Saturday, August 19, 2017

My dear, these are my gardening pearls

Used by permission of the National Portrait Gallery
I would like to introduce you to Nellie Samuels Levy Ionides.   An heiress to the Shell Oil fortune, she was an expert on Chinese porcelain and a hostess known for her excellent parties, gossip, and, I suspect, a rather sly sense of humor.

The story about her that I most cherish is found in Hilary Spurling's biography of Ivy Compton-Burnett. When someone visiting Nellie in her garden at Buxted Park admired her pearls, she is supposed to have said "My dear, these are my gardening pearls." (1)

And why not?  If my rose bushes are going to get all dressed up, it seems only polite to return the courtesy.  As my budget doesn't run to real pearls, I make my own pearl necklaces with Swarovski's very nice glass pearls. For today, I decided on a fairly chunky look to go with my polo shirt and Carhartt double-front jeans.

Kind of uncanny how much Mrs. Ionides and I look alike, don't you think?

(1)Hilary Spurling, Ivy - The Life of I. Compton-Burnett by Hilary Spurling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984),  310.