Sir Philip Sassoon (1888-1939), a glamorous and well-known figure in Britain for the first four decades of the twentieth century, was the most eligible bachelor and the greatest host of his time. He attained prominence in the art world, high society and politics. In contrast, his sister Sybil (1894-1989) lived a more private life. Yet she was fascinating in her own right, marrying into the grandest level of the English aristocracy, restoring Houghton - formerly the house of Sir Robert Walpole - to magnificence and serving in the high command of the Women's Royal Naval Service during both world wars.
In this book, distinguished historian Peter Stansky offers the intriguing findings of new archival research and a generous collection of photographs to bring the Sassoons and their period into sharp focus. He provides a full account of Philip's election as the youngest Member of Parliament and his service as military secretary to Douglas Haig during the First World War and as parliamentary private secretary to Lloyd George after the war. He follows Philip as he undertakes the building and renovation of town and country houses, cultivates friendships in a wide circle that includes the Royal Family, stages influential art exhibitons and serves as patron to John Singer Sargent and other artists. At the same time Philip was Under-Secretary of State for Air and later First Commissioner of Works. The author also considers Sybil's development from wealthy debutante to the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, and her less celebrated but nonetheless important patronage and conservation work. Using the lives of the Sassoon siblings as a lens through which to view English life, particularly in its highest reaches, Stansky offers new insights into British attitudes toward power, old versus new money, homosexuality, war, Jews, taste and style.
Peter Stansky is Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University, and is the author of many books on British cultural history.
|Publisher:||Yale University Press|
|Product dimensions:||7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.65(d)|