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Lord Berners

Sam Leith

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Format
Ebook
ISBN
9780571287284
Date Published
04.10.2012
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Summary

Here lies Lord Berners/One of life’s learners,
Thanks be to the Lord/He was never bored.

So reads the epitaph on the gravestone of Lord Berners. In its witty way, it hints at his range of accomplishment. He was a composer (admired by Stravinsky), writer, painter, aesthete and eccentric, indeed in Mark Amory’s words ‘The Last Eccentric’, famously dyeing the pigeons at his house, Faringdon, in vibrant colours, and, for a time, having a giraffe as a pet and tea companion. His literary and artistic milieu was glittering: Stravinsky, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Siegfried Sassoon, John Betjeman, the Sitwells, Harold Nicolson, Frederick Ashton and Gertrude Stein – they all belonged to it.

In fiction, he was famously portrayed as Lord Merlin in Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love.

‘As social history and a chronicle of a mad-cap English eccentric this long awaited, much needed and beautifully written book is, to use a simple cliché, indispensable.’ Alexander Waugh, Literary Review

‘In Amory, this engaging character has found the ideal biographer. Getting the exact measure of its subject throughout, written in a dry, wittily ironic prose … the biography offers of sheer bliss.’ Gilbert Adair, Sunday Times

SamLeith

Mark Amory has been the Literary Editor of The Spectator for the last twenty-five years, thus making him the longest serving Literary Editor in London. In addition to his Lord Berners biographer he has written one on Lord Dunsany, as well as editing the published letters of Ann Fleming and Evelyn Waugh and a volume of Marc Boxer’s drawings and…

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