Sunday, January 9, 2011
Carrington was not a member of the Bloomsbury Group, though she was closely associated with Bloomsbury and, more generally, with "Bohemian" attitudes, through her long relationship with the homosexual writer Lytton Strachey, whom she first met in 1916. Distinguished by her cropped pageboy hair style (before it was fashionable) and somewhat androgynous appearance, she was troubled by her sexuality; she is known to have had at least one lesbian affair (with Henrietta Bingham). She also had a significant relationship with the writer Gerald Brenan.
In June 1918 Virginia Woolf wrote of Carrington in her diary: "She is odd from her mixture of impulse & self consciousness. I wonder sometimes what she’s at: so eager to please, conciliatory, restless, & active. . . . [B]ut she is such a bustling eager creature, so red & solid, & at the same time inquisitive, that one can’t help liking her." Carrington first set up house with Lytton Strachey in November 1917, when they moved together to Tidmarsh Mill House, near Pangbourne, Berkshire; she continued to live with him at Ham Spray House from 1924 although the home had been purchased by Lytton in the name of her husband, Ralph Partridge, who lived there also at weekends with his lover and future wife Frances Marshall.
Strachey died of cancer at Ham Spray in January 1932. Carrington, who saw no purpose in a life without Strachey, committed suicide two months later by shooting herself with a gun borrowed from her friend, Hon. Bryan Guinness (later 2nd Baron Moyne).Her body was cremated and the ashes buried under the laurels in the garden of the Ham Spray House in Wiltshire.