Partner Kenneth Macpherson

Queer Places:
Villa Tuoro, Via Tuoro, 80076 Capri NA, Italia
Chiang Mai, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Provincia di Chiang Mai, Tailandia

Related imageAlgernon Islay de Courcy Lyons (1922–1993) was a Welsh photographer, novelist and linguist.

Born in Langland, Glamorgan, Wales on 7 March 1922, the son of Captain John Algernon de Courcy Lyons, M.C. and Doris Ada née Campbell Young. In his lifetime, he was normally just called Islay (pronounced eye-la). Lyons was educated at Bradfield College, Berkshire and Grenoble University. He was at Grenoble when World War II broke out. He made a daring escape over the Pyrenees, was caught and imprisoned in Spain from where he manage to escape and work his way back to England where he joined up and served in the Royal Air Force for the rest of the war. He served first in North Africa and then he was sent to the Far East to learn Japanese in three months. He did this with amongst others, Richard Mason, who was a lifelong friend and cousin by marriage. Lyons is portrayed by the character 'Peter' in Mason's book 'The Wind Cannot Read'.)

The photographs of Lyons illustrate the works of several twentieth century literary figures, including Bryher and Graham Greene.

Lyons was the friend of the film-maker, Kenneth Macpherson, both of them living in the ‘Villa Tuoro’ on Capri, where Norman Douglas was their constant companion during the last years of Douglas’s life. Both Macpherson and Lyons were at Norman Douglas’s bedside when he died.[1]

Lyons died on 17 November 1993, in Chiang-Mai, Thailand.

Part of Lyons’s inheritance to his fostered Thai son, Manop Charoensuk, was a large quantity of photos, books, and letters relating to the life of Baron Jacques d'Adelswärd-Fersen, the novelist and poet. It is believed that Fersen bequeathed the inheritance to Norman Douglas, who bequeathed it to Kenneth Macpherson. On Macpherson’s death, Lyons inherited the estate. Charoensuk, Lyons' adopted son, sold it to an American millionaire. In 2002, the complete collection was offered by Sotheby’s in London to the American antiquarian bookseller David Deiss, but it was eventually bought by an unknown British dealer.[2] It is probable, although unconfirmed, that most, if not all, of this inheritance, is what the Beinecke acquired in 2008 and now forms part of the 'Norman Douglas Collection.[3]

Some of de Courcy Lyons’s work is held in various collections in the United States, notably the Catherine Walston/Graham Greene Papers at Georgetown Library, the Nancy Cunard Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center and the Norman Douglas Collection (2008 Addition) at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.


  1. H.D. Chronology - Louis Silverstein
  2. Frère Jacques: A Shrine to Love and Sorrow - Will H.L. Ogrinc (2006)
  3. http://drs.library.yale.edu:8083/fedora/get/beinecke:douglas3/PDF
  4. http://www.library.georgetown.edu/dept/speccoll/cl168.htm
  5. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/uthrc/00031/hrc-00031.html
  6. http://drs.library.yale.edu:8083/fedora/get/beinecke:douglas3/PDF