Penelope Tree

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Penelope tree)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Penelope Tree (born 2 December 1949) is an English former fashion model prominent in swinging sixties London.


Penelope Tree is the only child of Ronald, a British journalist, investor and Conservative MP, and Marietta Peabody Tree, a U.S. socialite and political activist. She is the great-granddaughter of American retailer Marshall Field and of American educator Endicott Peabody. She is the half-sister of both the racehorse trainer Jeremy Tree and the author Frances FitzGerald and a niece of former Massachusetts governor Endicott Peabody.

Life and career[edit]

Her family initially objected to her career as a model, and when she was first photographed at the age of 13 by Diane Arbus, her father vowed he would sue if the pictures were published.[1]

Tree made a striking appearance at the 1966 Black and White Ball thrown by author Truman Capote, wearing a black V-neck tunic with long slashes from the bottom making floating panels, worn over black tights.[2]

The sensation she caused led photographers Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon to work together to make her a supermodel.[3] She was sixteen and her father had relented. David Bailey described Penelope as "an Egyptian Jimminy Cricket".[clarification needed]

In 1967, Tree moved into Bailey's flat in London's Primose Hill neighbourhood. It became a social space for hippies during the "Swinging Sixties" who, Bailey recalled, would be "smoking joints I had paid for and calling me a capitalist pig!" In another famous quote, John Lennon asked to encapsulate Tree in three words, called her, "Hot, Hot, Hot, Smart, Smart, Smart!"[citation needed]

She has been extensively compared to The Beatles for inspiring the swinging 60's movement and for galvanizing a generation of young American females. Scars from late-onset acne ended her career in the early 1970s: "I went from being sought-after to being shunned because nobody could bear to talk about the way I looked."[4] In 1972, she was arrested for possession of cocaine.[4][5] In 1974, Bailey and Tree split up and she moved to Sydney. She appeared in the British comedy film The Rutles in 1978.[6]

She was married to South African musician Ricky Fataar (a member of The Flames, The Rutles, and the Beach Boys). She has two children, Paloma Fataar (a graduate of Bard College and a student of Tibetan Buddhism and music), and Michael MacFarlane, by her relationship with Australian Jungian analyst Stuart MacFarlane.

Penelope Tree is a patron of Lotus Outreach, a charity which works in Cambodia in partnership with local grassroots women's organisations to give girls from the very poorest families the wherewithal to go to school.[7]


  1. ^ "No Regrets: The Life of Marietta Tree" Archived 28 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine – book review, Washington Monthly
  2. ^ Davis, Deborah (2006). Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-09821-9, p. 195
  3. ^ Davis, Deborah (2006). Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-09821-9, p. 227
  4. ^ a b "'I felt just like an alien -- so I thought I could look like one'". Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  5. ^ France, Louise (3 August 2008). "'People thought I was a freak. I kind of liked that'". The Observer. London: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  6. ^ Penelope Tree on IMDb
  7. ^ Penelope Tree (June 2009). "Why Cambodia?". Glass Magazine. London: 102. ISSN 2041-6318.

External links[edit]