Sitwell, Sacheverell

Alternative names
Birth 1897-11-15
Death 1988-10-01

Biographical notes:

Sitwell was a poet, critic and author of volumes of verses. He died in 1988.

From the description of The parrot's voice snaps out=No good to contradict=What he says he'll say again: Dry facts, like biscuits, = : calligraphed illustration. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754863289

Sacheverell Sitwell was an English author and critic. Born into an aristocratic and gifted family, he joined with his brother Osbert and sister Edith to help change the tastes of British society in art and literature, publishing the poetry magazine Wing and organizing art exhibitions that introduced Picasso and Modigliani to the British public. An author, journalist, art critic, publisher, traveller, and public servant, he is probably best remembered for his works on art and travel. He was also an accomplished poet, and wrote books on many diverse subjects.

From the description of Sacheverell Sitwell manuscript poems, circa 1970. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 62590100

English poet; d. 1988.

From the description of Sacheverell Sitwell collection, 1936-1969. (Boston University). WorldCat record id: 70969803

English author.

From the description of Psittachus eois imtatrix ales ab indis [manuscript], 1980. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647826945

The brother of Dame Edith Sitwell and Sir Osbert Sitwell, Sacheverell Sitwell was a poet, art critic, and a writer on architecture.

From the description of Sacheverell Sitwell letter, 1938 Aug. 26. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 312700493

"For Geoffrey Elborn from his friend Sacheverell Sitwell 17 January 1973" Texts exhibit handwritten changes. Purchase; Paul Rassam; 1994.

From the guide to the Baraka ("as the Moors call it") : typescript, 1972., 1972, (Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections)

English writer.

From the description of Sacheverell Sitwell Collection, 1912-1988. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122494154

Sacheverell Reresby Sitwell was the third child and second son born to Sir George and Lady Ida Sitwell. Born at Scarborough in November 1897, "Sachie" suffered less from the expectations of his parents than his older siblings and was doted upon by the whole family. When he began school in 1908, he attended St. David's, Reigate, and then Eton.

Between 1912 and 1915 the Sitwell family was preoccupied by legal issues resulting from Lady Ida's debts, and Sacheverell suffered a great deal of emotional stress over her eventual imprisonment. World War I also loomed large in Sitwell's life as his brother, Osbert, and many of their mutual friends were shipped to the Front. At the age of seventeen Sitwell sought escape in aesthete attitudes and indulgences, running up debts to purchase books, pottery, and Japanese prints. He maintained these habits of escapism and living beyond his means throughout his life.

Sitwell left Eton at the end of 1916 and early the following year he joined the 5th Reserve Battalion, the Grenadier Guards, stationed at Chelsea Barracks in London. Lacking any aptitude for mechanics, horses, or leadership, Sacheverell made a poor soldier. However, while recovering from a bout of jaundice, he wrote several poems for his sister's magazine Wheels . Edith Sitwell had early detected Sachie's "poetic nature" and encouraged him to write. In 1918 his first volume of poetry, The People's Palace, was privately published but received very little notice.

Freed from the military early in 1919, Sitwell entered Oxford as an undergraduate of Balliol but left without taking a degree. He spent the next several years traveling, writing poetry, and making a start on what would become Southern Baroque Art . He worked with Edith to produce the performance art piece, Façade, and in 1922 Sitwell published The Hundred and One Harlequin, the first collection of his poetry to be published by the general publisher, Grant Richards. Southern Baroque Art, the prose work with which he would most often be identified, was published in 1924. Unlike Sitwell's poetry, which had so far been criticized as technically adept but obscure and lacking focus, Southern Baroque Art received praise all around. It also marked a personal transition for Sitwell, who went from thinking of himself as a poet to considering himself a writer.

In addition to being a successful literary year, in 1924 Sitwell met and fell in love with his future wife, Georgia Doble. They met at a dance. Sachie pursued Georgia assiduously for a year before she would agree to become engaged. They were married in Paris on October 12, 1925. Their first son, Reresby, was born in 1927 and his younger brother, Francis, in 1935.

Over the next several decades Sitwell produced a wide variety of literary works. He wrote one volume of short stories, several books on art, and two biographies. Developing a passion for British architecture, Sitwell published British Architects and Craftsmen in 1945, and four travel books between 1948 and 1956. He did not publish any more poetry until 1948 when Selected Poems, edited by Edith and Osbert Sitwell, came out. It was warmly received by critics. Sacheverell had no real desire to be brought into the limelight which was once again focused on the Sitwell Triad, however. While Edith and Osbert made international tours and promoted their works with vigor, Sacheverell stayed home on the Weston Estate, or traveled research new volumes.

The death of Edith in 1964 devastated both Osbert and Sacheverell and Osbert's death in 1969 was another serious emotional blow. However, it also served to release Sacheverell finally from the familial dependence he had always felt, financially and emotionally, and allowed him to make a sort of peace with the memory of his brother; this despite Osbert having left the larger part of his estate to Reresby. Enough of the estate went to Sacheverell to allow him to live out his days in relative wealth. Georgia died in 1980. Two years later, Sacheverell published his final volume of poetry, An Indian Summer . He was made a Companion of Honor in 1984 and died in 1988.

From the guide to the Sacheverell Sitwell Collection TXRC03-A1., 1912-1988, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)


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  • Sitwell, Sacheverell, 1897-
  • Authors, English--20th century
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  • Poets, English--20th century
  • English poetry--20th century
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  • Male authors, English--20th century--Poetry


  • Poets, English


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