Rognon de la Flèche and ‘Treasons Bargain’

Treasons BargainFound – an art catalogue from 1990 of an exhibition at the Michael Parkin Gallery in Belgravia, London. Rognon de la Flèche was the name by which Lady Cara Harris was known in her role as an artist. Parkin’s intro explains:
Rognon de la Flèche was the pseudonym of Lady Cara Harris and literally means ’ the tale of the arrow’ or more to the point ‘the sting in the tale’…To mention her name to old friends like John Betjeman, John Sutro, Adrian Daintry, Cecil Beaton and David Herbert would bring forth a knowing smile, almost instantaneous laughter and the inevitable hilarious story. I personally love the one of her daughters wedding date when she forced the somewhat reluctant bride-to-be to accompany her to Harrods to choose some new bath taps..having wasted the Harrod’s assistants time for several hours not to mention her by know somewhat agitated daughter’s – she apologized serenely remarking that she was suffering from the severe problem of ‘bidet fixée.’

The only daughter of the redoubtable Mabel Batten, known as ‘Ladye’ who was a ‘close friend’ of both Edward VII and Johnnie Radclyffe Hall, author of The Well of Loneliness, Cara Harris was also the mother-in-law of Osbert Lancaster. The art of Rognon de la Flèche 1865 to 1931 (Lady Cara Harris continued until 1952) was first shown in December 1933, at the Warren Gallery, in Bond Street. Now some 57 years we are showing not only repeated this eccentric exhibition but also a collection of homemade dolls whose births, marriages and social activities became regular features in the pages of The Times and Tatler. Also showing during the exhibition will be one of her remarkable films Treasons Bargain (1937). Described as having five acts and 106 scenes it stars an elderly aristocrat (Lady Cara) who successfully outwits the ‘baddie’ Catptain Desmond Sneyke (Osbert Lancaster) and features performances by Lord Berners, Sybil Colefax, Lord Donegal, Victor Cunard, John Betjeman and and Cecil Beaton…’

I am not sure if the film has been shown since 1990 and it may well be a piece of justly forgotten nonsense, certainly the beards and the moustaches in the still look pretty silly, but it might be a fascinating and illuminating period piece  It is unknown to the vast IMDB movie database and sadly there are no extracts on YouTube. The programme thanks Rupert Belville for lending his aeroplane and the London Medium’s Physic College for lending girl guides. Lady Colefax ‘kindly lent’ an elephant.

[In the photo: left to right John Betjeman, Cecil Beaton, Lord Donegal, Adrian Daintry, Lord Berners, ‘Fluff’  Simon Harcourt-Smith, Osbert Lancaster, Freddie Chiltern, Zita James.]

One thought on “Rognon de la Flèche and ‘Treasons Bargain’

  1. Rula

    Bidet fixée was an excellent pun. I guess you needed the two hours at Harrods to set it up with the added pressure of the girl’s wedding. Those were different times.


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