Frances Ramsay

Quentin was my uncle—my mother’s youngest brother. I did not meet him until my first visit to London when I was 15. I had been told he was eccentric, but this did not really prepare me for his outrageous appearance. However, I quickly realized that he was someone really special.

After this meeting, he began to make regular visits to our home, where my grandmother (his mother) also lived. He said, "I don’t mind coming to the country providing I don’t have to go outside." He kept us entertained with tales of his life in London; his visits were the highlights of the year. One day he arrived with his hair dyed purple. Meeting my father—a parson—as he alighted from the train, he announced, "You see I have changed from the festive season to Lent!" I saw him quite frequently in the ’50s and ’60s when I was living in London. He took me out with his friends and always introduced me as "my niece who comes from real life." He was always very generous and genuinely interested in all the family. I shall always lovingly remember him as my Uncle Denis.

Copyright © 2000 by Frances Ramsay and Estate of Quentin Crisp. All rights reserved.
Photograph copyright © by Alison McParlin Davis-Murphy. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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