updated: 03/04/2009

look-alike makeups: Vita Sackville-West

Victoria Mary Sackville-West (1892–1962), best known as Vita Sackville-West, was an comparatively minor author and poet. She was famous for her exuberant aristocratic life, her strong marriage – despite her passionate affairs with various women and her husband’s homosexuality – and her gardening.

Besides her relationship with her husband, Harold Nicholson the relationship – later described as a ‘magnificent folly’ by her son – that had the deepest and most lasting effect on Vita’s personal life was that with the novelist Violet Trefusis whom she first met at school. Their relationship started while both were in their teens and after they were both married they eloped to France several times, Vita dressing as a young man when they went out. The affair eventually ended badly. In 1973 Vita’s son Nigel Nicolson published Portrait of a Marriage which he had compiled from her journals and letters describing her complicated marriage to Harold Nicolson.

In later life Vita became better known for her gardening writings, and today she is mostly remembered for creating the gardens at Sissinghurst.

Portrait of a Marriage: Based on the book with the same title, is a fairly melodramatic retelling of the relationship between Vita (Janet McTeer) and Violet Keppel and how her marriage to Harold Nicolson survived. Lisa Westcott was makeup & hair designer.