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Sitter in 2 portraits
Sir Coleridge Arthur Fitzroy Kennard, 1st Bt
by Bassano Ltdwhole-plate glass negative, 19 November 1924NPG x74731
by Bassano Ltdwhole-plate glass negative, 19 November 1924NPG x74732
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William Cross, FSA Scot
31 May 2016, 15:23
There is an enchanting introduction by Sir Coleridge Kennard to Ronald Firbanks's " The Artificial Princess" ( published in 1934 by Duckworth). In this 90th anniversary year ( 2016) of Firbank’s death his writings ( and Sir Coleridge’s reasons for his admiration of Ronnie) deserves to be better known. Perhaps Dr Richard Canning will have more to say in his forthcoming biography of Firbank. It seems Firbank visited Sir Coleridge frequently in London who remarks “ I hold that all that is essential about a writer is to be found in his works. Firbank expressed himself completely in his books….”
4 February 2016, 22:20
A lot! He was born in 1885, the son of Hugh Downing Kennard, who was the son of Coleridge Kennard, the founder and proprietor of the Evening News, and Helen Wyllie the daughter of rich Liverpool merchant of Scottish origin. His father died when he was one; and his grandfather died when he was five. The Conservative Government of Lord Salisbury had offered the grandfather a baronetcy just before he died because of the Evening News' support of the government. But it had not been gazetted and went into abeyance until 1895 when Coleridge junior (the grandson) was eleven. The title was then gazetted in his favour and he became the first baronet. This was because the Evening News had always warmly supported the Conservative Government. Also his mother, who had been styled as Lady Kennard after the death of the grandfather had considerable influence (and resources) to procure this favour. But Coleridge junior was a disappointment. He studied to enter the Diplomatic Service (with Oscar Wilde's eldest son) but he entered into a relationship with an unsuitable fortune hunter, and his mother with the collusion of the then Conservative Foreign Secretary got him appointed honorary attache to the British Legation in Tehran in order to extract him from this relationship. However his lover followed him there and he resigned from the legation. He wrote a number of privately printed books, some of them obscene, very much in the style of the Yellow Book, which was not surprising as his mother had been an admirer of Oscar Wilde and had paid for the famous Epstein tomb of OW in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris. The obscene books used to be kept on the restricted shelves of the British Museum Library. His mother had inherited a share in Eden Roc, the fabulous house in Cap d'Antibes which had been built by her wealthy father, and Sir Coleridge spent most of the 1920s there after the death of his mother when he became one of its owners. He produced two sons, SIr Lawrence Kennard, the second baronet (1912-67), who was pig farmer in Hampshire (among many other occupations); and SIr Geroge Kennard, the third baronet (1915-99) who despite having many wives produced no heir, and the baronetcy which had started so peculiarly terminated.
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