A Spanish Galleon

"& there used to be a great lady in Bedford Square who managed to make life seem a little amusing & interesting & adventurous,
so I used to think when I was young & wore a blue dress,
& Ottoline was like a Spanish galleon, hung with golden coins, & lovely silken sails." Virginia Woolf
Ottoline photographed by Adolf de Meyer, NPG


  1. Who was it that said (possibly Georgia Sitwell?? I shall have to look it up) that Edith Sitwell looked like "a Byzantine altar on the move"? Could one put the Byzantine altar in the Spanish galleon...? The mind boggles.

  2. Diane, we must be on a similar wavelength-I have a post up on edith from my post last week-a quote follow up with part of this one you have quoted here. would love to get the exact quote of this one if you find it! look for what Elizabeth Bowen had to say on Edith. pgt

  3. Gayle, how did I miss your Edith post on LA? Oh yes--working in the garden. I read it today (and will go back to see what else I missed.) Last night I searched my copy of Serious Pleasures, bio of Stephen Tennant, for the Sitwell description--luckily I'd read it recently enough to remember which book. Your message above is spot-on--it was Elizabeth Bowen's description of Edith, not Georgia's, and I got the part about the Byzantine altar wrong; she said Edith looked like "a high altar on the move." I have Victoria Glendinning's bio of Edith, as well as her autobiography, neither of which I have read yet; shame on me, but I acquire books faster than I can read them. So I'll move them from shelf to bedside stack (along with the Morrell bios) and get to them this summer.

    Speaking of the often ridiculous prices of books--which I consider almost a form of censorship--I am delighted to have just ordered a copy (gently used) of Goodman's Tony Duquette for $23. I am chuffed! I've seen so many pix from English Style on LA, I will have to search the internet for that too. Cheers!

  4. very pleased I found your blog on Ottoline. There is even an old garden rose named for her.