Renishaw Hall tour is a fascinating chapter in Derbyshire Literary Festival

Renishaw Hall

Renishaw Hall

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This interesting tour of Renishaw Hall was an appropriate last event of the Derbyshire Literary Festival.

The tour was very well prepared, with lots of copies of letters and writings by the famous Sitwells, as well as their books, which we were encouraged to handle and read.

As we toured the house, we were able to understand its history in the context of the writings of those who lived there and to see their portraits and famous photographs.

The most famous Sitwell writers were the siblings Osbert, Edith and Sacheverell. All three were deeply influenced by the First World War. They were a flamboyant trio, especially Edith.

The letters we could read showed their relationships with many great writers, artists and musicians: famous friendships, and some famous feuds such as those between Edith and DH Lawrence and Noel Coward. Edith could be sharp tongued and one letter showed her complain bitterly when her fame was underestimated, her speaking fee too small and her name in the advertising for an event in print which she judged too small. She was also generous in her praise, for instance of Marilyn Munroe.

The trio gave support to artists and writers, giving financial help to Dylan Thomas and encouragement and publication opportunities to other writers.

We also saw writings by earlier Sitwells, the classic book on garden design by George Sitwell, father of the trio, and the poems of his father.

This interesting afternoon will lead me to further reading.