Thursday, 9 January 2014

Blow about the Beacon

Caroline brought me a snowdrop this morning, the first of the year. Who needs to travel to Painswick House or elsewhere to see them en masse? Which reminds me, a notice by Painswick Beacon implies that it is (or was) in the ownership of the Blow family. And the next house we passed on coming down from there yesterday, Spoonbed Farm, has what looks like a Blow connection, in the form of this stained glass window. "IDB 1995" it says at the bottom. (Rather odd that this should appear facing outwards, when the window can only really be seen to advantage from the inside.)

Detmar Blow of Hilles House - barely half a mile West of this farm - was the husband of Isabella Delves Broughton. It was Isabella's second marriage, one scene in several acts of a tragic life.

The eldest of four children, her only brother was drowned in the family swimming pool aged two. At 14, her mother shook hands with her and her sisters and left home. More or less cut off by her millionaire father, she worked as a cleaner. By 23, she was married to an American, but divorced after two years. Despite success in the world of fashion, she was usually broke.

Passing 30, she married Detmar Blow. They later separated, she going off with a gondolier. 18 months later they came together again, after she had been diagnosed as bi-polar. Soon she was found to be suffering from ovarian cancer. Half a dozen suicide attempts were botched before - one Sunday in May seven years ago - she followed her father-in-law's example and swallowed Paraquat in the middle of a house party at home, dying next day in Gloucester Hospital. No children came from either marriage.

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