Sunday, September 23, 2012
Vita and Harold at Sissinghurst
I put the last touch to this this morning - it was the black bird flying above the tower.
Just about the largest collage I have done to date but one of my favourites I think.
You seldom see a photograph of the Nicolsons at home but there is a dog about. They seemed to be very doggy people. So I have included a couple of what appear to be overgrown terriers.
When I read about the modern history of Sissinghurst it put to shame our paltry sporadic potterings.
Vita and Harold purchased the place in 1930 for £12,000. It was in a complete state of dilapidation. It was a case of camping out in the sixteenth century tower for months. But they didn't hang about when it came to the garden which Harold designed and Vita planted on a site which had to cleared of the "accumulated rubbish of centuries."
Within seven years it was if not exactly done and dusted, certainly done and growing in the "strictest formality of design combined with the maximum informality in planting".
Their son, Nigel Nicolson, said the garden was "like their marriage - a combination of the classic temperament and the romantic.
Here they are some years later: the elderly Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West, enjoying the fruits of their labour.