Archive for the ‘Acceptance in Lieu’ Category

A Madonna returns to Tyntesfield

August 15, 2013
©National Trust/SWNS

©National Trust/SWNS

At the end of last week a rather special painting returned to Tyntesfield. The picture of the Madonna and Child with St John the Baptist was painted by the Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini and his workshop in the late 15th century.

The Madonna and Child with St John the Baptist, by Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516). ©National Trust/SWNS

The Madonna and Child with St John the Baptist, by Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516). ©National Trust/SWNS

In 1880 it was purchased by Anthony Gibbs (1841-1907) from a London dealer, to add to the growing collection of old master paintings at Tyntesfield begun by his father, William Gibbs (1790-1875).

Andrew Kent (kneeling) and Aaron Shaw of Fine Art Transport Services preparing and checking the fixings of the frame. ©National Trust/SWNS

Andrew Kent (kneeling) and Aaron Shaw of Fine Art Transport Services preparing and checking the fixings of the frame. ©National Trust/SWNS

William Gibbs had presided over the expansion of the family trading firm, particularly through the mining and shipping of guano, which was in demand as an agricultural fertiliser. The profits from this enabled him not just to rebuild and redecorate the house and to expand his art collection, but also to fund numerous philanthropic projects.

Curator Stephen Ponder communing with the picture. ©National Trust/SWNS

Curator Stephen Ponder communing with the picture. ©National Trust/SWNS

The decoration of Tyntesfield is an embodiment of the ideal, formulated by John Ruskin (1819–1900) in his book The Stones of Venice (1851–3), of a synthesis between the spiritual and the aesthetic.

Alex Smith, assistant house manager at Tyntesfield, cleaning the glass of the box frame before the paintings goes up on the wall. ©National Trust/SWNS

Alex Smith, assistant house manager at Tyntesfield, cleaning the glass of the box frame before the paintings goes up on the wall. ©National Trust/SWNS

The novelist Charlotte Yonge (1823-1901), a cousin of William Gibbs, seems to have been responding to this when she remarked that ‘that beautiful home was like a church in spirit.’

The picture ready to go up. ©National Trust/SWNS

The picture ready to go up. ©National Trust/SWNS

The fact that Tyntesfield is a largely complete survival of a high-Victorian country house in the Ruskinian mould was one of the reasons why the National Trust decided to try to acquire it following the death of Richard Gibbs, 2nd Lord Wraxall (1928-2001). The appeal was a success, attracting huge support from the public as well as an unprecedentedly large grant from the National Heritage memorial Fund.

The painting is first rested on the marble chimneypiece. ©National Trust/SWNS

The painting is first rested on the marble chimneypiece. ©National Trust/SWNS

The painting was accepted in lieu of inheritance tax by the Government and initially displayed at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. It was recently reallocated to the National Trust for display at Tyntesfield.

The final adjustments to the picture chains. ©National Trust/SWNS

The final adjustments to the picture chains. ©National Trust/SWNS

The return of the painting is an indication that, following the restoration of the house, Tyntesfield now meets the standards required for looking after and displaying works of this calibre.

A job well done. ©National Trust/SWNS

A job well done. ©National Trust/SWNS

The picture, which was painted on a wooden panel, had been given a box frame in 1969 to protect it against environmental changes. Some of the strain required in lifting such a heavy object is visible in the photographs shown here, but everyone involved was very pleased with the result.

Pictures and their uses

February 26, 2013
Attributed to Gaspard Dughet, Landscape with a Storm, at Osterley Park, London, donated by the estate of Sir Denis Mahon, 2013. ©National Trust Collections, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation.st, Osterley Park; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Gaspard Dughet, Landscape with a Storm. NT 771276. ©National Trust Collections, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation.

It has just been announced that the estate of Sir Denis Mahon is donating a painting attributed to Gaspard Dughet (1615-1675), Landscape with a Storm, to Osterley Park, where it had been on loan since 2001. Through the Art Fund the Mahon estate is also donating a further group of important Italian baroque paintings to a number of UK museums.

Sir Denis Mahon (1910-2011)

Sir Denis Mahon (1910-2011)

Sir Denis Mahon, CH, CBE (1910-2011) was an art historian of independent means who in the 1940s and 1950s pioneered the study of Italian 17th-century painting. He built up his own collection of Italian baroque pictures at a time when they were out of favour and relatively inexpensive.

Perhaps as a result of his fascination with ‘unfashionable’ pictures, Sir Denis was strongly opposed to the deaccessioning of art from public collections. He also campaigned for free entry to museums and to improve the effectiveness of the scheme whereby works of art can be accepted by the Government in lieu of inheritance tax. He effectively used his own collection as a juicy carrot dangled in front of the various civil servants and ministers of the day – an interestingly ‘political’ use of fine art.

Gaspard Dughet, Wooded Rocky Landscape, at Osterley Park, London, donated by Sir Denis Mahon, 1996. NT 772275. ©National Trust Collections, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation.

Gaspard Dughet, Wooded Rocky Landscape, at Osterley Park, London, donated by Sir Denis Mahon, 1996. NT 772275 ©National Trust Collections, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation.

Sir Denis had already donated another Dughet, Wooded Rocky Landscape, to Osterley in 1996. Both paintings help to recreate the lost late 18th-century picture hang at Osterley. This painting had previously been owned by the important 19th-century collectors William Graham (1818-1885), a Glasgow cotton manufacturer, and Charles Henry Mills, 1st Baron Hillingdon (1830-1898), owner of the bank Glyn, Mills & Co (which, coincidentally, took over the bank Child & Co, owned by the Child-Villiers family of Osterley, in 1924).

Dughet, a French painter born in Italy, was the brother-in-law and pupil of Nicolas Poussin, and his pictures were popular among British Grand Tourists.

Mixing your drinks

January 29, 2013
Silver wine cooler, from a set of four, by Aaron Lestourgeon, London, 1776. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Knole, 2012. ©National Trust Collections

Silver wine cooler, from a set of four, by Aaron Lestourgeon, London, 1776. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Knole, 2012. ©National Trust Collections

Wine and milk don’t really mix. Nevertheless, the design of these silver wine coolers, from a set of four at Knole, was inspired by the appearance of milk pails. They were made by Aaron Lestourgeon in 1776, at a time when there was an increasing taste for idealised country life.

The Dairy at Uppark, West Sussex, c. 1800 or 1810. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

The Dairy at Uppark, West Sussex, c. 1800 or 1810. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

As Meredith Martin has described in here recent book Dairy Queens, this period saw the building of model farms and pleasure dairies, such as the Hameau de la Reine at Versailles and the Bergerie Royale at Rambouillet, where aristocratic ladies could channel their inner milkmaid.

with gilt liners by Paul Storr, 1813.

One of a set of four silver wine coolers by Aaron Lestourgeon, London, 1776, with a gilt liner by Paul Storr, 1813. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Knole, 2012. ©National Trust Collections

There was a serious philosophical and moral undertone to this, as both milk and country life in general were praised as healthy, wholesome and socially regenerative.

The Dairy at Berrington Hall, Shropshire, by Henry Holland, 1780s. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

The Dairy at Berrington Hall, Shropshire, by Henry Holland, 1780s. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

Perhaps it is an indication of the pervasiveness of that trend that even a relatively hedonistic object like a wine cooler was given ‘dairy’ styling.

The Dairy at Ham House, Surrey, c. 1800. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel.

The Dairy at Ham House, Surrey, c. 1800. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel.

This set of wine coolers, together with another set of four, was recently accepted by the Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Knole.

Lyme Park’s rococo moment

January 22, 2013
Detail of one of the pair of carved giltwood side tables with Portoro marble tops, accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Lyme Park. ©National Trust Collections

Detail of one of the pair of carved giltwood side tables with Portoro marble tops, accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Lyme Park. ©National Trust Collections

Among the items recently accepted by the Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to Lyme Park are some pieces of wonderfully sculptural rococo furniture.

One of a pair of carved giltwood side tables with Portoro marble tops, accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Lyme Park. ©National Trust Collections

One of a pair of carved giltwood side tables with Portoro marble tops, accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Lyme Park. ©National Trust Collections

This allocation includes a pair of carved giltwood side tables with Portoro marble tops and two pairs of carved giltwood wall brackets. One of the pairs supports two Chinese Dehua porcelain female figures.

Pair of carved giltwood brackets, mid 18th century, accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Lyme Park. ©National Trust Collections

Pair of carved giltwood brackets, mid 18th century, accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Lyme Park. ©National Trust Collections

The rococo furniture at Lyme was originally acquired by Peter Legh XIII, who inherited the house in 1744. He finished the decoration of a number of rooms remodeled by his uncle Peter Legh XII in the 1730s and early 1740s.

Female figure in Chinese Dehua porcelain, Kangxi period (1662-1722), on English carved giltwood bracket, mid 18th century, accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Lyme Park. ©National Trust Collections

Female figure in Chinese Dehua porcelain, Kangxi period (1662-1722), on English carved giltwood bracket, mid 18th century, accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Lyme Park. ©National Trust Collections

Pseudo-Chinese birds, perhaps echoing the decoration of the Chinese porcelain in the house, appear on some of the rococo girandoles introduced by Peter XIII. At the same time he also seems to have added the 17th century oak paneling that came from another family house, Bradley in Lancashire, demonstrating the eclecticism of the middle of the 18th century.

View of the Drawing Room at Lyme, showing one of the rococo carved giltwood girandoles. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

View of the Drawing Room at Lyme, showing one of the rococo carved giltwood girandoles. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The giltwood chandeliers and the harpsichord by Hitchcock also date from this period.

View of the Saloon at Lyme, with one of the carved giltwood rococo chandeliers and the contemporary harpsichord. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

View of the Saloon at Lyme, with one of the carved giltwood rococo chandeliers and the contemporary harpsichord. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

But it wasn’t all sweetness and light: Peter XIII ended up separated from his wife, led astray by his mistress and his manipulative sister, being wheeled up and down the galleries at Lyme in a bath chair. Following Peter XIII’s death in 1792 the house entered a period of neglect which wouldn’t be reversed until his great-nephew Thomas Legh came of age in 1813.

The life of ships

November 29, 2012

Willem van de Velde the Younger, Dutch vessels close inshore at low tide, and men bathing, 1662. ©The National Gallery, London, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

One of the recently announced allocations of works of art accepted in lieu of tax included two marine paintings by Willem van de Velde the Younger (1633-1707).

Willem van de Velde the Younger, A Dutch yacht surrounded by many small vessels, saluting as two barges pull alongside, 1661. ©The National Gallery, London, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The artist came from a family of Dutch marine painters. Willem the Younger came to England in 1672-3, together with his father, Willem the Elder, in the wake of the turbulence in Holland following the French invasion of 1672.

Willem van de Velde the Younger, A Dutch flagship coming to anchor with a States yacht before a light air, 1658. ©National Maritime Museum, London, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

In his earlier work van de Velde specialised in pictures of ships in calm weather, reminiscent of still lifes in being at once beautifully composed and full of detail.

Willem van de Velde the Younger, A States yacht in a fresh breeze running towards a group of Dutch ships, 1673. ©National Maritime Museum, London, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

At the same time the ships appear to be almost alive, like horses or cattle ruminating in a meadow. One can sense the painter’s deep affinity with life on the coast and at sea.

Willem van de Velde the Younger, A Dutch three-master and a boeier in the foreground, her mainsail being lowered in stormy weather, c. 1670. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax on the estate of the late Edna, Lady Samuel of Wych Cross, and allocated to the National Trust for display at Buckland Abbey. Image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

In his later paintings gales, storms and shipwrecks become more common, but again the paintings seem to be simultaneously realistic and poetic.

Willem van de Velde the Younger, Dutch shipping in a heavy swell with a small hoeker under a half-lowered mainsail, and with a school of porpoises in the foreground, c. 1670. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax on the estate of the late Edna, Lady Samuel of Wych cross and allocated to the National Trust for display at Buckland Abbey. Image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

King Charles II and James, Duke of York commissioned Willem the Younger to produce a series of sea battle paintings following the end of the Anglo-Dutch wars in 1674. Van de Velde father and son were both given studio space in the Queen’s House at Greenwich.

Willem van de Velde the Younger, A Dutch ship and other small vessels in a strong breeze, 1658. ©The National Gallery, London, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Although the two paintings allocated to the National Trust were probably not conceived as a pair they have hung together since the early 19th century. The pictures were probably acquired in Amsterdam by Thomas Hope, the collector and taste-maker, and hung at is mansion The Deepdene in Surrey. Later they were owned by the Edwardian collector Alfred Beit.

Willem van de Velde the Younger, A Mediterranean brigantine drifting onto a rocky coast in a storm, c. 1700. ©National Maritime Museum, London, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The pictures have been allocated to Buckland Abbey, Devon. These and other paintings by Willem van de Velde the Younger can be perused via the Your Paintings/Public Catalogue Foundation site.

The spirit of Petworth

November 23, 2012

Christopher Rowell has just published a new book about the house which probably contains the richest collection of fine and decorative arts, furnishings and books in any of the historic places owned by the National Trust.

The Marble Hall at Petworth, probably built to a design by Daniel Marot. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Petworth: the People and the Place is the second in a new series of books based on the more substantial type of National Trust guidebook, but rewritten and redesigned to include new photography and the latest research.

Wooden cherubs supplied by the workshop of Grinling Gibbons to the 7th Duke of Somerset for the Carved Room at Petworth. ©National Trust Images/Stuart Cox

During much of its history the Petworth estate was part of the huge aristocratic empire of the Percys and latterly the Seymours which also included Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, Syon Park in Isleworth and Northumberland House in central London. This partly explains the richness of the collections at Petworth.

The Grand Staircase at Petworth with murals by Louis Laguerre. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

In the 1690s Charles Seymour, the 6th Duke of Somerset, and his wife Lady Elizabeth Percy turned Petworth into a baroque palace. The building was probably remodeled by Daniel Marot, and many of the most splendid furnishings and works of art date from this period.

Italian sgabello chairs of about 1640, the earliest surviving examples in England, at the bottom of the Grand Staircase at Petworth. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The 6th Duke’s grandson, the 2nd Earl of Egremont, added furniture and furnishings in the rococo style as well nearly 200 paintings and some 70 pieces of antique sculpture.

The Square Dining Room at Petworth, with its rococo furnishings. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The 3rd Earl of Egremont was noted for his ‘abundant though not very refined hospitality’, for his many dogs and host of illegitimate children, but also for his patronage of J.M.W. Turner, who painted numerous views of the house and the park.

Detail of the Exeter carpet, dated 1758, on the Grand Staircase at Petworth. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

In 1947 Petworth was donated to the National Trust by the 3rd Lord Leconfield. After Lord Leconfield’s death his nephew, the 1st Lord Egremont, pioneered the practice of offering outstanding works of art and other historical objects to the Government in lieu of inheritance tax. The current Lord and Lady Egremont still reside at Petworth and have lent items from their personal collection to further enhance the rooms open to the public.

The Rotunda, built in about 1760, in the Pleasure Ground at Petworth. ©National Trust Images/David Levenson

Christopher’s book can be purchased through the National Trust bookshop as well as through Amazon.

It girls of the Elizabethan age

November 20, 2012

Portrait of Margaret Gerard, Lady Legh, attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. Accepted in lieu of inheritance tax by HM Government and allocated to the National Trust for display at Lyme Park, 2011. ©National Trust Collections

This striking full-length portrait is among the objects recently accepted by the Government in lieu of tax and allocated to Lyme Park.

Portrait of Blanche Parry, possibly by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, at Tredegar House, Newport. ©National Trust Collections, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

It depicts Margaret Gerard (1569/70-1603), the wife of Sir Peter Legh IX (1563-1636), who completed and extended the Elizabethan house at Lyme.

Portrait of Elizabeth I, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. ©Trinity College, University of Cambridge, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The portrait is attributed to the Tudor court painter Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (1561/2-1636) who, together with his father, came to England from the southern Netherlands.

Portrait of Elizabeth Vernon, Countess of Southampton, by school of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. ©Glasgow Museums, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Gheeraerts the Younger introduced a more three-dimensional style of portraiture to English art, with more emphasis on capturing the character of the sitter. Moreover, he occasionally portrayed people with a smiling expression, which was rare at this time.

Portrait possibly of Anne Keighley, Mrs William Cavendish, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire. ©National Trust Collections, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

I did a search on the excellent Your Paintings database of oil paintings in UK public collections and found a number of other portraits of ladies by or in the style of Gheeraerts the Younger.

Portrait of an unknown pregnant lady, attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to Tate, 1999. ©Tate, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Seeing the Lyme portrait in the company of these portraits of other Elizabethan ‘it girls’ by the same artist really brings home the strangeness and splendour of Elizabethan court dress and body language.

Portrait of an unknown lady, aged 31, holding a glove and fan, in the style of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, at Nostell Priory. ©National Trust Collections, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

It also demonstrates the huge value of both the Acceptance in Lieu scheme and the Public Catalogue Foundation/Your Paintings project to preserving and opening up our heritage.

An artist of the ancien régime

November 15, 2012

Anne Vallayer-Coster, The Attributes of Hunting and Gardening, 1774. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Basildon Park, Berkshire. ©National Trust Images

It has just been officially announced that Basildon Park was recently allocated a group of objects accepted by the Government in lieu of inheritance tax. The Acceptance in Lieu scheme enables the Government to receive pre-eminent heritage objects in lieu of tax and to hand them on to museum bodies.

Anne Vallayer-Coster, A Vase of Flowers, 1775. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation. Bequeathed by Henry Rogers Broughton, 2nd Lord Fairhaven, 1973

Large numbers of works of art and other objects which had been on loan have been transferred to the National Trust’s ownership in this way over the years. The market value of ‘in lieu’ allocations to the National Trust during the last dozen years alone approaches £30 million. Apart from their very real financial value, these objects also play a crucial role in maintaining the spirit of place of the historic houses with which they are associated, and as such they can now be enjoyed by the public in perpetuity.

The allocation to Basildon includes a painting by French artist Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744-1818) which has been described as an outstanding example of her work. Vallayer-Coster was a prodigy who was elected as a member of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture at the age of twenty-six, one of only three women to receive that honour in pre-Revolutionary France.

Anne Vallayer-Coster, Portrait of an Elderly Woman with Her Daughter, 1775. © The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

In some ways Vallayer-Coster was constrained by the conventions of her time, avoiding the ‘male’ genre of history painting and focusing mainly on still-lives, depictions of flowers and portraiture. Nevertheless she was professionally very successful, being widely collected in French aristocratic and royal circles.

It is interesting that the few works by her in British public collections seem to have been originally acquired in the late 19th and early-to-mid-20th century, perhaps indicating the renewal of interest in ancien régime art at that time. This interest was recently deepened through the major exhibition devoted to Vallayer-Coster which toured several American museums in 2002.

An emblematic interior

February 28, 2012

Sir Rowland and Lady Winn in the Library at Nostell Priory, attributed to Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1736-1808). Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Nostell Priory, 1986 (inv. no. 960061). ©NTPL/John Hammond

The image of the Chippendale set of steps in the Library at Nostell Priory reminded me of the portrait of Sir Rowland and Lady Winn standing in that same room, painted by Hugh Douglas Hamilton.

The Library at Nostell. Hamilton's painting can be seen on the easel in the corner. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Here we see a couple in the room that they had just finished decorating, to designs by Robert Adam and with stucco by Joseph Rose, inset paintings by Antonio Zucchi and furniture by Thomas Chippendale.

Detail of the Chippendale desk in the Library (inv. no. 959723). Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Nostell Priory, 1986. ©NTPL/Jonathan Gibson

Sir Rowland seems to be leaning against the Chippendale desk, which is still very much the centrepiece of the room today.

Detail of a carved lion mask on the desk. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

The artist has practised a sleight of hand in ‘folding open’ one of the walls of the room, to create a wider backdrop for the figures and allowing them to be more prominent and closer to the picture plane (as explained by our curator of pictures Alastair Laing in his article on the painting in the April 2000 issue of Apollo magazine).

Quite apart from providing a glimpse of the life of the specific inhabitants of a specific house, this picture has fairly recently also come to stand for English cultural life in the eighteenth century more generally, when it was reproduced on the cover of John Brewer’s widely-read book The Pleasures of the Imagination. The companionable atmosphere of the painting and its suggestion of culture and learning borne lightly seems to make it an emblem of the ideal of a certain way of life.

Vita and Violet

March 7, 2011

Portrait of Violet Trefusis by Sir John Lavery, 1919. ©MLA

One of the episodes in Vita Sackville-West’s life that previous generations were slightly reluctant to discuss was the passionate affair she had with Violet Trefusis. To be fair, Nigel Nicolson, one of Vita’s sons, did describe the relationship in his fascinating Portrait of a Marriage, first published in 1973.

Portrait of Vita Sackville-West by Philip de Laszlo, 1909. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Vita and Violet had been friends at school, but when they met again in 1918 they began, as Nigel Nicolson describes it, a ‘mad and irresponsible summer of moonlight nights, and infinite escapades, and passionate letters, and music, and poetry.’

Violet Trefusis's bookplate in the collected works of Jose-Maria de Heredia, in the library at Sissinghurst. ©NTPL/John Hammond

By this time Vita was married to Harold Nicolson and Violet, under pressure from her mother, married Denys Trefusis in 1919. When Vita and Violet eloped to France in early 1920 their husbands set off in pursuit, chartering a small plane, and eventually persuaded them to return home.

The Rose Garden at Sissinghurst. ©NTPL/Jonathan Buckley

Vita ultimately chose to stay with Harold and they went on to create the famous garden at Sissinghurst. But Vita could never entirely forget Violet.

The portrait of Violet shown above, by Sir John Lavery, was accepted by the Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to Sissinghurst in 2010.