The most amusing room in Europe Jun 19, 2013 4:07:48 GMT -5
Post by Deleted on Jun 19, 2013 4:07:48 GMT -5
The Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum is showing until the twenty-ninth of September an exhibition with the name Rex Whistler: A talent cut short. Just after Whistler had left the Slade, Tonks put him forward to decorate the new "Refreshment Room" at the Tate Gallery. Whistler's fanciful creation - An Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats - took eighteen months to complete, and the "Refreshment Room" was soon being described as "the most amusing room in Europe." And it still has the power to amuse, even in its now rather smarter incarnation as the "Rex Whistler Restaurant" at Tate Britain. His masterpiece, though, was the dining room that he decorated in 1936 for the Marquess of Anglesey at Plas Newydd. It can be visited, as Plas Newydd has been acquired by the National Trust:
Mr. Sturgis - who is working on a new biography of Oscar Wilde [hardly necessary I would have thought, but we shall see] - tells us that Whistler teetered on the brink of having an affair with Stephen Tennant, but was glad that they had never "had sex," as it would have "complicated their friendship." He indulged a brief, doomed infatuation for the nineteen-year-old Penelope Dudley-Ward. He developed a more enduring but scarcely more satisfactory passion for the beautiful Lady Caroline Paget, daughter of the Marquess of Anglesey. Too poor, as he thought, to propose marriage, he seems to have specialized in hopeless relationships. He did, though, manage to consummate a liaison with Tallulah Bankhead, and carried on affairs with a succession of safely and unhappily married Society women. Throughout all these emotional dramas his homo-sexualistic friends continued to assume that he was essentially homo-sexualistic, as indeed did several of his mistresses.