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Vita and Harold


Summary of "Portrait of a Marriage: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson"


"Portrait of a Marriage" delves into the unconventional marriage between Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson. Authored by their son, Nigel Nicolson, the book combines Vita's memoirs with Nigel's analysis based on their correspondence and personal memories.

Key Themes

  • Complex Marriage: Despite Vita's numerous affairs, notably with women including Virginia Woolf, her marriage to Harold endured, characterized by deep affection and understanding.
  • Literary Connections: Vita, known for inspiring Woolf's "Orlando," is portrayed through her intimate writings, revealing her multifaceted persona.


  • Narrative Style: The book is praised for its elegance and tasteful portrayal of Vita and Harold's relationship.
  • Intimate Insights: Nigel Nicolson offers a unique perspective, blending his narrative with historical documents to paint a comprehensive picture of his parents' lives.


"Portrait of a Marriage" is a profound exploration of an enduring relationship that defied societal norms. It highlights the complexity and depth of Vita and Harold's bond, offering a memorable insight into their lives.