Nigel Nicolson 1917-2004
Nigel Nicolson supported the Lutyens Trust for the beginning. He lent
photographs to the Lutyens exhibition in 1982 in the Hayward Gallery and was
one of our original patrons.
In his memoirs Long Life he explains why as a boy he had a special relationship
‘My interest in domestic architecture was aroused as a child by our close family links with Edwin Lutyens. In his middle life he became the intimate friend of my grandmother, and was constantly in and out of her houses, adapting them, enlarging them, even building them, and as she was extravagant far beyond her ample means, and he, like all artists worth the name, encouraged extravagance in his clients, they planned together and sometimes executed architectural fantasies like the terrace composed of 10,000 slates set on edge. My earliest memory of her Brighton house is carrying pails of pebbles from the beach to form the dark squares of the chess-board that he designed for the garden. How I hated it! ‘But McNed,’ I protested (his nickname among us), there are only thirty-two black squares in chess. Here you have sixty-four!’ ‘It’s double-chess,’ he replied. ‘ Like double-Dutch. Quick, another twelve pails!’ Then he would reward me not with hugs or sweets, but with funny drawings ……. Once he showed me his plans for a great country house, and I asked him why the children’s nursery was round. ‘So that they can’t be stood in the corner,’ he explained. In another of his grand houses he pierced a peephole from the nursery into the hall so that they could watch the guests arriving for a dinner party. He adored children and we adored him.’
Nigel Nicolson continued to be generous with his family archive of photographs, letters and diaries. With his death the Lutyens Trust has lost a good friend.