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Those Wild Wyndhams: Three Sisters at the Heart of Power

Those Wild Wyndhams: Three Sisters at the Heart of Power by Claudia Renton
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Winner of the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2014

A rich historical biography of ‘those wild Wyndhams’ – three cultured aristocratic sisters born into great privilege in late Victorian Britain.

Mary, Madeline and Pamela – the three Wyndham sisters – were painted by John Singer Sargent in 1899. For The Times it was, quite simply, ‘the greatest picture of modern times’. But these beautiful, fin de siecle gentlewomen came to epitomize a vanished world. The languor of their pose reflects the leisured, gilded, existence of the late Victorian aristocracy that was to be dealt a deathblow by the First World War.

Yet the lives of these three Wyndham sisters were far more turbulent than their air of calm suggests. Brought up in artistic circles, their childhood was liberal and romantic. Their parents were intimate friends with the Pre-Raphaelites and the girls grew to become leaders of the aesthetic movement. Bowing to convention, they made excellent marriages but found emotional support from others – Mary with Arthur Balfour and the poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt; Pamela with Liberal statesman and ornithologist Edward Grey. Their liaisons shocked society, while the First World War devastated their way of life.

‘Those Wild Wyndhams’ is their first ever biography, and is based on the many letters they have left behind – compelling, humorous and brilliantly illuminating. This sparkling debut by Claudia Renton captures them and their age in an unforgettable piece of historical and political biography.

HarperCollins Publishers; January 2014
512 pages; ISBN 9780007544905
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Title: Those Wild Wyndhams: Three Sisters at the Heart of Power
Author: Claudia Renton
 
ISBNs
9780007544899
9780007544905

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