Wife Faith Stone
University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, Regno Unito
St Paul's School, Lonsdale Rd, Barnes, London SW13 9JT, Regno Unito
The Albany, Albany Court Yard, Mayfair, London W1J, Regno Unito
Eolaigearraidh, Cille Bharra, Eoligarry, Isle of Barra HS9 5YE, Regno Unito
Sir Compton Mackenzie, OBE (born Edward Montague Compton Mackenzie, 17 January 1883 – 30 November 1972) was an English-born Scottish writer of fiction, biography, histories and a memoir, as well as a cultural commentator, raconteur and lifelong Scottish nationalist. He was one of the co-founders in 1928 of the Scottish National Party along with Hugh MacDiarmid, RB Cunninghame Graham and John MacCormick. He was knighted in 1952.
Between 1913 and 1920 he lived with his wife, Faith, on Capri at Villa Solitaria, and returned to visit in later years. This Italian island near Sorrento was known to be tolerant not just of foreigners in general, but of artists and homosexuals in particular. He became friends with the writer Somerset Maugham, a frequent visitor to the island. Faith had an affair with the Italian pianist Renata Borgatti, who was connected to Romaine Brooks.
Compton Mackenzie's observations on the local life of the Italian islanders and foreign residents led to at least two novels, Vestal Fire (1927) and Extraordinary Women (1928). The latter, a roman à clef about a group of lesbians arriving on the island of Sirene, a fictional version of Capri, was published in Britain in the same year as two other ground-breaking novels with lesbian themes, Virginia Woolf's love letter to Vita Sackville-West, Orlando, and Radclyffe Hall's controversial polemic, The Well of Loneliness, but Mackenzie's satire did not attract legal attention. He was a friend of Axel Munthe, who built Villa San Michele, and Edwin Cerio, who later became mayor of Capri.
Mackenzie was married three times. On 30 November 1905, he married Faith Stone in St Saviour's, Pimlico: they remained married for more than 50 years, until her death. In 1962, he married Christina MacSween, who died the following year. Lastly, he married his dead wife's sister, Lilian MacSween in 1965.
Mackenzie was a keen supporter of West Bromwich Albion Football Club. Although from the north east of England, he "was influenced in the choice of Albion as 'my' team by the fact that their ground was romantically called The Hawthorns and that they were nicknamed the Throstles".
He was also a keen fan of the game of snooker, and gave an account of the origin of the game's name in ‘The Billiard Player’ magazine of 1939, describing how young lieutenant Neville Chamberlain (not the former British Prime Minister) was experimenting on the officers’ mess table with the existing game of ‘Black Pool’ featuring 15 red balls and a black. He presented the World Championship trophy to Joe Davis at the 1939 Championships.
He converted to Roman Catholicism in 1914. He died on 30 November 1972, aged 89, in Edinburgh and was interred at Eoligarry on the Isle of Barra.
After his retirement Mackenzie sold the entire copyright in 20 of his books for a lump sum of £10,000 arguing that this was a capital receipt and not the proceeds of the business. The Court of Appeal held that this was assessable income as part of the proceeds of his business: Mackenzie v Arnold (1952) 33 TC 363.
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