Lycett Green, Candida 1942-
LYCETT GREEN, Candida 1942-
PERSONAL: Born September 22, 1942, in England; daughter of John (a poet) and Penelope (a writer and horsewoman; maiden name, Chetwode) Betjeman; married Rupert Lycett Green, 1963; children: two sons, three daughters. Education: Studied at St. Mary's, Wantage. Hobbies and other interests: Horseback riding.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Desmond Elliott, 403 Carrington House, Hertford St., London W1Y 7TD, England.
CAREER: Writer of nonfiction and children's books, and broadcaster.
MEMBER: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (English Heritage section).
(With Christopher Booker) Goodbye London: An Illustrated Guide to Threatened Buildings, Fontana (London, England), 1972.
The Front Garden, 1979.
English Cottages, photographs by Tony Evans, Weidenfeld & Nicholson (London, England), 1982, reprinted, Cassell (London, England), 2002. Brilliant Gardens, 1989.
The Perfect English Country House, photographs by Christopher Simon Sykes, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1991.
(Editor) John Betjeman: Letters, Methuen (London, England), Volume One: 1926-1951, 1994, Volume Two: 1951-1984, 1995.
England: Travels through an Unwrecked Landscape, photographs by Bill Burlington, Pavilion (London, England), 1996.
(Editor) John Betjeman, Coming Home: An Anthology of His Prose, Methuen (London, England), 1997.
(Editor) Betjeman's Britain: An Anthology of Prose and Verse, 1999.
Country Life's One Hundred Favorite Houses, 1999.
Over the Hills and Far Away: An English Odyssey, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2003.
Author of documentary screenplays, including The Front Garden, 1979; The English Woman and the Horse, 1981; and A Cottage in the Country, 1983. Contributor to periodicals, including Country Life and Oldie.
Hadrian the Hedgehog, illustrated by Christopher Thyme, 1969, published as The Adventures of Hadrian the Hedgehog, Follett (Chicago, IL), 1970.
Hadrian in the Orient, 1971.
SIDELIGHTS: Candida Lycett Green has transformed the traditional British passions for gardens, country homes, and horses into a number of books that have not only captured the beauty of the English landscape but also worked to preserve or at least capture an aspect of British culture that has become endangered by modernization, as in her first book, Goodbye London: An Illustrated Guide to Threatened Buildings. In the fifty essays collected in 1997's England: Travels through an Unwrecked Landscape, Lycett Green promotes the England not recorded on picture postcards, striving instead to capture for readers a vision of "her native land … as mysterious as any foreign country," according to a Times Literary Supplement contributor who praised the author's "observations of history, architecture and landscape" as "vivid and memorable." Other books by Lycett Green that capture what is unique about British country life include English Cottages, which New York Times Book Review critic Paul Goldberger dubbed "a testament to the ability of the English" to spread among all social and economic classes "the best qualities of their architecture and landscaping." Also profusely illustrated with photographs, Lycett Green's The Perfect English Country House moves up a notch on the socioeconomic scale to capture eighty lovingly preserved country homes built between the 1500s and the 1930s.
As the daughter of noted English poet and journalist Lord John Betjeman, Lycett Green was raised in a bohemian fashion, her mother often taking her on horseback excursions through the countryside on a whim and her father attaining the rank of celebrity as a popular writer who appeared on British radio and television frequently between the 1930s and 1960s. Several years after her father's death in 1984, Lycett Green began editing her father's many letters and in 1994 published the first of two volumes as John Betjeman: Letters, 1929-1951 Reviewing both volumes of the collected Letters for Sewanee Review, contributor Stuart Wright praised Lycett Green's descriptive footnotes and other editorial contributions as "nothing short of magnificent, at once informative, discursive, and clearly written, as well as intimately detailed in such a way that only an uncommonly intelligent, talented family member could make them." Praising Lycett Green for capturing her father's "clear, focused understanding of 'the point of being alive—how terrible it is a lot of the time and how wonderful at others,'" Wright maintained that "no greater gift could she bestow on her father's grateful readers … than this monumental … collection."
In addition to her work as a nonfiction author and editor, Lycett Green also made an early mark as a children's author, and has also worked as a broadcaster. Her most personal work, Over the Hills and Far Away, was penned after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. Her cancer went into remission following treatment at an Oxford-based nonprofit clinic, and in thanks Lycett Green and a friend rode on horseback from Yorkshire north to the Scottish border, collecting donations for the clinic. Calling the book "a vivid account" of Lycett Green's journey by horseback, Times Literary Supplement contributor Frank Egerton also noted that Over the hills and Far Away takes readers on a personal journey: an "enjoyable celebration of friendship and the beauty of the English landscape" imbued with "a strong sense of the continuity between past, present, and future."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Review, August, 1994, Mervyn Horder, review of John Betjeman: Letters 1926-1951, p. 197.
Economist (US), May 17, 1997, review of England:Travels through an Unwrecked Landscape, p. S4.
Library Journal, November 15, 1991, Barbara Bartos, review of The Perfect English Country House p. 78; November 1, 1996, JoAnne Mary Benson, review of England: Travels through an Unwrecked Landscape, p. 98.
Newsweek, December 10, 1984, Douglas Davis, review of English Cottages, p. 90.
New York Times Book Review, December 12, 1982, Paul Goldberger, review of English Cottages, p. 22.
Sewanee Review, fall, 1996, Stuart Wright, "England, His England," pp. 687-690.
Spectator, November 1, 1969, Trevor Grove, review of Hadrian in the Orient, pp. 602-603; April 23, 1994, John Osborne, review of John Betjeman: Letters, Volume One, pp. 30-31; October 7, 1995, John Mortimer, review of John Betjeman: Letters, Volume Two: 1951-1984, pp. 39-40; November 1, 1997, Philip Hensher, review of Coming Home, pp. 38-39.
Times Literary Supplement, December 4, 1969, review of Hadrian in the Orient, p. 1386; June 13, 1997, review of England: Travels through an Unwrecked Landscape, p. 36; July 26, 2002, Frank Egerton, review of Over the Hills and Far Away: An English Odyssey, p. 32.*