Those Wild Wyndhams: Three Sisters at the Heart of Power

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9780007544899: Those Wild Wyndhams: Three Sisters at the Heart of Power

Three sisters – beautiful, cultured and aristocratic, born into immense wealth during the reign of Queen Victoria. Their dramatic lives are here unfolded in a rich historical biography certain to appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, ‘Georgiana’ and Stella Tillyard’s ‘Aristocrats’.

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.

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Review:

‘A triumphant account of three Edwardian sisters balancing the competing demands of head and heart’ Observer, Books of the Year

‘Wonderful … a magnificently skillful biography of this trio of sexy sisters and the politically turbulent context of their lives. Renton demonstrates her scholarship with butterfly-winged elegance as she tells the story of a generation of Imperialist Victorians Suffused with privilege, power, money and sex that eventually ended in tragedy’ Evening Standard

‘Renton never loses sight of the bigger historical picture. She sets the sisters’ fabulously privileged and sometimes troubled lives against the convulsions of home and international politics through which they lived. The result is an impeccably researched, beautifully written and compellingly readable biography’ Daily Mail

‘Magnificent … [It] has the wisdom, excitement and psychological depth of a very good novel. She succeeds in combining the novelist’s art with the historian’s craft, laying the sources and workings before us. The beauty and romance are captured unforgettably’ Observer

‘Impeccably rehearsed and researched … a serious, spellbinding chronicle of the last days of Edwardian England’ The Times

‘This elegantly written tableau of a book is much more than a group biography; it is an elegiac account of the horrors of the First World War from a female perspective. Renton is excellent at setting personal events within their larger political or social context’ Literary Review

‘A lucid and superbly researched book’ Spectator

‘Hilarious, heartbreaking and completely absorbing, Renton has captured the last rays of light of a gilded family of remarkable women’ Amanda Foreman

‘Readers who enjoyed reading about the Mitfords and Stella Tillyard's ‘Aristocrats’ will relish Renton's elegant book. [An] enthralling period portrait’ Daily Express

From the Back Cover:

Mary, Madeline and Pamela – the three Wyndham sisters – were painted by John Singer Sergeant in 1899. For The Times it was ‘the greatest picture of modern times’. These beautiful, rich fin de siècle women clad in white came to epitomize a vanishing world: 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 the Wyndham sisters were far more turbulent than their air of calm suggests. Brought up in artistic and liberal circles, their childhood was freedom-loving and filled with medieval fantasies. Their parents were intimate friends with the Pre-Raphaelites, and the sisters, with Mary as a leader, became involved in ‘the Souls’ – an accidental grouping of brilliant, sincere and loyal friends with liberated morals and shocking beliefs about sexual equality. Bowing to convention, all three made excellent marriages, but only one was happy. All found emotional support from others – Mary with Arthur Balfour and the poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt; Pamela with the Liberal statesman and ornithologist Edward Grey.

Their first ever biography, Those Wild Wyndhams charts these enchanting and markedly different lives until the First World War brought devastation to their milieu. For readers of Amanda Foreman’s Georgiana and Stella Tillyard’s Aristocrats, this brilliant debut by Claudia Renton is an unforgettable historical and political biography that captures a family and its dwindling age.

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Renton, Claudia
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Book Description 2014. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 165mm x 243mm x 50mm. Hardcover. Three sisters - beautiful, cultured and aristocratic, born into immense wealth during the reign of Queen Victoria. Their dramatic lives are here unfolded in a rich historical .Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 512 pages. 0.839. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007544899

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Book Description 2014. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 165mm x 243mm x 50mm. Hardcover. Three sisters - beautiful, cultured and aristocratic, born into immense wealth during the reign of Queen Victoria. Their dramatic lives are here unfolded in a rich historical biography cer.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 512 pages. 0.839. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007544899

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Renton, Claudia
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 16.1 x 24.1 cm. A rich historical biography of ?those wild Wyndhams' ? three beautiful, cultured aristocratic sisters born into immense wealth in late Victorian Britain. Mary, Madeline and Pamela ? the three Wyndham sisters ? were raised surrounded by the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, in a family famed for its bohemian closeness. The liberal upbringing of these handsome, intelligent daughters of a maverick politician and an artistic but emotionally unstable mother prompted one family to forbid their offspring ever to play with ?those wild Wyndham children'.In adulthood, the sisters became intimate with ?the Souls', an intellectual and flirtatious aristocratic set, whose permissive beliefs scandalised society. Eldest and youngest sister became the objects of press fascination as the confidantes of great statesman ? Mary of Prime Minister Arthur Balfour; Pamela of the Liberal politician Edward Grey. Madeline had the only happy marriage of the [Url removed]r lives were intertwined with some of the most celebrated and scandalous figures of the day: Oscar Wilde, who fell in love with their cousin Bosie Douglas; Marie Stopes, to whom Pamela became patron; and the iconoclast poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, lover both of Mary and her mother before her. Their lives would be irrevocably devastated by the horrors of the First World War.In their first ever biography, Claudia Renton, drawing on a rich archive of letters, charts these women's intimate stories in their own voices, from romantic beginnings through the passions and disappointments of womanhood to the tragedy that brought a definitive end to their era, against the backdrop of the political and social events that shaped their age. Those Wild Wyndhams is an unforgettable historical biography that captures the high drama of this grand family against the political and social events that shaped their age. Hardback. Bookseller Inventory # MM-41009266

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Renton, Claudia
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Book Description William Collins, 2014. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110007544898

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