Desmond Chute

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Desmond Macready Chute
Desmond Macready Chute.tiff
Born 1895 (1895)
Bristol
Died 1962 (1963)
Rapallo
Nationality English

Desmond Macready Chute (1895–1962) was an English poet and artist, who became a Catholic priest in 1927. He was born in Bristol, where his father James Macready Chute (1856-1912) ran the dynastic family theatre. He was educated at Downside School, and the Slade Art School in London.

He was an intimate and influential friend of Stanley Spencer, from 1915.[1]

From 1918 became a close colleague, assistant and "beloved brother" of Eric Gill and was co-founder of The Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, publishing poetry in The Game, the community's magazine. His mother, Abigail Philomena née Hennessy (1855-1931), was a principal patron of the Guild in its early days.

He became a convinced distributist and follower of Vincent McNabb, to whom he and Eric Gill were introduced in 1914 by the influential same-sex couple Marc-Andre Raffalovich and John Gray. He started in 1921 to study for the priesthood, in Fribourg.

Later Desmond moved for his health to Rapallo, Italy, where he was a close friend of Max Beerbohm and Ezra Pound, and one of the Tigullian Circle clique around him. He tutored Mary de Rachewiltz, Pound's daughter with Olga Rudge, and supported both of them when Pound was arrested and deported by the US army. In 1944, Desmond was interned by the Germans in the monastery at Bobbio, Genoa, but then allowed to escape by a compassionate Nazi captain, whereupon he had to walk back home across the mountains - a trek he barely survived.

His radio play Poets in Paradise was broadcast by the BBC in 1955.

He died and was buried in Rapallo, although a memorial designed by Gill stands in Canford Cemetery, Westbury-on-Trym, near Bristol.

Some of his papers are held in the Eric Gill Collection at Chichester, and others by his relation, David Charles Manners.


References[edit]

  1. ^ Paul Gough (2011) 'Your loving friend, Stanley' The Great War correspondence between Stanley Spencer and Desmond Chute (Sansom and Company).