I know, I know – I have totally neglected this poor old blog for absolutely ages. Life happens and stuff gets in the way – and novels get written and edited and published and that’s good, right? But blogs and websites fall by the wayside.
However! My website is now updated, and I am writing a blog post. Yay!
And this blog post is extra special – if you can recall a little while ago, I was talking about the inspiration for my book Watch for me by Twilight, and how it involved a war poet falling for the Lady of the House, and how it was also based on something I saw a long time ago. That something was a stately home with a painting in it of the Lady of the House, and a very tragic love story of a man who was in love with her but then joined up and was killed in World War II. I was certain it was a war poet, and have spent so many hours researching it to no avail. Thankfully, in my book, there is a much happier ending and my poet and girl get together. But I did offer, at some point, a free book to someone who solved my own mystery for me – and I am happy to report that that someone is….me!
Yes, finally I have the answer to my mystery war poet. Only he’s not a war poet – it was the artist Rex Whistler. Rex was in love with Lady Caroline Paget from Plas Nwydd in Wales, a house now in the care of the National Trust. Rex did numerous paintings of Caroline, including a very lovely nude – so one may draw one’s own conclusions on that one! He died in Normandy on 18th July 1944, and had, I believe sent her a gorgeous picture and letter from France, just before he died, which I also believe are on display at Plas Newydd. Sadly, Caroline didn’t receive the gift until after he had died, and could never thank him for it; but there are, happily, still other letters and pictures he gave to her in existence.
Caroline went on to marry Sir Michael Duff, 3rd Baronet and adopted a son with him. I bet she never quite forgot Rex though – how could you when every time you walked into your family home you saw a huge mural he had painted, the content of which you had discussed as you travelled up from London in a train together, and the mural was full of hidden symbolism, testament to his love of you?
One day, I think I’d like to revisit the Bright Young Things and perhaps even the Bloomsbury Group of Artists in my books – but I don’t know. Who could ever top Stella and Rob from Watch for me by Twilight? Answers on a postcard…or a comment on this blog perhaps!
And I do hope you like the pictures above of Caroline and Rex…