EVELYN WAUGH NEWSLETTER AND
Evelyn Waugh’s Outfit
Evelyn Waugh had keen interest in clothes. He was a customer of Anderson & Sheppard on Savile Row. Unfortunately, Evelyn Waugh’s Address Card is missing, but that of his elder brother, Capt. Alec Waugh, still exists (Figs. 1a & 1b).
Figs. 1a & 1b: Capt. Alec Waugh's Address Card at Anderson & Sheppard, Savile Row, London.
On the card, there are a lot of addresses, which shows that Alec moved
frequently, and one can trace his moves. Recommendations included
Evelyn Waugh, Richard Connell, A. D. Peters, A. A. Waugh, Auberon Waugh, and
C. A. G. Keeling, Alec's son-in-law Christopher, who married Veronica Waugh.
Evelyn Waugh’s reference was Alec Waugh. In those days, one needed a
reference when ordering suits, because there were no credit cards.
Normally fathers introduce their sons to tailors. Perhaps
relations between Evelyn and his father Arthur precluded such an introduction.
Fig. 2: Evelyn Waugh's measurements at Anderson & Sheppard, Savile Row, London.
A & S believe that Waugh signed his name (Rowland). His first
"Country Address" was Aston Clinton House, near Aylesbury in
Buckinghamshire, where he taught school. As of 10 March 1930, his
Country Address changed to Pool Place in Sussex, a house that belonged to
Bryan and Diana Guinness. Waugh's original "Town Address"
seems to have been 25 Adam Street, Portman Square, W1.
On 26 April 1928, it changed to 17A Canonbury Square, where he briefly lived
with She-Evelyn. His parents' address, 145 North End Road in Hampstead,
was used after 4 October 1929.
Fig. 3: Evelyn Waugh's order for a Coke Hat at James Lock & Co. on 16 July 1947.
Sykes recalls wearing a grey bowler to White's one day after the Second
World War. Waugh saw the hat and wanted Sykes to give it to him.
Sykes refused and suggested that Waugh order one like it at Lock &
Co. According to Sykes, Waugh went to the shop on the same day.
Sykes notes that Waugh wore the hat "frequently from then on, not only
in summer, for which such hats are designed, but at all seasons"
(397). In his autobiography, Waugh's son Auberon remembers that his
father was "very proud" of a "grey bowler hat" that he
called his "drab Coke" (64).
Figs. 4 & 5: Lock & Co.'s Coke Hat, and a top hat.
Here is the firm’s explanation of the Coke Hat (Fig. 4).
Evelyn Waugh was photographed in a top hat on his way to Auberon's wedding in July 1961. Lock & Co. no longer make silk top hats, but they will repair your old one.
Lock & Co. still preserve Evelyn Waugh’s head shape (Fig. 6) and the ledger ordering the Coke Hat. The head shape was taken by a machine called the Conformateur.
At Lock & Co. some wearers found the hard hats -- the bowler and top hats are hard hats -- so harsh upon the brow that it became necessary to find a method of shaping these hats to produce a more comfortable fit. An ingenious Frenchman, M Maillard, produced the answer, when in the 1850’s he designed and patented the head-measuring machine the conformateur [Fig. 7]. The conformateur is applied to the head, displacing the spokes of the machine and producing a card head shape which exactly maps (in one-sixth life size) the customer’s head. An adjustable wooden block [Fig. 8] is then made up around the card template to produce a block of the actual life size of the customer’s head. The hard hat can be moulded to fit perfectly, and the card filed for future reference. The conformateur remains in daily use to this day, as it continues to be the very best system for fitting hard hats. The conformateur has been used to take the head shape of Her Majesty the Queen, to assist with the fitting of the crown jewels for her coronation. Prince Akihito attended the coronation of Her Majesty and visited Lock & Co. where his head was measured with the conformateur and a top hat supplied. The conformateur has also been used by the space agency NASA to produce well-fitted helmets for long-term use in space. Head shapes on display at Lock & Co. show a small selection of the many well-known customers of Lock & Co. including Sir Laurence Olivier, Cecil Beaton, General de Gaulle, Evelyn Waugh, and the Duke of Windsor (Edward & Mrs Simpson). Lock & Co.’s four centuries of customers are recorded in our handwritten ledgers and read like the pages of Who’s Who. Admiral Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, dandy Beau Brummell, mad bad and dangerous to know Lord Byron, artists Sargent, Joseph Beuys, writers Oscar Wilde, Graham Greene, performers Frank Sinatra, Rudolf Valentino, heads of states including Sir Winston Churchill were all Locks men. Cards produced by the conformateur have established that American heads are slightly larger and longer than British heads. Head sizes are on the increase and over the last fifty years the average size has increased by at least three-eighths of an inch.
Fig. 8: Adjustable block for making a model of a client's head at Lock & Co.
Waugh’s head was 7-1/8 inches. I own a felt hat from the same firm. Coincidentally his size is the same as mine. I am about six feet tall, so Waugh’s head was large for his height. James Lock & Co. can also be visited through their web site, http://www.lockhatters.co.uk.
Vile Bodies as Old Comedy
A young man unable to afford the luxuries he
loves, an older generation with no wise words for their grown children, a
godless society, and an ironic chorus of heavenly beings: Evelyn Waugh’s Vile
Bodies, or Aristophanes’ Clouds? This cursory gloss could be
used to describe both Waugh’s 1930 novel and the play that preceded it by
about 2400 years. The two texts share more than these superficial similarities,
however; in Waugh’s novels, and in Vile Bodies especially, the echoes
of Greek Old Comedy--including its characteristic linear plot-line, unique
chorus, and animalistic and masked characters--resound. In both style
and structure, Waugh’s novel reflects this classical genre.
And I did think at one time that perhaps Bob was thinking of Betty Rylands, you know Mrs Rylands’ girl at the Laurels, such nice people, and they used to play tennis together and people remarked how much they were about, but now he never seems to pay any attention to her, it’s all his hockey friends, and I said one Saturday, “Wouldn’t you like to ask Betty over to tea?” and he said, “Well, you can if you like”, and she came over looking ever so sweet, and, would you believe it, Bob went out and didn’t come in at all until supper-time. (139)
Lengthy sentences such as
this one echo the lengthy pnigos that was standard in
Aristophanes. In both subject and style, the women’s extended,
overheard conversation resembles a parabasis of Old Comedy.
was made of mohair; irritating to some.
the TV Series
Under the bed for Kurt’s cigarettes;
search for sanctity;
I love Anthony Andrews, Diana Quick,
How I love upper-class English Catholicism,
The scene with Kurt hurts.
The growth of plastic
Sterilization, contraception widespread,
Love among the Ruins
Editor's note: Archibald Ormsby-Gore was John Betjeman's teddy bear. Among other accomplishments, Claire Rayner is the author of many historical novels, including the Performers series (12 vols., 1973-1988), the Poppy Chronicles (6 vols., 1987-1988), and the Quentin Quartet (2 vols., 1994-1995).
that you say, Mr. Robinson?
Stephen Robinson’s The Remarkable Lives of W.
F. Deedes is a sound biography, indispensable for anyone interested in
Bill Deedes—journalist, soldier, parliamentarian, editor, cabinet minister,
peer and amazingly long-lived roving reporter. It also sheds
interesting light on twentieth-century newspaper history, the earliest use of
television for political purposes and post-war Conservative Party
politics. Two weak chapters irrelevantly pillory Evelyn Waugh.
Now for a student of Deedes, it must be interesting to know that Deedes published
one thing about Waugh while privately thinking another. But at this
point Robinson’s focus is not Deedes but Waugh, and he presents Deedes’s
effusion about Waugh as though it were a revelation.
Oxford to Hollywood
Anthony Powell and the Oxford of the 1920s: Proceedings of the Second Biennial Anthony Powell Conference, 2003, ed. George Lilley, Stephen Holden, & Keith C. Marshall. Greenford, UK: Anthony Powell Society, 2004. 249 pp. Reviewed by Jeffrey A. Manley.
In recognition of the close relationship, both personal and literary, between
Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Powell, the Anthony Powell Society devoted
substantial time at its Second Biennial Conference to the subject of “Powell,
Waugh and Oxford.” This took place in April 2003, a few months prior to
the Evelyn Waugh Centenary Conference at Hertford College.
Bowl of Cashew Nuts
In dealing with this sort of book, it is tempting
to scan Waugh’s review of Who’s Who 1961 and change nouns as
needed. Particularly appropriate is the opening sentence: “I must not
pretend to have read every work of this book,” for, as Samuel Johnson said of
Clarissa, “Why sir, if you read it for the plot, you would hang
It is gratifying to see the works of Evelyn Waugh
afforded extensive consideration in surveys of literary periods. It is,
however, disappointing to see his works interpreted in reductive and even
View from Here
Books set on tracing developments within a genre
can leave one with a sense of having been randomly island hopping (with very
little time spent on any particular island) and may also deliver very little
understanding of cultural or other connections between the islands. Not
so this volume from Bradford: it is keenly aware and neatly arranged in
examining individual authors and their unique qualities while also tracing
connecting threads within the many works of the British novel.
Bradford, who has published widely on anything from literary theory to
individual writers—on Milton and Larkin, for instance—also establishes deep
contexts for his work and the works he examines.
More is wittily articulated on this point, but all is to say that such criticism is no longer useful for its being needlessly opaque. This book, even in discussing its multitude of authors, works, techniques, and influences, stands not only as delightfully prescient but also as most useful, bringing (as Bradford doubts criticism will ever again do) enjoyment to reading about fiction.
The eleven essays in this volume represent half
of the presentations at the Graham Greene Centennial Conference: Walking in
the Footsteps of Monsignor Quixote in May 2004, and if my memory of a very
pleasant if peripatetic tour is accurate, the editorial committee has chosen
judiciously. (Disclosure: I spoke at the conference but did not submit
Evelyn Waugh: A Supplementary
Checklist of Criticism
This is a continuation of the earlier checklists, published in Evelyn Waugh Newsletter and Studies. It includes books and articles published in 2006 and 2007.
Alder, Baron. “The Monotony of the New:
Evelyn Waugh and Modernist Aesthetics.” Literature & Aesthetics
16.1 (July 2006): 113-29.
Waugh Undergraduate Essay Contest
Interview with Evelyn Waugh
Evelyn Waugh in Tokyo
Waugh on CD