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Edith Olivier what was her link with Rex Whistler?

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2008-09-12 14:20:47

Edith Olivier was a friend of Lady Pamela Grey, the mother of

the Stephen Tennant who was in turn one of Rex Whistlers friends in

The Slade School of Art in the mid 1920s. They met on holiday in

Italy when Rex accompanied his friend Stephen on a family holiday.

At the time, Edith was also a guest of the family. Despite the

generational difference they became fast friends and remained in

contact until his death in 1944. Despite her relative poverty,Edith

belonged to a circle of rich and famous people and she helped to

launch him into that society in which his talent was so appreciated

and encouraged. Similarly Rex and his young friends encouraged

Edith in her writing endevours and she was able to achieve some

success as an authoress even though she only started to write in

her middle years. The relationship between the two can be gleaned

from Edith Oliviers diaries which have been published in book form.

Laurence Whistler also comments on their relationship in his

biography of his brother "The laughter and the Urn" One could say

that Rex was the adored and talented son that the spinster Edith

always wished for but actually I feel that they were really soul

mates confounded by the disparity in their ages and the conventions

of the time. He would have done a lot better with a younger Edith

for a partner rather than the beautiful ,arrogant and treacherous

women that he tended to fall for!!


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