Bryan Guinness, 2nd Baron Moyne

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Bryan Guinness, 2nd Baron Moyne
Diana Mitford and Bryan Guinness on their honeymoon in Taormina, Italy, 1929.png
Bryan Guinness and Diana Mitford on their honeymoon in Taormina, Italy, 1929
Bryan Walter Guinness

27 October 1905
Died6 July 1992(1992-07-06) (aged 86)
Resting placeSt James Churchyard, Ludgershall, Wiltshire[1]
EducationHeatherdown School, Eton College, Christ Church, Oxford
(m. 1929; div. 1933)

Elisabeth Nelson
(m. 1936)
Children11, including Jonathan Guinness, 3rd Baron Moyne and Desmond Guinness
Parent(s)Walter Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne
Lady Evelyn Stuart Erskine

Bryan Walter Guinness, 2nd Baron Moyne (27 October 1905 – 6 July 1992) was an heir to part of the Guinness family brewing fortune, and a lawyer, poet and novelist. He was briefly married to Diana Mitford.

Early life[edit]

He was born to Walter Guinness (created 1st Baron Moyne in 1932), son of Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, and Lady Evelyn Stuart Erskine, daughter of the 14th Earl of Buchan. He attended Heatherdown School, near Ascot in Berkshire, followed by Eton College (also in Berkshire), and Christ Church, Oxford, and was called to the bar in 1931.

At Oxford, Guinness was part of the Railway Club, which included: Henry Yorke, Roy Harrod, Henry Thynne, 6th Marquess of Bath, David Plunket Greene, Edward Henry Charles James Fox-Strangways, 7th Earl of Ilchester, Brian Howard, Michael Parsons, 6th Earl of Rosse, John Sutro, Hugh Lygon, Harold Acton, Patrick Balfour, 3rd Baron Kinross, Mark Ogilvie-Grant, John Drury-Lowe.[2]

As an heir to the Guinness brewing fortune and a handsome, charming young man, Bryan was an eligible bachelor. One of London's "bright young things", he was an organiser of the 1929 "Bruno Hat" hoax art exhibition, held at his home in London.[3]

Marriages and family[edit]

In 1929, Guinness married Hon Diana Mitford, one of the Mitford sisters. They had two sons:

The couple became leaders of the London artistic and social scene and were dedicatees of Evelyn Waugh's second novel Vile Bodies. However, they divorced in 1933, after Diana deserted Guinness for British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley.

Guinness remarried in 1936 to Elisabeth Nelson (1912–1999), daughter of Thomas Arthur Nelson[4] of the Nelson publishing family, with whom he had nine children.[5]

  • Hon Rosaleen Elisabeth Guinness (born 7 September 1937), married Sudhir Mulji
  • Hon Diarmid Edward Guinness (23 September 1938 – 15 August 1977), married Felicity, daughter of Sir Andrew Carnwath
  • Hon Fiona Evelyn Guinness (born 26 June 1940)
  • Hon Dr Finn Benjamin Guinness (born 26 August 1945), married Mary Price
  • Hon Thomasin Margaret Guinness (born 16 January 1947)
  • Hon Kieran Arthur Guinness (born 11 February 1949), married Vivienne Halban
  • Hon Catriona Rose Guinness (born 13 December 1950)
  • Hon Erskine Stuart Richard Guinness (born 16 January 1953), married Louise Dillon-Malone[6]
  • Hon Mirabel Jane Guinness (born 8 September 1956), married Patrick Helme

Public life[edit]

During World War II, Guinness served for three years in the Middle East with the Spears Mission to the Free French, being a fluent French speaker, with the rank of Major. Then, in November 1944, Guinness succeeded to the barony when his father, posted abroad as Resident Minister in the Middle East by his friend Winston Churchill, was assassinated in Cairo.

After the war, Lord Moyne served on the board of the Guinness corporation as vice-chairman from 1947 to 1979, as well as the Guinness Trust and the Iveagh Trust, sitting as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.[7] He served for 35 years as a trustee of the National Gallery of Ireland and donated several works to the gallery. He wrote a number of critically applauded novels, memoirs, books of poetry, and plays. With Frank Pakenham he sought the return of the "Lane Bequest" to Dublin, resulting in the 1959 compromise agreement.[8] He was invested as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[9]

Lord Moyne died in 1992 at Biddesden, his Wiltshire home (near Andover, Hampshire), and was succeeded by his eldest son Jonathan.


  • Plays: The Fragrant Concubine, A Tragedy (1938); A Riverside Charade (1954)
  • Children's books: The Story of Johnny and Jemima (1936); The Children of the Desert (1947); The Animal's Breakfast (1950); Catriona and the Grasshopper (1957); Priscilla and the Prawn (1960); The Girl with the Flower (1966).
  • Poetry: Twenty-three Poems (1931); Under the Eyelid (1935); Reflexions (1947); Collected Poems (1956); The Rose in the Tree (1964); The Clock (1973); On a Ledge (1992).
  • Novels: Singing Out of Tune (1933); Landscape with Figures (1934); A Week by the Sea (1936); Lady Crushwell's Companion (1938); A Fugue of Cinderellas (1956); Leo and Rosabelle (1961); The Giant's Eye (1964); The Engagement (1969); Hellenic Flirtation (1978)
  • Memoirs: Potpourri (1982); Personal Patchwork 1939–45 (1986); Diary Not Kept (1988).
  • Songs: Ed. WB Yeats: Broadsides; a Collection of Old and New Songs (1935); Cuala Press, Dublin.[10]

Further reading[edit]

  • The Story of a Nutcracker (with Desmond McCarthy, 1953).
  • Gannon Charles: Cathal GannonThe Life and Times of a Dublin Craftsman (Dublin 2006).


  1. ^
  2. ^ Lancaster, Marie-Jaqueline (2005). Brian Howard: Portrait of a Failure. Timewell Press. p. 122. ISBN 9781857252118. Retrieved 20 January 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Bruno Hat article
  4. ^
  5. ^ The Peerage, entry for 2nd Lord Moyne
  6. ^ Tatler "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Link to his Lords speeches
  8. ^ Lane Bequest, Nov 1953
  9. ^ Burke's Peerage 2003, vol. 2, p.2822
  10. ^ Lithograph reprint in 1971 by Irish University Press, SBN 7165-1381-1
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Walter Guinness
Baron Moyne
Succeeded by
Jonathan Guinness