Matilda Talbot (B. Jul. 15, 1871. D. Mar. 25, 1958) (2) seated on the terrace of the Cheval Blanc, Vezelay, May 1957. Photograph taken by Mr Sam Walker (3).
"My own life has been rather like a kaleidoscope" (4), writes Matilda Talbot in her autobiography. For somebody who experienced the two world wars at first hand, travelled in three continents, and went on to unexpectedly inherit Lacock Abbey, her life was truly kaleidoscopic; a constantly changing sequence of patterns punctuated by bursts of colour.
It was perhaps due to her natural flair for languages, combined with her kind and down-to-earth manner, that many of these colourful experiences came about. She readily accepted invitations to visit old friends and new acquaintances in far-off places, sometimes travelling with her family, but never fearful of travelling independently. When she did travel on her own, she was never alone, striking up friendships with passengers and crew, on-board boats as she tried out her language skills.