Garman sisters

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The Garman sisters were members of the bohemian Bloomsbury set in London between the wars. The complex lives of Mary, Kathleen and Lorna included affairs with the writer Vita Sackville-West, the composer Ferruccio Busoni, the painter Bernard Meninsky, the sculptor Jacob Epstein (whom Kathleen married), the poet Laurie Lee and the painter Lucian Freud[1]


Mary (1898-1979)[edit]

Mary Margaret Garman was the eldest of the sisters. Along with her sister Kathleen she ran away to London, where they lived in a one-room studio at 13 Regent Square in Camden, on the outskirts of Bloomsbury. Mary was married to the penniless South African poet Roy Campbell from 1924 until he was killed in a car crash in Portugal in 1957.[1]

Kathleen (1901-1979)[edit]

Kathleen Garman, the third sister, married Jacob Epstein in 1955. She had been his lover since 1925 and had mothered three children by him. Epstein's jealous wife Margaret had shot and wounded Kathleen, and encouraged him into multiple affairs in the hope that he would tire of Kathleen and "return home". [1] Six years after Margaret's death Kathleen became Lady Epstein and, after his death, she was his sole beneficiary. She donated his works to the Israel Museum, and many can now be seen in the Garman Ryan Collection at the New Art Gallery in Walsall. Her daughter Kitty Garman married the painter Lucian Freud, who was a former lover of Lorna Garman, Kathleen's sister and Kitty's aunt.

Lorna (1911-2000)[edit]

Lorna Cecilia Garman married the wealthy publisher Ernest Wishart when she was 16. Throughout the marriage she had affairs. The writer Laurie Lee fathered her third child, and during her affair with the painter Lucian Freud[1] she modelled for many of his paintings and brought him objects, such as a dead heron and a zebra head, to be inserted in his pictures.


  1. ^ a b c d The Rare and the Beautiful: The Lives of the Garmans by Cressida Connolly, Fourth Estate


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