the Art Fashion Creation of Ottoline

Ottoline Divine is off road-down the way from little augury-but I think most readers know that-in fact- I think we are an exclusive set that gather here when something utterly Ottoline appears in current conscience of Art-Fashion-Creation- but you get the idea.  We know Ottoline as an Original and whether others today are just happening upon her-or through self discovery happen to get catch the spirit of the Lady-she is every where.

one of the many portraits of Ottoline at the NPG here

It's a delight to find that Ottoline has fired the imagination of a blog I've recently discovered called ArT FaSHiON CreaTion-written by one nom de plume "toile la la." Obviously sharing my love for play on words- she discovered Ottoline Divine and offered me a perfect place HERE- to talk about Lady Ottoline Morrell and a little about myself. Join the conversation.

for the Holidays

the original photograph of Garsington can be found at the NPG here

lady OTT, Lord D'Abernon & Buggie

through the eyes of the distinguished Lord D'Abernon

"Lady Ottoline got to meet my darling Buggie today."

Lord D' Abernon by Augustus John

Lord D'Abernon was in his sixties when He and Anita started "going out" together. He made it his habit to drop in to her hotel for tea each afternoon-if the pair hadn't already met up during the day. His one pass as Anita put it-was to ask her if she-would like to retire to the bedroom.
she answered No-
Lord D'Abernon did not ask again-
and that was that-The lady recalls with some regret.

Anita Loos

from her book: The first time Lord D'Abernon led me into the drawing room of Lady Ottoline Morrell, she was standing beside the portrait of Lytton Strachey by Augustus John, done when both the painter and his subject were unknown...Lady Ottoline was a fragile beauty who seemed to be floating in a cloud of pink chiffon. Her Ladyship was kindness itself. She took the trouble to send me a note Strachey wrote her, in which he mentioned me as "the divine A." (imagine that!)

I have been reading the autobiography of Anita Loos, "Buggie"-and both volumes are a whirlwind of Hollywood and the English aristocracy in between the great wars.

there is another post about Anita Loos at Little Augury here


I do Love the Silhouette. My brother has a lovely collection of them. Friend and Fellow Blogger-Rose of Rose C'est La Vie- did this one of OTT. It highlights her signature Pearls and sets her in a perfect background-her eyes were described as turquoise. Easily recognizable -as are the other Women Rose has Silhouetted- take a Look Here-
OTToLIne is in great company.

the Pearls:
 "On our way through Paris my mother had insisted on buying me some very lovely muslin dresses, and for some reason this had greatly upset me; also it was there that she bought for me a row of pearls at the sale of the French crown jewels; she liked to feel that I should wear a row of pearls that had been round the neck of Marie Antoinette. These gifts gave me acute pain... in my distress they seemed a mockery."

Rose's inspiration- Here at Ottoline Divine

Tea Time with Lady OttoLine


Ottoline documented here life in pictures-her scrapbooks can be found at the NPG HERE.

return to San Michele

Ottoline-in one of many photographs from her Scrapbooks at the NPG here

One of the blog's to read is at Axel Munthe's villa in Capri-and we can not miss him.
PAUL GERVAIS awaits us here

Though I've tried to forget the Doctor-there are moments when thoughts of our liaison come flooding back to me. TODAY is one of those days. OTT. 

summer in Venice

Sand & SEA


Ottoline with Augustus John

she wrote in her Memoirs...
ITALY has ever been in my Imagination the Land of My Freedom...As I look back on the years that followed IT, and trace My Wanderings, I see I was more in ITALY than in ENGLAND.

Ottoline documented her life in photographs housed in scrapbooks, see more-and these originals at the NPG, HERE.


Ottoline wearing a Jessica Allen White swimsuit and her pearls

Ottoline at Monk's House

one of the many Images from the July World of Interiors issue- a beautiful photographic essay-this of Virginia Woolf's bedroom. The Chinese silk shawl was a gift from Ottoline.

Virginia Woolf photographed by Ottoline, from the NPG here.

see more from Monk's House-at little augury HERE-

Dorelia, & John passing through

stopping in a moment to share a posting at little augury about Dorelia-and Augustus. the pair were friends of our Ottoline. do I have to mention Ottoline had a bit of a thing for the dashing bohemian-
No not Dorelia but Augustus.

The feeling was mutual-as it was with Augustus John and most any female that stood before him or his canvas. He was a "ladies man" -as they say. All's well that ends well-The three became lifelong friends-as Ottoline's copious photographs attest.Dorelia once John's mistress became his wife after his first wife died.

the story Here.
the photograph above from Ottoline's scrapbooks at the NPG, Here.


Aldous Huxley was another of OTTOLINE'S- Men. No particular Facts are known or Rumour implied about the pair-however it is well known that the two had a mutual admiration for each other. Huxley sat out the first war at Ottoline's home-Garsington.
Published in 1921, Crome Yellow tells the Story of the country house-Crome. Crome wouldn't be of great import to Us-however it mirrors in many details Ottoline's beloved Garsington -though at the moment in Our OTTOLINE STORY-we have yet to step Over that threshold.

 Ottoline Morrell painted by Duncan Grant

As I've just read CROME YELLOW, so I thought it would be time to share a few things about this Huxley novel. It is his first-take heart novelists-Huxley improved with the length of a few years. Crome mostly interests me for the descriptions Huxley gives Us of the fictional CROME-Garsington- & OUT OTT!

from the novel:
There was a long gallery, with its rows of respectable & ...rather boring Italian primitives, its Chinese sculptures, its unobtrusive,dateless furniture. There was the panelled drawing-room, where the huge chintz-covered arm-chairs stood, oases of comfort among the austere flesh-mortifying antiques. There was the morning-room, with its pale lemon walls,its painted Venetian chairs and rococo tables, its mirrors, its modern pictures. There was the library, cool, spacious, and dark, book-lined from floor to ceiling, rich in portentous folios. There was the dining-room, solidly, portwinily English, with, its great mahogany table, its eighteenth-century chairs and sideboard, its eighteenth-century pictures-family portraits, meticulous animal paintings.


All the Beds were ancient hereditary pieces of furniture. Huge beds, like four-masted ships, with furled sails of shining coloured stuff. Beds carved and inlaid, beds painted and gilded. Beds of walnut and oak, of rare exotic woods. Beds of every date and fashion... all of them grandiose, magnificent. 

Huxley's Crome chatelaine is Priscilla Wimbush:

Priscilla Wimbush was lying on the sofa. A blotting-pad rested on her knees and she was thoughtfully sucking the end of a silver pencil...
Mrs. Wimbush laughed. Her voice, her laughter, were deep and masculine. Everything about her was manly. She had a large, square, middle-aged face, with a massive projecting nose and little greenish eyes, the whole surmounted by a lofty and elaborate coiffure of a curiously improbably shade of orange...
Today she was wearing a purple silk dress with a high collar and a row of pearls. The costume, so richly dowagerish, so suggestive of the Royal Family, made her look more than ever like something on the Halls.


Said PEARLS, "also it was there that she bought for me a row of pearls at the sale of the French crown jewels; she liked to feel that I should wear a row of pearls that had been round the neck of Marie Antoinette."

Priscilla was looking through a pile of  drawings. One by one she held them out at arm's length and, throwing back her mountainous orange head, looked long and attentively through   half-closed eyelids. She wore a pale sea-green dress; on the slope of her mauve-powdered decolletage diamonds twinkled. An immensely long cigarette-holder projected at an angle from her face. Diamonds were embedded in her high-piled coiffure; they glittered every time she moved.

 Doesn't she sound Divine?

all these photographs come from Ottoline's collection of scrapbooks-at the NPG, here.

Dear Lady Ginger

as Ottoline Devotees I know You are ALL as interested in ALL THINGS OTT as I am.
I recently ran across this small & lovely Book  "an exchange of letters" between
edited by Helen Shaw,

Yet another younger man-obsessed with Ottoline?
Did You know about HIM?

D'Arcy Walter Cresswell was a young New Zelander who was befriended by Ottoline when he published his The Poet's Progress, recounting his experiences selling his poems door to door in the English countryside.
From its publication in 1930 to Ottoline's death in 1938, the pair exchanged letters.

This slim volume, along with Ottoline's reflections on Cresswell's fellow New Zealander, the poet Kathryn Mansfield, friend to both, offers us another look into Ottoline's penchant for mentoring artists. Our Lady Bountiful supplied Cresswell with his longing for news from literary England after his return to New Zealand during the depths of the Depression in 1932. She sent him books & papers too costly for the poet. The pair shared a craving for Art, Beauty & companionship-

Their LETTERS, We have in the form of Dear Lady Ginger.

cresswell's photographs are from the NPG, here
As I read along, I'LL stay In Touch,


Lady Ottoline Morrell  painted by Augustus John

Always AN Original: Ott and the CAMERA

If you haven't noticed Girl's Best Fashion Accessory lately is the CAMERA-You haven't been LOOKING!

 Perhaps the BEST KNOWN, the lovely GARANCE DORE, photographed by Scott Schuman, THE SATORIALIST.

Today's Young Beauties are catching Looks with their CAMERA and IN TURN are getting Caught in the Lens with CAMERA-as they snap away.
No Surprise then-There's nothing NEW, as in Under the SUN- that OTTOLINE was the 1st- Again the bona fide Original-
Snapping, always-and away, the People surrounding her sight line. She too was caught with CAMERA as she photographed.


Schuman chronicles the LADIES in his series All the Pretty Photographers- here.
see OTTOLINE near 600 images at the National Portrait Gallery-here

Ott Style: the Original

One of my Favourite OTTOLINE photographs-Lady Ottoline standing in a wind-blown field in Berkshire Downs, ca. 1900. from the Papers of Lady Ottoline Morrell, here.

Now READING: CROME YELLOW by Adolus Huxley from 1921, where he draws on his visits to OTTLine's Garsington and her Life there. More about the book Later.

OttoLINE Style 2012

more from the Fall Collections- ALL OTT.

from John Galiano

OTT Style:1900, 2012

from the NPG here.

John Galiano FALL 2012

OTT STYLE: the Original

a windswept OTT, at the NPG here.


Ilva Heitmann photographed by Oliver Stalmans for Elle Denmark March 2012

oh, "my old friend CRAMB"

Ottoline in 1902
portrait from the NPG here. 

Amongst Ottoline Morrell's correspondence are 94 letters tied in a pink ribbon from John Adam Cramb. In Ottoline's memoirs Cramb is mentioned only in passing-when she references him as  "my old friend Cramb." Why?

What is known of Cramb-a Scottish born academic-is his nom de plume-J.A. Revermort. Revermort penned the novel CUTHBERT LEARMONT. In the 1910 novel, the heroine, Mary Fortheringham has an affair with a Scottish divinity student-Can you imagine the rest of Our Story?
Yes- Mary bears a striking resemblance to OTTOLINE. According to biographer Sandra Jobson Darroch- the resemblance is much more than just physical-though Mary is a tall copper haired woman like our OTT.

Ottoline's 1903 existence parallels the character- " Mary had married a reliable but rather dull husband. Finding herself expected to lead the life of a doll in a doll's house, she hungers for a more romantic existence,craving a companion with whom she can share the experiences of the soul. Cuthbert whom she meets at a party, provides her with just such a kindred spirit; the meet again in the foyer of a theatre and agree to see more of one another. Mary, an elegant, artistic woman with a strange seductive voice and a weakness for dramatic hats, takes to having long intimate talks with Cuthbert, usually in her boudoir, where they discuss books, poetry, music and spiritual matters. They also go to art galleries and curio shops together. Mary, who often signs her mane with her initials, "an M curiously formed," suffers from intense headaches and sometimes oes off to seek cures at health spas.

CRAMB's letters are peppered with Latin, Greek and Italian-along with the use of "THOU"- his way of addressing Ottoline. He referred to himself  as "Thine Adoring RAYMONDE of RUYREMONDE."  Their meeting is much like Cuthbert and Mary's -the pair seem to have met around 1903-when Cramb offered her a cigarette in the lobby foyer of Queen's Hall. Their correspondence describes outings like the Novel Pair-& once after  Ottoline failed to show for a rendezvous- Cramb called her a "stern demi-goddess." Passages from the novel can be traced to known descriptions of Ottoline's Grosvenor Road boudoir- where the  REAL PAIR just as the NOVEL PAIR?
 It is hard to say.
 At one point  A CRAMB letter refers to OTTOLINE's emotional outburst "by the river." There follows a flourish of letters - a Telegram-a Meeting-then a Cooling Off Period & then an arduous CRAMB Letter saying:
" Thy Letter this morning was a Throb of Delight... O Thou Sweet Sister... coulds't but read my Heart today how Thou wouldst see there All that Feeling, All that Tenderness which Thou didst desiderate and demand!...
& I accuse myself for saying that thing yesterday-for hadst thou been well, I feel that thou wouldst have flung it back at Me or Simply Laughed- Yet in spite of my own pain how infinitely sweet thou wert- O Thou Heavenliest, Thou Heavenliest-what shall I say unto Thee? Thou Must See, Thou Must see Heaven, How coulds't thou Speak that Word!"
At the height of their "Friendship" in JUNE-Ottoline's letters cease-
CRAMB's "Thou hast not written? Hast thou a temper? I wish thou wouldst be sensible.".. follow.
Then- "I know nothing from thy wild statements."
Letters fly back and forth again, Much to CRAMB's relief -& he envisions himself as a Gazelle led by Ottoline on a chain.
Well-after that, It's no wonder things had cooled off by November.
CRAMB describes himself in a letter  as "triste vraiment," suggesting Ottoline wanted to break with him. Correspondence continued on- though in a  more formal tone-yet Cramb did continue to send Ottoline cigarettes & couldn't help remind HER- SO often had He sent round her Ladies' No 1 Gold Tipped that the clerk still knew her address by heart.
All the while "Our Lover"was writing his Cuthbert Learmont. 
How did OTTOLINE feel about it? We don't know. One can only guess from her History, this would be the  first "Affair" that resulted in published fiction-& NOT the Last!
A pattern for seeking out grand friendships- And passionate ones-with Men, began prior to her marriage (We've delved into some of those) and the CRAMB "Affair" was the 1st of many in her Married LIFE.
There are MORE-Many MORE to come!

Seeking the cure-

Plagued with illnesses throughout her Life-

Ottoline, seeking the cure, 1928.

images from the NPG here.

how OTT wore a HAT

from her own scrapbook, 1917, found at the NPG here

(today's little augury post on Edie's HAT here)


Lady Ottoline Morrell; William Arthur Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland 1935
in the NPG Ottoline Morrell collection here.

The BRITISH magazine TATLER's February issue has gathered an expert panel of Country House aficionados to bestow awards for such as- Best Overall House, Best Ghost.
You get the picture?

The Great Ballroom

 No surprise Lady Ottoline Morrell's family home WELBECK ABBEY came in 1ST Place for the BEST SECRET TUNNEL. They describe the tunnel as: more than one and  a half miles of tunnels, complete with skylights and wide enough in some places for two carriages to pass. Its also has an underground great hall, used a s Ballroom, and five rooms designed to house a Library. Crikey.


OTT & Encounters with the COTERIE

 On her 1st Visit to MELLS- with Edward Horner

 Ottoline writes of her 1st visit to Edward Horner's MELLS in THE EARLY Memoirs. It is an interesting and telling-retelling of the visit she made with her husband Philip-a Liberal MP to the Conservative territory of MELLS. The visit preceded the first WAR- when the Coterie -(See LITTLE AUGURY today here)

She was filled with dread at the thought of the Horner's politics along with the family's  thoughts on Art & Literature. Remember- OTTOLINE was the daughter of the heir to the title -Duke of Portland & her step brother ultimately inherited the title, becoming the 6th Duke. Ottoline had grown up at Welbeck, was well traveled and by this time- 1909-she had met & mingled with many notables of the day.

  another weekend with the ASQUITHS-1913

We were "WAYFARERS IN LIFE-OUTSIDERS & I felt rebellious against their cynical political views...They had the power  of making those who had not as yet public approval; they had the power of making those  who were not of their intimate circle feel the pain of sheepish inferiority."
OTTOLINE said her curiosity triumphed and packed her best dresses that suddenly seemed like 'Picturesque Rags '& she claims to have been quite self conscious about them.
(I'm surprised-though it does show us the vulnerabilities of  Our OTT. Surely she was always conscious of her deficiencies in  education-but never one would think her wardrobe!)
She was however-as it seems on most occasions- Camera Ready, and would photograph Katherine Asquith time and again over the years. Ultimately the Ladies must have connected despite Ottoline's misgivings and forged a friendship.

"I see ourselves sitting in the loggia talking... a brave effort to transpose myself  to their key"

"Across our path would come Lady Horner's son, Edward, who at that moment had the dazzling beauty of a Greek athlete. His beauty was indeed too perfect to be more than transient.

 It was fated never to fade, for early in the war he was one of its thousands of victims, He & Raymond Asquith, whom I can still see sitting in the loggia, in a long basket-chair, reading D. H. Lawrences' novel The White Peacock, which he admired."

OTTOLINE remembered him a having "a streak of charming gentleness & tenderness, but it was not easy to find the way to it through the armour of skeptical cleverness that had been hardened & polished by Oxford & the smart set in London who flattered & admired him...Whatever Raymond thought & did was followed by the other young Olympians-the Grenfell Brothers, Patrick Shaw Stewart, Edward Horner and others. He drove the foremost chariot...LIFE was 'too gloriously happy' to see that... hideous creature... that came into our very presence.. & it... appeared to those Young Men as one clad in bright armour, radiant & beautiful, beckoning them to come to new adventure-'to a glorious picnic', as one of them described it.

images are from the NPG collection here