My obituary for Beatrice de Cardi has just gone live on the Guardian website, and I guess will be in the paper tomorrow. I have written a longer version for the Society of Antiquaries’ newsletter (Salon), which fellows will receive next week.
She was an astute and discrete lady. I suspect we will start to find out all sorts of things about her that few knew, and collectively that very likely no one person fully understood. She kept her work in the UK and the Middle East quite separate, but there’s a third area that may turn out to be at least as interesting: Corsica.
Through her father Count Edwin de Cardi (1875–1935) she was, it is said, the last in line of an aristocratic Corsican family; she was herself a Countess, though she never used the term. In the past few days I’ve not seen anything in which she mentions Corsica, and it didn’t come up when I interviewed her in 2004. So I was intrigued when I heard that one of her requests for her funeral was a Corsican liberation song.
So here, for Beatrice de Cardi, are two images of Corsica I took in 1978: the megalithic alignments in the maquis at I Stantari; and protest graffiti.
And then there was her mother, a would-be opera singer from Pennsylvania. The Museum of London has some of Christine’s clothes, including this evening gown (left), and (right) an “opera cloak, satin, velvet, lace, ostrich feather, Jacques Doucet, early 20th century”, too delicate to unpack.