The help and contributions from Lady Fortescue's relatives, Transworld Publishing, Society of Authors, and visitors to the site is much appreciated.
Synopsis of all her books.
Help to find copies of your missing editions.
Scan or photograph a dust wrapper and e-mail it to the site to have it included on the book page. There are still some missing editions.
Please sign the guest book or just have a look at what other people have left.
Photo's of people & places of interest connected with Winifred.
View the whole site contents, over 100 pages, listed at a glance and go directly to a particular page by clicking on the hyperlinks.
Enter a word or words to search the whole site.
Traditional Provencal Recipe.
Links to related sites of interest.
THE DOMAINE WEB SITE
Click here to visit the site. Garden, art & visits.
Click here to see the slide show of The Domaine garden.
SOME MORE INTERESTING BOOKS ON SOUTHERN FRANCE
Escape to Provence
by Maureen Emerson.
Two Vagabonds in Languedoc
by Jan & Cora Gordon.
The Good Straight Englishwoman by Amanda Davies.
Americans And The Making Of The Riviera
by Michael Nelson.
Queen Victoria and the Discovery of The Riviera
by Michael Nelson.
The French Riviera - A History
by Michael Nelson.
The French Riviera A Literary Guide For Travellers
by Ted Jones.
The Olive Farm Series by Carol Drinkwater
A Fete to
Last Chance in
Dog Trots Globe
and a very warm welcome!
The web site is 20 years old this year!
Thank you for visiting the site which has developed from a love of Lady Winifred Fortescue's books, France, and in particular, Provence and the Alpes-Maritimes. In 1935 a book called Perfume from Provence was published which instantly became a best seller, rocketing its gentle, charming author almost overnight to fame and success. At the height of their popularity, in the 1930's -1950's, her books, 7 in all, sold many thousands of copies making Winifred Fortescue a best selling author. Concerned that interest in her books and her amazing life might fade with the passage of time, it was a delight to find that when Black Swan re-published 4 of the books in paperback in the 1990's they became best sellers once again. Perfume from Provence was serialized for BBC Radio 4 and released on a BBC audio cassette tape. The reader was the well known British actress Stephanie Cole.
Winifred Fortescue was a woman ahead of her time who, faced with various forms of adversity, would turn her hand to anything, make a go of it and generally succeed - usually but not always with a touch of laughter. I hope the web site will help to keep her work alive and allow you to enjoy some of the locations and personalities that Winifred knew and, in addition, introduce new generations to the delights of Perfume from Provence and learn about the woman behind it.
The Provence that Winifred & John Fortescue moved to in the 1930's has changed almost beyond recognition. Her view down the mountain from 'Sunset House' now reveals a golf course resort, out of town shopping centre and many developments and roads although Opio village is largely unchanged. Grasse & Cannes have grown considerably and Nice, of course, is a very busy cosmopolitan city and resort. That said, many of the buildings in the books remain including the 'Domaine' and 'Sunset House', both in private ownership. Please browse through the pages, there are currently over 100. More photographs of locations that feature in her books will be added from time to time.
Comments, contributions, photographs, information & suggestions are welcomed. Please do use the visitors book or send an email via the email link. Early editions of Winifred Fortescue's books in hardback, and even some of the later paperback versions are becoming harder to find. Please email if you are looking for a particular book.
Winifred in later life with spaniel 'Gamine'
Winifred Fortescue was born in a Suffolk rectory on 7th February 1888, the third child of a country rector and connected, on her mother's side, to the Fighting Battyes of India. When she was seventeen - in order to ease the strain on family finances - she decided to try to earn her own living and went on the stage, performing in Sir Herbert Tree's* company, and later starring in Jerome K. Jerome's The Passing of the Third Floor Back. In 1914 she married John Fortescue, the King's Librarian and Archivist and famous historian of the British Army. The marriage, in spite of a huge disparity of age between them, (some 28yrs),was a uniquely happy one, and although Winifred Fortescue gave up her career on the stage, she later began a successful interior decorating and dress designing business until illness forced her to close her business down. It was at that point that she began writing, for Punch, the Daily Chronicle, the Evening News, finally inaugurating and editing a Woman's Page for the Morning Post.
*(Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree founded RADA in 1904 and was the grandfather of actor Oliver Reed).
Some of the editions of Winifred Fortescue's 7 books
In the early 1930's John and Winifred Fortescue, now Sir John and Lady Fortescue, moved to Provence and there she wrote her famous and best selling book Perfume from Provence, and the sequel Sunset House. Her autobiography, There's Rosemary, There's Rue, was first published in 1939, finally, after Sir John's death, Lady Fortescue wrote the full story of her life and most particularly of her meeting and marriage with John Fortescue. It is a fascinating nostalgic recreation of another era, of her excitement as an actress before WWI, of her meeting with the man she was to marry, and of their home together in Windsor Castle during the reign of King George V and Queen Mary. Many famous names of the time drift across the pages which are warm, witty and a delight. Trampled Lilies continues her story including her escape from France and the Nazi's during WW II. Her three further books are Mountain Madness, Beauty for Ashes and Laughter in Provence. These cover the period back in England until WWII ended, memories of holidays in the Alps and the the return to her home in France to resume life in the sunshine after the war.
The Promenade des Anglais, Nice, in its heyday - note the pier
Artichoke, Iris and Lavender growing in the garden in April
- Another milestone, www.perfumefromprovence.com is 20 years old this year and still going strong!
WF and her faithful spaniel
- The 9th April 2021 was the 70th anniverary of Winifred Fortescue's death.
- New copies of Perfume from Provence (2009) are available at £6.50 each including p&p UK.
- The 'Contact Form' and 'Visitors Book' are now working again!
Good selection of old Winifred Fortescue books available for purchase.
Sadly, the holiday apartment in the Port of Nice is not available in 2021.
Photos of this years Mimosa blooms, the days are already warming up and Spring flowers are blooming in February!
Photos Vicki Riley Gilli - Paillos, A.M.
'Escape to Provence' by Maureen Emerson - this super book, which documents the true story of the lives of Winifred Fortescue & Elisabeth Starr, is currently out of print. However a Kindle e-book version is available from Amazon UK priced at just £4.80. The Kindle version does not contain the many photos that appear in the printed version but you can see these at www.rivieradreaming.co.uk
Maureen's latest book, 'Riviera Dreaming' is also available from Amazon in both printed and Kindle e-book formats priced at £20.00 and £15.29 respectively.
Although not a great deal appears to be happening on the website of late, rest assured that it is still fully active. In due course, I am hoping to put together a new version using much more up to date software. It's not the work of a moment as there are over 100 pages to re-build!
Sadly, the holiday apartment in the Port of Nice is not available in 2020. A long lease was accepted at the start of the Covid-19 lock down. The restrictions in France would have made holidays and changeovers impossible.
A good selection of Winifred's books are available at the moment including a complete set of all 7 early edition hardbacks in reasonable condition, £65 post free in the UK. Use the 'Contact' link if you are are book hunting!
Steam in Provence! Once again the 'Train des Pignes', which once had a line that ran through Lady Fortecue's olive groves, will be operating steam trains on the section between Puget-Théniers an Entrevaux on Sundays from July 2020 with Covid-19 restrictions. For full details of times and special trains click here.
I have been fortunate in obtaining not one but two 'Cintra' items produced by Winifred Fortescue in the heady days of her fashion business. They are both jewellery boxes, one red and the other a soft grey, and the grey one actually contains an original piece of jewellery. It has been examined and is a bar with 3 pearls, the bar is actually copper base metal with a silver finish and dates from the 1920's or 30's. A classic piece of costume jewellery that she would have been producing for her clients in London. Below are photos of these two great finds.
Cintra jewellery boxes and jewellery
Mariela Pez Miana from Spain is a regular visitor to the website and back in 2017, dare I say!, brought to my attention a small collection of letters written by Winifred Fortescue that are held in an archive in the U.S.A. The letters and two small cards were written between 1936 and 1941 and are all to the same person, a Mistress Frances Hubbert of the Redwood Library, Newport, Rhode Island. The subject is primarily connected with Winifred's attempt to get her books published in the U.S.A. and it is apparent from the contents that Mistress Hubbert was a great help and support. (The impending WWII is also mentioned). I am extremely grateful to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.A.'Frances Hubbert Papers' for allowing these wonderful letters to be reproduced and displayed on the web site. Click here to view a pdf version in date order.
Steam in Provence! Once again the 'Train des Pignes', which once had a line that ran through Lady Fortecue's olive groves, will be operating steam trains on the section between Puget-Théniers an Entrevaux on Sundays in 2019. For full details of times and special trains click here.
'Train des Pignes'
A frequent visitor to the website over the years has decided to part with her collection of all seven Lady Winifred Fortescue books. They are all hardback editions in varying condition from various years, some with dust jackets. Although they are still out there it is getting harder to find hard backs these days. Contact the webmaster using the contact form at the bottom of the page if you would like more details.
Mariela Pez Miana, from southern Spain, has kindly created memorials at 'Find a Grave' for Winifred's parents and little sister Mildred. She has linked them to Winifred's memorial. Follow this link here to view.
After a long wait, a piece of costume jewellery made by 'Cintra', the company created by Winifred Fortecue in the 1930's, has come into the Webmasters possession. Once a jeweller friend has had a good look at it a photo will be posted. This is the first item actually bearing the 'Cintra' name that we have ever seen!
Remember our apartment near the port in Nice is available for holidays and well placed for exploring Fortescue country. Details here.
After an enforced break the webmaster is now back and able to pick up where he left off! New updates to come soon!
'My new book is on the story of the American architect Barry Dierks, his partner Eric Sawyer,
and the stunning houses they built on the French Riviera in the 1920s and 1930s -
for those interesting clients who could afford them'. Maureen Emerson
To my friends in the UK and Europe:
'Riviera Dreaming – Love and War on the Côte d’Azur'
is now available on Amazon
Please email for further details at this link
Book launch & signing at Valbonne 14th April 2018
Snow in Provence
Snow in Provence
Would you like to explore Fortescue country for yourself? We can now offer the use of a small apartment on the Riviera. Close to the boutiques, restaurants and beaches in the Port of Nice, the comfortable and well fitted apartment sleeps 4 people and is located on the 5th floor of a secure building with lift. Parking is available on site for 1 vehicle. Brief details are below but to see the full details visit www.panoramicnice.co.uk
Chic apartment in Nice Mont Boron with a small balcony
Secure residence with a private car park for use by guests
A comfortable double bedroom plus a Queen-sized sofa bed
Spacious living area with a magnificent view of the city skyline
Modern open-plan kitchen with coffee machine and breakfast bar
The apartment has air conditioning for the warm summer season
WIFI and Satellite TV channels including Canal + & BBC Entertainment
Sunny balcony overlooking the Mediterranean with a small dining table
A short stroll from the fabulous restaurants and boutiques in the Port
Close to the Old Town and the beaches along the Promenade des Anglais
Less than 25 minutes from the Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport
The Panoramic is strictly no smoking
View from the balcony
The Port of Nice
Maureen Emerson's new book has had another change of name! The final name, chosen by the publisher, is 'Riviera Dreaming - Love and War on the Côte d'Azur', which does perhaps have a better ring to it. Work on editing is now under way and in conjunction with the publishers Maureen is selecting the images for inclusion. The book is due out in Spring 2018. For more information visit www.rivieradreaming.co.uk
Autumn is starting to creep into the south now with pleasantly warm days, the temperature is still in the 20's, but cooler evenings. The fires of the summer are all out and there are some wonderful evening sunsets to enjoy from the terrace.
Sunset looking towards the Esterels - C. Riley
Coming soon - Spanish fan of the web site Mariela Pez Miana recently discovered some letters, unseen by the webmaster, held by a library in Newport RI, USA. These letters, in Winifred's strong handwriting, document her attempts to publish Perfume from Provence in the USA. There are about 7 letters in all, some of which await scanning but I am pleased to report that the library has agreed to supply copies and allow them to be displayed here on the site. Once sorted and in the correct order they will be available thanks to Mariella.
Slightly cooler in Fortescue country this week, about 29c/30c with fires still alight but some distance away. Two interesting photos of the region below. Fortunately not a fire this time but a spectacular sunrise - Provencal style.
Sunset over Tourettes du Chateau - Didier Gilli
Not a fire this time - spectacular Provencal sunrise over the house - Didier Gilli
'Riviera' Have you come across this TV series recently screened on SKY TV? Lavishly styled in some beautiful locations the main property used for the series is in Grasse, not too far from the location of Winifred Fortescue's original home. What would she have made of this? To learn more and see some photos of the villa take a look at the article written by the webmasters daughter for a large property company. By the way, you can rent the villa if you have a deep pocket! Click here to read the article.
The fires in the south are now under control but the intense heat continues with the highest alert in force. Now the smoke has cleared there are some lovely evening sunsets from the garden towards the Esterel Mountains.
Sunset towards the Esterel Mountains - Didier Gilli
Sunny Bank Hospital Cannes. Did you by any chance listen to this 30 mins. programme on Radio 4 Extra recently? If you have not heard it before it is very interesting. Chris Morris explains how he found the torn, muddied remains of a diary in a Sussex ditch, which, when the pieces were reassembled, revealed the daily account of a young British woman who was trapped in Vichy, France, in 1944. But who was she and why was she there? Chris Morris, from the BBC, found scraps of a diary in a Sussex lane and traced the owner to Sunny Bank Hospital, Cannes. It also mentions Barry Dierks and Helen Vagliano, much researched by author Maureen Emerson. The programme was first broadcast back in 2000 and is available on line through the Radio 4 Extra website for about the next 21 days only. Click here to listen now! I have made a copy of the recording but doubt it will be possible to add it to the site due to copyright.
'Riviera Dreaming'. Maureen Emerson's new book has been accepted by a respected publisher and publication in hardback is anticipated in 2018. The original title of the book, 'Living and Loving on the Riviera' has now been changed and the new title is 'Riviera Dreaming - An American Architect on the Cote d'Azur'. The book is the story of the American architect Barry Dierks and the Englishman Eric Sawyer, his partner in business and in life, and particularly of some of the fascinating people who commissioned the stunning houses and gardens Barry designed on the French Riviera, with Eric as garden designer, during the 1920s and 1930s. Barry graduated in architecture from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh in 1921, followed by studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Eric had graduated as an engineer from the Royal School of Mines, London. They met in Paris and during their nightly visits to the Ritz Bar, in the post-war euphoria of Paris and where ‘English was the spoken language’ one of those they encountered was Somerset Maugham, a contact which led to Barry’s first commission, the complete remodelling of La Mauresque, Maugham’s villa on Cap Ferrat in 1926. For more information you can now visit www.rivieradreaming.co.uk
Canadair dropping water - Gérard Joyon
A Canadair arrives over the fire
3 Canadair's dropping water on the house and surroundings
Spanish fan of the web site Mariela Pez Miana has recently discovered a fascinating article that Winifred Fortescue wrote for the Aberdeen Press & Journal in 1930. Entitled 'How I Planned My Cottage Garden' it gives a good deal of information about how she created her beautiful garden at the Domaine. Click here to view.
The beautiful garden originally created by Winifred Fortescue near Grasse, now the home of artist Valerie de Courcel, is open on certain dates in 2017. For full details, and how to book, visit the web site at www.valeriedecourcel.fr
The Domaine house & garden created by Winifred Fortescue
The wonderful metre gauge railway, the Chemin de Fer de Provence, will be running steam trains once again on Sunday's between May and September 2017. Part of the line, now closed, originally ran through Lady Fortescue's garden and olive groves at her home near Grasse. The lines runs all year round and operates between Nice and the spa town of Digne le Bains in the Alps. The complete journey takes approximately 3 hours in each direction but there are spectacular views as the line twists and turns through the mountain scenery. Many of the intermediate stops are well worth a visit and make for a much shorter journey. Visit www.trainprovence.com for full details and timetables.
The former CDP Station at Grasse - long since demolished
An update on Maureen Emerson's eagerly awaited new book. Negotiations with a large publisher are ongoing and it looks very much as if the book will appear with a new title, as is often the case in the world of publishing! The current favourite to replace 'Living & Loving on the Riviera' is 'Riviera Dreaming: The Story of an American Architect on the Côte d’Azur'. It does have a nice ring to it but then so did the original! More information when known.
January is a quiet month in the south with cool days and chilly nights of late. Towards the end of the month the hint of Spring can be detected in the air, flowers start to open and the Mimosa is almost in full bloom - another week or so to go! It's also the month when the carnival season gets underway, Villefranche -sur -Mer, Nice and Menton are already under preparation for this years events.
Nice in January sunshine seen from the chateau hill
Flowers back in full bloom in January
Mimosa in the garden almost fully out!
Oranges in the drive look nice but are a little sharp still!
Festival and Carnival time is just a few days away!
The end of the year is rapidly approaching and the webmaster has been busy tidying up many bits and pieces. The year ends with the good news that our friend, the author Maureen Emerson, has had her new book 'Living and Loving on the Riviera' accepted by a well known publisher and we should see it in print in the not too distant future.
The France Show returns from 27th - 29th January 2017 - don't miss it! Enjoy the best of France under one roof at Olympia, London.
Michael Nelson has had a new book published in October 2016, 'The French Riviera - a history'. It ranges from the Terra Amata in Nice, occupied from 380,000 years ago and one of the oldest inhabited prehistoric sites in the world, through wars and revolutions, to the establishment of the Silicon Valley of France in Sophia-Antipolis in 1974.
Michael shows the surprisingly cosmopolitan nature of the area in the early middle ages by his description of the finishing school run by Frankish kings in the 7th century where Siagrius, the ruler of the region, had studied and where the son of king Edwin of Northumbria in England was also sent.
Colour maps and plates illustrate the book and it is full of fascinating anecdotes. Examples are the loan of a guillotine by Nice to Grasse in the French Revolution and the occasion when Jean Moulin, the leader of the French Resistance in World War II, invited the Germans to the opening of an art gallery in Nice which he was using as a front.
Available now at amazon.co.uk or visit http://www.michaelnelsonbooks.com
With heavy heart I report that one of the most frequent visitors to this website, Roger Jones from Texas, USA has passed away. Roger was a lovely man and often in touch with words of encouragement and enthusiasm. There are many entries from him in the guest book. Roger once said he only ever read a book once but when he found Perfume from Provence and Winifred's other books he kept coming back again and again. He will be missed very much both as a long distance friend and contributor. Condolences to Roger's family and may he rest in peace.
High summer with two very busy bees at work on the yellow Buddleia
Devastating news from Nice overnight following the 14th July celebrations on the Promenade des Anglais. Our deepest sympathy to all those caught up in this terrible event. We have stood in that exact spot as a family many times and can only imagine what the relatives of the victims must be going through. For those of you that know the web master I can report that our family had not gone to the event last night and are all safe.
The website has recently been offered three of the original E. H. Shepard pencil drawings from Winifred's first book, Perfume from Provence. They are in excellent condition but they are also understandably expensive, in the region of £3000.00UK or $3900.00US. It would be wonderful to secure these sketches which could be displayed and perhaps eventually left to the Shepard archive. The prints are currently in the USA. The webmaster is looking into ways of trying to fund the purchase - more information when available.
The beautiful garden originally created by Winifred Fortescue near Grasse, now the home of artist Valerie de Courcel, is open on certain dates. For full details, and how to book, visit the web site at www.valeriedecourcel.fr
The garden steps
The wonderful metre gauge railway, the Chemin de Fer de Provence, will be running steam trains once again on Sunday's between May and September 2016. Part of the line, now closed, originally ran through Lady Fortescue's garden and olive groves at her home near Grasse. The lines runs all year round and operates between Nice and the spa town of Digne le Bains in the Alps. The complete journey takes approximately 3 hours in each direction but there are spectacular views as the line twists and turns through the mountain scenery. Many of the intermediate stops are well worth a visit and make for a much shorter journey. Visit www.trainprovence.com for full details and timetables.
'Train des Pignes'
Living and Loving on the Riviera - Maureen Emerson. Maureen has completed the writing of her new book and has very kindly made the first chapter available for us to read on line. Visit the website at www.livingandlovingontheriviera.co.uk to be enthralled now! Don't forget to watch the video of Maureen talking about her book here on the site too. Click here.
Maureen Emerson's new book, 'Living and Loving on the Riviera' is now finished, from a writers perspective, and is now out with a number of publishers for their consideration. We really hope Maureen receives a speedy acceptance after all the effort she has put into it.
Port of Nice Springtime
Villefranche-sur-Mer, see below!
For any motoring enthusiasts, you might like to know that the Historic Monte-Carlo Rally, featuring a wonderful collection of classic vehicles, is taking place in Fortescue country between the 27th January and 3rd February. It ends on the 3rd of February, as always, in Monte Carlo. For full details click here!
Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique 27th Jan to 3rd Feb 2016
Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique 27th Jan to 3rd Feb 2016
The France Show returns from 29-31 January 2016 - don't miss it! Enjoy the best of France under one roof at Olympia, London.
The weather in the south has been very mild and the Mimosa is starting to flower already!
Mimosa in Nice early January!
Looking towards Nice Airport in the January sunshine
Oranges in January outside Nice theatre
January sunset over the airport towards Cannes
I hope you enjoy browsing the pages, there are now over 100!
Remember to bookmark the site and come back often.
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