Brian Howard to the Duchess (on Rex Whistler)

Signed letter sold in 2010. Brian Howard poet, journalist, socialite, 'failure'. Found in a book from the Gilmour estate.

2pp. About 80 words to 'Dear Mollie' (ie  Mary ('Mollie') Montagu Douglas Scott, Duchess of Buccleuch) on her notepaper - Boughton House, Kettering dated May 1957. It is loosely inserted in a used copy of Laurence Whistler's book on his brother Rex Whistler (Art & Technics 1948) presented to her mother by her daughter Caroline (later Lady Caroline Gilmour.) The letter reads - 'Caroline might be faintly amused to know that when Laurence was compiling this book he wrote to me to for the complete text of my poem about Rex. In one's forgetful, selfish way, I didn't reply - so these weak little lines, this miserable quatrain is all that posterity will receive. The unhappy thing is that the complete (underlined) poem wasn't a bad literary portrait of Rex. Love, Brian.' BH has initialled the relevant 4 lines in the printed text.  LW does not name Howard in the text  but refers to him merely as 'a clever friend (who) drew his character in words...' The poem begins with the lines 'Laughter in the bedroom...' Letter sold with book which is sound but somewhat bumped. Brian Howard letters are seldom encountered.

When a copy of the Whistler book (not rare) shows up again we will post the missing lines.

21/7/13 Sure enough a copy has shown up and the lines read:

Laughter in the bedroom,
          in the bar-too,
          in the ballroom--
          But the laughter is an urn.

Not exactly The Waste Land but to his brother Laurence the lines catch Rex's character at about 21-- the way in which  he was 'subtly detached' from his 'great gaiety'. He writes 'Rex's smile was immensely amused, as only a thoughtful man's may be..'

Self portrait by Rex Whistler

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