Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Nigel Nicolson

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Preceded by  Brendan Bracken
Role  Writer
Succeeded by  John Cordle
Children  Adam Nicolson
Political party  Conservative
Siblings  Benedict Nicolson
Name  Nigel Nicolson

Nigel Nicolson image2findagravecomphotos200633595212021165
Born  19 January 1917 183 Ebury Street, London (1917-01-19)
Died  September 23, 2004, Sissinghurst Castle Garden, United Kingdom
Spouse  Philippa Tennyson-d'Eyncourt (m. 1953–1970)
Books  Portrait of a Marriage, Long Life: Memoirs, The world of Jane Austen, The Queen and us, Virginia Woolf
Similar People  Harold Nicolson, Vita Sackville‑West, Adam Nicolson, George Weidenfeld - Baron We, Virginia Woolf

Webster! Full Episode March 21, 1979

Nigel Nicolson (19 January 1917 – 23 September 2004) was an English writer, publisher and politician.


Nigel Nicolson Nigel Nicolson The Economist


Nicolson was the son of writers Sir Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West; he had a brother Ben, an art historian. The boys grew up in Kent, first at Long Barn, near their mother's ancestral home at Knole, and then at Sissinghurst Castle, where their parents created a famous garden. Nicolson was sent to board at Summer Fields, a prep school in Oxford; he then attended Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford. During World War II he served with the Grenadier Guards, later writing their official history.

Nicolson wrote many books. He and George Weidenfeld co-founded the publishing house Weidenfeld and Nicolson, of which he was a director from 1948 to 1992. He also worked as a broadcaster and was a member of the Ancient Monuments Board. Although his father had been first a National Labour and then a Labour politician, Nigel Nicolson became active in the Conservative Party and contested Leicester North West in 1950 and Falmouth and Camborne in 1951, without success. He was elected Member of Parliament for Bournemouth East and Christchurch at a by-election in February 1952, when the previous MP, Brendan Bracken, was elevated to the House of Lords. Nicolson was re-elected in the seat in the general election of May 1955.

However, he was uncomfortable within the Tory party and voted with Labour to abolish hanging and abstained in a vote of confidence in the government over the Suez War. His constituency association called for him to resign and wrote to the Prime Minister briefing against their MP. A ballot of members was called. Unfortunately for Nicolson, a controversy relating to his publishing interests broke a few years later – the company's decision to publish the British edition of Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita in 1959. Nicolson lost the members' vote and was forced to step down at the general election of October 1959.

Nicolson returned to writing, particularly on heritage and biography. He co-wrote a celebrated 1973 book on his parents, Portrait of a Marriage. It balanced a frank account of his bisexual parents' extramarital affairs (especially Vita Sackville-West's 'elopement' with Violet Trefusis) with their enduring love for each other; it caused an uproar when it was published. He edited his father's diaries and, with Joanne Trautmann, the letters of Virginia Woolf. Later he wrote the "Long Life" column for The Spectator, and a Time of My Life column for The Sunday Telegraph. His autobiography, Long Life, was published in 1997.


In 1953 Nicolson married Philippa, the daughter of Sir Gervais Tennyson-d'Eyncourt, and they had two daughters, Rebecca, a publisher, Juliet, an historian, and a son, Adam, a writer. Juliet has written of her father and his ancestors in A House Full of Daughters (2016). Adam has revived the home farm at Sissinghurst. Nigel and Philippa divorced in 1970.


Nigel Nicolson Wikipedia