The surprising life of Constance Spry. From social reformer to society florist


Verlag: Macmillan, 2010
ISBN 10: 0230741819 / ISBN 13: 9780230741812
Gebraucht / Hard Cover / Anzahl: 0
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350 pp. With index. B/w photographs. Buchnummer des Verkäufers

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?Dress by Schiaperelli, photographs by Cecil Beaton, flowers by Constance Spry ? The decorator of the moment, the photographer of the moment, the florist of the moment ? what more could you ask??

Thus Vogue magazine described the wedding in 1937 of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, but today Constance Spry is better known as the author of that bible of middle-class housewives throughout the land, The Constance Spry Cookery Book. But who was she? Those of us who recognize the name think only of recipes, but her story is in fact that of a profoundly unconventional woman, who went from a poverty stricken childhood to the height of London society, taking in a career as rich and varied as it was unusual for a woman of her era. Connie began her life teaching slum children and ended it creating the floral displays for the coronation Queen Elizabeth II. Along the way, she escaped a violent marriage, had a lengthy affair with a cross-dressing lesbian artist and built a hugely successful business as a society florist. Today, her influence can be seen in every unorthodox flower arrangement, every 'natural' bouquet tied with rattan and, of course, in the gardens up and down the country planted with the Constance Spry rose.

Rezension: 'A biography which reveals with the greatest skill and sympathy an extraordinary person - complicated, driven, sometimes secretive but gifted and artistic to an nth degree. What a story.'
--Lizy Buchan

`Any new book from Sue Shephard, whose meticulous research and quirky writing style enlivens any subject, is a happy event, but this fascinating account of the life of a woman who changed so much for my generation is to be eagerly awaited and devoured'

--Clarissa Dickson-Wright

'Any new book from Sue Shephard, whose meticulous research & quirky writing style enlivens any subject, is a happy event, but this fascinating account of the life of a woman who changed so much for my generation is to be eagerly awaited & devoured.' --Clarissa Dickson-Wright

'A fascinating and evocative account of a woman who was a household name for two generations - my mother's and mine. There was so much more to Connie Spry than flower arranging and a classic cookery book. Her strong personality comes across vividly. It enabled her to make friends in widely different worlds from her early career teaching in poverty-stricken areas of Britain and Ireland, to the fashionable world of society parties and balls. Riveting.'
--Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, author of The Good Granny Guide and The Good Granny Cookbook

'Underestimate the power of floristry at your peril. In the early Thirties, Constance Spry created for a Bond Street perfumery a window display of scarlet roses and red kale leaves. So enormous were the crowds attracted by this spectacle that the police were summoned to move on the traffic. It was not the only time in a long and successful career in what she termed "flower decorations" that Spry found herself catapulted to public prominence. The surprise for today's readers is that her reputation rested on her iconoclastic approach to cow parsley and cabbages rather than her sham marriage, lesbian affair and chilly approach to motherhood. Sue Shephard's Life of Constance Spry, as its title suggests, is full of surprises. Spry's was a Cinderella story, a lush, rags-to-riches transformation in which our heroine stayed true to her essential decency while conquering brave new worlds with her charm, talent and sheer hard successfully centers Constance Spry in that interwar aesthetic of flamboyant glamour - Cecil Beaton, Oliver Messel and Syrie Maugham - which has been lost for ever in a world in which the instinct for bravura and the baroque has degenerated to bling.'
--Daily Telegraph

`Highly readable and most entertainingly brings back to life a world that has long since gone.' --Daily Express

`Constance Spry was the domestic goddess of her day, but her fame and success masked a private life that was full of secrets. She may have had a lovely rose named after her but the scent that clings to her life is distinctly less sweet.' --Mail on Sunday

`Constance Spry, the world's most famous flower-arranger, died in 1960 but her influence lingers. Spry's life was relentless, sociable and fascinating.' --Financial Times

`Anyone who thinks flower-arranging is for wimps and designing a Coronation a doddle should take lessons from Mrs Spry (Nigella in gloves and corsets). As a tribute to the social impact and creative importance of Spry, this poised, lively memoir is frank about Connie's unconventional life, shrewd about her glamorous public profile and intelligent about her cultural legacy.' --Saga

`The title is an understatement...a lively account of a 20th-century icon. Behind the glitz and glamour, there's a real mystery to Constance Spry. This book can, therefore, be read on both levels.'
--Country Life

`The fascinating story of how a schoolteacher became a society florist.' --BBC Gardens Illustrated

`Shephard tells Connie's captivating story for the 50th anniversary of her death with affection and adulation.'
--Books Quarterly

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: The surprising life of Constance Spry. From ...
Verlag: Macmillan
Erscheinungsdatum: 2010
Einband: Hard Cover
Zustand: Small traces of use
Auflage: First Edition.

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