“The first public performance of Façade raised an uproar among such custodians of the purity of our language as firemen on duty at the hall and passing postmen who, on being lassoed and consulted by journalists, expressed the opinion that we were mad.” — Edith Sitwell, describing the 1923 performance of her poem Façade at Aeolian Hall, London.
Edith Sitwell—poet, performer, incomparable figure of the British avant-garde in the early-to mid-twentieth century—was the sister of writers and critics Osbert Sitwell and Sacheverell Sitwell.
“[The Sitwells were] a dazzling monument to the English scene… Had they not been there a whole area of life would have been missing.” — Cyril Connolly
Artist, publisher, novelist, radical Wyndham Lewis first embraced, then rejected the ubiquitous Sitwells, and brutally satirized them—along with the Bloomsbury group—in his novel The Apes of God.
WYNDHAM LEWIS—LIFE, ART, WAR, through January 1, 2018.
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUMS NORTH, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester, England.
Books about the Sitwells and by Wyndham Lewis.
Neil Porter and Edith Sitwell, rehearsing Façade, 1923.
Avant-garde siblings Sacheverell Sitwell, Edith Sitwell, and Osbert Sitwell, photographed by Cecil Beaton.
Edith Sitwell, photographed by Cecil Beaton.
Blast, the short-lived literary journal edited by Wyndham Lewis.
Chilean painter Álvaro Guevara—lover of Nancy Cunard and husband of Meraud Guinness—was a great passion of Edith’s life.
Wyndham Lewis, Portrait of Edith Sitwell, 1923.