With Ann Arnold in her garden
Graham and Ann Arnold in their garden in Shropshire
Uri Geller and Robert at Robert's 60th birthday party.
Olemic and Nina Thommessen from Norway. Olemic is a Member of Parliament.
Nina is a teacher of children with special needs.
Robert with our close friend Mohamed Nazmy of Quest Travel (red shirt) in Cairo and two Egyptian guides..
Candace Bahouth beside one of her fabulous mosaic creations. Candace is a designer of needle-point tapestry and a mosaic artist.There is nobody like her in the whole wide world. She lives near us in Somerset.
Peter and Diane Dennis celebrating Diane's birthday in December 2007 at their home in California.
Dearest Peter died on April 18th in California, lovingly cared for at home by Diane.
Click here to read the LA Times obituary
Peter and Diane Dennis at Hill House
Diane (Mercer) Dennis lives in California now and I miss her every day (almost). I met her so many years ago when Robert and I were living in a flat near Primrose Hill. He went for a walk without me and came back a while later with Diane for tea and crumpets. He had struck up ... more» a conversation with her and invited her back! Her parents lived in Regents Park Road and Diane had been reading on Primrose Hill. We became instant friends and I can't help thinking that Robert was guided by a divine hand to go and find this friend for me who I could so easily have missed. We later met her future husband, the actor, Peter Dennis and we have all remained friends over the years, sharing many wonderful evenings and exciting times. Their cottage in Fulham was a welcome home from home to many people and we often stayed there. There was always a dinner party with champagne and heavenly food and inspiring conversation, linen sheets and pillowcases on the bed and a huge array of paintings and interesting furniture and books. We have a healthy grape vine growing in Somerset which came from a small cutting from their vine in Fulham and it produces several pounds of sweet black grapes every year. There was a tame robin and several toads in the little courtyard there, I can see it all so clearly......
Sam Coleridge on one of his adventures - this time in China where we helped him plan his route
Our Greek friend Ioannis Liritzis, who is an archaeometrist, and Robert in front of the pyramid of Cephren in Egypt.
Geraldine McGrory is going to the Ball in this photo. She is a wild and wonderful Irish girl and a brilliant business woman with her own PR company.
Trish Coleridge is someone who always makes me feel better. She has two daughters who we love equally, both now married. Clara and Jessie had adventures with us when they came to stay from boarding school and Robert wrote a story about them. You can read Robert's story, 'The Fooling of Mr Ketterer', on his website here
Our close friend David Eberts, who we have known since he was a child
Our friend Hayley Mills is working in South Africa on the ITV series WILD AT HEART, and sent us these photos of her with some of the animals who appear in the series.
This is my friend Tessa Perceval at the opening of one of her exhibitions in London. We shared our first flat together in Hampstead. It had a tiny courtyard and an outside loo. We loved it and bought a paraffin heater and a waxed William Morris design tablecloth from Heals ... more» where we both worked. It was with Tessa and her family that I first started to paint. Her uncles were the Australian painters Arthur and David Boyd, her mother is Mary Boyd, their sister and her father was John Perceval. They had two huge houses on Highgate Hill where every one was creative and bohemian. I used to stay there before we got our flat and there was a photography dark-room, a pottery wheel and kiln, a loom, studios and the whole place smelled of turpentine, paint and clay. We ate off plates that they had fired and designed and drank wine from wonderful wobbly clay goblets. I adored it. The family were all beautiful and slightly wild with sun-bleached hair and attractive Australian accents. Children played violins and made candles and no one seemed to be in charge. Tessa took me out on Hampstead Heath and she crouched like a little wild animal and got covered in oil paint as she worked on her canvases. She was never nervous of being attacked by a mad person and used to hiss “Fuck off” if anyone came too close! Tessie is still painting her huge wild and beautiful canvases and lives in Herefordshire with her husband Jack Galloway, the actor, and has two sons.
Florence with Tessa
'The Golden Valley Late Afternoon' by Tessa Perceval.
Click image to enlarge.
Diana Temperley in her garden in Somerset. Diana has a pony and trap and drives across the Levels with her hair flowing. She has three daughters who are all as beautiful as she is.
Tea in the garden at Burrow Hill with Julian and Diana Temperley.
Cecilia James has been my dear loyal friend since school days. She lives in an adorable cottage in Devon and is a marvellous gardener. She has had an extraordinary life and is quite a traveller, taking super wild-life photos all over the world. Some of her photos were used for a series of stamps on Ascension Island.
Cecilia James at school
'Cold Feet' Svalbard, Norway by Cecilia James
Here are Susannah and Polly Hitching at their sister Emma’s wedding. I think this photo is a lovely shot of two happy girls celebrating.
Emma Hitching with her husband James McCarthy leaving the church at Swalcliffe in Warwickshire. Frances and Jupe are proud parents and Suze and Polly look radiant. We have been family friends for many years and spent some wonderful Christmases at Swalcliffe. We felt like family at this wedding and the sun shone as it should at all weddings.
Christmas morning 1989 at the Hitchings and a pause between opening stocking presents. Suze and Polly are between their parents.
Suze with Robert
Suze with Elmo and Connie and Lola
Suze died in June 2006, She was 42.
This is our friend Lindsay Badenoch.
This is the nearest I have ever got to skiing... we went to the Alps with our friend Jenny de Gex who is a good skier. I stood behind her on her ski's to get the feel of it and we moved a few feet...
We stayed in a chalet with a couple of her friends and they went whizzing up and down the slopes all day. Robert and I had only our wellies with us and went out gingerly for walks. We were almost killed by manic skiers hurtling down on us off piste, shrieking at us to get out of the way. We were so pathetic we didn't even dare get on the moving ski lift chairs until we had watched for some time how it was done. We finally managed it and it was worth it for the view from the top.
Sally Ashby. When we met we were both working at HEALS in Tottenham Court Road. Sally was taking a year off from the Royal Ballet where she was in the corps de ballet. She was working in lighting and candles and I was a trainee in Interior Decorating. We used to go to the restaurant for tea... more» and have scones with cream. Sally has a contagious sense of humour and everything becomes dangerously hysterical with her so we had great fun. We were very bad girls at working for a big company and both wore outrageous clothes. More than once I was asked not to wear striped tights and big Perspex earings by the staff officer, Mr Higgs.
In this picture Sally had just put a scruffy old kitchen chair cushion on her head and still managed to look elegant.
I had many magical moments backstage at Covent Garden where I was able to watch Dress Rehearsals, when Sally went back to the ballet company. I shall never forget Alicia Makarova and Rudolf Nureyev dancing together, both passing within inches of me when they left the stage, panting and covered in sweat like race horses. Every muscle and sinew was straining and their bodies were lean and white. Sally often got the giggles on stage and had to avoid catching the eye of the other dancers in the Corp so that they didn't set each other off. I loved watching the girls get ready in the Dressing Rooms, the powder and grease paint, the ballet shoes and powder, the tiny waists and tightly held back hair giving them all long elegant necks.
Sally lives in Salisbury now and retired long ago but comes up for a reunion in the Squash Bar at Covent Garden from time to time.
Timothy Heneage has been a friend since we moved to Somerset. He has the most infectious laugh. Timothy is an expert on insect-eating plants and used to have a greenhouse full of them. He is also a marvellous host and cook.
Glen Forrester and Robert im my studio which is now complete. Glen is a wonderful stonemason and builder.
Hugh and James Forrester drinking from their spectacle straws that I gave them for Christmas, 2007.
Rebecca Holweg is a Jazz singer and married to Andy Hamill who plays the double bass. They have a daughter called Ruby.
Rebecca and Andy Hamill (nee Holweg) at their wedding.
My friend Nanna from Iceland. I hope she won't mind my producing this but such beauty should be seen and makes the world a better place. We met each other long ago when she was modelling.
Nanna is totally creative and inspired and cooks like a dream, makes life good for her children and her friends and her new husband Andy in Scotland.
Graham and Ann Arnold at their front door in Shropshire. Both artists are members of the Brotherhood of Ruralists. Graham keeps bees.
The Annuniciation - Graham Arnold - Oil on board, 1985
Graham Arnold with Robert at an exhibition of the Ruralists in Graham and Annie Ovenden's studio at Banley Splatt in Devon.
Chestnuts, 'the trees are singing my music' - Ann Arnold - Oil on board
This is at a birthday lunch given for me, by my friend Vaun Wilkins in Somerset. Vaun is on the left with her arms around Peter Birkett, a retired vicar who became a cowboy late in life.
My dear friend Pete Birkett looking on as I contemplate blowing out the candles on my Birthday cake. Pete died at the age of 90 in 2004.
With Andrea Loomis who lives in New York. Andrea makes jewellery with astrological gemstones. We don’t see each other very much, but that doesn’t diminish our friendship. I met her through Robert.
We were good friends with George Sassoon and his wife Alison. George was brilliant and very strong. He had the strength of an ox and drank like a fish. He sang Croatian songs and accompanied himself on the accordian. He shut his eyes when he played and I remember him just like this. Robert took these photographs in our dining room. That’s Pen Trevilian looking on.
George dies two years ago. I will write more about him later.
Edward Petherbridge and his wife Emily Richard, both actors, with their children Dora and Arthur. Edward had just unveiled a Blue Plaque on the house in Bloomsbury where Dorothy L. Sayers had lived. Edward played Lord Peter Wimsey in the television series.
This is in Egypt beside the Sphinx with two friends, Mohamed Nazmy on the right and little Mohamed in the middle. Mohamed Nazmy runs the best travel company in the world for those who love the ancient sites and sacred places of Egypt.
After lunch at Pompeii, Robert and Michael Baigent. Robert is holding a glass of limoncello made by the owner of the restaurant.
Robert (left) and Michael Baigent (right) in their hard hats about to enter the Oracle of the Dead at Baia
With Jane Baigent at Pompeii.
We have been to Egypt several times with Michael and Jane Baigent and here I am gazing at something while Jane has a laugh. We spend a lot of time laughing and this is how I like to think of her.
Me and Robert with our friend, the Italian pianist, Stefano Greco
Robert with Stefano Greco
With John Hurt in an idyllic Greek bay near Cephalonia. We visited him while he was filming Captain Correlli's Mandolin in 2003.
John and Quentin Crisp at a supper party we gave in Fulham, just after John had made THE NAKED CIVIL SERVANT
This is our darling friend Lindsay Eberts when she was about eleven. It must have been Halloween. Another use for our pumpkins!
Lindsay on a rare visit to London
Lindsay and Robert
This photo makes me sad because it is of me with my old school friend Deborah Galloway, who died of leukaemia at the age of 40. Her hair was naturally straight, but after chemotherapy it went curly. Debbie was a true original and was always bold in challenging the teachers at school, which I admired her for. She had ... more» a different way of looking at life and never took anything for granted. Debbie queried all accepted notions, both socially and philosophically. “I don’t understand why” was one of her favourite statements and the nuns would cringe when they heard those words. We played hockey at the Convent and had to wear long maroon shorts, which were called “divided skirts”, and white aertex short-sleeved shirts. Debbie’s skin went bright pink, almost mauve, when she was cold and the combination of her red hair, maroon shorts and pink legs was quite startling.
Debbie worked in television and originated several children’s programmes, including a series called Fat Tulip.
Debbie married Tim Gates and they had two daughters, Genevieve and Gemma. I remember so well when we all went to a party soon after Genevieve was born and Debbie put the carry-cot under the kitchen table when we had all admired the sleeping infant. The party went on into the night and when it came time to go home, Debbie and Tim went to their car. Soon there was a ring at the door and there was Debbie looking bemused. “We left the baby,” she said. “We’re not used to having her.”
Genevieve has two sons now and lives in America with her husband Mike Rossi. Gemma is an artist. Tim is happy again.
I dream of Debbie about twice a year. She comes and tells me to be more assertive and not to let things happen without my input. She always said I was much stronger than I realized.
Genevieve and Gemma Gates in the garden of the Chelsea Arts Club. These two favourite girls are the daughters of my old school friend Deborah Galloway who died tragically at the age of forty. Her husband Tim is a brilliant father and has a lot to be proud of.
Mandy King (nee Morrison) – her smile still lights up the room. This was how she looked when we first met and she was modelling. Robert and I got married from the Kings’ huge and comfortable house in Hollycroft Avenue in Hampstead and the reception was held there.
We have seen Mandy’s three children grow up and have children of their own and Mandy’s mother, Dorothy, is still going strong and her sense of humour undiminished. Parties at Hollycroft Avenue will never be forgotten nor will the happy times spent there. Mandy was a brilliant host and there was always a warm welcome and plenty to eat.
Long ago with Isabella Lewis. Her son Antony is our godson.
Robert with his old friend and distant cousin Austin Pendleton, actor and theatre director. He lives in New York.
Anna Clare Hillier is a friend from Somerset whom we first met when she was 18. Her son Laurie Priester-Reading is our god-son.
Crispian and Joe Mills live in Bath and have two sons, Keshava and Hari. They are precious friends.
Fan Jing (Gabrielle) on her first visit to London - in July 2009
Fan Jing with her husband Sahr Johnny on their visit to London from Shanghai.
Peter and Christine Smedley
Our dear and much missed friend Peter Smedley with his very beautiful cat Simba, who has also died.
Our dear friend Professor Richard Gregory scrutinizing Jonathan Stedall through my grand-father's naval telescope.
Professor Joseph Davidovits and his son Ralph in our London office on a visit from St Quentin, Picardy. Joseph is the inventor of geopolymeric cement.
Andrew Birkin's wedding to Karen.
The theme: The French Revolution!