Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Viscount Cremorne and Signor Luzzi

I cannot now recall why these photographs were taken, but I suspect it may have been at around the time we put on a mini-show of our best marble busts in the entry court, here at the Yale Center for British Art. No doubt we were seeking a little publicity, or else maybe somebody needed a photograph to go with some altogether different piece about my last book, A Brief History of the Smile.

In any case, I am on the left, and Thomas Dawson, first Baron Dartrey (later first Viscount Cremorne) (1725–1813) is on the right, in a fine marble portrait bust, c. 1770, by Joseph Wilton. Not perhaps the most attractive man, Lord Dartrey was an Anglo-Irish Member of Parliament. He married twice. His second wife was Philadelphia Hannah Freame, a granddaughter of William Penn. Lady Cremorne was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Charlotte, which must have made life for her slightly awkward after the Declaration of Independence.

The jacket I am wearing here was made for me in 1988 by the excellent Signor Luzzi at Via del Babuino, 41, in Rome. My dear friend Clare Broadbent, who had recently retired from her position as librarian at the N.A.TO. Officers’ Training College in E.U.R., guided me to Signor Luzzi, who is a man of great skill, exquisite taste, and still going strong. So is his beautiful jacket.

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