Less well-known is the story of John P. King’s third son, artist Clinton King, and his first wife, British born Lady Duff Twysden. It’s a story which gives us a snapshot of what was happening in Europe in the 1920s at exactly the same time John. P. King was developing Oakhurst.
Clinton Blair King, born in 1901 to Lorena and John P. King in Fort Worth, was an artist usually associated with the regional art of Texas and New Mexico from 1924 to 1940. After 1940 and into the 1960s, he often exhibited his work in Chicago, New York City and Paris.
Mary Duff Stirling, Lady Twysden, was born a British socialite in 1892 to Charlotte and Baynes Wright Smurthwaite. Twice married by the time she was 25, Lady Duff “spent the winter and spring of 1925 gallivanting around Paris...attracting attention.... She became known for her style of loose sweaters and short hair.” During this time she met a lot of members of the “Lost Generation” including Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley.
|Ernest Hemingway with Duff Twysden,|
Clinton King's first wife, in Spain ca. 1925
Maggie Van Ostrand wrote, “The qualities of Lady Brett that are the most admirable—her easy camaraderie with men, her willingness to take risks, her devil-may-care attitude (all of which were traits of Lady Duff), and that she doesn’t flinch at the carnage in the bullring, symbolize the new woman of the Twenties: the Flapper.” Hemingway finished the book in 8 weeks and it became his first success.
It was in Paris that Lady Duff met Clinton King, nine years younger than she and already a promising artist. He, too, had befriended Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Picasso. They were secretly married in Bloomsbury, England in August 1928, a story reported in The New York Times. Clinton and Duff lived in New York and New Mexico and had a home on the shores of Lake Chapala in Mexico. Clinton King once recalled, “We lived a different life from the rather senseless Montparnasse days. I worked all day at painting while she drew her amusing sketches in watercolor, or posed for me, or read a great deal.”
|Self-portrait, Clinton King and Narcissa Swift King|
While John P. King was developing the Oakhurst neighborhood in the early 1920s in Fort Worth, his son and his wife were part of one of the most famous chapters in literary history, that of the “Lost Generation” writers in Europe. It’s not even six degrees of separation in this fascinating tale.
This story, authored by Libby Willis, originally appeared in the January 2014 edition of the Oak Leaflet.