Deborah, affectionately called Debo, wearing the jodhpurs amongst her Mitford sisters
that she adored them and still does-is evident.
Debo-also known as Deborah Vivien Cavendish, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, née The Hon. Deborah Freeman-Mitford, in her much written about, and awaited memoir, did not adhere to the credo of her paternal grandfather, Lord Redesdale: 'Looking back, I claim the privilege of the sun-dial, and among the hours record only the serene.' That decision to tell much about herself -the last of the six celebrated Mitford sisters, yet still hold some things so dear or so private to herself tells her readers much. Her erudite sister, Nancy, nicknamed her Nine-a reference to her mental age, is proof her published sisters would have been surprised at the number of her own published books, beginning at age 60.
the supermodel granddaughter
Stella came. We had to be together in a photo for Vogue's 90th birthday come Christmas. So one Mario Testino(1) famous photographer, came in a helicopter with a crew of makeup, hairdresser, “fashion editor”, etc from London.
I've got a really beautiful dress, grand evening, given me by Oscar de la Renta, so that was my kit. They bound Stella's legs, up to where they join her body, in tartan. A Union Jack flag hung from her waist & her top was what my father would have called meaningless.
Hair skewbald/piebald, all colours & stuck up in bits. THEN they produced “shoes” with 6 inch heels. More stilts - she could hardly put one foot in front of the other, wobbling & toppling.
We looked just like that Grandville drawing of a giraffe dancing with a little monkey. I was the monkey.
(this letter from In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor, John Murray)
Mario Testino photograph from Vogue 2004
"My Grandmother can carry anything off"
- Stella Tennant
"Nancy and Diana introduced me to the fashion world and Stella keeps me in touch. Philip Treacy is charming and so is Oscar de la Renta. I still wear a short Givenchy dress from 1958."
"Do admit one gets hold of some odd people in Life’s Rich Tapestry."
"People who work the land are who I like and admire more than any others."
"Oh, don’t speak about Elvis,Wasn’t he wonderful? I never became a fan until after he was dead, otherwise I would have been a stalker."
“I find this guessing about the sex life of friends or relations tiresome in the extreme,”
"Happiness is very rare and totally overrated.I think you are only really happy for short periods of the day, or of your life. I wish people wouldn’t go on about it as it’s awfully hard on those who think there is this elusive thing.
Oh I wish I could tell Diana that, she’d laugh so much."
“I have 17 great-grandchildren and they’re not a bit interested. They say: ‘Oh no, not that story again, please don’t tell us anymore’.”
the current digs- the Old Vicarage,Edsenor
a jaunty apple green entry
WWD- Simon Upton image
the sitting room
largely furnished with furnishings from the Chatsworth attics, her own drawings,
paintings and sculptures, with other paintings loaned from Chatsworth,
with decorating assistance from David Mlinaric
(World of Interiors image)
a table skirt with JJ Grandville animal caricatures embroidered by Chatsworth volunteers
(Nancy Lancaster had a painted Grandville table skirt in her rooms too- HERE)
the dining room
WWD-Simon Upton photograph
to see the Lucian Freud portrait Woman in White 1956-1957 go to the Athenaeum HEREWhen Andrew went to see the finished picture at Freud’s studio, there were two men there, one of whom, looking at the painting, asked him, ‘Who is this woman?’ ‘My wife,’ Andrew replied. ‘Well, thank God it’s not mine,’ the man said.
Debo thinks that the older she gets, the more like the picture she becomes. ‘Lucian’s great and extraordinary talent when he was doing that style of painting is making a person aged 34 look like I do now, and I’m 90. You know, yellow skin, green mustache. So funny.’
the new book
& “The book is called ‘Wait For Me’ and is just about my life, my whole life…it’s getting rather long now!”
and hear her in conversation recently while she was in New York-
read more about the Duchess' new book at the STYLE SALONISTE HERE
World of Interiors September 2010
Patrick Lee Fermor's blog HERE
Nancy Mitford A Memoir- Harold Acton
the Times Deborah Devonshire
the Telegraph HERE
Vogue US- November 2010
Vogue US 2006