Author(s): Anna Thomasson
'I loved A Curious Friendship. Anna Thomasson, in her first book, has brilliantly captured this strange coterie.' Sir Roy StrongThe winter of 1924: Edith Olivier, alone for the first time at the age of 51, thought her life had come to an end. For Rex Whistler, a 19-year-old art student, life was just beginning. They were to start 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'. The story is set against the backdrop of a period that spanned the madcap parties of the 1920s, the sophistication of the 1930s and the drama and austerity of the Second World War. With an extraordinary cast of friends and acquaintances, from the Royal Family to Tallulah Bankhead, Anna Thomasson's A Curious Friendship brings to life, for the first time, the curious, unlikely and fascinating friendship of a bluestocking and a bright young thing.
A vivid and moving account of the remarkable friendship between the writer Edith Olivier and the young artist Rex Whistler
Provides a window on to a fascinating world, and the story is narrated with elegant verve -- Lara Feigel Guardian Thoroughly researched, with elegant prose and a glittering cast of characters, Thomasson's account merges Victorian sensibilities with the raucous Jazz Age, giving the reader the best of both worlds. -- Lyndsy Spence The Lady Reverent and sympathetic, and often fascinating Lesley McDowell, Independent -- Lesley McDowell Independent Anna Thomasson tells her story well, her suggestions are shrewd, her prose pleasant, both are backed by much research. -- Mark Amory Oldie Anna Thomasson is a wonderful writer, with a pitch-perfect ear and a marvellous sense of style. She knows her characters intimately with the result that one completely trusts her judgment every inch of the way. -- Selina Hastings Moving, thoughtful, entertaining and magnificently researched, Thomasson's account of a bohemian art student and sharp-witted - sometimes comically snobbish - spinster is an outstandingly accomplished and original first biography from a writer for whom we can predict a very bright future. -- Miranda Seymour Anna Thomasson has uncovered a remarkable story and brings these two fascinating but forgotten figures and their brilliant world vividly to light. An impressive debut. -- Julie Kavanagh It is a vibrant, admirably researched debut, tinkling with famous artistic names. A non-fictional Brideshead Revisited, it's piquantly evocative of that lost aesthetic echelon of 1920s & 1930s society which dissolved amid the shadows of war; and the convention-defying friendship threaded through it is enthralling -- Caroline Sanderson
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 IllustrationsSection - ii: IntroductionUnit - 1: BEFOREChapter - 1: EdithChapter - 2: RexChapter - 3: RexUnit - 2: THE LOVE CHILDChapter - 1: San RemoChapter - 2: The Daye HouseChapter - 3: 'At The Shrine of Beauty'Chapter - 4: The DarlingChapter - 5: A 'Dream Change'Unit - 3: TABLEAUX VIVANTSChapter - 6: Bright Young PeopleChapter - 7: Town and CountryChapter - 8: RevelsChapter - 9: 'Adored Sons'Chapter - 10: Bird SongsChapter - 11: Krol DudziarzChapter - 12: 'The Trail of the Serpent'Chapter - 13: 'Bells at Midnight'Unit - 4: REVERSIBLE FACESChapter - 14: MoonrakingChapter - 15: AshcombeChapter - 16: 'Peintre de Luxe'Chapter - 17: The 'Storm Touched Soul'Chapter - 18: 'The Happy Heartbreak'Chapter - 19: SexUnit - 5: LANDSCAPESChapter - 20: DistanceChapter - 21: An 'Eventful Year'Chapter - 22: La Belle DameChapter - 23: 'Out of Ordinary'Chapter - 24: 'Another Season'Unit - 6: PAINTING FROM LIFEChapter - 25: CommissionChapter - 26: 'The Conditional'Chapter - 27: HomeChapter - 28: 'In The Long Ago'Chapter - 29: ActionUnit - 7: AFTERChapter - 30: 'The Loving Spirit'Chapter - 31: LegaciesAcknowledgements - iii: AcknowledgementsSection - iv: NotesSection - v: Select BibliographyIndex - vi: Index