Tributes as Heinz heiress dies
DRUE HEINZ, the widow of the former head of the global US food firm Heinz and long-time philanthropist, has died at her Scottish castle aged 103.
It has been confirmed Mrs Heinz died at Hawthornden Castle, Midlothian, which she had lovingly restored throughout the 1980s and transformed into a writers’ retreat.
Born in England in 1915, Mrs Heinz went on to become widely respected in the US and Britain for her generous support of the arts and she took a particular interest in Anglo-american literature.
In the UK, she was a trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts and a founding council member of the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford.
She endowed the Drue Heinz Chair in American Literature at St John’s College, Oxford, and as a member of the London Library, she created an endowment there to develop its literary collections.
Hawthornden, in Lasswade, was the former home of poet William Drummond and comprises a 15th century ruin with a 17th century L-plan house attached which has been used by the likes of crime writer Ian Rankin, novelist Jonathan Coe and Scottish author Alasdair Gray.
Last night, a manager at the castle said he believed Mrs Heinz would be honoured with a memorial but that nothing had yet been planned.
The writers’ retreat is marketed as a “peaceful setting where creative writers can work without disturbance”.
There is a strict rule of silence, with no-one allowed to speak between the hours of 9.30am and 6pm and no visitors are allowed.
One visitor commented three years ago there was no internet and that Mrs Heinz was said to rarely visit Hawthornden.
Writer Kenneth Steven, who twice used Hawthornden, wrote in the Scottish Review of Books that she had established the retreat because of “her love and fascination for writers and her desire to support the endeavours of up-and-coming authors, not only from this country but from all over the world”.
There was speculation 10 years ago that she was behind an anonymous £3 million donation for the creation of a new “creative and elegant” arts venue in Edinburgh.
In 1995 she donated £1m for the forecourt of a new Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
And she once gave Alex Mcewen, the late 6th Laird of Bardrochat in Carrick, a parrot which he cherished.
Over the years, Mrs Heinz was an active board member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Macdowell Colony, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the American Academy in Rome and served on the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art.
She was also a director of the Carnegie Museum of Art where she founded the Heinz Architectural Centre in honour of her late husband. She was the widow of H.J. Heinz II, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who served as chief of the family company founded by his grandfather.
Former UK arts minister Lord Gowrie said: “At the age of 100 and over, she still attended talks and readings at the summer Edinburgh (International) Book Festival and ferried authors to and from Hawthornden for her annual lobster supper in style.
“Modest, even frugal, in her own tastes, she was the most generous hostess imaginable. She was a funny, unforgettable, erudite woman.”
She was a funny, unforgettable, erudite woman
Drue Heinz, pictured in Pittsburgh in 1955, was a long-time patron of the literary arts in Britain and the US.
Mrs Heinz died at Hawthornden Castle in Midlothian.
Mrs Heinz with Count Guido Brandolini at a party in Venice.