Weeds in the Garden of Marriage
Weeds in the Garden of Marriage Weeds in the Garden of Marriage Weeds in the Garden of Marriage Weeds in the Garden of Marriage Weeds in the Garden of Marriage
London: Noel Douglas. 1931.

First edition. 8vo, 187x130mm. Pp. xvi, 86. Red full calf, single gilt fillet borders to covers, spine lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers, turn-ins lavishly decorated in gilt. Signed in gilt Roger de Coverly and Sons at the foot of the lower turn in. Some staining, fading and marking to the covers but overall a very good copy and a handsome binding. Inscribed by Pitt-Rivers, "Becky, with love from the Author. March 4th 1938". A further inscription reads "To Becky from Jo. Hinton St Mary. May 10th 1936". "Jo" was the nickname by which Pitt-Rivers was known by his best friends. "Becky" was one of Pitt-Rivers's lovers. Her real name was Catherine Sharpe but Pitt-Rivers named her "Becky" after Thackeray's social climbing heroine. Twenty years Pitt-Rivers's junior, she came to work for him at Hinton St Mary, the Dorset village where his vast estate was based, but an affair began and he eventually divorced his wife Rosalind. Although he and Becky never married, she travelled around Europe with him before World War Two. Pitt-Rivers was a fascist, eugenicist and Nazi sympathiser (Weeds in the Garden is a defence of his eugenic and racial theories). Becky left Pitt-Rivers in 1939 when she emigrated to South Africa. On the ship she re-assumed her real name of Catherine, met a doctor called Lance Taylor, married him in Cape Town and, as Catherine Taylor enjoyed a long and successful career in South African politics as an anti-apartheid campaigner in the United Party, and one of the very few South African women members of Parliament. She became shadow Minister of Education after the 1970 general election. In 1976, she published her autobiography in which she made only fleeting reference to her time with Pitt-Rivers and her involvement with the pre-War European far-right. This lavish and expensively bound copy was bought by us in South Africa which suggests that Catherine brought it with her from England so perhaps never entirely disavowed Pitt-Rivers's love even if she rejected his politics.