Vita Sackville West


English aristocratic author, poet and gardener Vita Sackville West (1892-1962) was born and raised at Knole in Sevenoaks. She was twice awarded the Hawthornden Prize for Imaginative Literature for her pastoral epic, ‘The Land’, and for her Collected Poems. Her famous novels include ‘All Passion Spent’ and ‘The Edwardians’.

In the 1930s Vita and her husband, the diplomat Harold Nicolson, moved to Sissinghurst, Kent where they created their famous gardens. Vita was a prolific gardening writer penning the Observer column “In your Garden” for many years. She was also founder member of the National Trust‘s garden committee.

Both Vita and Harold had same-sex relationships during their marriage, as did some of the people in the Bloomsbury Group of writers and artists, with many of whom they had connections. The couple had two children: Benedict, an art historian and Nigel an editor, politician, and writer.

Vita’s son Nigel’s book ‘Portrait of a Marriage’ first published in 1973 and adapted from Vita’s diaries and letters, describes his parents loving yet unconventional marriage. It was adapted for television in 1990.