remembers (and I speak from experience). This is thanks to the fact that it was a vicious divorce case between the Duke and Duchess of Argyll involving multiple allegations of infidelity, one of which was attested to by a photo of the Duchess fellating a man whose face was not visible in the picture but who was not her husband. The duke had various measurements taken so this could be proved in court. The duchess was identified by her pearl necklace. No, really.


It’s surprising that no one has brought the story to the screen before now. Here it is a companion piece – or perhaps furtherance of what seems set to become an anthology series about historical media frenzies, national prurience and social hypocrisy – to 2018’s A Very English Scandal, about the Jeremy Thorpe affair.


The Argyll case (or the ‘Headless Man affair’ as it was also known, thanks to the photo that quickly became infamous) of course provoked a media storm. A Very British Scandal opens in 1963 with the Duchess (Claire Foy, most recently seen on the small screen as the Queen in The Crown and here bringing the same masterful skills to another aristocratic but wholly different character) facing the screaming abuse of a crowd (“Scum!” “Slut!”) as she enters Edinburgh’s court of session to open divorce proceedings. Inside, the Duke of Argyll (Paul Bettany) offers her one last chance to end things quietly “Because I’m an honourable man. You’ve played a spirited game but we both know you haven’t the stomach for this.” The look on the duchess’s face suggests we should all buckle up to enjoy the coming ride.


We flash back to 16 years earlier, when committed socialite Margaret Sweeny (nee Whigham, the spoilt only daughter of a fabulously wealthy industrialist) who is rumoured to have had affairs with everyone from David Niven to Prince Aly Khan and is about to divorce her first husband, meets the dashing Captain Ian Campbell, holder of the Argyll title and lands. They find their interests align quite nicely and – once he’s divorced from Louise (his second wife and mother of his two sons) – get hitched.


At first it seems a good match, if only in the sense that they are as monstrous and self-involved as each other. They become the Duke and Duchess, move to the family pile in Inveraray and she pays for everything from the restoration of the castle to the final bills for Louise’s fur coats.


Fairly soon, though, the duke reveals himself to be a violent, vicious drunk. Margaret’s own essential viciousness serves her well. She remains uncowed by her situation and by the end of the episode we see her forging letters from Louise claiming that Ian’s sons aren’t his, to secure her place at Inverary which would otherwise pass to them.


A Very British Scandal has been billed – I suspect because anything involving a woman and sex in The Past must – as a feminist retelling of the Argyll marriage divorce, but in fact Phelps doesn’t lean too hard into that. Yes, there are moments when the likes of shit-stirring frenemy Maureen (Julia Davis, simultaneously lightly and deeply malevolent, as is her special gift) tries to shame her for her sexual appetite. And it is clear all along that hypocrisy abounded and life in the 60s wasn’t nearly as liberated for women as the men then, or history since, would like us to believe.


But there is, thankfully – because it would do both Margaret and feminism no favours – no attempt to make us view her through a new, heroic lens. We are invited to admire her fortitude with the social odds stacked against her, which is a different thing. The duchess was never a champion of women – she was a champion of Margaret Campbell and Margaret Campbell alone. Not inviting pity, refusing to kowtow to others’ opinions – these are admirable qualities and Phelps and Foy showcase them magnificently, but they are not specifically feminist. The very public divorce came about because the equally stubborn duke and duchess had their teeth buried in each other’s necks equally firmly and wouldn’t let go. A Very British Scandal, with its lean, mean script and its refusal to reinvent the duchess as an icon of the movement, is the very best and fairest tribute that could be given her.


 This article was amended on 27 December 202. Ian Campbell became the Duke of Argyll on the death of his cousin, not father as an earlier version implied; he had inherited the title before his marriage to Margaret Sweeny; also, misspellings of Inveraray and Prince Aly Khan were corrected.


A Very British Scandal, review: a poor attempt at redeeming a truly unlikeable person


Three hours inside one of the most famously toxic marriages in British history – merry Christmas from the BBC



Anita Singh,


26 December 2021 • 10:00pm


Toffs. What a dreadful breed, eh? Utterly callous, frightful snobs, that treat the little people like dirt. Who would want to spend even a minute with these horrors?


Such is the tone of A Very British Scandal (BBC One), which recreates the toxic marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, and a divorce that turned the Duchess into an object of vilification when the infamous “headless man” photo of her and an unidentified lover became public knowledge in 1963.


It presents an insurmountable problem in television terms. Because if these aristocrats are so irredeemably awful, spending three hours with them is going to be a pretty grim experience. Do not come to this expecting something in the mould of A Very English Scandal, which was funny and clever, and revolved around a terrifically entertaining performance from Hugh Grant.


Essentially, the screenplay involves two people – the Duchess, played by Claire Foy, and the Duke, a reptilian Paul Bettany – being vile to one another. Merry Christmas from the BBC!


In interviews to publicise the drama, Foy said she wanted to make Margaret, the Duchess, a sympathetic character – a victim of the patriarchy, punished for being a sexually liberated woman while her also-adulterous husband got off scot-free.


But there isn’t a single sympathetic note. Margaret is a spoiled, scheming, pathological liar. At some level, she is the product of her upbringing: an indulgent father and an uncaring mother. But all that can really be said in her favour is that other characters here are even less likeable.


The period stylings mean that this production looks very much like the early series of The Crown, and Foy looks very much like the Queen she played in it. Behaviour-wise, though, think of Princess Margaret at her worst.


Bettany plays Ian, 11th Duke of Argyll, as a monster – cruel, drunken, violent. When he meets Margaret, he has his sights set on her family fortune. But there is no love flowing in the other direction either: Margaret appears to have fallen for the Campbell seat, Inveraray Castle, rather than the man himself.


The most hideous person here, though, is Maureen (Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, and a member of the Guinness clan). Writer Sarah Phelps gives Maureen a speech in a later episode (all available now as a boxset) stating the British aristocracy’s official position on the Argyll divorce trial. “It’s not just your yawning f---y being shown to the world, it’s all of ours… in newspapers being thumbed by every shop girl and grocer. Our private lives stay behind closed doors. It’s why the little people in the grubby pits look up to us, because we are not them.”


The Argyll vs Argyll scandal was all about sex. Here, there is very little of it on screen. The vulgarity is mainly supplied by Maureen, whose speech is littered with references to a---s and c---s and who kicks off racy dinner parties by winding up little clockwork penises and setting them off across the table. We must assume this is based on truth, otherwise it would be too odd for Phelps to make up.


I know more about the case than I did before, so in that sense it works as a piece of history. It is effective as an invitation to gawp at the upper classes, and reassure ourselves that we are better than them. And it looks beautiful – the costumes, the make-up, the interiors. The high production values and the quality cast give the impression of a premium product.


But the period tropes are lazy. A society beauty walking into a bar, where a photographer jumps out in the lobby wielding a camera with giant flash? Naturally. An unhappy couple eating at opposite ends of an enormous dining table? Of course.


The drama has no interest in discovering the identity of the “headless man”. It cares only about showing that Margaret was wronged. But if that's the aim, then it fails, even if the judgment in the case (which took more than three hours to deliver, we are told) was unnecessarily damning: a “completely promiscuous woman” with a “debased sexual appetite”.


Odd, then, to cut off the story at that point. What happened to Margaret thereafter? Was she cast out of society, as Maureen threatened? All we get is brief footage of the real Duchess being interviewed in her old age. “I knew I loved him,” she says. After the drama we’ve just watched, I don’t believe her for a second.

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Mathilda Campbell, Duchess of Argyll was the fourth and final wife of Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll.


Mathilda Campbell, Duchess of Argyll (née Mathilda Coster Mortimer; 20 August 1925 – 5 June 1997) was a Scottish noblewoman. She was the fourth and final wife of Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll.


Mathilda Coster Mortimer was born on 20 August 1925 in Geneva, Switzerland to American parents Stanley Mortimer and his wife Mathilda (née Coster). Her father was a landowner from Litchfield, Connecticut, and her mother was the daughter of the banker William B. Coster. She was raised by her grandparents in France, then eventually went on to study philosophy at Harvard University.


In 1948, Mathilda married Clemens Heller, a professor of human sciences at the University of Paris. They had three sons together before divorcing in 1961.


She met the then-recently divorced Duke of Argyll, Ian Campbell in Scotland not long after her divorce from Heller. They began a relationship shortly after and were married in 1963 at the Registry Office in Horsham, West Sussex. The Duke and Duchess had one child together, Lady Elspeth Campbell, born in 1967. However, Elspeth died within a few days of her birth.


In 1969, The Duke and Duchess moved to France, spending time in both Paris and Vézelay. The Duke died in 1973 in Edinburgh.


Campbell was fluent in both French and German. In her later years, she wrote a novel called Orian — A Philosophical Journey, inspired by the death of her youngest son. She also had a keen interest in photography, and once held an exhibition of her work at the Demarco Gallery in Edinburgh.


Campbell died on 5 June 1997 in the American Hospital of Paris, aged 71. She was buried shortly after in Vézelay, near her home.

Good chablis and ‘halfies’: life with the other Duchess of Argyll


In 1991, Richard Beard worked as secretary to Ian Campbell’s final wife Mathilda, a bon viveur who unlike predecessor Margaret stayed free of scandal


Richard Beard

Sun 26 Dec 2021 08.00 GMT


For most of 1991 I was employed as secretary to the Dowager Duchess of Argyll, the fourth and final wife of Ian Campbell, the 11th duke. Mathilda was the wife after the more famous Margaret, the subject of A Very British Scandal, Sarah Phelps’s brilliant and frankly horrifying BBC three-part drama. Whenever I talk about Mathilda I usually have to clarify: “Not that duchess, the next one.”


Margaret always cast a shadow, or as she writes briefly and drily in her autobiography Forget Not, published in 1975: “Three weeks after our divorce became final Ian Argyll married again, for the fourth time, to a Mrs Matilda Heller. She had been in Ian’s life for some years before our divorce.”


Presumably the misspelling of Mathilda’s name was deliberate. By 1991 the Duke’s first son from his second marriage had inherited the title and the castle, and neither of the later wives were regular visitors. The two women did, however, occasionally speak on the phone.


“Desperately sad,” Mathilda would say, gently replacing the receiver. “Poor woman, thinks she’s on an ocean liner.”


“Where is she?”




I had this job because in the days before keypads anyone could walk into anywhere. Aged 27, on my regular route to a teaching position that wasn’t really me, I used to cycle past the Oxford University careers building. One day I stopped and wandered in, and instantly fell for a box-file marked Miscellaneous. That afternoon I applied to tutor Paul McCartney’s son, and for something espionagy in west Africa, but a few months later ended up on the west coast of Scotland in a miniature castle at the end of a rutted track.


Mathilda rented the top two floors of Lunga House, a castellated and turreted 16th century manor owned by the local laird. She offset the heavy Scottish stonework with bright interiors and hand-painted chinoiserie wallpaper, while from her bedroom (in an actual tower) she had a view over the Atlantic to Jura.


By this time Mathilda was 65 years old, and “famous for serving the best food in Scotland”. Her face had softened with butter and cream, though her blue eyes sharpened when she acted out her policy of halfies. At meals, if she finished her plate first she could say “halfies”, and take half of whatever was left on my plate.


As for what she was really like, in those pre-internet days I knew mainly what she chose to tell me. In her own estimation, Mathilda was whatever Margaret was not. Her 10 years at Inveraray Castle had been happy, free of scandal, and she was pleased to display the duke’s photo on her many occasional tables. To her, Ian Campbell was not the dark soul of his reputation. She was his fourth wife, yes, but also the dowager duchess. Like Catherine Parr, Mathilda was the survivor, loyal to the new duke (same as the old duke) though she wished he’d invite her more often to dinner.


So I knew all that, and then the gossip. Margaret, by the 1990s, was a composite of gossip – erotic images, forged letters, headless naked Hollywood stars – and Mathilda couldn’t stand entirely aloof. Described in the BBC drama as “an American heiress”, I heard whispers that she too was a victim bride. “Pay the bills,” as Paul Bettany’s duke spits at Claire Foy’s Margaret in A Very British Scandal, “it’s what you’re for”.


Except it wasn’t quite that simple. Mathilda had grown up in France with her grandparents, was previously married to an Austrian intellectual and had a cut-glass British accent to add to her three other languages. She’d studied at Radcliffe in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but she wasn’t fresh off the boat. Perhaps she’d dodged the worst of her husband, and her reward was a contented dowager retirement in a downsized version of her former marital home.


Partly, my job was to keep this illusion intact. I was paid 70 guineas a week, which meant £77 “all found”, including a house in the nearby village of Craobh Haven and an unlimited account in the shop.


The original job description was vague, but above all I came for the ghostwriting. Mathilda had a contract with the publisher John Murray for a memoir, and for one simple reason: everyone was interested in Margaret. Ruby Wax hoped for a TV interview, and there was talk of Wogan. Thirty years on, a three-part drama can still be pitched to the BBC, because photographs of a duchess dressed only in her pearls will do that. Mathilda was the other woman; she had an angle.


Her book, however, would never be finished. Mathilda didn’t want to write about Argyll vs Argyll, except possibly for her success at escaping the press, she and the duke daring the hills of Provence in a racy convertible Sunbeam. She preferred to dwell on her sunlit pre-war life as a child, and her evacuation to the States on a ship with a full-sized on-deck carousel. She was always open to remembering her married life at Inveraray Castle. The balls, the pomp, the sheer exhilaration of a duchess castle with the fancy duchess trimmings.


Every morning, I watched her complicated breakfast go up the stairs to her bedroom, and then took dictation at her bedside. I wrote letters. We worked on the memoir, usually the Inveraray section. We agonised over menus, toyed with travel plans and employed a new cook after Mathilda communicated her hatred of garnish by throwing anything decorative and green on to the floor. Repeatedly.


Then we’d pack up and head for Paris, and Mathilda’s flat in the Rue de Tournon. The magnificent central room contained her bed and a bath and a swing hanging from the rafters, but our unchanging daily routine included lunch with wine and at six sharp some iced Wyborowa and games of backgammon before dinner. I was often politely drunk. We were nearly always smoking.


Mathilda liked to tell me she was my finishing school, and it’s true I learned how to open oysters. And to drive her Ford Mustang across the Place de la Concorde at rush hour, and the correct pronunciation of Inveraray as “Inverarer”. She introduced me to the great brasseries of Paris, Vagenende (my favourite) and Le Procope and also the old Nazi favourite La Coupole. Sometimes I waited up late, so that when she came home from some party I could unhook the back of her dress, and make a start on the zip.


“Thank God,” she’d say, “it’s so much easier when there’s two of one.”


But however hard we pretended, and whatever the heiress situation when she married, the duchess had money worries. The good Chablis was running low in the cellar, and the dealer from Christie’s who stayed for lunch left with a rolled-up rug beneath his arm. In Scotland, the oysters we ate were rejects from the local bay at Craobh Haven, too big to be sold to the trade. Poor us. I was sent to Paris on my motorbike to sell a first edition Ulysses.


A secretary was an indulgence, but I wasn’t really that and nor was I a ghostwriter. My role was mostly to be present, especially at meal times, like a “lady-help” from the 19th century. I was the paid companion. So, naturally I judged her. In the early 60s Margaret had the tabloids to question her integrity. In 1991 Mathilda had me, exuding disapproval as proof I wasn’t entirely servile. With little else to compensate for the power imbalance (70 guineas a week), I got angry at Mathilda for what I hated in myself. She was lonely, and wasting her advantages in life. She was banal. She wanted to be a writer but couldn’t buckle down.


I felt I ought to have an opinion, and decided the aristocracy was terrible. Mathilda was terrible, but – the lackey’s delusion here – without me everything would have been worse. I wasn’t deluded, she was deluded. I refused to be grateful, in the way expected of me. I was very rude to Ruby Wax’s people.


And then one morning in September, Mathilda woke up and forgot who she was. The baffled doctor prescribed aspirin and rest, and Mathilda sat patiently in her four-poster bed, the white lace drapes drawn back. I pulled up a chair. Her long, hennaed hair was spread over the pillows and she crossed her hands above the whiteness of the duvet. She waited, perfectly serenely, for me to refresh her memory, to summarise her life.


It was very sad, so much of it. She’d lost two children, a son from her first marriage and with the duke a daughter who lived only a few days. Her own father was a wealthy homosexual seduced in the 20s by her mother for a bet. Quite possibly a bet made by the duke himself, Mathilda’s future husband, who at 23 years her senior had once been a friend of her mother’s. A close friend. Margaret had no monopoly on unsettling and salacious stories.


“You own a five-litre convertible Mustang,” I said, going in softly. “It plays the Star-Spangled Banner when placed in reverse.”


I liked to make her smile. I told her about her easy-going friendships with the artist Brion Gysin and the composer Pierre Boulez. In Edinburgh, she lunched with the photographer Brodrick Haldane, and in Paris with the sculptor Joseph Erhardy.


“Nudes or motorbikes,” I reminded her. “He was good fun, but told us subject was a problem.”


She sent a monthly cheque to the ageing poet Peter Russell. Yes, I said, of course we’d continue to do that. Warming to my task, I reminded her of her rare talent for liking anybody who had anything at all likeable about them, which was pretty much everybody. Including me. Her houses were equally open to judgmental non-writing writers and convicted drug smugglers, and to Steven Berkoff.


“You are the Dowager Duchess of Argyll.” This was not something anyone else could say, and especially not Margaret. “You survived your husband the duke, after 10 happy years at Inveraray Castle.” For verification, she could read the pages of her memoir. Her life had been an admirable adventure, and was definitely worth remembering.


Mathilda did recover, up to a point. After I stopped working for her we became friends, and the last time I saw her we had dinner at the Hotel Continental in Lausanne. We shared affectionate memories, and talked up the pool house in Vézelay where she dreamed of ending her days. A year later, in 1997 not long before her 72nd birthday, I was surprised by her name in the papers.


The funeral was held in Vézelay, and three of her former secretaries attended, one from before my time and one after. Despite Margaret’s shadow we came to pay our respects. To Mathilda, not the famous Duchess of Argyll but the next one. The one we knew and loved.


 Richard Beard is the author of Sad Little Men (Harvill Secker)

Monday 27 December 2021

The Complicated Life Of England's Most Famous Lord | Lord Montagu |

Edward John Barrington Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu (20 October 1926 – 31 August 2015), was an English Conservative politician well known in Great Britain for founding the National Motor Museum, as well as for a pivotal cause célèbre in British gay history following his 1954 conviction and imprisonment for homosexual sex, a charge he denied.


Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, age 10 (Beaulieu Palace House)

Montagu was born at his grandparents' home in Thurloe Square, South Kensington, London, and inherited his barony in 1929 at the age of two, when his father John died of pneumonia. He held his peerage for the third longest time (86 years and 155 days) anyone has held a British peerage (the others being the 7th Marquess Townshend at 88 years, and the 13th Lord Sinclair at 87 years). His mother was his father's second wife, Alice Crake (1895–1996). He attended St Peter's Court, a prep school at Broadstairs in Kent, then Ridley College in Canada, Eton College and finally New College, Oxford.


He served as a lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards, including service in Palestine before the end of the British Mandate. On coming of age, Lord Montagu immediately took his seat in the House of Lords and swiftly made his maiden speech on the subject of Palestine. He read Modern History at Oxford, but during his second year an altercation between the Bullingdon Club, of which he was a member, and the Oxford University Dramatic Society led to his room being wrecked, and he felt obliged to leave.



Lord Montagu gained an interest in motoring from his father – who had commissioned the original "Spirit of Ecstasy" mascot for his Rolls-Royce – and with his family collection of historic cars this led him to open the National Motor Museum in the grounds of his stately home, Beaulieu Palace House, Beaulieu, Hampshire, in 1952.


From 1956 to 1961 he held the influential Beaulieu Jazz Festival in the grounds of Palace House; this was a leading contribution to the development of festival culture in Britain, as it attracted thousands of young people who, from 1958 on, would camp out and listen and dance to live music.The 1960 festival saw an altercation between modern and trad jazz fans, in a very minor riot that became known as the Battle of Beaulieu.


Montagu founded The Veteran And Vintage Magazine in 1956 and continued to develop the museum, making a name for himself in tourism. He was chairman of the Historic Houses Association from 1973 to 1978, President of the Institute of Traffic Administration from 1973 to 1974 and chairman of English Heritage from 1984 to 1992. Whilst there he appointed Jennifer Page (later of the Millennium Dome) as Chief Executive in 1989.


In the 1999 reform of the House of Lords, Montagu was one of 92 hereditary peers who remained in Parliament. In 2007, he was Vice-Commodore of the House of Lords Yacht Club.


He gave a notice of his intention to retire from the House of Lords on 17 September 2015, but he died before that.



Montagu knew from an early stage of life that he was bisexual, and while attending Oxford was relieved to find others with similar feelings. In a 2000 interview he stated, "My attraction to both sexes neither changed nor diminished at university and it was comforting to find that I was not the only person faced with such a predicament. I agonised less than my contemporaries, for I was reconciled to my bisexuality, but I was still nervous about being exposed."


Trial and imprisonment

Despite keeping his homosexual affairs discreet and out of the public eye, in the mid-1950s, Montagu became "one of the most notorious public figures of his generation," after his conviction and imprisonment for "conspiracy to incite certain male persons to commit serious offences with male persons," a charge which was also used in the Oscar Wilde trials in 1895, which was derived from a law that remained on the statute books until 1967.


In old age, Montagu reminisced about it in these terms:


In the cold war atmosphere of the 1950s, when witch hunts later called the Lavender Scare were ruining the lives of many gay men and lesbian women in the United States, the parallel political atmosphere in Britain was virulently anti-homosexual. The then Home Secretary, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, had promised "a new drive against male vice" that would "rid England of this plague." As many as 1,000 men were locked up in Britain's prisons every year amid a widespread police clampdown on homosexual offences. Undercover officers acting as "agents provocateurs" would pose as gay men soliciting in public places. The prevailing mood was one of barely concealed paranoia.


On two occasions Montagu was charged and committed for trial at Winchester Assizes, firstly in 1953 for having underage sex with a 14-year-old boy scout at his beach hut on the Solent,[9] a charge he always denied. The American Institute of Public Relations had just voted him the most promising young PR man when he was arrested. Although he enjoyed the support of his close family and a wide variety of friends, for a year or so he became "the subject of endless blue jokes and innumerable bawdy songs".


When prosecutors failed to achieve a conviction, in what Montagu has characterised as a "witch hunt" to secure a high-profile conviction, he was arrested again in 1954 and charged with performing "gross offences" with an RAF serviceman during a weekend party at the beach hut on his country estate. Montagu always maintained he was innocent of this charge as well ("We had some drinks, we danced, we kissed, that's all"). Nevertheless, he was imprisoned for twelve months for "consensual homosexual offences" along with Michael Pitt-Rivers and Peter Wildeblood.


Role in LGBT history

Unlike the other defendants in the trial, Montagu continued to protest his innocence. The trial caused a backlash of opinion among some politicians and church leaders that led to the setting up of the Wolfenden Committee, which in its 1957 report recommended the decriminalisation of homosexual activity in private between two adults. Ten years later, Parliament finally carried out the recommendation, a huge turning point in gay history in Britain, where anal sex, a form of "buggery", had been a criminal offence ever since the Buggery Act 1533.



Lord Montagu of Beaulieu with his first wife, Belinda, whom he married in 1958


Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and his second wife, Fiona, on their wedding day in 1974, by Allan Warren

In 2000, when his autobiography appeared, Montagu broke down in tears when it was suggested to him that the reform of the law on homosexuality would be his monument. In a 2007 interview, when asked if he felt that he and his co-defendants had been instrumental in the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain, Lord Montagu said, "I am slightly proud that the law has been changed to the benefit of so many people. I would like to think that I would get some credit for that. Maybe I'm being very boastful about it but I think because of the way we behaved and conducted our lives afterwards, because we didn't sell our stories, we just returned quietly to our lives, I think that had a big effect on public opinion."


Personal life and death

In 1958, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu married Belinda Crossley, a granddaughter of the 1st Baron Somerleyton, by whom he had a son and a daughter before the couple divorced in 1974:


  • ·        Ralph Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 4th Baron Montagu of Beaulieu (born 13 March 1961)
  • ·        Hon Mary Montagu-Scott (born 1964), married with issue to Rupert Scott (who took the surname Montagu-Scott, 4th son of Christopher Bartle Hugh Scott, 12th of Gala)


In 1974, he married his second wife, Fiona Margaret Herbert, with whom he had a son:


  • ·        Hon Jonathan Deane Douglas-Scott-Montagu (born 11 October 1975).


Fiona, Lady Montagu of Beaulieu, was born in about 1943 in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the daughter of Richard Leonard Deane Herbert, of Clymping, Sussex.She attended school in Switzerland, and following her education, she worked as film production assistant. She is a director of Beaulieu Enterprises and a trustee of the Countryside Education Trust. She serves as an international advisor to the World Centre of Compassion for Children, led by Nobel Peace Laureate, Betty Williams, as well as a Trustee of Vision-in-Action, led by Yasuhiko Kimura. She additionally serves on The World Wisdom Council, alongside Mikhail Gorbachev, former head of state of the Soviet Union.She was appointed the first global ambassador to the Club of Budapest.


Montagu died after a short illness, on 31 August 2015 at the age of 88, at his Beaulieu Estate in the New Forest. He was survived by his three children and two grandchildren.


Memoirs and documentary film

For nearly half a century, Montagu steadfastly refused to speak publicly about the conviction, instead focusing his energies on the National Motor Museum and other activities. However, in 2000, he finally broke his silence with the publication of his memoirs, Wheels Within Wheels, of which two chapters are devoted to the story of his trial and imprisonment. In interviews, he has stated that by publishing his story, he wanted to "put the record straight",[9] because he "felt it was important to get it accurate."


The story of Montagu's trial is told in a 2007 Channel 4 documentary, A Very British Sex Scandal, and the 2017 BBC drama-documentary Against The Law.


In April 2013, the Newport Beach Film Festival, at Newport Beach, California, screened Lord Montagu, a documentary by Luke Korem on Montagu's life and accomplishments.The film was also shown at the Napa Valley Film Festival in November 2013.

A Very British Sex Scandal

Friday 24 December 2021

Grace Mirabella, Editor of Vogue Magazine, 1971-1988 - Oral History / Grace Mirabella, Who Brought Vogue Down to Earth, Dies at 92

Grace Mirabella, Who Brought Vogue Down to Earth, Dies at 92


In her 17 years at the helm of the fashion magazine, she took a more practical-minded approach, in line with a rise in women’s participation in the work force.


By Phyllis Messinger

Dec. 23, 2021


Grace Mirabella, who as editor in chief transformed Vogue magazine from a glittery, color-splashed paean to the spirit of the 1960s into a more sensible adviser to women entering the work force in the 1970s and ’80s, died on Thursday at her home in Manhattan. She was 92.


The death was confirmed by her stepson Anthony Cahan.


Ms. Mirabella went on to found Mirabella, a magazine for women as interested in culture and travel as in clothes and interior design. But she made her biggest impact at Vogue. Her years there, from 1971 to 1988, coincided with women’s increasing financial independence. Many women were among the first in their families to work outside the home and were looking for guidance on a range of issues, starting with what to wear to their new jobs. Go-go boots and love beads would not do; they needed more practical clothes that fit their new lifestyles.


At the same time, as these women participated in the broader world, their interests widened, too. But Vogue, under its flamboyant editor Diana Vreeland, had entered the ’70s still stuck in the ’60s. The magazine’s circulation was falling, and advertising along with it.


Even so, Ms. Vreeland’s firing by Vogue’s publisher, Condé Nast, in 1971 came without warning. The move was so abrupt that Ms. Mirabella, Ms. Vreeland’s second in command, was notified of her promotion while on a photo shoot in California.


Where Ms. Vreeland was colorful, electric and theatrical, Ms. Mirabella was pragmatic and businesslike. Her mandate was to change the character of the magazine, and Vogue quickly took on the values of its new editor, becoming more accessible and down to earth.


To signal the new mood, Ms. Mirabella had the red walls of the editor’s office repainted beige, and she often wore tailored beige clothes to work.


“I’m not a clothes girl if it means talking about them all the time,” she said in an interview shortly after her appointment. “But I think they’re interesting, and I have quite a lot of them.”


Ms. Mirabella’s Vogue emphasized the natural in hairstyles, makeup and clothing over artifice — the spare designs of Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani over fashion as fantasy or work of art.


The magazine added sections on the arts, fitness, health and beauty while keeping its emphasis on fashion. Circulation tripled during Ms. Mirabella’s tenure, to more than 1.2 million in 1988 from 400,000 in 1971.


But while she was considered the most powerful woman in fashion, she kept the focus on fashion and not herself, said Samir Husni, a professor of journalism and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism. “She was an icon, a legacy,” Professor Husni said in an interview for this obituary.


She was also hard-working.


“Nobody,” he said, “ever wrote a book about her, ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’” a reference to the novel, later made into a movie, based on Ms. Mirabella’s successor at Vogue, Anna Wintour. “She wore the Prada without the devil.”


By the mid-1980s, though, the pendulum of fashion had swung again. There was new money and a new interest in the comings and goings of celebrities. Fashion was becoming more about trendiness, and Vogue was not reflecting these sensibilities.


Though it still dominated the world of fashion magazines, Vogue was facing new competition. One of its competitors, American Elle, had become a force almost overnight, with an emphasis on a youthful European approach.


Elle was introduced in September 1985; by the end of the next year, its paid circulation was 861,000. In June 1988,  Ms. Mirabella was ousted — as abruptly as Ms. Vreeland had been before her — and replaced with Ms. Wintour, 20 years her junior. Ms. Wintour had been creative director at Vogue from 1983 to 1986 before becoming editor of British Vogue and then House & Garden (which was renamed HG in 1988).


In an interview after the move, S.I. Newhouse Jr., the chairman of Condé Nast, made no apologies, saying it was time to “reposition Vogue for the ’90s.”


“There have been clear lines of what was high fashion and casual fashion,” Mr. Newhouse said. “I think those lines are less apparent now. I think the change in the 1990s, when we look back, will be as decisive as the shift from the ’60s to the ’70s.”


A few months later, Ms. Mirabella announced that she would launch her own publication. Mirabella magazine, which was backed by Rupert Murdoch, was meant to be about “much more than clothes or interior design,” she wrote in the inaugural issue, dated May 1989. It was to be about style, she said, which “informs every aspect of our lives,” and it would offer serious articles along with fashion and beauty advice.


Ms. Mirabella never explicitly stated what age group her magazine was aimed at, but she did say that it was targeted at educated women concerned with politics, psychology and business.


She left the magazine in 1996 to lecture and do freelance writing. The magazine, which never turned a profit and often struggled to find a coherent voice, was shut down in 2000.


But Professor Husni said that the mere existence of the magazine reflected Ms. Mirabella’s stature in the industry. “I give a lot of credit to Rupert Murdoch,” he said. “When you’re on your way out, no one honors you. But that’s how important she was.”


Marie Grace Mirabella was born on June 10, 1929, in Newark, the daughter of Anthony Mirabella, a sales manager for a liquor importing company, and Florence (Belfatto) Mirabella, who had immigrated from Italy.


Shortly after graduating from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, she joined the executive training program at Macy’s. She then briefly worked at Saks Fifth Avenue before taking a job at Vogue in 1952 verifying store credits in photo captions.


She was on the public relations staff of the designers Simonetta & Fabiani in Rome from 1954 to 1955 before returning to Vogue in 1955 as the shopping editor, searching small shops for unusual fare. With a reputation for working hard, she climbed her way up through a succession of jobs at the magazine.


In November 1974 she married William G. Cahan, a thoracic surgeon who specialized in breast and lung cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. Dr. Cahan was an early leader in national efforts to combat smoking.


In addition to her stepson Anthony Cahan, she is survived by another stepson, Christopher Cahan; seven step-grandchildren; and three step-great-grandchildren.


In her book “In and Out of Vogue” (1995), written with Judith Warner, Ms. Mirabella settled some scores from her days at the magazine. She described Ms. Wintour as “a vision of skinniness in black sunglasses and Chanel suits” and claimed that the photographer Richard Avedon had “achieved some of his best results with girls who were utterly strung out on dope.”


As to the reasons she was pushed from her perch, she wrote that the 1980s were “an emperor-has-no-clothes era, start to finish.” Clothes, she said, “were about labels, designers were about being celebrities, and it was all, on a bigger and bigger scale, about money.”


Fashion had degenerated, she wrote, “into a self-reverential game full of jokes and pastiches that amused the fashion community enormously and did nothing at all for the woman shopping and trying to find something to wear.”


Alex Traub contributed reporting.



Wednesday 22 December 2021

Inside Tatler E1

Tatler was introduced on 3 July 1901, by Clement Shorter, publisher of The Sphere. It was named after the original literary and society journal founded by Richard Steele in 1709. For some time a weekly publication, it had a subtitle varying on "an illustrated journal of society and the drama". It contained news and pictures of high society balls, charity events, race meetings, shooting parties, fashion and gossip, with cartoons by "The Tout" and H. M. Bateman.


In 1940, the magazine absorbed The Bystander, creating a publication called The Tatler and Bystander. In 1961, Illustrated Newspapers, which published Tatler, The Sphere, and The Illustrated London News, was bought by Roy Thomson. In 1965, Tatler was retitled London Life. In 1968, it was bought by Guy Wayte's Illustrated County Magazine group and the Tatler name restored. Wayte's group had a number of county magazines in the style of Tatler, each of which mixed the same syndicated content with county-specific local content. Wayte, "a moustachioed playboy of a conman" was convicted of fraud in 1980 for inflating Tatler's circulation figures from 15,000 to 49,000.


The magazine was sold and relaunched as a monthly magazine in 1977, called Tatler & Bystander until 1982.Tina Brown (editor 1979–83), created a vibrant and youthful Tatler and is credited with putting the edge, the irony and the wit back into what was then an almost moribund social title. She referred to it as an upper-class comic and by increasing its influence and circulation made it an interesting enough operation for the then owner, Gary Bogard, to sell to publishers Condé Nast. Brown subsequently transferred to New York, to another Condé Nast title, Vanity Fair.


After several later editors and a looming recession, the magazine was once again ailing; Jane Procter was brought in to re-invent the title for the 1990s. The circulation rose to over 90,000, a figure which was exceeded five years later by Geordie Greig. The magazine created various supplements including the Travel and Restaurant Guides, the often-referred to and closely watched Most Invited and Little Black Book lists, as well as various parties.


Kate Reardon became editor in 2011. She was previously a fashion assistant on American Vogue and then, aged 21, became the youngest-ever fashion director of Tatler. Under Reardon's directorship Tatler retained its position as having the wealthiest audience of Condé Nast's magazines, exceeding an average of $175,000 in 2013.


Reardon left the title at the end of 2017. The appointment of Richard Dennen as the new editor was announced at the beginning of February 2018, and he took up the post on 12 February.


In 2014, the BBC broadcast a three-part fly-on-the-wall documentary television series, titled Posh People: Inside Tatler, featuring the editorial team going about their various jobs.

Inside Tatler E2 |

Monday 20 December 2021

The Lloyd Family at Great Dixter

The Lloyd Family


Nathaniel and Daisy Lloyd brought up six children at Great Dixter where they all developed a lasting attachment to the house and a deep knowledge of the garden. One of the bathrooms still has the pencil marks on a wall recording their increasing height year by year. Selwyn (1909-35), the eldest child, went into the family business but died at a young age from TB; Oliver (1911-85), whose second Christian name Cromwell spoke of Daisy’s ancestral connections, became a medical doctor and academic; Patrick (1913-56) was a professional soldier and died on active service in the Middle East; Quentin (1916-95) served as the estate manager for Great Dixter for many years; Letitia (1919-74) trained as a nurse; Christopher (1921-2006), the youngest child, was born in the north bedroom of the Lutyens wing and for the rest of his life Dixter was his home.


The Lloyd children photographed in height order at Great Dixter


Daisy Lloyd and Christopher Lloyd in the meadow at Great DixterWith the renovations and extension complete by 1912, Great Dixter was a large and comfortable family home. Central heating and electric lighting were installed from the outset and there was a domestic staff of five or more, including a chauffeur, a cook, two housemaids and a nursery maid. Outside staff included nine gardeners. For four years during the First World War, part of the house became a hospital and a total of 380 wounded soldiers passed through the temporary wards created in the great hall and the solar. In the Second War, Dixter housed 10 evacuee boys from September 1939 until it was decided that they should go further west and away from the path of enemy aircraft.


After Nathaniel’s death in 1933, the formidable Daisy was in control until her own demise in 1972. Her contribution to the garden was most evident in the wild flower meadows but her passion for all things plant related was as extensive as it was infectious.Daisy Lloyd wearing Austrian peasant costume on the steps of the Yeomans hall


She was a determinedly energetic lady, an accomplished cook and brilliant embroiderer, who, having taken to wearing Austrian peasant costume, cut an eccentric figure on the local scene.


Nathaniel Lloyd OBE FSA (5 March 1867 – 8 December 1933) was a business man who, later in life, studied architecture as a pupil of Sir Edwin Lutyens and became an architectural historian and author. He owned the Grade 1 listed house Great Dixter in East Sussex, now a legacy left to the nation by his youngest child, Christopher Lloyd, the gardener and author.


Born in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire to John and Rachel Lloyd, a comfortably well off middle class family, Nathaniel Lloyd started his career with the Mazawattee Tea Co and was responsible for its advertising and printing at the height of its expansion. In 1893, Lloyd left the tea company and founded his own business, Nathaniel Lloyd & Co, Lithographic Printers. This successful colour printing firm was responsible for numerous advertising posters, for example, a poster for ‘Lazenby’s “Chef” Sauce and other delicacies’ held in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and posters printed to aid the war effort held by the Science Museum, London. It was so successful that Lloyd was able to take partial early retirement in 1909, becoming joint managing director of the Star Bleaching Co, which he sold in 1912 and turned to his second career in architecture.


Lloyd studied architectural drawing and set up a small practice. He was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1931[10] and was also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a member of the London Survey Committee. Lloyd was a keen photographer who took many of the photographs for his books and his collection, of over 3600 prints and negatives, mostly taken between 1910 and 1930, was acquired by Historic England in 1997.Photographs by Nathaniel Lloyd are also held by the National Trust and in the Conway Library, whose archive of mainly architectural images is being digitised under the wider Courtauld Connects project.


Great Dixter

When he retired from his business in 1909, Nathaniel Lloyd began looking for an old house to buy and renovate. In 1910 he purchased the 15th century manor house Dixter for the sum of £6,000 and also bought a 16th century timbered yeoman’s house in Benenden Kent, subject to a demolition order, for £75, dismantling it and moving it to Dixter. He commissioned Edwin Lutyens and together they renovated the houses, built onto them and designed the 5 acre garden. At that time it was renamed Great Dixter.


Lloyd was always conscious that the work should be conducted sympathetically and true to its period and, after the restoration was completed in 1912, he wrote in a memorandum of 1913; "The spirit in which the work has been done may be summed up by saying that nothing has been done without authority, nothing has been done from imagination; there has been no forgery". 1913 was also the year in which Great Dixter first appeared in the magazine Country Life in an illustrated article.


Both Nathaniel and his wife, Daisy took an interest in the extensive gardens at Great Dixter, employing nine gardeners, and that interest was continued by their youngest son Christopher Lloyd. After taking a degree in horticulture at Wye College in Kent and becoming an associate lecturer at the college for four years, Christopher returned to Great Dixter in 1954 and set up a plant nursery. From 1963 onwards he wrote the weekly column ‘In My Garden’ which appeared in Country Life for over 40 years. Christopher continued to live in Great Dixter and regularly opened the house and gardens to the public. Prior to his death he set up The Great Dixter Charitable Trust to run the estate and continue to open the house and garden to visitors.


Private life

In 1905 Nathaniel Lloyd married Daisy Field[3] and they had six children, 5 sons, Selwyn (1909–35), Oliver (1911–85), Patrick (1913–56), Quentin (1916–95), Christopher (1921-2006) and 1 daughter, Letitia (1919–74). After Nathaniel’s death in 1933, Daisy Lloyd took over the running of the estate, assisted by Christopher, until her death in 1972, aged 91.


Christopher "Christo" Hamilton Lloyd, OBE (2 March 1921 – 27 January 2006) was an English gardener and a gardening author of note, as the 20th-century chronicler for thickly planted, labour-intensive country gardening.

Lloyd was born in Great Dixter, into an upper-middle-class family, the youngest of six children. In 1910, his father, Nathaniel Lloyd, an Arts and Crafts architect, author, printer and designer of posters and other images for confectionery firms, bought Great Dixter, a manor house in Northiam, East Sussex near the south coast of England. Edwin Lutyens was hired to renovate and extend the house and advise on the structure of the garden. Nathaniel Lloyd loved gardens, designed some of this one himself, and passed that love on to his son. Lloyd learned the skills required of a gardener from his mother Daisy, who did the actual gardening and introduced him as a young boy to Gertrude Jekyll,[3] who was a considerable influence on Lloyd, in particular with respect to "mixed borders". His mother Daisy, to whom he had remained close his entire life, died at Great Dixter on 9th June 1972, aged 91.


After Wellesley House (Broadstairs) and Rugby School, he attended King's College, Cambridge, where he read modern languages before entering the Army during World War II.[7] After the war he received his bachelors in Horticulture from Wye College, University of London, in 1950. He stayed on there as an assistant lecturer in horticulture[8] until 1954.


In 1954, Lloyd moved home to Great Dixter and set up a nursery specialising in unusual plants. He regularly opened the house and gardens to the public.[9] Lloyd did not do all of the gardening himself, but, like his parents, employed a staff of gardeners. In 1991, Fergus Garrett became his head gardener, and continued in that role after Lloyd's death.


In 1979 Lloyd received the Victoria Medal of Honour, the highest award of the Royal Horticultural Society, for his promotion of gardening and his extensive work on their Floral Committee.[10] In 1996, Lloyd was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Open University. In 2000, he was appointed as an officer of the Order of the British Empire.


Lloyd was a great-grandson of Edwin Wilkins Field, a law-reforming solicitor, and the great uncle of Christopher Lloyd, the author of numerous non-fiction books, including the popular What on Earth? Happened from the Big Bang to the Present Day and a series of children's historical Wallbook titles.


Christopher Lloyd

Doyen of gardening writers famed for his innovative planting at Great Dixter


Rosemary Alexander

Mon 30 Jan 2006 11.19 GMT


The gardener and writer Christopher Lloyd, who has died aged 84 following a stroke, was the supreme master of his profession. Awarded in 1979 the Victoria Medal of Honour, the highest horticultural accolade, he was the best informed, liveliest and most innovative gardening writer of our times.


The author of a string of classic books and, until last October, 42 years' worth of regular weekly articles in Country Life, he was, until his death, gardening correspondent of the Guardian. His garden at Great Dixter, in east Sussex, gave pleasure to thousands of visitors and provided a springboard for conveying ideas - successes and disappointments - to his readers in a relaxed and non-technical manner.


One of six children, Lloyd was born at Great Dixter, into a strictly run household, where no smoking or drinking was permitted. His father, Nathaniel Lloyd, came from a comfortably off middle-class family in Manchester and his mother, Daisy Field, was reputedly a descendant of Oliver Cromwell. Nathaniel had bought Great Dixter in 1910, and commissioned Edwin Lutyens to restore and add to its 15th-century buildings. Lutyens also set out the framework of the garden as an array of formal spaces, which still exist today. Nathaniel died in 1933, leaving the 450-acre estate to his formidable widow.


Lloyd was educated at Wellesley House, Rugby and King's College, Cambridge, where he took an MA in modern languages. Having inherited his mother's passion for flowers, he studied horticulture at Wye College - in those days it was a general degree, including science and botany - and was an assistant lecturer there from 1950 to 1954.


Returning to the family home that year, he started a nursery, specialising in clematis and uncommon plants (Vita Sackville West gave him cuttings of the original rosemary from Corsica, r.beneden blue). Sharing their enthusiasm for gardening, mother and son continued to develop the gardens and encourage visitors until Daisy died in 1972. The house and garden then became the property of Christopher and his niece Olivia.


In 1957, after experimenting with Dixter's long border, Christopher wrote his first book, The Mixed Border, propounding the then revolutionary idea of combining shrubbery and herbaceous border. In 1965 came two further books, now modern classics: Clematis (with John Treasure), and Trees and Shrubs for Small Gardens, both of which combined technical knowledge with a humorous and informed sense of English style. In May 1963, he was persuaded by Arthur Hellyer to start his Country Life column. He always thought of something new to say, producing copy on time, even, on one occasion, from his hospital bed.


As a result of Christopher's writing, Great Dixter is the most documented of gardens, its most celebrated feature being the immense mixed border, measuring 210ft x 15ft, planned for midsummer, but in reality extending from April to October. More recently, bored by his celebrated but diseased rose garden, he announced that roses were "miserable and unsatisfactory shrubs". Encouraged by his protege and head gardener Fergus Garrett - but to the alarm of the gardening cognoscenti - he created a tropical garden, proving that dahlias, the Japanese banana (musa basjoo), cannas and caster oil plants can extend the colourful gardening season through to the first frosts, provided they are well wrapped in winter.


Occasionally referred to as the "ill tempered gardener", a play on the title of his 1970 book The Well Tempered Garden, Christopher did not suffer fools gladly, occasionally refusing to divulge the name of a plant to non-serious visitors without notebooks. Far from being a plant snob, however, he used both the essential Latin and the common names of plants, and was always generous in sharing his knowledge and hospitality.


Life at Great Dixter was conducted as an ongoing house party. Once, after Christopher's dachshunds (with whom he shared the house) ate the sandwiches of a group of Hungarian students, he invited them to be his house guests. He enjoyed encouraging young people with an interest in gardens and always remained loyal to his students at Wye College.


He also wrote about his enjoyment of cooking, and eating homegrown fruit and vegetables. Fervent about food - inspired by his mother, by Jane Grigson and, more recently, by Delia Smith - he was an expert classic cook. He served straight from the stove and hated books with "glamorously laid out meals and violently coloured illustration". He was averse to mechanisation, though he doted on the Magimix given to him by his friend Beth Chatto, with whom he wrote Dear Friend and Gardener (1998). An enthusiastic traveller, journeying regularly to the United States or Australia on lecture tours, he cherished his annual holiday in the Hebrides, where he could indulge in walking and whisky.


An irrepressible socialiser, Christopher was an inspiration to all and a mentor to many distinguished horticulturalists and garden writers. When staying with Marco Polo Stufano, then director of Wave Hill botanic garden in New York, who had every book by Christopher in his library, he not only signed each one but wrote a different note in each. A master of the non-sequitur, when asked on the telephone if a visit to Great Dixter could be arranged he would ask "Why?".


His 80th birthday was celebrated by an ongoing 24-hour event - lunch, a recital by Graham Gough, dinner and breakfast - that brought together friends from all over the world. To the end, Christopher and Fergus, who had brought new energy and enthusiasm into Christopher's life, conspired to enliven the planting. In later years, Christopher added television to his media, his audacious wit and puckish comments enlivening each programme.


Christopher Lloyd challenged people's thinking through his writing and his friendship. His innovative influence on gardens and garden journalism, and his beloved garden itself, will remain a legacy for our future.


Polly Pattullo writes: Not long ago, on a visit to Great Dixter, I noticed a figure in the famous long border, on his knees, trug by his side, like Beatrix Potter's Mr McGregor among the cucumber frames. It was Christopher who got to his feet, wiped his hands on his trousers and beamed. He enjoyed wandering around Dixter unrecognised - in old jumpers and corduroys - eavesdropping on the comments of the public.


He was prepared to utter gardening heresies; indeed, he enjoyed communicating his radical views. On a March visit, he pointed out a startling display of pale blue and baby pink hyacinths under a bush of orange-stemmed spiraea; he chuckled and told us that his old friend Beth Chatto had commented that this colour scheme "jarred". But Christopher's aim was not to shock - he wanted to stimulate the sometimes precious world of gardening.


He was a man of great erudition; besides gardens and food, he knew a lot about opera - he regularly went to Glyndebourne, whose gardens he found somewhat wanting. He was also modest: he wrote in his preface to The Adventurous Gardener (1983): "Never take the 'I shan't see it' attitude. By exercising a little vision you will come to realise that the tree, which has a possible future, perhaps a great one, may be more important than yourself, nearing your end."


Always planning ahead, delighting in experiment, he passionately wanted everyone to join him on the gardening journey which he had cherished for so long.


· Christopher Lloyd, gardener and writer, born March 2 1921; died January 27 2006