Sitwell, Osbert, 1892-1969

Alternative names
Birth 1892-12-06
Death 1969-05-04

Biographical notes:

Viola Garvin, literary editor of the Observer 1926-1942, and daughter of James Louis Garvin, editor of the Observer 1908-1942.

From the description of Letter, 1940 October 21, Renishaw Hall, N. Sheffield to Viola Garvin. (Washington State University). WorldCat record id: 37429151

English poet and satirist.

From the description of Letter : Cyprus, to Maurice [Baring], 1935 Feb. 15. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122385623

English author and poet; brother of Dame Edith Sitwell and Sacheverell Sitwell; 5th Baronet of Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire, England; b. Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell.

From the description of Osbert Sitwell collection, 1918-1970. (Boston University). WorldCat record id: 70969802

English author.

From the description of The scarlet tree : galley proof, 1946 May 1 [manuscript]. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647833723

From the description of Letters, 1918-1957. (University of Iowa Libraries). WorldCat record id: 233124592

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Amalfi, to Eugene F. Saxton, 1923 Dec. 5. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270662231

Osbert Sitwell was an English author and man of letters. Born into an aristocratic and talented family, his father arranged for schooling, military service, and a post as clerk; Sitwell left this post to experience combat in World War I. He contributed poems and essays to various periodicals, banding with his sister Edith and brother Sacheverell to tweak established British values in art, literature, and politics. He wrote poetry, novels, political commentary, essays, and travel books, but is probably best remembered for his five-volume memoir.

From the description of Osbert Sitwell letters, 1918-1959. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 62590099

Purchase; David J. Holmes; 1995.

From the guide to the Letter, 1952 September 18, Castello di Montegufoni, Florence, to Roy [Campbell]., 1952 September 18, (Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections)

Sitwell was an English author.

From the description of Correspondence and compositions, 1950-1967. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122405190

From the description of Letters from various correspondents, 1958-1967. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 83715182

From the guide to the Osbert Sitwell letters from various correspondents, 1958-1967., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

From the guide to the Osbert Sitwell correspondence and compositions, 1950-1967., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

English poet, playwright, and novelist.

From the description of The glow-worm : corrected manuscript, 1941. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122560529

English writer.

From the description of Osbert Sitwell Collection, 1887-1969. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122492206

From the description of Autograph letter signed : London, to Jane Clark, 1963 Apr. 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 773822046

Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell was born December 6, 1892, the second child and first son of Sir George and Lady Ida Sitwell. Educated first at a day school in Scarborough, then a prep school, and finally at Eton from 1905-1910, Sitwell expected to attend Oxford; however, his father sent him to prepare for entrance to military college. When Sitwell failed the entrance exams, his father arranged a commission for him in the Sherwood Rangers. After a year at Aldershot, Sitwell suffered a nervous breakdown and received a transfer to the Grenadier Guards stationed in London.

While in London, Sitwell began socializing with an elite group that included Margot Asquith, Mrs. George Keppel and her daughter Violet (to whom Sitwell was briefly engaged) and Lady Sackville. Membership in the Marlborough club involved him in the world of creative artists, including Debussy, Delius, and George Moore. His pleasure in his new friends and in ballet, to which they introduced him, was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I and his posting to Flanders in 1914.

Left unfit for active service by an injury, Sitwell returned to England where he began publishing anti-war satires in Wheels, a magazine directed by his sister, Edith. From prose he moved on to poetry and in 1923 he produced his sister's performance of Façade . The failure of the show to produce any positive reaction came as a severe blow to the siblings, though when it ran again in 1926 it was well received. Meanwhile, in 1925, Sitwell published his first collection of travel essays and in this he seemed to find his métier.

In 1926 Sitwell made the first of many trips to the United States after which he visited the Italian Riviera, North Africa, and the Orient. From 1933 until the start of World War II, Sitwell contributed a weekly article to the Sunday Referee, a collection of these essays appeared in 1935 as Penny Foolish . Curtailing his travels, Sitwell spent the war years at Renishaw, the family home. When his father died in 1943, Sitwell became the fifth baronet. In 1944 and 1946 the first two volumes of Sitwell's autobiography were published to moderate acclaim; The Sunday Times awarded him a medal and a thousand pounds.

Though suffering from the early stages of Parkinson's disease, Sitwell continued to travel extensively throughout the fifties. His final travel book, The Four Continents: Being More Discursions on Travel, Art, and Life was published in 1954, and his last collection of essays, Tales My Father Taught Me, appeared in 1962. His remaining years were spent at the family home in Italy, where he died in May 1969. His ashes were buried in the Protestant cemetery at Allori, near Florence.

From the guide to the Osbert Sitwell Collection TXRC03-A0., 1887-1969, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)

Epithet: poet and writer

Title: 5th Baronet

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000351.0x000028


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  • England--Social life and customs--20th century
  • Literature
  • Media and Communication
  • Travel and description
  • Lutyens, David Bulwer, tThe Creative Encounter
  • Authors--20th century
  • Authors--England--20th century
  • English literature--20th century
  • Authors, English--20th century--Correspondence
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
  • English poetry--20th century
  • Sitwell family
  • Male authors, English--20th century--Correspondence


  • Authors, English
  • Poets, English


  • Les Baux, Bouches-du-Rhône (as recorded)
  • Russia (Federation) (as recorded)
  • Rheims, Marne (as recorded)
  • Paris (France) (as recorded)
  • Lake Maggiore, Piedmont and Lombardy (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • Monte Carlo, Monaco (as recorded)
  • New York (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • Le Canadel, France (as recorded)