10 August 2016

Nicolsons in Sissinghurst Cemetery, Kent

Sissinghurst Cemetery isn't obviously locatable: it's very near to the parish church, but not reachable from it, and there's no sign to it. Unfortunately, these photos were taken before midday and the blotches on them get increasingly worse because of the shadows from the overlooking trees.


This image of the grave of Harold Nicolson might be thought to need no comment on the man: he was famous for being the husband of Vita Sackville-West, for their joint work on Sissinghurst Castle and gardens, and of course for his open homosexual relationships, as was his author (and gardener) wife. The fact that he was a diplomat and very prolific author himself often gets forgotten. Nevertheless, Harold wrote a large number of books, several of them on writers such as Tennyson, Byron, Swinburne, Benjamin Constant, and Sainte-Beuve. He also wrote books on English diplomacy.


Benedict was Harold and Vita's first son. He became an art historian, and his published works include The Painters of Ferrara (1950), Hendrick Terbrugghen (1958), Wright of Derby: Painter of Light (1968), The Treasures of the Foundling Hospital (1972), Courbet: The Studio of the Painter (1973), and Georges de La Tour (1974).


Nigel was the younger son and went on to be an author, publisher and politician. His books are many and include works on such authors as Virginia Woolf, Fanny Burney, and Jane Austen; one on his parents' marriage; and editing Woolf's letters in six volumes, as well as (one volume of) his parents' letters. As a publisher he co-founded Weinenfeld and Nicolson, which was the cause of the failure of his (slightly wet Conservative) political career when the house published Nabokov's controversial Lolita in 1959.

My other Nicolson-related post:

Nicolson (and Vita) in Sissinghurst

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