Harrod, Frances

Educated in France and Italy, Frances "Frankie" Harrod (1866-1956; née Forbes-Robertson, sister of Sir Johnston ) was trained at the Royal Academy and the Slade School under Frank Brangwyn. Novelist, painter and student of painting, she wrote short stories and long fiction from 1888. The extant correspondence with Roy witnesses a difficult relationship: in youth he was deeply influenced by her and her friends, but after the first war her melancholy gravely affected Harrod's life, who was brought to the edge of suicide and suffered two nervous breakdowns. Harrod's friend Maurice Bowra described her as follows: "In the nineties she had been a successful novelist, the friend of Henry James and Oscar Wilde, and even now [early 1920s] in her majestic ruin she had a high style and an old-fashioned, emotional manner of talking which was as remote as the great queen herself. Roy was angelic to her, but she was a fearful drain on his vitality, and made awkward scenes with him in front of others. She hated poverty and old age, and longed for the glorious past, and Roy was expected to revive it. To some extent he did. We were asked to meet her, and I found her excellent company, but at times Roy was almost worn out by her, and this was all the worse since he was battling for his intellectual independence with Joseph and needed all his force for it".

See list of letters .

Source: www ; wsw 1938; The Feminist Companion to Literature in English (London: Batsford, 1990); C. M. Bowra , Memories 1898-1939 (1966), p. 115; R. F. Harrod, "Harrod, Sir Roy (Forbes)", 1980 (cited in the General introduction , [jump to page] ). Further details concerning the relationship between Harrod and his mother are given in some untitled autobiographical notes (cited in note 2 to letter 29 R, note 1 to letter 156 , note 1 to letter 157 R), in their correspondence, and in the personal correspondence between Harrod and his friends, where some of the awkward scenes mentioned by Bowra are described in detail.


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