The Daily Telegraph has reported the death of writer Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy at the age of 86. He was the son of a younger son of an upper class family, but his father lacked access to inherited wealth and was unable to earn a living as a physician due to his alcoholism. They frequently lived a fairly hand-to-mouth existence as described in his autobiography Half an Arch (2004). He also wrote novels, short stories, biographies and children’s books. One of his best known books is The Rise and Fall of the British Nanny (1972). According to the Daily Telegraph obituary: “Wherever he was, intimacies poured from him–which, slightly too often, involved lack of money.”
He is best known in the Evelyn Waugh community as the nephew of Eddie Gathorne-Hardy who contributed to a character in Decline and Fall originally named Martin Gaythorne-Brodie. On advice of counsel, the name was changed in the second printing to Miles Malpractice. There was apparently never any suggestion that Eddie Gathorne-Hardy objected to the the name similarity. As Miles Malpractice, the character also appeared in the later novels Vile Bodies and Put Out More Flags.
His second wife, who survives him, also has a Waugh connection. She is artist Nicky Loutit, daughter of Janetta Parladé, one of Cyril Connolly’s young women friends during his Horizon days. See previous post. Waugh met her on several occasions and was taken with the fact that she frequently went about without shoes. He applied to her the nick-name “Bluefeet” in his gossipy correspondence with Nancy Mitford. Her story, along with that of several other young women associates of Connolly, will soon be available in D J Taylor’s book The Lost Girls to be published in September.