Perfume from Provence, Blackwoods First Edition 1935

Perfume from Provence, Summersdale Revival Series Edition 2009

Sunset House, Blackwoods First Edition 1937

Sunset House, Black Swan Edition 1993

THANK YOU

The help and contributions from Lady Fortescue's relatives, Transworld Publishing, Society of Authors, and visitors to the site is much appreciated.

BOOK PAGE

Synopsis of all her books.

BOOK HELP

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EDITIONS

Scan or photograph a dust wrapper and e-mail it to the site to have it included on the book page. There are still some missing editions.

VISITORS BOOK

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GALLERY

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Photo's of people & places of interest connected with Winifred.

CONTENTS

View the whole site contents, over 100 pages, listed at a glance and go directly to a particular page by clicking on the hyperlinks.

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RECIPE

Traditional Provencal Recipe.

LINKS

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ARCHIVES

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2011 Archive

2010 Archive

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2008 Archive

2007 Archive

2006 Archive

2005 Archive

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2003 Archive

FEATURES

Magazine Feature

The Riviera Reporter Magazine

THE DOMAINE WEB SITE

Valerie de Courcel - The Domaine, Art & The Garden

Click here to visit the site. Garden, art & visits.

Dmaine Slide Show

Click here to see the slide show of The Domaine garden.

Lady Fortescue's original garden at the Villa Fort France has been awarded the label 'jardin remarquable'

SOME MORE INTERESTING BOOKS ON SOUTHERN FRANCE

Escape to Provence by Maureen Emerson, published July 2008

Escape to Provence
by Maureen Emerson.

Two Vagabonds in languedoc by Jan & Cora Gordon

Two Vagabonds in Languedoc
by Jan & Cora Gordon.

The Good Straight Englishwoman by Amanda Davies

The Good Straight Englishwoman by Amanda Davies.

Americans And The Making Of The Riviera by Michael Nelson

Americans And The Making Of The Riviera
by Michael Nelson.

Queen Victoria and the Discovery of The Riviera by Michael Nelson

Queen Victoria and the Discovery of The Riviera
by Michael Nelson.

The French Riviera A Literary Guide For Travellers

The French Riviera A Literary Guide For Travellers
by Ted Jones.

The Olive Farm series of books by Carol Drinkwater

The Olive Farm Series by Carol Drinkwater

l'Auberge by Julia Stagg

l'Auberge
by
Julia Stagg

The Parisian's Return by Julia Stagg

The Parisian's
Return
by
Julia Stagg

The French Postmistress by Julia Stagg

The French
Postmistress
by
Julia Stagg

A Fete to
Remember
by
Julia Stagg

A Christmas
Wedding
by
Julia Stagg

Last Chance in
the Pyrenees
by
Julia Stagg

Dog Trots Globe by Sheron Long

Dog Trots Globe
Paris,Provence

by
Sheron Long

Maureen Emerson - author of 'Escape to Provence'

Author
Maureen Emerson

and a very warm welcome!

  • Thank you for visiting the site which has developed from a love of Lady Winifred Fortescue's books, France, and in particular, Provence and the Alpes-Maritimes. In 1935 a book called Perfume from Provence was published which instantly became a best seller, rocketing its gentle, charming author almost overnight to fame and success. At the height of their popularity, in the 1930's -1950's, her books, 7 in all,  sold many thousands of copies making Winifred Fortescue a best selling author. Concerned that interest in her books and her amazing life might fade with the passage of time, it was a delight to find that when Black Swan re-published 4 of the books in paperback in the 1990's they became best sellers once again. Perfume from Provence was serialized for BBC Radio 4 and released on a BBC audio cassette tape. The reader was the well known British actress Stephanie Cole.

  • Winifred Fortescue was a woman ahead of her time who, faced with various forms of adversity, would turn her hand to anything, make a go of it and generally succeed - usually but not always with a touch of laughter. I hope the web site will help to keep her work alive and allow you to enjoy some of the locations and personalities that Winifred knew and, in addition, introduce new generations to the delights of Perfume from Provence and learn about the woman behind it.

  • After 75 years, and for the first time since 2000, Perfume from Provence has been re-published by Summersdale and is now available again direct from the publisher or through the web site.

Sunset House artwork by Brian Sanders

  • The Provence that Winifred & John Fortescue moved to in the 1930's has changed almost beyond recognition. Her view down the mountain from 'Sunset House' now reveals a golf course resort, out of town shopping centre and many developments and roads although Opio village is largely unchanged. Grasse & Cannes have grown considerably and Nice, of course, is a very busy cosmopolitan city and resort. That said, many of the buildings in the books remain including the 'Domaine' and 'Sunset House', both in private ownership. Please browse through the pages, there are currently over 100. More photographs of locations that feature in her books will be added from time to time.

There's Rosemary There's Rue Artwork by Brian Sanders

  • Comments, contributions, photographs, information & suggestions are welcomed. Please do use the visitors book or send an email via the email link. Early editions of Winifred Fortescue's books in hardback, and even some of the later paperback versions are becoming harder to find. Please email if you are looking for a particular book.

Trampled Lilies artwork by Brian Sanders

 

  • Winifred Fortescue was born in a Suffolk rectory on 7th February 1888, the third child of a country rector and connected, on her mother's side, to the Fighting Battyes of India. When she was seventeen - in order to ease the strain on family finances - she decided to try to earn her own living and went on the stage, performing in Sir Herbert Tree's* company, and later starring in Jerome K. Jerome's The Passing of the Third Floor Back. In 1914 she married John Fortescue, the King's Librarian and Archivist and famous historian of the British Army. The marriage, in spite of a huge disparity of age between them, (some 28yrs),was a uniquely happy one, and although Winifred Fortescue gave up her career on the stage, she later began a successful interior decorating and dress designing business until illness forced her to close her business down. It was at that point that she began writing, for Punch, the Daily Chronicle, the Evening News, finally inaugurating and editing a Woman's Page for the Morning Post.

  • *(Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree founded RADA in 1904 and was the grandfather of actor Oliver Reed).

Some of the various editions of Winifred's seven books

 

  • In the early 1930's John and Winifred Fortescue, now Sir John and Lady Fortescue, moved to Provence and there she wrote her famous and best selling book Perfume from Provence, and the sequel Sunset House.  Her autobiography, There's Rosemary, There's Rue, was first published in 1939, finally, after Sir John's death, Lady Fortescue wrote the full story of her life and most particularly of her meeting and marriage with John Fortescue. It is a fascinating nostalgic recreation of  another era, of her excitement as an actress before WWI, of her meeting with the man she was to marry, and of their home together in Windsor Castle during the reign of King George V and Queen Mary. Many famous names of the time drift across the pages which are warm, witty and a delight. Trampled Lilies continues her story including her escape from France and the Nazi's during WW II. Her three further books  are Mountain Madness, Beauty for Ashes and Laughter in Provence. These cover the period back in England until WWII ended, memories of holidays in the Alps and the the return to her home in France to resume life in the sunshine after the war.

 

  • Winifred Fortescue died in Opio, Provence, in April 1951. A fuller biography can be found on the Lady Fortescue page.

 

1930's Riviera

The French Riviera in 1937 - a short promotional film by Andre de LaVarre

  • Enjoy this 1937 promotion film to see how the Riviera looked in Winifred Fortescue's time.

 

The Promenade des Anglais in its heyday - note the pier

The Promenade des Anglais in its heyday - note the pier

 

August 2016

High summer with two very busy bees at work on the yellow Buddleia

High summer with two very busy bees at work on the yellow Buddleia

June - July 2016

Devastating news from Nice overnight following the 14th July celebrations on the Promenade des Anglais. Our deepest sympathy to all those caught up in this terrible event. We have stood in that exact spot as a family many times and can only imagine what the relatives of the victims must be going through. For those of you that know the web master I can report that our family had not gone to the event last night and are all safe.

  • The website has recently been offered three of the original E. H. Shepard pencil drawings from Winifred's first book, Perfume from Provence. They are in excellent condition but they are also understandably expensive, in the region of £3000.00UK or $3900.00US. It would be wonderful to secure these sketches which could be displayed and perhaps eventually left to the Shepard archive. The prints are currently in the USA. The webmaster is looking into ways of trying to fund the purchase - more information when available.

  • The webmaster recently underwent a spell in hospital so apologies to anyone who has been in touch and not had an immediate reply! Now home again, he hopes to be back up to full speed soon.

May 2016

  • The beautiful garden originally created by Winifred Fortescue near Grasse, now the home of artist Valerie de Courcel, is open on certain dates in 2016. For full details, and how to book, visit the web site at www.valeriedecourcel.fr

Lady Fortescue's original garden near Grasse

  • The wonderful metre gauge railway, the Chemin de Fer de Provence, will be running steam trains once again on Sunday's between May and September 2016. Part of the line, now closed, originally ran through Lady Fortescue's garden and olive groves at her home near Grasse. The lines runs all year round and operates between Nice and the spa town of Digne le Bains in the Alps. The complete journey takes approximately 3 hours in each direction but there are spectacular views as the line twists and turns through the mountain scenery. Many of the intermediate stops are well worth a visit and make for a much shorter journey. Visit www.trainprovence.com for full details and timetables.

Chemin de Fer de Provence

April 2016

  • Living and Loving on the Riviera - Maureen Emerson. Maureen has completed the writing of her new book and has very kindly made the first chapter available for us to read on line. Visit the website at www.livingandlovingontheriviera.co.uk to be enthralled now! Don't forget to watch the video of Maureen talking about her book here on the site too. Click here.

  • Maureen Emerson's new book, 'Living and Loving on the Riviera' is now finished, from a writers perspective, and is now out with a number of publishers for their consideration. We really hope Maureen receives a speedy acceptance after all the effort she has put into it.

Port of Nice Springtime

Port of Nice Springtime

March 2016

Villefranche-sur-Mer, see below!

Villefranche-sur-Mer, see below!

February 2016

  • Carnival Season! The carnival season is getting under way in Fortescue country. Nice carnival starts on the 13th February and on the 15th is the Combat Naval Fleuri at Villefranche-sur-Mer. These carnivals keep with their tradition and are much the same as they would have been in Winifred's time in the south.

Carnival season 2016

  • For any motoring enthusiasts, you might like to know that the Historic Monte-Carlo Rally, featuring a wonderful collection of classic vehicles, is taking place in Fortescue country between the 27th January and 3rd February. It ends on the 3rd of February, as always, in Monte Carlo. For full details click here!

Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique 27th Jan to 3rd Feb 2016

Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique 27th Jan to 3rd Feb 2016

Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique 27th Jan to 3rd Feb 2016

Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique 27th Jan to 3rd Feb 2016

January 2016

  • The France Show returns from 29-31 January 2016 - don't miss it! Enjoy the best of France under one roof at Olympia, London.

  • The weather in the south has been very mild and the Mimosa is starting to flower already!

Mimosa in early January!

Mimosa in Nice early January!

Looking towards Nice Airport in the January sunshine

Looking towards Nice Airport in the January sunshine

Oranges in January outside Nice theatre

Oranges in January outside Nice theatre

January sunset over the airport towards Cannes

January sunset over the airport towards Cannes

December 2015

  • Living and Loving on the Riviera - Maureen Emerson. Maureen has completed the writing of her new book and has very kindly made the first chapter available for us to read on line. Visit the website at www.livingandlovingontheriviera.co.uk to be enthralled now! Don't forget to watch the video of Maureen talking about her book here on the site too. Click here.

Living and Loving on the Riviera is the story of the American architect Barry Dierks, his English partner Eric Sawyer, and the stunning houses and gardens they designed on the French Riviera during the 1920’s and 1930’s – for those who could afford them. From their own home built into the red rocks of the Estérel mountains and above the Mediterranean, Barry as the architect in the partnership, with Eric as garden designer and business manager, built or remodelled around 60 houses in the south of France. These were occupied by Americans, British and French, many of whom have their own fascinating stories.  Handsome and sociable, Barry and Eric were ‘the two charmers’ of the Riviera social scene in the years between the wars,  indeed leading a charmed life until the Second World War changed

From 'Living & Loving on the Riviera', a new book by Maureen Emerson.
Copyright
© 2015 Maureen Emerson.

November 2015


 

October 2015

  • A glitch with the site hosting has now been fixed - apologies if you have had difficulty reaching it recently.

  • Maureen Emerson's new book, 'Living and Loving on the Riviera' is now finished, from a writers perspective, and is now out with a number of publishers for their consideration. Let's hope Maureen receives a speedy acceptance after all the effort she has put into it.

September 2015

  • The temperatures in the south are starting to fall a, little. It's now around 29c-30c rather than 39c-40c and it has rained!

August 2015

  • A great find - new photograph found in the U.S.A. This photo is an official press photo taken at the famous New York Plaza Hotel fashion show. One of Winifred's 'Cintra' gowns is being modelled. The show was held in the Golden Ballroom on the 9th November 1922 and this photo was taken the day before. The show, put on by Winifred, was to raise money to establish the Soldier's, Sailor's, Airmen's and Marine's club on Lexington Ave. The establishment still exists today. To see more, including the label on the rear, visit the 'Cintra' page or click here.

The NY Plaza fashion show 1922

Miss Josephine Morrison poses in one of Winifred's famous 'Cintra' dresses the day before the Plaza fashion show

  • Author and friend, Julia Stagg, has now published her latest book in the Fogas Chronicles. Click here for full details.

  • Many thanks to the visitor from the U.S.A. who has just made a donation towards the site running costs. Very much appreciated, thank you.

April - July 2015

  • Royal Horticultural Society Members - If you are a member of the RHS or can obtain a copy of the June issue of their magazine 'The Garden', it contains a five page spread on Winifred Fortescue's original garden near Grasse. A good article with much information about the plants and layout. The RHS are running a trip to the gardens of the Riviera in May 2016 but it does not include Winifred's. Full details on their website at https://www.rhs.org.uk

  • The webmaster has been rather busy due to the arrival of a first grandchild in the south of France and the need for visits!

March 2015

  • Rhona Wells recently visited Winifred's grave  at Opio and kindly sent this photograph. At the moment it is covered in flowering cyclamens, many of which she has planted over the years in tribute to Winifred's love of them. We know how much Winifred enjoyed her garden and the Spring flowers - a perfect tribute! Very many thanks to Rhona.

Winifred Fortescue's grave at Opio in Spring 2015

  • In Winifred Fortescue's books she often talks about the lovely carpets of spring flowers in her garden and in the countryside. Here is a perfect example of what she means - in the hills above Nice on the 7th March 2015.

March 2015 in the hills above Nice

March 2015 in the hills above Nice

March 2015 in the hills above Nice

March 2015 in the hills above Nice

“The little fishing villages of the coast, although often very poor, must have had a potent charm in the 1920s and early 1930s.  And in the tranquil hills which rose high above, dotted with their small iron crosses, there was much loveliness. The perfume industry at Grasse was prospering and the harvests of wonderfully scented flowers ran almost throughout the year. These began with violets, then the species hyacinths and jonquils. In June came the roses de mai and orange blossom, mignonette and carnations. In July the gathering of the tiny jasmine flowers was followed by the waxy and delicate tuberoses.  An edition of the English language publication La Saison de Cannes tried to encourage the international set to explore the pine-scented hillsides and seek out at least a few of their 164 villages and the multi-coloured anemones and wild blue orchids on their terraces, backed by the scented open spaces of the garrigue or shrub land. Few did. Apart from sorties to the already fashionable St Paul de Vence, it was the beaches, yachts, casinos, elegant villas and, above all, others of their own kind that were the great attraction.”

From 'Living & Loving on the Riviera', a new book by Maureen Emerson.
Copyright
© 2015 Maureen Emerson.

February 2015

  • The carnival season is under way in the south and the Mimosa is flowering - the days are getting warmer!

February 2015 - the view of the Mimosa from the balcony

February 2015 - the view of the Mimosa from the balcony

January 2015

January 2015 - Nice Harbour at lunchtime

January 2015 - Nice Harbour at lunchtime

January 2015 - The sun setting over the lovely Esterel mountains

January 2015 - The sun setting over the lovely Esterel mountains

December 2014

  • The end of the year is fast approaching - don't forget the France Show from the 23rd to 25th January 2015. There is a new venue as the show is moving to Olympia for the first time.

September - November 2014

  • A very kind visitor to the site from the U.S. has made a generous donation which will contribute to the cost of hosting the site for another 12 months. More research and new additions to come! Many thanks!

August 2014

  • Some more press extracts detailing some of 'Cintra's' fashion designs added. Click here.

July 2014

  • Photos added to the Elisabeth Starr page. Click here.

  • Picture and photo of the rabbit hutches at The Domaine added, click here.

  • Maureen Emerson is now down to the last few boxes of brand new copies of her wonderful book, 'Escape to Provence'. If you didn't get a copy when first launched in 2008 and re-printed in 2009 don't leave it much longer. It is much nicer to have your own brand new copy! It's also possible to have it signed by the author. Email for details or visit Maureen at www.maureenemerson.co.uk or her new web site www.livingandlovingontheriviera.co.uk

June 2014

  • Did you by any chance listen to this 30 mins. programme on Radio 4 Extra recently? If you have not heard it before it is interesting. Chris Morris, from the BBC, found scraps of a diary in a Sussex lane and traced the owner to Sunny Bank Hospital, Cannes. It also mentions Barry Dierks and Helen Vagliano. The programme was first broadcast back in 2000 and is available on line through the Radio 4 Extra website for about the next 7 days only. Click here to listen now! I have made a copy of the recording but doubt it will be possible to add it to the site due to copyright.

  • Maureen Emerson's new book is progressing well and she hopes to have the writing completed by the end of this year. 'Living and Loving on the Riviera' is the story of the American architect Barry Dierks, his English partner Eric Sawyer, and the stunning houses and gardens they designed on the French Riviera during the 1920’s and 1930’s – for those who could afford them. Visit the new web site at www.livingandlovingontheriviera.co.uk to find out much more about this exciting project.

May 2014

  • The family home of Sir John Fortescue, 'Castle Hill', now opens its gardens daily. A lovely part of the country, near Barnstaple, and well worth a visit. For full details and opening times visit their web site here.

Castle Hill,Devon

Castle Hill, Barnstaple

  • If you plan on visiting the West Country try the Exmoor Country House Hotel across the moor near Porlock. Having just spent a short break there I cannot speak too highly of it. You will be made extremely welcome by the owners, Steve & Sally, for whom nothing is too much trouble, in their spacious and spotless hotel. Click here to visit their web site.

Exmoor Country House Hotel near Porlock

Exmoor Country House Hotel near Porlock

March - April 2014

  • The webmaster recently found himself close to Shepherd Market, Mayfair in London, the location of Winifred Fortescue's first home during her acting career. It was a lovely Spring morning so some up to date photos of the area have been added. Click here to see them now.

  • View the new page with photos of 'Many Waters'; Winifred Fortecue's wartime home deep in the Sussex countryside as it was then and as it is now! Click here.

February 2014

  • Spring is on the way - the view of the Promenade des Anglais at 15.30hrs February 24th 2014.

Promenade des Anglais, Nice, 24th February 2014

  • A visitor to the web site has recently discovered a nicely inscribed 1935 edition of 'Perfume from Provence' on her parents book shelf. A lovely find. Click here to see a photograph.

January 2014

  • New for 2014 from author Maureen Emerson - Now on Kindle at £1.87 Courage is Maureen’s small tribute to the bravery of those young people who felt it was their duty to go independently to the Great War. It is the true story of two of these, Dillwyn and Elisabeth Parrish Starr, a brother and sister from Philadelphia who left for France in 1914 and 1916 respectively. The United States did not enter the war until 1917, then virtually saving the day, but many Americans of all ages poured large amounts of money, aid and themselves into the conflict from as early as 1914. Dillwyn and Elisabeth went for different reasons, one to fight with the British Army on the Somme and the other to engage in dangerous aid work on the Western Front. The outcome for each was very different.

    The story follows the progress, through the early part of the 20th century, of the respected Starr family of Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. The family had an esteemed position in the town, but nevertheless two of their three children would leave home and eventually never see their parents again. The exception was Dillwyn Starr, the middle child and the love of his parents’ life. Dillwyn would leave for France almost as soon as war was declared and, after many adventures. eventually become a young officer in the British Coldstream Guards.

    Elisabeth Starr sailed to France to nurse with Mrs William K. Vanderbilt at the American Ambulance Hospital in Paris before throwing herself into dangerous and exhausting work on the Somme battlefields.

    There was a third child, the eldest sibling. Louis Starr Jr joined the conflict in 1917 and became a balloon observer sailing over the front lines tracking enemy movements during almost all the battles in which American troops became involved. Beset with problems at home, his bravery was unsung. All were truly brave.

Courage is based on a chapter in Maureen’s book Escape to Provence.

Click here to buy now from Amazon UK at only £1.87 or visit Maureen's site here.

Links to Archives are at bottom of page

 I hope you enjoy browsing the pages, there are now over 100!
Remember to bookmark the site and come back often.

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French Translation
French
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Transworld Books
Visit this publishers web site

 

Random House Books
Random House Books

 

Summersdale Publishing
Visit this publishers web site

 

English Book Centre, Valbonne
English Book
Centre Valbonne

 

Fragonard Perfumes
For Perfume from Grasse

 

Opio Village Site
Opio Village

 

Grasse Ville Site
Grasse Ville

 

 Grasse webcam live
Live Webcam
at Grasse

 

Le Tour Shop
Visit the
tour 2016

 

villOrama
Find a town or village

 

LINKS TO OUR FAVOURITE CHARITIES

Cancer Research UK Site
Cancer Research UK

 

Christian Aid Site
Christian Aid

 

Children's Society Site
The Children’s
Society

The Children's Society

 

BBC Children in Need
Children in Need

 

 Discount Hotel Reservation - HotelClub

  Vieux Ville, Grasse
Grasse

  La Cascade du Chateau, Vieux Nice. (Atelier Contre-Jour, Peinture sur bois, aquarelles, Vieux Nice)
Nice

  Vieux Ville, Nice
Nice

  Poster from Nice Carnival 1929

Cote d'Azur
en fete events all year round


     Cypress tress at the entrance to The Domaine, by E H Shepard    

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Updated - 21 Aug 2016 01:01