The artist Rex Whistler (1905−1944) loved creating imaginary landscapes, whether for his murals or for portraits or book illustrations. But his inspiration came from the real landscapes of Italy, the architecture of Rome and, in England, from the countryside of Wiltshire and Dorset. It was against these backgrounds, too, that his closest friendships were formed, with Stephen Tennant, Cecil Beaton, Siegfried Sassoon and Edith Olivier and with the writer and academic Lord David Cecil.
Family, Friendships, Landscapes, like its companion volume, Love and War, includes much previously unpublished material, in this case largely from Rome and from the collection of the Paget family, at Plas Newydd on the Isle of Anglesey, where Whistler painted his most famous mural.
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Books by Hugh Cecil include The Flower of Battle: How Britain Wrote the Great War (Steerforth, 1996).
Mirabel Cecil is author of A Kind of Prospero (Walker, 1996) and, with David Mlinaric, Mlinaric On Decorating (Frances Lincoln, 2008). Together Hugh and Mirabel have written Clever Hearts: a Life of Desmond and Molly MacCarthy (Gollancz, 1990), which won both the Duff Cooper Prize and the Marsh Biography Award, Imperial Marriage (History Press, 2005) and, most recently, In Search of Rex Whistler: His Life and His Work (Frances Lincoln, 2012).