This page provides links and comments about Angela Thirkell’s world—who she was and what she wrote about—since hers is intensely personal fiction. The following is a list of books associated with the life, times, and family of Angela Thirkell, recommended by Angela Thirkell Society subscribers as interesting to other readers. Margot Strickland’s biography, A Portrait of the Lady Novelist was the most frequently recommended book. This page also contains links to other websites that you may find interesting. (Information about Thirkell and her immediate family is listed further below. Other works about Angela and her books are listed on the Secondary Sources page.)


ASQUITH, Lady Cynthia, Diaries

BENSON, E. F., Mapp and Lucia books

BRITTAIN, Vera, England’s Finest Hour
BRITTAIN, Vera, Testament of Youth
BROKAW, Tom, The Greatest Generation
CHESTERTON, G. K., The Everlasting Man

CHURCHILL, Lady, Biography of Jenny
CHURCHILL, Winston, Memoirs of the Second World War

CHRISTIE, Agatha, Come Tell Me How You Live

CLOUD, Stanley & OLSON, Lynn, A Question of Honor
COLVILLE, John, The Fringes of Power
CONWAY, Jill Ker, The Road from Coorain
DAKERS, Caroline, Clouds: The Biography of A Count

DELAFIELD, E. M., Provincial Lady books
DENNYS, Joyce, Henrietta’s War: News From The Homefront 1934-1942
DENNYS, Joyce, The Henrietta Books
FAVIELL, Frances, A Chelsea Concerto
FERGUSON, Rachael, Passionate Kensington & Royal Borough
FITZGERALD, Penelope, The Knox Brothers
FITZPATRICK, Sir Percy, Jock Of The Bushveld
FOREMAN, Michael, After The War Was Over
FRASER, Antonia, The Lives Of The Kings & Queens of England
FRASER, Flora, Maud: The Illustrated Diary of a Victorian Woman
GARNETT, David, The Golden Echo
GODDEN, Rumer, A Time to Dance, A Time to Weep & A House With Four Rooms

GRAVES, Robert, The Long Weekend

HANFF, Helene, 84, Charing Cross Road
HUGHES, Molly, A London Family Between Wars
KEITH, Agnes Newton, Three Came Home
KINROSS, Lord, Ottoman Empire
LAMBERT, Angela, 1939: The Last Season of Peace
LAMBERT, Angela, Unquiet Souls
LAST, Nella, Nella Last’s War

LEWIS, C. S., The Great Divorce
LOVELL, Mary S., The Saga of the Mitford Sisters
MASSIE, Robert, Nicholas & Alexandra
MERTON, Thomas, Thomas Merton Journals
MITFORD, Jessica, Daughters and Rebels
MORRIS, Jan, Pax Britannica: Climax of An Empire
MURPHY, Charles J. V. & BRYAN III, J., The Windsor Story

NEWBY, Eric, Something Wholesale: My Life in the Rag Trade
NICHOLS, Beverly, Down The Garden Path
NICHOLSON, Nigel & SACKVILLE WEST, Vita, Portrait of a Marriage
RAVERAT, Gwen, Period Piece

SHUTE, Neville, A Town Like Alice
TODD, Pamela, Pre-Raphaelites at Home
TORR, Cecil, Small Talk at Wreyland
TUCHMAN, Barbara, Proud Tower
TWEEDSMUIR, Susan, The Edwardian Lady
WOOLF, Virginia, A Room of One’s Own
YATES, Dornford, As Berry and I Were Saying
ZEIGLER, Phillip, London at War
(Compiled by Carol Haskell)


The Internet has many easy-to-find links; most of the people referred to have Wikipedia sites. The links provided below are either not so easy to find or link to a more literary site.

Angela Thirkell

For works about Angela Thirkell and her writing, please see Secondary Sources.

See her Sargent Portrait by John Singer Sargent, and more of his work at the John Singer Sargent site.

Comparisons to other writers:

Trollope is her own spiritual antecedent.

She is often compared to Dickens. Link to: The Dickens Society.

And, of course, Jane Austen. See the site for The Jane Austen Society.  

Another close associate of Angela Thirkell was  John Buchan


Several books are recommended for those who are interested in his life and works: 

Edward Burne-Jones, Victorian Artist-Dreamer, by Stephen Wildman and John Christian.

Burne-Jones, The Life and Work of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, 1833-1898, by Christopher Wood.

Edward Burne-Jones, by Penelope Fitzgerald.

Some interesting facts:

  • Burne-Jones was a major influence on Picasso.
  • He was the inspiration behind Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Patience.”
  • A quote from Angela Thirkell’s grandfather: “A beautiful romantic dream of something that never was, never will be—in light better than any light ever shone, in a land no one can define or remember, only desire.” 

See some of his work at the Carol Garten Fine Arts site: Burne-Jones Paintings. We also found these sites: a Burne-Jones site and a  WebMuseum site with his works.



MACKAIL, Dennis, Life With Topsy


Angela Thirkell’s son, Colin MacInnes, was also a writer. Details in The Colin MacInnes Papers provide a list of his papers that have been contributed to the University of Rochester; it also provides a brief biography. One item in the list of the contents is: “In everything she is and does, Remarkable.” Information about Colin MacInnes is available from a variety of sources. Anthony Burgess thought he was a significant author, including Colin in his 99 Novels: The Best in English Since 1939.

GOULD, Tony, Inside Outsider: The Life & Times of Colin MacInnes.

MacInnes, Colin. City of Spades (1957), Absolute Beginners (1959), Mr Love and Justice (1960). These are reviewed by Devin McKinney, “The Flesh Failures,” Believer 32 (March 19, 2006). Dennis Potter, a British journalist, wrote a review of the movie version of “Absolute Beginners” (with David Bowie in cast) for the Daily Herald in August of 1961.

“Two Letters from Colin MacInnes to Angela Thirkell,” ATS North American Branch, 2001.


McINNES, Graham, Finding a Father


Lance Thirkell published several works that were intended to improve his mother’s reputation as a mother.

Baby, Mother and Grandmother. Published privately, 1982.

Assassination of an Authoress, or, How the Critics Took My Mother to the Laundry. Privately printed, Text of a talk, December 11, 1983.

Melbourne and London: A Childhood Memoir. London: Angela Thirkell Society (UK), 2000.



Georgiana Macdonald was the wife of Edward Burne-Jones, and the mother of Angela Thirkell. Her life and that of three of her sisters are usually tied together as they all married or gave birth to powerful, well-known men of the day.

TAYLOR, Ina, Victorian Sisters: The Remarkable Macdonald Women


Rudyard Kipling was the son of Alice Macdonald, one of the “remarkable Macdonald women.”


BALDWIN, Monica, I Leap Over The Wall





H. H. Asquith was the Prime Minister at the time of Angela’s first marriage. His second son was married to Cynthia Charteris who sat for Burne-Jones as a model.

George Eliot was her grandmother’s friend. This article by Virginia Woolf was first published in The Times Literary Supplement, 20th November 1919.

The Countess of Wemyss was the model for Lady Emily Leslie. Their family had a huge collection of masterpieces, one of which was donated to the National Gallery. Read a little about them and the painting at The Annunciation and A Procurator of Saint Mark’s, The National Gallery.

Elizabeth the Queen Mother was a friend of Angela’s second husband, George Lancelot Thirkell.