Renishaw Hall : The Story of the Sitwells
'I tend to regard Renishaw as the mistress of my old age, beautiful, charming, moody and unpredictable.' -- Sir Reresby Sitwell. Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire has been the seat of the Sitwell family since 1625. Its remarkable story is only matched by that of the family who have dwelled there, and with whose fortunes it has risen and fallen, only to rise again. Modern Renishaw's real creator was the under-estimated Sir George Sitwell, a pioneer of the Baroque revival and a gardener of genius, but caricatured as a buffoon by his son Osbert. Better known are his children, the Trio - Osbert, Edith and Sacheverell - who were the Bloomsbury Group's rivals in the 1920s and leading literary figures in the 1950s and 60s. In telling the tale of the Sitwells through the centuries, Desmond Seward also takes us on a tour through English history, to the house's restoration at the end of the twentieth century, and the return to its former glory as a jewel of British heritage, winning the coveted Historic Houses' Association Award for Garden of the Year in 2015.
- Hardback | 288 pages
- 156 x 234 x 30mm | 680g
- 01 Oct 2015
- Elliott & Thompson Limited
- London, United Kingdom
Table of contents
ContentsAcknowledgements xiForeword xiii1. The Cavalier 12. 'Mr Justice Sitwell' 153. A Mathematician 274. The Merchant Squire 395. Passing on the Torch 436. A Regency Buck 537. Ruin? 658. Camping in the Wreckage 779. An Unsung Heroine 8710. The Golden Years Return? 9711. A Miserable Marriage 10512. Sir George's Italian Cure 11113. A New Renishaw 12314. Renishaw Children 13115. Leaving the Nest 14316. The Great War, and Lady Ida's Ordeal 15117. 'Sitwellianism' 16118. Rivalry with Bloomsbury 17519. Renishaw as Patronage 18320. Marking Time in the Thirties 19321. Renishaw and the Second World War 20122. The Sitwell Renaissance 21323. Decay 22324. Renishaw Reborn 23125. Today 247Owners of Renishaw 251Notes 253Index 263
"He resurrects generations of forgotten Sitwells ... rescuing them from the mists of time and telling us just enough about them to make us long to know more"-John Carey, Sunday Times; "A balanced and beautifully written book ... an unexpected thing: original and full of new information, as well as a delightful read."-John Martin Robinson, Country Life; "Seward has told the roller-coaster, sometimes funny and sometimes poignant family history tale very well. ... The most famous Sitwells may be no more, and the present family may have much to live up to (or alternatively, perhaps, live down) - but, after reading this entertaining account, we can hope that long may they continue to do so"-John Van der Kiste, thebookbag.co.uk; "This entertaining and elegant book is partly a lively celebration of Reresby and Penelope's restoration of Renishaw and their joint creation of one of the handsomest houses in England." - Matthew Dennison, The Daily Mail; "Seward has told the roller-coaster, sometimes funny and sometimes poignant family history tale very well. ... The most famous Sitwells may be no more, and the present family may have much to live up to (or alternatively, perhaps, live down) - but, after reading this entertaining account, we can hope that long may they continue to do so" - John Van der Kiste, thebookbag.co.uk; "I had never heard of Renishaw Hall or the Sitwell family before reading this book, but now it is on my list of places to visit ... Desmond Seward successfully brought Renishaw Hall to life in this fascinating book" - The Book Magnet; "Rich in detail, ... gorgeous colour picture sections ... to read about the forgotten Sitwell family members is fascinating and is an excellent history lesson" - Madame J-Mo; Reresby Sitwell once said in an interview, 'I tend to regard Renishaw as the mistress of my old age, beautiful, charming, moody and unpredictable.' This book certainly captures this spirit and has made me put Renishaw Hall on the list of houses I must visit. I suggest that you read the book first to be entranced by the house and its colourful custodians. - Country Wives; Seward does an excellent job of bringing to life the times in which they lived, and exploring their impact upon the house and grounds of Renishaw Hall. These stories are really delightful, taking the reader on a glorious journey across the history of England. - Heaven Ali; "Rambunctious...reveals a splendidly eccentric clan" --Roger Lewis, The Times; "Elegantly written ... an enjoyable celebration of an unforgettable English gentry family and their country house, and all the layers of memory and echoes of the past which can be encountered there"--Jeremy Musson, Historic House; "Seward does an excellent job of bringing to life the times in which they lived, and exploring their impact upon the house and grounds of Renishaw Hall. These stories are really delightful, taking the reader on a glorious journey across the history of England." - ShinyNewBooks.co.uk; 'Brisk and diverting' - Matthew Sturgis, Times Literary Supplement
About Desmond Seward
Better known as a historian of the Middle Ages, born in Paris and educated at Ampleforth and Cambridge, Desmond Seward is the author of many books, including The Monks of War: The Military Religious Orders, The Hundred Years War, The Wars of the Roses, Eleanor of Aquitaineand and The Last White Rose: the Spectre at the Tudor Court 1485-1547. He has been visiting Renishaw for forty years.