Past, Present, Man, Nature: 4. “The clash of opposites”

Past, Present, Man, Nature: celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes.

An online exhibit by Alison Cullingford, Special Collections Librarian, University of Bradford.

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4. “The clash of opposites”

In 1947, Jacquetta, mourning Turner and not entirely happy in her marriage, met and fell in love with J.B. Priestley.  Priestley was a well-known novelist and playwright, famed for his wartime Postscript broadcasts.  His own marriage, to Jane, was in difficulties.  Jacquetta was UK secretary to UNESCO and JB had been chosen as a delegate for a Mexico conference.  With Priestley already intrigued by “J.J. Hawkes” on “those grey letters”, the two actually met when Jacquetta brought him a horrible pink jelly at a pre-conference briefing: the “Moment of the Pink Cake”.  Eventually, after many difficulties, both were divorced.  They married in 1953.

Jacquetta and JBP in 1958

Jacquetta and JBP in 1958

This 1958 image shows them sharing a happy moment, probably on the Isle of Wight.  Christopher and Jane also had happy later marriages, Christopher to fellow archaeologist Sonia Chadwick and Jane to David Bannerman, an ornithologist.

Jacquetta and Priestley agreed on politics and loved the arts, but otherwise had very different characters and social backgrounds.  However, they relished these differences, feeling that they complemented each other, both intrigued by the ideas of Jung.  They explored these together in their platform play, “Dragon’s Mouth” (1951), which features four individuals representing Jung’s functions of sensation, intellect, intuition and emotion.  Jacquetta wrote the parts of Stuart and Nina, intellect and sensation, the two sides of her personality.  The contrast between Jacquetta’s cool intellect and reserve, and her passionate emotions and love of beauty, crops up frequently in her writings and in comments made about her by others, e.g. Priestley’s “ice without, fire within”, or her friend Diana Collins “Athena and Aphrodite”.  If the words she wrote for Nina express her own views, she would “glory in the clash of opposites”, in her own nature and with Priestley.


2 responses to “Past, Present, Man, Nature: 4. “The clash of opposites”

  1. Pingback: Past, Present, Man, Nature: 3. “That great force of life” « Celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes

  2. Pingback: Past, Present, Man, Nature: 5. “Clothes and other vanities” « Celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes

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