The winter of 1924: Edith Olivier, alone for the first time at the age of fifty-one, thought her life had come to an end. For Rex Whistler, a nineteen-year-old art student, life was just beginning. Together, they embarked on an intimate and unlikely friendship that would transform their lives. Gradually Edith's world opened up and she became a writer. Her home, the Daye House, in a wooded corner of the Wilton estate, became a sanctuary for Whistler and the other brilliant and beautiful younger men of her circle: among them Siegfried Sassoon, Stephen Tennant, William Walton, John Betjeman, the Sitwells and Cecil Beaton - for whom she was 'all the muses'.
Set against a backdrop of the madcap parties of the 1920s, the sophistication of the 1930s and the drama and austerity of the Second World War and with an extraordinary cast of friends and acquaintances, Anna Thomasson brings to life, for the first time, the fascinating, and curious, friendship of a bluestocking and a bright young thing.
Anna Thomasson studied for an M Phil in Biography at the University of Buckingham and her thesis was shortlisted for the Daily Mail Biographers' Club Prize. She lives in London and this is her first book.
Section - i: List of Illustrations Section - ii: Introduction Unit - 1: BEFORE Chapter - 1: Edith Chapter - 2: Rex Chapter - 3: Rex Unit - 2: THE LOVE CHILD Chapter - 1: San Remo Chapter - 2: The Daye House Chapter - 3: 'At The Shrine of Beauty' Chapter - 4: The Darling Chapter - 5: A 'Dream Change' Unit - 3: TABLEAUX VIVANTS Chapter - 6: Bright Young People Chapter - 7: Town and Country Chapter - 8: Revels Chapter - 9: 'Adored Sons' Chapter - 10: Bird Songs Chapter - 11: Krol Dudziarz Chapter - 12: 'The Trail of the Serpent' Chapter - 13: 'Bells at Midnight' Unit - 4: REVERSIBLE FACES Chapter - 14: Moonraking Chapter - 15: Ashcombe Chapter - 16: 'Peintre de Luxe' Chapter - 17: The 'Storm Touched Soul' Chapter - 18: 'The Happy Heartbreak' Chapter - 19: Sex Unit - 5: LANDSCAPES Chapter - 20: Distance Chapter - 21: An 'Eventful Year' Chapter - 22: La Belle Dame Chapter - 23: 'Out of Ordinary' Chapter - 24: 'Another Season' Unit - 6: PAINTING FROM LIFE Chapter - 25: Commission Chapter - 26: 'The Conditional' Chapter - 27: Home Chapter - 28: 'In The Long Ago' Chapter - 29: Action Unit - 7: AFTER Chapter - 30: 'The Loving Spirit' Chapter - 31: Legacies Acknowledgements - iii: Acknowledgements Section - iv: Notes Section - v: Select Bibliography Index - vi: Index