Smoke Signals from Waugh

Duncan McLaren has posted a lavishly illustrated photographic essay showing Waugh posing with pipe and cigar. Here’s a link. The pipe smoking photos seem to be post Oxford in the 1920s and the cigar smoking, post war. This leaves a 15 year gap with no photo illustrating either form of tobacco consumption. The essay opens with this:

In later life, every time Evelyn Waugh was asked to be photographed, he reached for a cigar. But when did this start? Did Evelyn smoke at Oxford? The first image of him smoking may have been taken when he was a teacher at Aston Clinton. On 22 February 1926, the 22-year-old mentioned that proofs had been sent to him by a photographer from Tring. He wrote that they were amusing, in particular the ones in ‘ordinary clothes’ in which he looked like a ‘popular preacher’.

At the end of the pipe smoker phase, about 1930, Duncan notes:

He’s square-on to the photographer by this time in his career. Very sure of himself. So sure of himself that he no longer needs to be pictured with the tools of his trade. It was in 1930 that Evelyn Waugh changed his signature, as detailed on another page on this site. It may also have been around this time that he switched from pipe to cigar, never to return.

Duncan invites readers to comment on Waugh’s smoking habits, as well as when and why he changed them. During the war he could hardly have smoked fine cigars very often, but cigarettes may have been plentiful–at least that is what I always heard from US war vets. Yet, I do not recall ever seeing him in a photograph smoking a cigarette. Comments can be sent via Duncan’s internet site that is linked above or you may comment as provided below and I will see to it that they reach him as well as our readers.



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