A Pageant Truly Play'd: Constance Smedley and Maxwell Armfield: Writers and Artists Tessa West
Maxwell Armfield and Constance Smedley were an unorthodox couple who deserve more attention. Both were accomplished in many of the arts, but Max's focus was on painting, whilst Connie's was on writing. In Tessa West's delightful A Pageant Truly Play'd the separate and jointly lived lives of these creative and resourceful individuals are told. They studied at the Birmingham School of Art in the late 1900s, but did not come across each other until some years later. By then Connie, despite a disability from childhood, had created an artistic life. Her founding of the Lyceum Club - the first women-only London club - was her landmark achievement. The Armfields married in 1911 and moved out of London where Max combined caring for Connie with his painting. Their involvement in a local fete cemented their enjoyment of the Cotswolds. However, they also spent seven years in the US where all their endeavours - from embroidery to teaching drama and to exhibitions - attracted interest and praise.