Saturday, 25 October 2014


Over the years, Sally wrote to many famous people to ask about their scent loves. She was even in talks with the great Diana Vreeland about a perfume exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York, but like so many of her fabulous ideas, it came to nothing. 

Here are a few of the letters:
John Gielgud - 1984

"I have never used perfume myself and always felt useless at knowing what my lady friends preferred. I remember most vividly the smell of the floor covering in the big hall at Harrods, where as children our mothers would deposit us when they did their shopping. It was exactly the same as that on the big liners, the Queen Margaret, Queen Elizabeth, on which often I sailed to America before aeroplanes become popular. 
Also, there was a kind of incense with which rich people often burned in their halls and drawing rooms in the 20s and 30s, bought I think, at Floris in Jermyn Street, and heated over the lamps before guests arrived - very pungent and agreeable. 
John Gielgud"

John Gielgud's permission to use his "remarks on smells" for her book - 1984
"Of course you can use my odd remarks on smells. Yes, I used to buy incense burners at Floris myself. I remember loving it at the Brompton Oratory, and also at the theatre where, in Chu Chin Chow it was wafted over the footlights in the opening scene to great effect. 
John Gielgud"
From Diana Vreeland. The "little Duchess" referred to was Wallis Windsor - 1986

As the book my mother wanted to write began to formulate, she wrote notes about how she thought it might work:

A rare spelling error for the classically educated and meticulous Sally Wyndham Davies ('catagorised') - what would her old English teacher, Miss Disney say??
"Notes on Flaconnage" - complete with whisky glass stain...
I have boxes full of this stuff...

Emma Blake

October 2014


  1. What a shame that Sally Blake missed out on all those lost treasured bottles that resurfaced on eBay! She would have delighted in that treasure hunt.

    1. Indeed! She missed out on the internet completely, sadly :(