I recently came across this BBC web page about Jacquetta Hawkes’s appearance on Desert Island Discs, 15 November 1980. Alas, the broadcast itself is not available, but the page lists her choices of records (Elgar, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Guys and Dolls), book (Goethe) and luxury (wine). She chose two amusing records, Peter Sellers’ comedy sketch Balham: Gateway to the South, and a recording of her husband, J.B. Priestley, on Smoking in a Hot Bath. I think it’s lovely that she chose a piece by him and one which is so characteristic of his writing and his personality. It is currently available in print in Delight, J.B.’s collection of mini essays about things that made him happy. It contains many of his best-loved pieces, including two of my favourites, Gin and Tonic 1940 and Quietly Malicious Chairmanship.
Special Collections at Bradford University recently joined the Centre for Iris Murdoch Studies and many enthusiasts in celebrating Iris Murdoch Day, her birthday 15 July, with a social media festival. Our contribution was this piece published on the Special Collections blog, Roses and Dogs’ Noses: Iris and the Priestleys, which details Iris Murdoch’s friendship with Jacquetta and J.B. Priestley using letters and photographs from the Priestley and Hawkes Archives.
The day was great fun and we learned a lot about Iris and her writings. We’re considering doing something similar for Priestley this September and Jacquetta next year …
Another in the series of readings and lectures Dr Christine Finn is giving in the UK and elsewhere, to mark Jacquetta’s centenary:
A PLACE TO BE: JACQUETTA HAWKES and the ISLE OF WIGHT.
A public lecture by DR. CHRISTINE FINN.
at: The Seely Hall, Brook
on: Wednesday, 29 September at 7.30 pm
supported by The Isle of Wight Natural History and Archaeological Society
After their marriage in 1953, Jacquetta Hawkes and J.B. Priestley lived on the Isle of Wight, at Brook Hill. As Christine says, there “they spent a quiet few years, entertaining close friends and family. They also continued their prodigious output of books, essays, talks and scripts”.
Dr Finn particularly welcomes contributions from those who recall Jack and Jacquetta on the Island, or who were inspired to archaeology by Jacquetta’s works, in particular A Land, which mentions the Isle of Wight in its lyrical description of British geology.