Sacheverell Sitwell

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Sir Sacheverell Sitwell, Bt
Born Sacheverell Reresby Sitwell
(1897-11-15)15 November 1897
Scarborough, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Died 1 October 1988(1988-10-01) (aged 90)
Towcester, Northamptonshire, England
Occupation Writer
Period 1918-1986
Spouse Georgia Doble (1925–1980)
Children Reresby, Francis

Sir Sacheverell Reresby Sitwell, 6th Baronet CH ( /sæˈʃɛvərəl/; 15 November 1897 – 1 October 1988) was an English writer, best known as an art critic, music critic (his books on Mozart, Liszt, and Domenico Scarlatti are still consulted), and writer on architecture, particularly the baroque. Dame Edith Sitwell and Sir Osbert Sitwell were his older siblings.

Life[edit]

He was the youngest child of Sir George Sitwell, 4th Baronet, of Renishaw Hall. His mother was the former Lady Ida Emily Augusta Denison, a daughter of the 1st Earl of Londesborough and a granddaughter of Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort. She claimed a descent through female lines from the Plantagenets. Sitwell was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, and brought up in Derbyshire; he was educated at Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford. In World War I he served from 1916 in the British Army, in the Grenadier Guards.

After the war he went to Balliol but did not complete a degree, and was heavily involved in Osbert and Edith's projects. In 1925 he married a Canadian, Georgia Doble. They had two sons: Reresby (1927–2009) and Francis (1935–2004). He was also a member of White's and St James's clubs.[1]

Constant Lambert set to music The Rio Grande, one of his poems, and it was performed and broadcast in 1928.

Sitwell as an early member of the New Party, a group established in 1931 by Oswald Mosley and containing former members of the major British political parties.[2]

In his later life he withdrew from associating himself with the publicity attaching to the Sitwells collectively, instead preferring to travel and concentrate on writing. He became the 6th baronet, inheriting the title when Osbert died in 1969. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1984. His main residence was Weston Hall, Northamptonshire, the family home and he served as High Sheriff of Northamptonshire for 1948.[3]

He is buried in the churchyard of Weedon Lois in Northamptonshire, near his sister Edith.[4]

Because his poetry was so severely criticised by those who disliked the Sitwells in general, and although Canons of Giant Art is a work of very considerable impact, he refused to publish any of his poems for many years. In 1967 Derek Parker published a selection of his poems in the summer edition of Poetry Review, including his elegy for his beloved sister Edith. Among his most remarkable and original works are a series of lengthy autobiographical and art-based "fantasias" such as "For Want of the Golden City", "The Hunters and the Hunted", "Dance of the Quick and the Dead"(1936) that defy easy classification. The list of works below is incomplete.

Works[edit]

  • The People's Palace (1918; poems)
  • The Hundred and One Harlequins (1922; poems)
  • Southern Baroque Art: a Study of Painting, Architecture and Music in Italy and Spain of the 17th & 18th Centuries (1924)
  • The Thirteenth Caesar (1924; poems; contains The Rio Grande, the basis of Constant Lambert's The Rio Grande)
  • German Baroque Art (1927)
  • The Cyder Feast (1927; poems)
  • All At Sea: A Social Tragedy in Three Acts for First-Class Passengers Only (1927) with Osbert Sitwell
  • The Gothick North: a Study of Mediaeval Life, Art, and Thought (1929)
  • Dr. Donne and Gargantua (1930) poems
  • Spanish Baroque Art, with Buildings in Portugal, Mexico, and Other Colonies (1931)
  • Mozart (1932)
  • Canons of Giant Art: Twenty Torsos in Heroic Landscapes (1933)
  • Liszt (1934)
  • Conversation Pieces: a Survey of English Domestic Portraits and their Painters (1936)
  • Dance of the Quick and the Dead (1936)
  • Narrative Pictures: a Survey of English Genre and its Painters (1938)
  • German Baroque Sculpture (1938)
  • Roumanian Journey (1938)
  • The Romantic Ballet (1938; with C. W. Beaumont)
  • Old Fashioned Flowers (1939)
  • Poltergeists: An Introduction and Examination Followed By Chosen Instances (1940)
  • The Homing of the Winds: and other passages in prose. Faber & Faber, London (1942)
  • Primitive Scenes and Festivals Faber & Faber, London (1942)
  • The Hunters and the Hunted (1948)
  • Selected Poems (1948)
  • The Netherlands; A Study of Some Aspects of Art, Costume and Social Life (1948)
  • Tropical Birds (1948)
  • Spain (1950)
  • Cupid and the Jacaranda (1952)
  • Fine Bird Books (1953) with Handasyde Buchanan and James Fisher
  • Truffle Hunt with Sacheverell Sitwell (1953)
  • Denmark (1956)
  • Arabesque & Honeycomb (1957)
  • Journey to the Ends of Time, etc. (1959)
  • British Architects & Craftsmen: survey taste, design, styles 1600-1830 (1960)
  • Golden Wall and Mirador: Travels and Observations in Peru (1961)
  • Great Houses of Europe (1964)
  • Monks, Nuns and Monasteries (1965)
  • Southern Baroque Revisited (1967)
  • Gothic Europe (1969)
  • A Background for Domenico Scarlatti, 1685-1757: Written for His Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary (1970)
  • Tropicalia (1971; poems)
  • Agamemnon's Tomb (1972; poems)
  • For Want of the Golden City (1973)
  • Battles of the Centaurs (1973)
  • Les Troyens (1973)
  • Look at Sowerby's English Mushrooms and Fungi (1974)
  • A Notebook on My New Poems (1974)
  • All Summer in a Day : An Autobiographical Fantasia (1976)
  • Placebo (1977)
  • An Indian Summer: 100 recent poems (1982; poems)
  • Hortus Sitwellianus (1984) with Meriel Edmunds and George Reresby Sitwell
  • Sacheverell Sitwell's England (1986) edited by Michael Raeburn

References[edit]

  1. ^ Who's Who. Adam and Charles Black. 1951. p. 2619. 
  2. ^ Richard Griffiths, Fellow Travellers on the Right, Oxford University Press, 1983, p. 33
  3. ^ "London Gazette 1948". Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Sacheverell Sitwell - Find a Grave". findagrave.com. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  • Sacheverell Sitwell: Splendours and Miseries (1993) Sarah Bradford
  • Sacheverell Sitwell: A Symposium (1975) edited by Derek Parker
  • Sitwelliana 1915-1927 (1928) Thomas Balston
  • A Nest of Tigers: The Sitwells in Their Times (1968) John Lehmann

External links[edit]

Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Osbert Sitwell
Baronet
(of Renishaw, Derbyshire)
1969–1988
Succeeded by
Reresby Sitwell