Sissinghurst Castle is an Elizabethan moated manor house in the Kentish Weald with remarkable gardens. It was bought by the celebrated author and horticulturalist Vita Sackville-West (1892–1962) in 1930. She lived there with her husband Harold Nicolson (1886–1968) and their two children, Benedict, later the long-standing editor of ‘The Burlington Magazine’, and a pioneering expert on Caravaggio and the Caravaggesques, and Nigel, a distinguished writer. Vita’s Sapphic proclivities are well-documented, in particular her relationship with Virginia Woolf, who wrote ‘Orlando’ for her in 1928 – an extraordinary evocation of the lost glories of Knole, another Sackville-West property now in the care of the National Trust. Recently acquired for the collection in 2010 was a 1919 portrait by Sir John Lavery of ‘Violet Keppel (1894–1970), Mrs Denys Robert Trefusis’, one of Vita’s great early loves. Sissinghurst passed to the National Trust, through the National Land Fund, in 1967 in lieu of death duties from Nigel Nicolson. His son, Adam Nicholson, still occupies part of the property, and has perpetuated the legacy.
National Trust, Sissinghurst Castle
Biddenden Road, near Cranbrook, Kent TN17 2AB England
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