Edith Olivier what was her link with Rex Whistler?
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!!