This study is based on interviews with leading figures and contemporaries who knew him. They include Lord David Cecil, Harold Acton, Richard Bennett, Gavin Bryars, Diana Mosley, Fiamma Nicolodi and Frederick Ashton. The flamboyant Lord Berners knew everyone in the worlds of the arts and society, and was the model for Lord Merlin in The Pursuit of Love
by Nancy Mitford.
Lord Berners was one of the most colourful and flamboyant personalities of his day. A composer, writer, painter, and eccentric (famous for dyeing his pigeons into rainbow hues), he knew everyone in the worlds of the arts and of society in the first half of the twentieth century, and formed the model for Lord Merlin in Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love. He was admired by Stravinsky, collaborated with Diaghilev and Gertrude Stein, and his five ballets were choreographed by Balanchine and Frederick Ashton. This book offers a refreshingly new documentary approach - interviews with leading figures and contemporaries who knew him and his work, set into context and complemented with much further information. The interviewees include Ashton, the writers Lord David Cecil and Harold Acton, the composers Richard Rodney Bennett and Gavin Bryars, Diana Mosley (one of the six Mitford sisters) and more; there are also studies by Peter Dickinson. There are numerous colour plates and other illustrations. PETER DICKINSON, the composer and pianist, is emeritus professor, University of Keele and University of London. He has written or edited several books about twentieth-century music, including Copland Connotations (2002), The Music of Lennox Berkeley (2003), and CageTalk (2006).