The Spectator July 2016

Finding beauty in a battlesite

Talk turned – briefly – from Brexit to another battle last night at the unveiling of Jolyon Fenwick’s ‘Zero Hour’ at Sladmore Contemporary. ‘When I was growing up the word ‘Somme’ was so doom-laden it was practically taboo,’ Fenwick told Miss Steerpike. ‘So I was obviously rather fascinated by it.’ He took himself and a camera off to France and was amazed by ‘how impartial and beautiful’ the landscape was. The book and photography show contains striking images of the battlefield sites, one hundred years later.

Lord Dalmeny, chairman of Sothebys, has also visited – to follow in the tracks of his dispatch-driver grandfather’s Rolls Royce. ‘I’m cross I don’t own one,’ he said disconsolately. ‘But I suppose I’m to blame for that.’ Meanwhile Count Tony Bromovsky admitted he’s never been, ‘but these pictures are so realistic, I feel like I have.’

Other guests included the Marquess of Worcester, Meredith Ostrum, Martha Ward, Tom Parker-Bowles and Jemima Khan. They spilled onto the street to smoke and make merry; in fact, the crowd was so thick that many struggled to see the exhibition at all. Not that it mattered to Nicky Haslam. ‘Olivia de Havilland is also one hundred today,’ he whispered to Miss S. ‘That’s much more important.’