Richmond, Susanna (7 of 10).  National Life Stories: Artists' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2009-07-28, 2009-07-29, 2009-07-30, 2009-07-31

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Rounton, North Yorkshire

  • Interviewees

    Richmond, Susanna, 1923- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Westley, Hester (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 7: [00:33:43] SR discusses childrearing and nursing in her upbringing; visits of monthly nurse; differences of approach to mothering by EB and MB; EB and SR’s similarity of temperament. [00:01:35] SR’s wardrobe as a girl; sister ‘Biddie’s’ involvement; shopping trips to London; clothes allowance and SR’s less successful purchases; SR’s facility as a seamstress; anecdote about handmade dress inspired by Tolstoy. [00:04:45] Attitude to clothes at Oxford; recalls vanity of an Oxford peer; SR’s own struggles with her wardrobe. [00:05:05] SR mentions her first important relationship; ‘it was a great sorrow to me in the end’; the impact this relationship had on her student experience. The significance of this relationship for SR in personal terms ‘but it came at a great price’; SR prefers not to discuss this subject further. [00:06:50] Visits to family during university holidays; reason why the family did not visit Rounton in this period. [00:07:30] SR’s uncle Maurice’s decision to shut up Rounton Grange and move to Mount Grace Manor, Maurice’s death in 1944; reason for closure of Rounton Grange, ‘It was a problem to maintain… its use had passed for the family’. [00:08:15] SR’s early memories of household staff at Rounton Grange, anecdote about the butler, ‘I think I had my first cigarette on his knee’; sings fragment of ‘Tiptoe through the Tulips’ learned from grandparents’ footmen; how SR’s experience of Rounton Grange differed from her older sisters; ‘it was both magical […] and yet there was something oppressive about it for me’. [00:11:35] SR’s relationship with her grandparents, ‘they were very sweet to me, being the one baby they had bought up themselves’. Why SR believed herself to be a disappointment to he grandmother, FB. [00:12:50] Recalls annual summer charity event at Mount Grace Manor and FB’s reaction to SR’s choice of dress.[00:13:20] SR describes FB’s appearance ‘quite extraordinary’; a humorous anecdote revealing of FB’s attitude to her own physicality. [16:00] Description of HB’s temperament; his preferred manner of dress, its indications of his personal interests; HB’s valet ‘Edgar’; HB’s rack of identical boots. [00:17:30] The traditional territorial ceremony, ‘to beat the bounds’; HB’s interest in the city and politics and lack of interest in rural affair; tenant farmers. [00:18:39] GB’s design of the gardens at Rounton Grange; mention of pond and greenhouse, their current condition. [00:20:00] The Morris interiors; anecdote about SR’s goblets made by William Morris and given as a gift to HB. [00:23:45] Condition of Rounton Grange when inherited by SR’s cousin Hugh Bell, the challenges he faced with the inheritance; retrospective attitudes to HB’s demolition of Rounton Grange; SR’s perspective on his decision. [00:27:25] SR describes scale of the estate, the creation of the village of East Rounton to service the estate. [00:28:20] The trajectory of ownership of Mount Grace Manor; anecdote about occult experiences of the family who later inhabited the property; the ultimate hand over of Mount Grace to English Heritage. [00:31:20] Sad fate of Red Barns in Redcar. SR’s attitude to the past, ‘It helps one understand oneself that’s all but I don’t think I’m sentimental about it’.

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