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Olive Custance (February 7, 1874 – February 12, 1944)

Olive Eleanor Custance was a British poet and wife of Lord Alfred Douglas. She was part of the aesthetic movement of the 1890s, and a contributor to The Yellow Book.
Born: February 7, 1874, London, United Kingdom
Died: February 12, 1944
Lived: Weston Hall, Weston Longville, Norwich, Norfolk NR9 5JG, UK (52.71594, 1.11165)
12 John Street, Berkeley Square, London
Spouse: Lord Alfred Douglas (m. 1902–1944)
Books: The Inn of Dreams, more
Married: March 4, 1902

Olive Custance was a British poet. She was part of the aesthetic movement of the 1890s, and a contributor to The Yellow Book. Lord Alfred Douglas, nicknamed Bosie, was a British author, poet and translator, better known as the intimate friend and lover of the writer Oscar Wilde. Much of his early poetry was Uranian in theme, though he tended, later in life, to distance himself from both Wilde's influence and his own role as a Uranian poet. Custance was bisexual. In 1901, she became involved in a lesbian relationship with writer Natalie Clifford Barney in Paris, which Barney later included in her memoirs. Custance then became engaged to George Montagu, but ran away and married Lord Alfred Douglas instead. Their only child, Raymond, showed signs of instability in his youth. For a time he served in the army, but was confined to mental institutions for long periods. This further strained the marriage, which by the end of the 1920s was all but over, despite the fact that they never divorced. Custance died in 1944, her husband in 1945.
Together from 1902 to (before) 1929: 27 years.
Lord Alfred “Bosie” Bruce Douglas (October 22, 1870 – March 20, 1945)
Olive Eleanor Custance (February 7, 1874 – February 12, 1944)
Married: March 4, 1902



Days of Love edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
ISBN-10: 1500563323
Release Date: September 21, 2014
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Olive Custance was born at 12 John Street, Berkeley Square, in London, the only daughter and heiress of Colonel Frederick Hambleton Custance, who was a wealthy and distinguished soldier in the British army.



Queer Places, Vol. 2 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532906312
ISBN-10: 1532906315
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228833
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Olive Custance spent the majority of her childhood at Weston Old Hall in Norfolk, the family seat.
Address: Weston Longville, Norwich, Norfolk NR9 5JG, UK (52.71594, 1.11165)
Type: Private Property
English Heritage Building ID: 228443 (Grade II, 1952)
Place
The family of Rookwood held large possessions in Weston at an early period; they descend from John Rokewode, who was escheater of Norfolk and Suffolk of Edward III, and was living at Euston, Suffolk, under Richard II. Firmine Rookwood is said to have built Weston Hall. Weston House was the seat of Hambleton Thomas Custance, esq. in the XIX century. Weston Hall is a country house, late XVI century and later, much altered, but possibly retaining an earlier core. Red brick, steeply-pitched pantile roofs. T-shaped plan; two storeys and two storeys with attics. Earlier wing to east with some brick diapering still visible; two storey porch with pedimented upper window with ovolo moulded mullions and transom. Doorway with segmental head and Doric pilasters and good doorframe of ca. 1600. Coat of arms and the date 1606 on upper part of porch, but details now obscured by ivy growth. Later range running north-south, probably mid XVIII century: casement windows with leaded glazing, some casements with transoms. North wing has sashes with glazing bars and rusticated rendered surrounds. North gable rebuilt. Attic dormer on west side with leaded 3-light casement. Two chimney stacks on ridge line. 3-light attic casement in south gable. XX century extensions to north and west.
Life
Who: Olive Eleanor Custance (February 7, 1874 – February 12, 1944)
Olive Custance was a British poet and wife of Lord Alfred Douglas. She was part of the aesthetic movement of the 1890s, and a contributor to The Yellow Book. Custance joined the London literary circle around such figures as Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, Ernest Dowson and John Gray in about 1890 when she was only 16. At this time she became infatuated with the poet John Gray and wrote some of her first poetry about him. Heavily influenced by French poets such as Verlaine and Rimbaud and by the decadent mood of that period, she quickly rose to prominence as a poet. In 1901 she became involved in a relationship with the overtly lesbian writer Natalie Clifford Barney in Paris, which Barney later included in her memoirs. Barney, and a friend of hers, Renée Vivien, were keen to win Custance as a partner, and indeed Custance remained on close terms with Barney for years. Custance and Barney exchanged love poems, including Custance’s poems “The White Witch.” Vivien’s roman à clef “A Woman Appeared to Me” (1904) also recounts her brief relationship with Custance. During her brief affair with Barney, Custance also instigated a courtship with Lord Alfred Douglas by writing to him admiringly in June 1901, six months after the death of Oscar Wilde. The two corresponded under the nicknames of the “Prince” (for Douglas) and “Princess” or “Page” for Custance. However, in late 1901, in an odd turn of events, Custance became engaged to George Montagu, who had been at school with Douglas. It was a short engagement because when Douglas returned from a trip to the USA (where, as he had written to her teasingly, he was looking for a rich heiress to marry) the two of them ran away and married each other on March 4, 1902. From 1907 to 1910 Douglas had an affair with artist Romaine Brooks, who was also bisexual (the main love of her life was the same Natalie Clifford Barney who also had an affair with Wilde's niece Dorothy and with Olive Custance, the year before the couple married). Douglas and Custance began to live apart in 1913, after the couple lost a custody battle for their only child to Custance’s father. The couple again lived together for a time in the 1920s after Olive converted to Catholicism in 1917. By the end of the 1920s they had separated again and Custance had given up her Catholicism. However, they did not divorce, and in 1932, she followed Douglas to Hove, taking a house near his. In the final 12 years of her life, they saw each other almost every day. She died on February 12, 1944 holding Lord Alfred Douglas’ hand; Douglas himself died the next year, on March 20, 1945. Their son Raymond survived to the age of 61; after several lengthy episodes of mental instability throughout his lifetime, he died unmarried on October 10, 1965.



Queer Places, Vol. 2 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532906312
ISBN-10: 1532906315
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228833
Amazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1532906315/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IZ1KZBO/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

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Tags: days of love, queer places
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