Great Bri­tish ec­centrics

John Christie (1882–1962)

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

CHRISTIE loved two Ger­manic spe­cial­i­ties—opera and Leder­ho­sen. In 1926, while ren­o­vat­ing an in­her­ited house, he de­cided to host an opera. Glyn­de­bourne Fes­ti­val Opera was born and, spurred on by his wife, Au­drey Mild­may, the an­nual event oc­cu­pied Christie’s life. He would of­ten wear Leder­ho­sen to the fes­ti­val—he de­signed a more for­mal ver­sion of the gar­ment him­self —and, in 1933, de­manded that all guests do the same. This wasn’t his only un­usual fash­ion choice: if he felt too hot, he would sim­ply cut off the arms of his black tie. A man of ir­reg­u­lar fi­nan­cial be­liefs, Christie threw lav­ish par­ties, spent a for­tune on the fes­ti­val and em­ployed a man whose sole job was to switch off lights, but would only travel third class. Christie was also a lov­ing hus­band and, when his wife needed her ap­pen­dix re­moved, he kept her com­pany by hav­ing the surgery as well. Sid­ney His­cox

Il­lus­tra­tions by Emma Mccall

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