Born: April 25, 1895, Knightsbridge, London, United Kingdom
Died: January 9, 1980, Canonbury, London, United Kingdom
Education: Balliol College
Books: Try Anything Once, Channel packet, more
Lived: Long Critchel House, Long Crichel, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 5LF, UK (50.8913, -2.03398)
Long Critchel House was bought in 1945 by Edward Sackville-West, 5th Baron Sackville, music critic Desmond Shawe-Taylor and art critic Eardley Knollys.
Address: Long Crichel, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 5LF, UK (50.8913, -2.03398)
Type: Private Property
English Heritage Building ID: 107390 (Grade II, 1955)
Long Crichel is a small village and civil parish in east Dorset, situated on Cranborne Chase five miles north east of Blandford Forum. In 2001 it had a population of 81. The village church is St Mary’s Church, Long Crichel. The tower of the church dates from the XV century, and the rest of the church was rebuilt in 1851. It was declared redundant on 1 July, 2003, and was vested in the Friends of Friendless Churches during 2010. At Long Critchel House Edward Sackville-West, Desmond Shawe-Taylor and Eardley Knollys established "what in effect was a male salon, entertaining at the weekends a galaxy of friends from the worlds of books and music,” including James Lees-Milne, a close friend of Knollys. By the mid-1960s Sackville, who died in 1965, and Knollys had been replaced by the literary critic Raymond Mortimer and Patrick Trevor-Roper.
Who: Edward Charles Sackville-West, 5th Baron Sackville (November 13, 1901 – July 4, 1965), Desmond Christopher Shawe-Taylor (May 29, 1907 – November 1, 1995) and (Edward) Eardley Knollys (1902-1991)
Edward Charles Sackville-West was a British music critic, novelist and, in his last years, a member of the House of Lords. Musically gifted as a boy, he was attracted as a young man to a literary life and wrote a series of semi-autobiographical novels in the 1920s and ‘30s. They made little impact, and his more lasting books are a biography of the poet Thomas de Quincey and “The Record Guide,” Britain’s first comprehensive guide to classical music on record, first published in 1951. As a critic and a member of the board of the Royal Opera House, he strove to promote the works of young British composers, including Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett. Britten worked with him on a musical drama for radio and dedicated to him one of his best known works, the “Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings.” His partner Desmond Shawe-Taylor said of him, "not many boys can have played at a school concert the Second Concerto of Rachmaninov.” Sackville-West’s family home was Knole in Kent. He maintained rooms there, but it was not until 1945 that he had a home of his own. Together with Shawe-Taylor he set up home at Long Crichel House near Wimborne. Shawe-Taylor and Eddy Sackville-West met in 1935, Shawe-Taylor staying a night in Sackville-West’s rooms at Knole, in Kent, before they both attended a performance of Berlioz’s opera “The Trojans,” at that time such a novelty in Britain that they thought it well worth a journey to Glasgow to hear it. A firm, if sometimes bumpy, but very creative, friendship formed that was to last until Sackville-West’s death in 1965. He was succeeded in the barony by his cousin Lionel Bertrand Sackville-West. Eardley Knollys was an artist of the Bloomsbury School of artists, art critic, art dealer and collector, active from the 1920s to 1950s. He only began to paint himself in 1949, and had his first solo exhibition at the age of 58 in 1960, by which time he was already a "minor legend in British art.” He was a director of The Storran Gallery at 106 Brompton Road, opposite Harrods. James Lees-Milne, a close friend of Knollys, recruited him to join him at the National Trust during WWII, and over the next 15 years accompanied him on many of the trips to country houses recorded in his published volumes of diaries. Several photos from the 1920s of Knollys and friends by Lady Ottoline Morrell are in the National Portrait Gallery. Raymond Mortimer was a British writer on art and literature, known mostly as a critic and literary editor. He was a friend of the poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West, and was involved in a long-term relationship with her husband, author and British diplomat Harold Nicolson. Raymond Mortimer joined the three original owners of Long Crichel House, Wimborne, friends Edward Sackville West, Desmond Shawe-Taylor and Eardley Knollys, as one of the residents, after WW2. Patrick Trevor-Roper, British eye surgeon and pioneer gay rights activist, was one of the first people in the United Kingdom to "come out" as openly gay, and played a leading role in the campaign to repeal the UK’s anti-gay laws. In 1955 Trevor-Roper agreed to appear as a witness before the Wolfenden Committee, which had been appointed by the British government to investigate (among other things) whether male homosexuality should remain a crime. He was one of only three men who could be found to appear as openly gay witnesses before the Committee. The others were the journalist Peter Wildeblood (who had been convicted for homosexual offence) and Carl Winter, director of the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Queer Places, Vol. 2 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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