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Wiltshire’s famous female authors: Daphne Fielding

Our volunteers have been delving through our Library stacks to shine a light on Wiltshire's famous female authors. We were amazed at how many women writers have links to Wiltshire, many of whom have lived fascinating and colourful lives.

Daphne Winifred Louise Vivian Fielding (1904–1997) was a popular author and socialite, who spent many years in Wiltshire from the 1920s-50s. Fielding was a member of the Bright Young People, a group of young aristocrats and socialites. The group were the subject of Cecil Beaton's photography and were the inspiration for many writers and poets.

Daphne married Lord Weymouth, later 6th Marquess of Bath, in 1926 and lived on the Longleat estate during their marriage. After the stately home opened to the public for the first time - Fielding wrote the first ever guide to Longleat, which she researched and wrote in just 3 weeks.

She would go on to write several more books, including Before the Sunset Fades (1953) - decorated by Wiltshire neighbour Cecil Beaton, and Mercury Presides (1954), which the Museum Library owns a copy of.

Following an amicable divorce, she married war hero and fellow writer Alexander (Xan) Fielding in 1953. During their marriage they travelled extensively and lived in Cornwall, Morocco, Portugal and Uzes.

Fielding's works include autobiographies and biographies. Many of her books are now out of print, however she enjoyed commercial success during her writing career - particularly for the Duchess of Jermyn Street.

Her works comprise of:

*Longleat: A History from 1566 to the Present Time (1949 and later editions)

Before the Sunset Fades (1953) a family history of Longleat

*Mercury Presides (1954)

The Adonis Garden (1961)

The Duchess of Jermyn Street (1964)

Emerald and Nancy (1968)

The Rainbow Picnic (1974)

The Nearest Way Home (1970)

The Face on the Sphinx (1978)

(* held in the Museum Library and Archive)

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