Vita Sackville-West

From LGBT Archive
Jump to: navigation, search
Vita Sackville-West by Philip de László, 1910
Vita Sackville-West (Hon Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson, 1892–1962) was an author, poet, and gardener, known for her affair with the novelist Virginia Woolf.

Early life

She was born at Knole House, Sevenoaks, the vast ancestral home of the Sackville-Wests, which she has written about in her book Knole and the Sackvilles. Despite being the only child of the 3rd Lord Sackville, she did not inherit the house on his death in 1930, as according to the family custom that it should go with the title in the male line he bequeathed it to his nephew. It is now a National Trust property.


In 1913 she married the writer and politician Harold Nicolson. They had a open marriage, and remained devoted to each other, despite each having a number of same-sex relationships. In 1930 they bought Sissinghurst Castle, near Cranbrook, and created a famous garden there, now owned by the National Trust.


Vita's most important lesbian relationships were with Violet Trefusis and Virginia Woolf.

In 2024 an exhibition at Sissinghurst called Radical Relations was opened. Radical Relations looks at the unconventional lives of writer and poet Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson, the creators of Sissinghurst Castle Garden [1] .
  1. Exhibition of early 20th Century LGBTQ+ milestones BBC (Accessed 4 June 2024)