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Anne Reid as Barbara Cartland

Anne Reid as Barbara Cartland

Anne Reid (born 28 May 1935) is a British actress who main work has been on television. She created the role of Valerie Tatlock/Barlow in the long running soap ‘Coronation Street’ (1961 - 1971). She married writer/producer Peter Eckersley, and left the show to spend more time with him and their only child, but she still made the occasional TV appearance. Eckersley died in 1981, and from the late eighties onwards Reid has been seen in more high profile roles, especially as part of Victoria Wood’s ‘repertory company’, in particular as one of the regulars in the hit sitcom ‘Dinner ladies’ (1998 - 2000). She has also starred in the film ‘The Mother’ (2003 - London Critics British Actress of the Year) sharing intimate scenes with Daniel Craig.
Her latest project is playing the writer, Barbara Cartland in BBC Four's Men Are Wonderful.

Cartland [married name McCorquodale], Dame (Mary) Barbara Hamilton (1901–2000), novelist, was born on 9 July 1901 at Vectis Lodge, 37 Augustus Road, Edgbaston, near Birmingham, the eldest of the three children of Captain (James) Bertram Falkner Cartland (1875/6–1918), son of James Cartland, a financier and inheritor of brass foundry wealth, and his wife, Mary Hamilton (Polly) Scobell (1877–1976), whose father, a retired colonel in a Worcestershire landed family, felt that his daughter had married beneath her. His failure to agree to a financial settlement on the couple had severe consequences on their life.

Two years after Barbara's birth James Cartland overextended himself with an investment in the London–Fishguard railway, was declared bankrupt, and killed himself. His son's family, shorn of money allowances, had to move from a house with twelve servants to a rented farmhouse with two. Polly Cartland, however, maintained, ‘Poor I may be, common I am not’ (Heald, 38). Her cheerful, strong-willed character was the predominant influence on Barbara, who she still hoped would marry an earl. While her husband tried to maintain his old pursuits of hunting and gambling, the mother's spirit of dignified make-do-and-mend enabled the family to retain some social cachet. When Bertram Cartland, by then a major in the Worcestershire regiment, was killed in May 1918 at the age of forty-two during the last German counter-offensive of the First World War, they had to dye everyday clothes black because they could not afford mourning wear.

Barbara was educated at Worcester high school, at Malvern Girls' College, and at a finishing school at Netley Abbey, Hampshire. In youth she was forbidden to read newspapers at home; lending-library romances were her only texts, she said. In 1919 Polly Cartland moved the family to South Kensington, London, and opened a woollens shop. She managed to afford a modest social season for Barbara, who earned money by drawing menu cards for parties, and persuaded an art student, Norman Hartnell, later couturier to Queen Elizabeth, to make her ball gowns free of charge. Through selling society-gossip paragraphs to the Daily Express, she was befriended by Lord Beaverbrook, who found the young woman, with her gaiety and ‘rather large surprised eyes’ (her own words), congenial enough to introduce to Winston Churchill, F. E. Smith, and other eminences as a lunch guest (Cartland, 14). The very short paragraphs of most of her 723 books, each named by her own insistence in her Who's Who entry, are Beaverbrook's literary legacy to her. In romantic fiction her declared model was the author Ethel M. Dell. Her first published romance, Jigsaw (1923), earned her ?200. Her observant, down-to-earth memoir of the first war and 1920s, We Danced All Night (1970), is an unusually valuable resource for those who wish to understand the material circumstances and spirit of the period.

On 23 April 1927 Cartland married Alexander George (Sachie) McCorquodale (b. 1897/8), of Cound Hall, Shropshire, holder of a government licence to print postal orders. In 1929 they had a daughter, Raine, who became through marriage countess of Dartmouth in 1948 and Countess Spencer in 1976. In 1933 Cartland divorced McCorquodale for adultery. He counter-sued, alleging in a highly publicized but unsuccessful action that his cousin Hugh McCorquodale (1897/8–1963) had visited her bedroom by day. Barbara responded in court that this was because she wrote in bed. On 28 December 1936 she married Hugh. By then she had published seventeen novels. The couple had two sons, Ian, later her literary agent, and Glen, a stockbroker. Early in the Second World War she went to Canada with her sons, but returned after her brothers, Ronald (a Conservative MP) and Tony, were killed within one day of each other during the retreat to Dunkirk. She became lastingly active in voluntary work, particularly with the Auxiliary Territorial Service and the St John Ambulance Brigade.

Hugh McCorquodale died in 1963, of complications from wounds received in the First World War. Widowhood brought Cartland into full flower as prolific novelist a

Moore, Albert Joseph (1841-1893) - 1879-82 Dreamers (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, England)

Moore, Albert Joseph (1841-1893) - 1879-82 Dreamers (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, England)

Oil on canvas; 68.5 x 119.2 cm.

Albert Joseph Moore was an English painter, known for his depictions of langourous female figures set against the luxury and decadence of the classical world. He was the youngest of the fourteen children of the artist William Moore of York who in the first half of the 19th century enjoyed a considerable reputation in the North of England as a painter of portraits and landscape. His first exhibited works were two drawings which he sent to the Royal Academy in 1857. A year later he became a student in the Royal Academy schools; but after working in them for a few months only he decided that he would be more profitably occupied in independent practice. During the period that extended from 1858 to 1870, though he produced and exhibited many pictures and drawings, he gave up much of his time to decorative work of various kinds, and painted, in 1863, a series of wall decorations at Coombe Abbey, the seat of the Earl of Craven; in 1865 and 1866 some elaborate compositions: The Last Supper and The Feeding of the Five Thousand on the chancel walls of the church of St. Alban's, Rochdale; and in 1868 A Greek Play, an important panel in tempera for the proscenium of the Queen's Theatre in Long Acre.

In all his pictures, save two or three produced in his later boyhood, he avoided any approach to story-telling, and occupied himself exclusively with decorative arrangements of lines and color masses. The spirit of his art is essentially classic, and his work shows plainly that he was deeply influenced by study of antique sculpture; but he was not in any sense an archaeological painter, nor did he attempt reconstructions of the life of past centuries. Artistically he lived in a world of his own creation, a place peopled with robust types of humanity of Greek mould, and gay with bright-colored draperies and brilliant-hued flowers. As an executant he was careful and certain; he drew finely, and his color-sense was remarkable for its refinement and subtle appreciation. Few men have equalled him as a painter of draperies, and still fewer have approached his ability in the application of decorative principles to pictorial art.

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