About Norah Clients Circle of Friends Design Principles



The Life and Art of a Garden Designer

contains an Appendix of more than 250 people who Norah Lindsay considered her Circle of Friends.

A sampling of the list includes:

Belloc, Hilaire (1870-1933) British writer and poet. Norah and Hilaire enjoyed a close, intimate friendship with each other after the death of Belloc’s wife Elodie in 1910. Several letters written by Belloc to Norah exist in the archives.

Chaplin, Charlie Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin (1889-1977) English comedy actor and film star. He married four times: in 1918, Mildred Harris; in 1924, Lita Grey, with whom he had two sons; from 1932-1940, a (probable) common-law marriage to Paulette Goddard; and in 1943, to Oona O’Neill, daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill with whom he had eight children.

Colefax, Sybil, née Halsey (1874 - 1950) Married to Sir Arthur Colefax (1886 - 1936). A prominent London hostess. Co-founder, with her partner John Fowler, of the interior design firm Colefax and Fowler.

Cooper, Lady Diana Olivia Winifred Maud, née Manners (1892-1986) Actress, society hostess, and author. She married Alfred Duff Cooper (1890 – 1954), later Viscount Norwich, in 1919. She was the daughter of the 8th Duke of Rutland (although her biological father was said to be the writer and politician Harry Cust) and Violet, Duchess of Rutland, and was Harry Lindsay’s niece.

Cunard, Maud (Emerald) Burke (1872 – 1948) Changed her name to ‘Emerald’ in about 1927 because of her love for wearing massive amounts of the gem. She was an American from San Francisco and a famed society hostess who in 1895 married Sir Bache Cunard (1851-1925), heir to the shipping fortune.

Doubleday, Frank Nelson (1862-1934) U. S. publisher. Founder of Doubleday & McClure Company, in 1897. The firm became Doubleday, Page & Co. in 1899. His first wife was Neltje Blanchan with whom he visited Sutton Courtenay.

Edward, Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII; from 1937 Duke of Windsor (1894 – 1972) King of the United Kingdom from January 20, 1936 until his abdication on December 11, 1936. He married Wallis Simpson in 1937. Norah helped design his gardens at Fort Belvedere, Windsor Great Park.

Field, Marshall III (1893-1956) Head of the Chicago brokerage firm Field, Glore & Co., and heir to the Marshall Field department store in Chicago. President Field Enterprises, Inc., published Chicago Sun-Times, owned Simon and Schuster, Inc., and Pocket Books, Inc., and operated radio stations. Norah designed gardens for Marshall Field and two of his wives.

Goddard, Paulette (1910 - 1990) Birth name: Pauline Marion Levy. Actress. Was at the height of her career in the mid-1940’s when Norah knew her. Married four times: Edgar James (1927-1931); Charles Chaplin (1936 - 1942); Burgess Meredith (1944-1950); Erich Maria Remarque (1958-1970)

Horner, Frances, Lady, née Graham (1858 – 1940) Hostess and patron of the arts; a member of The Souls, and friend of the painter Edward Burne-Jones. She married Sir John Francis Fortescue Horner (1842-1927) in 1883. She was a lifelong friend of Norah and her first paying client. Norah designed gardens for the Horners at Mells Manor House.

Lees-Milne, James (1908 - 1997) British biographer and historian. For many years on the staff of the National Trust as Secretary of the Country House Committee and architectural consultant.

Lloyd, Mary Helen Wingate (1868 – 1934) Married to Horatio Gates Lloyd, a financier and President of the Commercial Trust Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lived at Allgates, their estate in Haverford, near Philadelphia. Active in the campaign for woman’s suffrage and organized one of the founding clubs of the Garden Club of America (GCA). Served for many years as the editor of the Plant Material department of the GCA Bulletin. She served as Director of GCA from 1928-1933, and held the position of First Vice-President until her death. Active in many plant societies, including the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and a charter member of the American Iris Society. Mrs. Lloyd organized the tour of American gardeners who visited Sutton Courtenay and Cliveden in 1929.

Marsh, Edward Howard (1872-1953) Sir Edward Marsh (Eddie) was a British classicist, translator, and patron of poetry and painting. In 1906 became the private secretary to Winston Churchill, a post which he held for almost 25 years. He was a close friend of Rupert Brooke, with whom he edited four volumes of poetry, including the works of Walter de la Mare and D. H. Lawrence.

Maugham, Syrie Wellcome, née Barnardo (1879 - 1955)Interior designer. Famous for influencing the all white look in decoration in the 1920s and 1930s. Married in 1916 to Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), novelist. Divorced in 1927. Norah designed her gardens in London.

Mosley, Sir Oswald (Tom) (1896-1980) Politician and founder, in 1932, of the British Union of Fascists. When his first wife Cimmie died in 1933 Norah was asked to design and plant a memorial on their property, Savehay Farm, Buckinghamshire in Cimmie’s honour. In 1936 he married Diana Guinness, née Mitford. Hitler was in attendance at the ceremony.

Niven, David (1910 - 1983) British born film actor. Norah was friendly with him while he was acting in The First of the Few (1942) and The Way Ahead (1944). In later years his films included, Around The World In Eighty Days, The Guns of Navarone, The Pink Panther. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Separate Tables (1958).

Novello, Ivor (1893-1951) Welsh born actor, composer and playwright. David Ivor Davies was better known as Ivor Novello. He was one of Britain’s greatest geniuses on the musical stage. In 1914 he wrote the song ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’, which became the most popular song amongst British soldiers. He appeared on stage in the West End in musical shows of his own devising, the best known being ‘The Dancing Years’ (1939). He also went to Hollywood and appeared in films such as ‘The White Rose’ (1923) and ‘The Vortex’ (1928). Ivor frequently visited Sutton Courtenay with his friends Ned Lathom and Eddie Marsh.

Prouvost, Jean (1885 - 1978) Prouvost founded Paris Soir in 1931, Marie Claire in 1937 the first magazine aimed at women, and Paris Match in 1938. In the 1950’s he acquired Le Figaro. Norah designed gardens at his estate in St. Jean, France. While she was there Prouvost was holding the initial meetings for the formation of Marie Claire. Norah was intrigued and interested in the process and often wrote about the meetings and the people involved.

Sackville-West, Vita (1892 – 1962) Novelist and poet. Wrote Passenger to Teheran (1926), The Edwardians (1930), Saint Joan of Arc (1936), The Eagle and The Dove (1943), The Garden (1946). Looked to Norah for advise on her famous garden at Sissinghurst. Visited Sutton Courtenay for gardening ideas.

Shaw, George B. (1856 – 1950) Playwright. Shaw wrote Pygmalion (1912) on which My Fair Lady (1956) is based. Other plays include Arms and the Man (1894), Saint Joan (1923), The Apple Cart (1929), and Geneva (1938). Often referred to as G.B.S. in Norah’s letters. A frequent house guest at Sutton Courtenay and the weekend parties that Norah attended at Cliveden and Blickling Hall.

von Hofmannsthal, Ava Alice Muriel Astor (1902 - 1956) Ava Alice Muriel Astor Obolensky von Hofmannsthal Harding Pleydell-Bouverie. Married four times to: Prince Serge Obolensky, Czarist officer; Raimund von Hofmannsthal, Austrian writer; Philip Harding, British journalist; David Pleydell-Bouverie. The only daughter of John Jacob Astor who was killed during the Titanic disaster. Society hostess and patron of the arts. Norah designed her gardens at Hanover Lodge, Regent’s Park, London.

Waugh, Evelyn (1903 - 1966) Novelist. Wrote Brideshead Revisited in 1945. Norah’s long-time friend and frequent guest at her home at Sutton Courtenay.

Wharton, Edith (1861 - 1937) American novelist. Wrote The Decoration of Houses (1897), followed by 32 volumes of fiction, including the House of Mirth (1905), Ethan Frome (1911), and The Age of Innocence (1921). She had homes in New York, Massachusetts, and on the French Riviera at Hyeres. Norah and Edith shared common interests in books and gardening. Norah often spent time at Edith’s home Chateau Ste. Claire in Hyeres. Edith wrote a portion of one of her novels while staying at Sutton Courtenay.

Whistler, Rex (Reginald John) (1905 - 1944) Celebrated trompe l’oeil mural painter and book illustrator. His commissions at Port Lympne and Mottisfont Abbey overlapped the time that Norah was working in those gardens. He was a frequent and welcome guest at Norah’s home at Sutton Courtenay.


About Norah Lindsay