The English-Speaking Union invites you to a reception at Dartmouth House followed by a talk by Hugo Vickers who will discuss his book The Sphinx: The Life of Gladys Deacon – Duchess of Marlborough
About the book:
One of the most beautiful and brilliant women of her time, Gladys Deacon dazzled and puzzled the glittering social circles in which she moved. Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood – her father having shot her mother’s lover dead when Gladys was only eleven – to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, ‘I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.’
Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers. Forty years on, Vickers has now completely rewritten and revised his original biography, updating it with previously unavailable material and drawing on his own personal research all over Europe and America. He once asked Gladys, ‘Where is Gladys Deacon?’ She answered him slowly, ‘Gladys Deacon? . . . She never existed.’
The Sphinx is a fascinating portrait of this elusive but brilliant woman who was at the centre of a now bygone era of wealth and privilege – and a tribute to one of the brightest stars of her age.
About the author:
Hugo Vickers is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and an acknowledged expert on the British Royal Family. He has written biographies of the Queen Mother, Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, Cecil Beaton, Vivien Leigh, Princess Andrew of Greece and the Duchess of Windsor. The Sphinx has been a forty-year journey for him since his first meeting with Gladys Deacon in 1975.
Reception from 6.30pm the talk will start at 7.00pm sharp