Louisa Dixie Durrell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Louisa Dixie Durrell, born Louisa Florence Dixie (16 January 1886 – 24 January 1964) was the mother of novelist Lawrence Durrell and naturalist Gerald Durrell. She is perhaps best remembered as the character of "Mother" in Gerald Durrell's autobiographical Corfu trilogy.

She was born to an Irish Protestant family in Roorkee, India in 1886 where she met and married her husband Lawrence Samuel Durrell, an engineer by profession. Together, they travelled all over India on account of Lawrence's engineering work.

She had four surviving children - Lawrence, Leslie, Margaret and Gerald.

Louisa was actively interested in spiritualism and cookery, and would mingle with Indians to learn of local spirits and cuisine, not conforming to the views of segregation of her time.

On the death of her husband in 1928 she decided to move her family to England, and in 1935 she moved again with her children and Lawrence's then wife Nancy to Corfu. It is here that she is portrayed by Gerald Durrell as the family's well-meaning but slightly eccentric matriarch in the Corfu trilogy - My Family and Other Animals, Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods.

She moved back to England in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II with her three youngest children. She lived with Margaret at her Bournemouth boarding house and with Gerald at the Jersey Zoo until her death in Bournemouth in 1964.

She was portrayed by Hannah Gordon in the 1987 BBC TV series My Family and Other Animals, by Imelda Staunton in the 2005 BBC remake, and by Celia Imrie in the 2010 two-part BBC Radio drama.