Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

He May Have looked Like Sebastian Flyte, But Actually...

We'd arranged to meet Mike and Su at Knole but hadn't reckoned with most of the house being shut- as happens with NT properties over the winter season. The cafe was open- and very busy, there was carol singing in the Great Hall- which we stuck with for three or four numbers- and the gatehouse was open for an exhibition of the life and works of Edward Sackville-West- last of the Sackvilles to reside at Knole- with special reference to his Bloomsbury connections and his carryings on in the Weimar Republic.

The Eddy exhibition was elegaic and sent you away going "how sad". Virginia Woolf said of the young Eddy that he had the face of a Persian cat- and Graham Sutherland (the rather fine painting was there on the wall) pictured him as a bag of nerves. "I have always been frightened of things," said Eddy, "And you have captured that." But if you glance over his biography dispassionately- he was, as doomed aristos go, really rather productive and forward-looking. He loved music, became a distinguished music critic, championing the young British composers, including Britten and Tippett, and- with his companion- Desmond Shawe-Taylor- produced an encyclopaedic guide to classical music on record. He wrote forgotten novels and a well-regarded life of De Quincey. He also worked extensively in radio. His friendships transcended Bloomsbury and included many of the luminaries of the mid-century British art establishment- including Britten and Pears, Kenneth Clark, and the conductor Malcolm Sargent. He wasn't particularly fond of Knole- which he inherited from an uncle and found a burden- and moved out as soon as he could- handing over his rooms in the tower to Sargent. In short, bugger Brideshead.
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