Deborah Devonshire

In fine feather

The telephone rang and it was Mark Amory, literary editor of this magazine. You could have knocked me down with a feather when he asked me to review Beautiful Chickens. I said yes at once. I already had a copy of the book, given me by the staff at Heywood Hill as a Christmas present,

Death of a Post Office

They shut our Post Office yesterday. For the first time in living memory there is no early morning light in that end of the ancient cottage and the little shop that went with it. The stacks of newspapers and magazines with unlikely titles have disappeared overnight. No longer can a letter be weighed to go

The full-blown country-house look

It is not given to many for their surname to be turned into an adjective immediately recognisable by a section of society. ‘Fowlerised’ meant a house transformed by John Fowler to his (and the owners’) taste. In spite of having known John for many years, I had little idea of the extent of his work

Diary – 22 September 2007

In the wake of my niece by marriage, Charlotte Mosley, queen of editors, I have done a few book signings lately in aid of The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters. The reason for joining her is because I am a contributor to the book and am still alive, but alas my sisters are not. Charlotte

Jack the lad

‘Coming out’ had a different meaning in 1938 to what it has today. Nearly 70 years ago the London Season followed much the same pattern as it had before the first world war. For a small section of people there were three frantic months of entertainment. For 18-year-old girls and their young men friends there

House-to- house battling

Of all the books on houses and gardens, inside and out, this one takes the cake. Nancy Lancaster was the possessor of those two attributes, difficult to describe but instantly recognisable, of style and charm. Together with her unstoppable energy and plenty of money, she made an indelible impression on one of England’s most envied

Christmas at Chatworth

Not much was made of Christmas at Chatsworth in the 18th and 19th centuries. Diaries and letters hardly mention it. Prince Albert’s trees and decorations took a long time to reach Derbyshire and would have been wasted on the December air because there were no children here for nearly a hundred years. At the turn

Diary – 7 February 2004

One of the perks of being a director of a hotel is visiting and eating at the competition. The idea is to taste, look and learn. On this mission, and on the instructions of our chairman, the managing director of the Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel at Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire and I met for