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A. Huxley in Sanary 2.3 (second part)

The main witness

Table of Contents

I decided to turn to Matthew Huxley and his memories, to show him photographs of him as a baby in the arms of his mother, and as a nine year old boy playing on the beach with his father. There was a chance that Matthew would recall some of the photographs of his boyhood, but also a chance that they would bring back a far away past I knew he still cherished.

He himself had had several opportunities to travel back to Sanary, once for his honeymoon, and years later when he had the extraordinary luck to locate the paintings, which had been given by his parents to their faithful Italian servant from Tuscany, Rina Rontini, for her wedding in 1932. There were two large paintings of Aldous and Maria done around the 20’s by Sir John Collier a member of the family, two portraits of Maria by Aldous, plus some photographs and correspondence.
Aldous Huxley himself for a while beacame a painter., he did set up a studio in a room by the garage, watercolor and oil painting relaxed his poor eyesight. He followed his brother in law' advice, dutch painter Joep Nicholas who spent an entire summer with his family at La Gorguette. Eventualy he received tips from Moïse Kisling , not the least of a master!

Matthew proposed to buy it all from Marcel Eustration, Rina’s widower, but the old man knew the sentimental value these pieces had for his wife during her life time and he graciously offered the whole to Matthew Huxley, who brought everything back to his home in Pennsylvania where it should be today.

I had heard the story directly from a niece of Rina and Marcel Eustration who happened to have met the Huxleys once when a child. I was ready to discuss the story with Matthew Huxley when I learned the sad news:
Author, NIMH Epidemiologist Matthew Huxley Dies at 84
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Matthew Huxley, 84, an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Mental Health and the son of author Aldous Huxley, died of cardiac shock February, 10 in Reading, Pa.
His family background undoubtedly influenced his willingness to engage in such intellectual jousting. He was the only child of novelist, essayist and humanist Aldous Huxley, and the great-grandson of Thomas Huxley, the famous proponent of Charles Darwin. His two uncles were Sir Julian Huxley, a noted evolutionary biologist, and Sir Andrew Huxley, a Nobel Laureate in medicine.
Mr. Huxley was born in London and came to the United States in 1937. He attended high school in Colorado before graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, and receiving a master's degree in public health from Harvard University.
His first marriage, to documentary filmmaker Ellen Hovde, ended in divorce. His second wife died in 1983. Survivors include his third wife, Franziska Reed Huxley of Washington and Morgantown, Pa.; two children from his frst marriage, Trevenen Huxley and Tessa Huxley, both of New York City; and two grandchildren.
Unhappy stroke of fate, may Maria and Aldous’ son rest in peace.


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