[PDF] My Grandmothers and I ✓ Diana Holman-Hunt

10 thoughts on “My Grandmothers and I

  1. says:

    At the end of this extraordinary memoir Diana Holman Hunt's grandfather uotes Byron and truly those few lines are the perfect summing up of this wonderfully horrible childhood 'And if I laugh at any mortal things 'tis that I may not weep 'Diana Holman Hunt only granddaughter of the famous Pre Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt

  2. says:

    An extraordinarily entertaining and thought provoking read The image of irresponsible parenthood one builds up in one’s mind of Diana’s absent father Hilary in the first part of this book is amply justified through the evidence of his presence in the second part One can but speculate as to the exact nature of his employment in the Public Works department in Burma Meanwhile Diana lives with and is brought up by her

  3. says:

    It takes enormous wit to create a comic masterpiece from a train wreck of a childhood but Diana Holman Hunt accomplishes just this Abandoned by

  4. says:

    Rather fictionalized memoir of the girl hood of the grand daughter of Pre Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt growing up in an upper middle class milieu in 1920s England Some of it is very funny Some of it is probably romanticized but there's nothing automatically wrong with that

  5. says:

    Diana Holman Hunt’s childhood was spent between two vastly different households Her maternal grandparents lived on a large country estate where she was expected to do chores and read to her blind grandfather Visitors provided diversion as

  6. says:

    Review originally published here tracked down a copy of this after a good bit of searching – it was the author surname that caught

  7. says:

    An account of an extraordinary Edwardian upbringing As so often with memoirs the early years are the best but it's a riveting tale of past times

  8. says:

    My Grandmother and I is a charming memoir of Diana Holman Hunt's childhood and her relationship with two radically different grandmothers Before

  9. says:

    It's a little difficult to get into at first but gradually the jumping about style and the larger than life characters come to life It's an amazing book funny and sad and marking a massive change in people's lives Well worth checking out

  10. says:

    Recently re read this book which is one of my all time favorites Fascinating story and the differences of the styles of Diana's two grandmoth

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free download ¸ eBook or Kindle ePUB ¶ Diana Holman-Hunt

Hunt was shunted between her wealthy Freeman grandparents in Sussex and a life of privation with the eccentric Edith Holman Hunt 'Grand' in Kensington Brave and resourceful she soon learnt that adult affection was conditional in the country on her ability to entertain she was constantly exhorted to 'utter' and in Melbury Road Kensington to take in and cherish anecdotes relating to the Victorian art world and her grandfather in particular Holman Hunt fulfilled both roles but ultimately tired of Grand's canonisation of the great pa Review originally published here tracked down a copy of this after a good bit of searching it was the author surname that caught my attention I find the lives of the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood interesting in a rather morbid sort of way as I doubt that the name Holman Hunt is particularly common And indeed I was correct Diana Holman Hunt was the granddaughter of the famous painter but born three years after his death arriving into the world in the bed that the Great Man died in With a father who is mysteriously absent for than the first half of the book and who proves himself utterly inadeuate for the remainder and a mother who is never mentioned Diana spends her childhood being ferried between the homes of her two contrasting grandmothers an upbringing which she chronicles in this entertaining and deeply affectionate memoirHolman Hunt s two grandmothers are known as Grandmother and Grand with the former being Mrs Freeman a distant relative of John Everett Millais and then the latter being Edith Holman Hunt fortunate enough to be widow to the Great Artist to put it in her own words The Freemans live in a tightly run household in Sussex staffed by a full complement of servants and where Grandmother Freeman s word is gospel Diana s days are governed by tasks and nothing less than perfection is acceptable By contrast Grand wafts around her frowsty dark home with only my good Helen to serve her and Helen is truly good for very little producing inedible meals refusing to tidy and generally remaining monosyllabic Grand s Kensington home is of a shrine to her late husband than a house the tea set is labelled with the names of the great and the good who drank from the cups although Diana objects that they can t have ever all sat down together Diana returns from visits to Grand with unwashed hair and wrinkled clothes and a general state of hungriness Grandmother Freeman is always appalled and the passive aggressive correspondence between the two has a humour of its ownDespite Diana s date of birth being 1913 this memoir has a distinct Victorian theme I read it with the voice of Lady Bracknell in my head Diana is called upon to utter in the drawing room and then instructed at another point to enter a room with the word prune as it will make her mouth appear a better shape The child Diana gallops into the room dressed in her classical dress as a Greek goddess shouting the word There is also the unfortunate tennis incident that leave the child with a black eye My Grandmothers and I is a nostalgic piece reflecting back to childhood when things were simpler but also for these grandmothers themselves Grand s home is a mausoleum full of mementos of her marriage and her husband s fame and her conversation full of those who are dead Having read The Model Wife it was interesting to hear the Millais Ruskin scandal from a contemporary perspective Diana is ordered to forever defend the reputations of Euphemia and Uncle Johnny her grandfather s close friend There is a humour to how Diana parrots her grandmother s words but the grief and loss behind them is undeniableThere is a deeper shame though behind Grand s constant chatter Edith Holman Hunt was second wife to the painter with her sister being his first wife Edith and Holman Hunt had to go abroad to Europe in order to marry due to laws against marrying the sister of one s deceased wife Florence Holman Hunt died in childbirth her marriage to the painter was short but there is such tender tragedy to the aging Grand s muted panic that in all these years of her widowhood her sister has been reunited with Holman Hunt in Heaven The author s love and warmth for all of her grandparents is obvious while her cousin breaks her shell collection and is a spoilsport her father does little for her other than posting her a leper skin for her fifth birthday it is the grandmothers who are clearest positive force in her lifeThere is the muffled panic in the background of the Freeman household that Grandfather has lost his sight and is almost blind the worst happens later when he has the dreaded fall plunging his wife into the despair that has hovered over her for so much of the book Grandmother abstractedly tells Diana that from now on she cannot live with them that it is fortunate enough that she will be married in a few years which to the adolescent Diana is clearly alarming She is assured that thanks to Grand Diana will be an heiress but instead she is sent to an inferior boarding school before being rescued by her father several years later Yet with his reappearance Diana s father is finally revealed as the worthless individual that he truly is leaving her abandoned almost penniless and having to take a low paid job in order to support herself all the while living in the sualor of Grand s decaying home Grand and her father are reluctant to allow her to visit her now widowed Grandfather and when her father finally vanishes for good Diana finds herself unwanted by her other relatives who make their excuses to abdicate responsibility The loveliest moment of the book comes however when Grand unexpectedly dies hit by a bus and she received a note from her Grandfather incapacitated by his earlier accident but to her obvious relief able to offer her a place to go It is tempting to wonder with a memoir such as this to what extent the author is holding back Certainly she never explains her mother s whereabouts The characters are drawn so large larger than life that one wonders about the accuracy but again My Grandmothers and I captures the way in which a child perceives the adult world The older Diana in the second part of the book has a different perspective she can see Grand as a far diminished figure some vulnerable who needs to be protected and these figures who were once so omnipotent particularly Fowler and the other servants from the Freeman household who were so omnipotent in the eyes of her younger self they too become fallible and faded My Grandmothers and I has of the feel of a novel than a memoir though she most certainly was not starved for material and indeed in having sung her family s song in so beautiful a way she is carrying them forwarrd to another generation just as her Grand would have wanted

characters My Grandmothers and I

My Grandmothers and I

Inter Diana Holman Hunt's late flowering gifts as a writer owed nothing to formal education From the ages of eight to 14 she was sent to an inferior boarding school in Eastbourne and continued her studies in Florence Germany and at art school in Paris Grand was killed by an omnibus in 1931 unexpectedly leaving nothing in her will to Diana Her first book‘My Grandmothers and I” became a best seller the year after her second husband’s death from cancer in 1959 She was working on her autobiography when she died on 10th August 19 It s a little difficult to get into at first but gradually the jumping about style and the larger than life characters come to life It s an amazing book funny and sad and marking a massive change in people s lives Well worth checking out

free download ¸ eBook or Kindle ePUB ¶ Diana Holman-Hunt

PRE ISBNText below extracted and largely copied from accessed 21 April 2011BORN 25 October 1913 in the bed in which the Pre Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt had died three years before the writer Diana Holman Hunt was to inherit her grandfather's exceptional memory and gifts as a raconteur These were cultivated by an extraordinary upbringing which Holman Hunt brilliantly described in her first book My Grandmothers and I 1960An unwanted only child whose father Hilary was employed in the Public Works Department in Burma Holman It takes enormous wit to create a comic masterpiece from a train wreck of a childhood but Diana Holman Hunt accomplishes just this Abandoned by her widowed father to shuttle between her two diametrically opposed grandmothers she grew up in alternating luxury Grandmother Freeman and Miss Havisham like ruins Grandmother Edith the painter William Holman Hunt s widow Both loved her competed over her but neither one had a clue about a child s needs caught up as they were in their own selfish bubbles Their granddaughter describes them with acute humor and affection If you enjoyed Love in a Cold Climate this will amuse you