TLP winner’s Noble Savages launched

Cape and Sarah Watling launched her debut biography Noble Savages: The Olivier Sisters – Four Lives in Seven Fragments at Ink@84 bookshop in Highbury. Watling’s proposal for the book won the Biographers’ Club Tony Lothian Prize (TLP) in 2016.

Watling offers a group portrait of four women who intrigued figures including Rupert Brooke, DH Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. Margery and Daphne Olivier studied at Cambridge when education was still thought by some to be damaging to ovaries. Noel became a doctor; Daphne, a pioneering teacher; Margery’s promising trajectory was shot down by mental illness; Brynhild, the great beauty of the four, excelled as a Bloomsbury hostess, yet gave it up for love and a life of uncertainty.

Guests at the party, which took place as admiring reviews of Noble Savages were starting to appear in the press, included various descendants of the sisters, among them Laurence Harwood, Daphne’s son, and Cressida Bell and Virginia Nicholson, daughters of Olivier Bell (her first name was Anne, but she was always known as Olivier), who was the daughter of Brynhild.

Photo: Sarah Watling (left) and her editor, Bea Hemming