Walford, Diana. (2 of 2). National Life Story Collection: Artists' Lives

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Gloucestershire.

  • Interviewees

    Walford, Diana, 1918- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 2. Diana Walford's (DW) memory of de Lazlo studio - also of special clothes to be worn for portrait, going to special shop called Wendy in Audley Street - hated it, preferred boys' clothes. Says father had a demoralising effect on her as a child and gives example - came to know him better nearer the end of his life and thus has different thoughts about him. Talks here about the house and the servants - attitude of servants to children and vice-versa. Describes brother Godfrey's outfit for the painting - de Lazlo arranging the pose - having to hold hands, hated this. Mother with them reading story of Little Black Sambo. Their dog 'Diggy' included in portrait. DW reads her account of the sittings, de Lazlo's appearance, how Godfrey persuaded her to cut her hair between sittings, how de Lazlo 'punished' her - her feelings when looking at the portrait now. More memories of the studio, the light, the marble floor and pillars, de Lazlo and his pallette, mother reading to them, more about the hair-cutting incident. DW talks about the portrait of her husband and about the miniatures of her children - gives reasons why miniatures rather than portraits. Thinks society portrait painters have an important role. Cannot bear modern art. Her youngest son is an art historian and a professor in USA. Talks about her lack of proper education which she greatly regrets. Governesses at home until aged twelve. Special coaching for entrance exam to North Foreland Lodge. Good at games, top of form but didn't learn much there. Thinks she had potential, started reading at very early age. Marriage and babies precluded making good the lack of learning later in life. About husband, regular soldier in Seaforth Highland Regiment - proposed to her just before war - says she thought of him as the 'glamorous Major Walford'. Very happy marriage - talks about hisband's war experiences and how he was rescued by Peter Scott. Promoted to Colonel, service in El Alamein, Sicily, France, remarkable reputation, remarkable survival; about his decisiveness. Post-war effect on him of his experiences - unable to make decisions - retired and became a farmer in 1947. DW shared the work, drove the tractor, did the accounts, etc. They bred Hereford cows - children helped with haymaking - husband nearly killed by a bull. Farm in Wolverton in Hampshire - describes family there. Says why they chose to live in Bibury, describes house and surroundings, talks of the hunting people and their 'mores', the community spirit there, her contributions to village life and the modern changes. About her widowhood, wonderful support of neighbours, drama of the destruction of the power-cable, effect on village. High incidence of burglaries there, her own burglary experience, her suspicions as to culprit. Her interruption of the burglars and how she coped, how they were eventually caught, her feelings afterwards.

  • Related transcripts

    Diana Walford interviewed by Cathy Courtney: full transcript of the interview

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