Harry Mount and The Marchionness of Dufferin and Ava

    Authors ply booksellers with alcohol at Holland Park party

    12 May 2016

    Land, sea and sky came together in Holland Park last night as Lindy Dufferin threw a party celebrating another triumvirate: Harry Mount’s Odyssey, Andrew Gailey’s The Lost Imperialist (recent winner of the Elizabeth Longford biography prize) and landscape painting. Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland and Pissarro pictures of verdant fields hung next to avant-garde sculpture, and the abstract, striking work of the hostess herself. The main action was on the terrace – isn’t it always – overlooking a perfect spring garden of tulips and wisteria. Bunter Worcester tripped over his own feet in his enthusiasm – and claimed it was the first time. Antonia Fraser just about managed to dodge out of the way. Rachel Johnson popped in en route to ‘a parenting appointment’, leaving her husband Ivo Dawnay (widely acknowledged to be the most attractive man in London) prey to the attentions of such pretty inties as Suzy Dowty, Molly Guinness and Daisy Dunn. Lord Alexander Hope declined all comestibles, saying he had to keep his appetite keen for a scrabble tournament. The two masterful authors manfully signed books by the dozen – all the while making sure that the booksellers had plenty of champagne. Goethe said you can tell a man’s character from how he treats his underlings: keeping them plied with drink sings of unimpeachable honour.