Hon. Margery Olivier (April, 1886 – February 6, 1974), with her sisters Brynhild, Daphne and Noël, were prominent in the Cambridge and Bloomsbury social circles around Rupert Brooke and in what Virginia Woolf dubbed the Neo-Pagans.
Margery Olivier was the daughter of Sydney Olivier, 1st Baron Olivier, a British civil servant, and Margaret Cox. In the 1891 census Margery was living at Paddington, London, and in the 1911 census she was living at Limpsfield, Surrey. In 1956 she was living at Ickenham, London.
If the Bloomsberries lived in squares and loved in triangles, the Olivier sisters lived in tents and loved in Venn diagrams. David ‘Bunny’ Garnett fell in love with Noël Olivier, the youngest of the four, when she was five and he was six, Rupert Brooke fell in love with her when she was fifteen and he was twenty. Brooke, who was at Cambridge with Margery Olivier, the oldest of the sisters, was also in love with Brynhild Olivier, the second sister, and with another undergraduate called Ka Cox, who was herself in love with Jacques Raverat and Henry Lamb, who was in love with Lytton Strachey. Meanwhile, Strachey’s younger brother, James Strachey, who had initially been in love with Brooke, also fell in love with Noel (why, asked Brooke, would James sacrifice their friendship for an ‘off chance at a cunt’?). Daphne Olivier, the third Olivier sister, was in love with Bunny Garnett and Margery fantasised that Adrian Stephen, Virginia Woolf’s brother, was in love with her, but he was actually in love, of course, with Noel. It’s little wonder that Margery lost her mind and that Noel, by the time she was nineteen and studying medicine at UCL, had encased herself inside her carapace like a lady crab.
Margery Olivier died at St. Andrew's Hospital, Northampton.
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGE