Lady Constance Malleson

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Constance Malleson
Portrait of Lady Constance Malleson
Lady Constance Malleson in 1922
Born Constance Mary Annesley
(1895-10-24)October 24, 1895
Castlewellan Castle
Died October 5, 1975(1975-10-05) (aged 79)
Bury St Edmunds
Nationality English
Occupation writer and actress

The Lady Constance Malleson (24 October 1895 – 5 October 1975) was a British writer and actress (appearing as Colette O'Niel), the wife of actor Miles Malleson and lover of Bertrand Russell.

She was born as Constance Mary Annesley, daughter of Hugh Annesley, 5th Earl Annesley, and his second wife, Priscilla Cecilia Armytage-Moore, at Castlewellan Castle. Her sister, Lady Clare Annesley, was a feminist and pacifist, and stood as a Labour Party parliamentary candidate in the 1920s and 1930s. Her half-sister, Lady Mabel Annesley, became a successful artist and wood-engraver. Constance trained at RADA and married Miles Malleson in 1915. She went on to appear in many West End productions and at least one film, Hindle Wakes. During the First World War, her pacifist opinions brought her into contact with Bertrand Russell, whose mistress she soon became (having agreed with her husband on an "open marriage"). The pair met in 1916 at a trial for Clifford Allen, then, chairman of the No-Conscription Fellowship.[1] In 1923, she was divorced from Malleson. Her interest in social reform led her to travel abroad, and she carried out lecture tours in Scandinavia in the 1930s and 1940s.


Selected articles about her in Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies[edit]

  • Malleson, Constance (1975) "From: In the North", Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies: Vol. 95: Iss. 1, Article 11. A statement of her attitude to life, reprinted from "In The North". A further quotation ("That love is successful or unsuccessful ... matters not one jot") appears at the end of "The Wisdom of Colette" article, below.
  • Slater, John G. (1975) "Lady Constance Malleson, "Colette O'Niel"", Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies: Vol. 95: Iss. 4, Article 3. An extended obituary. It includes an account of the fortitude with which she faced a stroke suffered in 1964.
  • Malleson, Constance (1976) "The End" Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies: Vol. 96: Iss. 1, Article 5. Early writing, originally published in September 1919 in The English Review, also mentioned at the end of the Season in Repertory Article, below.
  • Gardiner, Bennitt (1976) "Colette O'Niel: a Season in Repertory", Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies: Vol. 96: Iss. 2, Article 5. An account of her season with Hull Little Theatre Company in 1925.
  • Gardiner, Bennitt (1980) "The Wisdom of Colette", Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies: Vol. 100: Iss. 1, Article 6. Convincingly argues she had substantial intellectual calibre in her own right, and did not attract Russell simply by her youth, beauty, freedom from convention and ardent pacifism.

Selected literary and biographical criticism on her[edit]

  • Foster, John Wilson (2008) in Irish Novels 1890–1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 478–81.


  1. ^ Bell, Robert H. (Summer 1983). "Bertrand Russell and the Eliots" 52 (3). pp. 309–325. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

"Lady Constance Malleson fonds". McMaster University Library. The William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections. Retrieved 6 October 2015.