Another month, another loss: this time of the extraordinary Lindy Dufferin, for over half a century chatelaine of Clandeboye, County Down where she will be buried today. Born in 1941, Lindy seemed always to have lived at breakneck speed. A newspaper notice this week has commented that she might have been the lead character in a novel. But despite being constantly on the move, there were a few constants in her life. One was Clandeboye, the house and estate she was bequeathed by her husband Sheridan on his death in 1988. Thanks to her grit, initiative and flair she turned the place into a flourishing business (one of her greatest successes was Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt, established in 2007) and an important centre for environmental conservation. Thanks to her efforts, she ensured the estate’s future and preserved the house with its remarkable contents. Just as important was her own painting; as a teenager she had studied with Duncan Grant and she remained committed to the practice for the rest of her life; on visits to Clandeboye, one always had to look at, and comment on, her latest work. Regardless of what else was happening or where she was, Lindy made time for painting, always trying new approaches and techniques, never flagging in a determination to find the visual equivalent of her own distinctive voice. To my mind, her best work are the small landscapes, not least pictures of the cattle at Clandeboye (responsible for producing the milk that made all that delicious yoghurt). And friendship was the third constant, aided by insatiable curiosity about everyone else (chronically deaf, she habitually quizzed friends about their private lives in a very loud voice). It was always a joy to stay at comfortable, spoiling Clandeboye, although she could be an imperious hostess: I remember on one occasion being ordered to remain in the library while she showed visitors around the house, ‘otherwise darling you’ll only correct me when I say something wrong.’ The confinement was eased by well-stocked bookshelves and an equally well-stocked drinks table. Now she is gone and one is left with memories, not least of a riotous New Year’s Eve dinner held at the top of Helen’s Tower. A folly erected on the estate in the mid-19th century by the first Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, the tower was commemorated in a poem by Alfred Tennyson, which includes the line ‘Love is in and out of time.’ It seems an appropriate way to recall Lindy.
Serena Belinda Rosemary Guinness, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, March 25, 1941-October 26 2020