WHO COMES?

The Folly has a colourful history.. Playing host to many celebrities..Whose pictures together with family members line the walls , amongst them are Vivian Leigh , Peter Finch , Sir Laurence Olivier , David Lean , William Holden , Gregory Peck , Win Min  Than, Sir Alec Guinness , Zandra Rhodes, Paula Yates ,  Andrew Logan ,  Mahatma Ghandi , Nehru , Indira Ghandi..

 Kelly Jones of The ‘Stereophonics’ who was inspired to write the single ‘Madam Helga’… 

 Many of our celebrity guests come ‘incognito’ …escaping the ‘gold fish bowl’ that hounds them , and we respect this. the folly is their home in Sri Lanka ,as  s it is to so many others… 

 We can store your valises, have your clothes cleaned, and aired for your arrival . You need just your passport . A couple of our guests find this facility very pleasing…

 

 MOTHER  Esme De Silva...Artist...Designer of the original house in the 30's... 

Esme whilst visiting her father's friends  Herr and Frau  Arnold Busch , one of the Kaisers   last Court painters  and nephew of Wilhelm Bush  in Berlin. Esme was inspired to paint under Arnold Busch's tutelage , and went on to join the Slade School of Art in London much against her parents wishes. At the age of 19 she 'donned' the 'robe' to receive her first class Diploma in Fine Arts..from the University of London ..Signed by the late Sir Henry Tonks  amongst  others. Esme was summoned back and married..to

 

FATHER.. His Excellency Edmond Frederick Lorenz De Silva 

Dashing Ed mond   Frederick . Lorenz De Silva' who wore many hats. Politician , Member of Parliament..Barrister..60's Ambassador to Paris France ..and Switzerland ...writer and Chancellor of the University of Peradeniya in  Kandy. Helga’s parents she says grounded her and ”My brother and I were very lucky ". A far cry from today when children blame all  ills  on parents…

 

 GRANDFATHER.. The Hon George Edmond De Silva 

Frederick was the son of George De Silva , whose statue was erected by the people  of Kandy ,  in grateful remembrance of their Elected  Member of The Legislative Council   ,  State Council , Minister of Power , Health and Fisheries in the First  War Cabinet....and was credited  to  helping secure Independence for Ceylon...together with his son Frederick and wife Agnes Nell De Silva..

GRANDMOTHER Agnes Nell ...

Credited for fighting for women's rights...COURTESY of 'George De Silva' by Jane Russell

 Agnes together with her stunning looks was also credited for fighting for women’s rights..'Casting Pearls' by Malathi De Alwis ad Kumar i Jayawardene gives an interesting insight into the movement of Universal Suffrage...'Agne's Nell's grandfather came to Ceylon from Nell Straits in South Africa. having taken part in a dual which at the time had been outlawed..' Courtesy of: 'Frederick Nell and his Heirs'.

'Agne's Nell ..loyal wife of George De Silva..made East and  West truly meet...A true Sion of the Nell family..Her illustrious uncles..famed Charles Ambrose Lorenz [born in Matara on the 8th day of July 1829..The famed towering genius Andreas Nell..The antiquarian and philanthropist..Agnes'es father Paul Nell the inventor of the double action tea roller in 1900 which was manufactured in Belfast .. 

 AUNT Marcia de Silva de Vigier...Authoress,Helped with 'MARG' magazine,India.

 Agnes'es eldest daughter Marcia De Silva De Vigier [elder sister to Helga's father Fred]  married the Irish poet LT-Commander Robert Nicholl-Cadell R.N , who was reported missing on Active  Service 1942..Marcia then went on to marry the scientist Phillip de Vigier...and wrote under her name...Her books include 'The Life and Times of The Lord Buddha'.'.Christine de Pisa...Autobiography of a Medieval Woman 1363-1430'..'This Moste High Prince John of Gaunt' amongst others.... 

 

 AUNT Minnette de Siva ...Credited as being one of the first Women Architects of the East...

 Agnes'es younger daughter Minnette de Silva [younger sister to Fred, Helga's father]  was "One of the first Woman Architects of the East" and was awarded the 'Gold Medal' on the 15th February 1996..in recognition of her contribution to architecture... 

A pupil of Le Corbusier who was involved in Chandigarh the new capital of the Punjab in India..Pictures of  Le Corbusier and Minnette ..hang on the walls together with her and Picasso.. A newspaper cutting in her memoirs 'Life and Work of An Asian Woman Architect' reads "Minnette has become an Associate of the Royal Institute  of British Architects,and is the first Eastern woman to do so.."

 Another clipping  at the Folly shows Minnette being awarded 'The officer ship of Arts and Letters' by the French government...The cutting reads "as the French Ambassadress puts it at an award ceremony..."Her buildings sing..and belong to a rare few who do so"...."The Life and Work of An Asian Woman Architect" by Minnette .. makes for interesting reading....

 

 WHO is HELGA de Silva Blow Perera?

 "COURTESY of 'Living in Sri Lanka' James Fennell and Turtle Bunbury Thames and Hudson. "Helga the owner decorated the house in a whimsical tropical theme.." "emphasizes whimsy of life, reflecting Helga's preference to juxtapose and mix the pedigrees"..."she grew up in a world of colonial tea pots, Hollywood gossip and Marxist revolutions"

Kelly Jones, lead singer of the 'Strereophonics' was inspired to write the single ' Madam Helga' whilst staying there.

Helga was almost born in the house.. 

 

WHO was Jonathan Oliver Tollemache Blow?

Helga married  Jonathan Oliver Tollemache Blow at the High Alter of St Pauls Cathedral London  at the age of 17. ...Jonathan was the younger son of Detmar Blow descendant of  the 16th century composer John Blow...who saved his neck by composing the Coronation Anthem for King William and Queen Mary and who lies buried in Westminster Cathedral London... and Winifred Tollemache of Helmingham Hall in Suffolk England...

Jonathan and Helga had three children ...eldest son Detmar Blow the art gallery owner  35 Heddon street off Piccadilly London W.1...E :Detmar @blowdelabarra.. 

WHO is Detmar Blow?  Son married to Isabella Blow the late famed talent spotter 

WHO is Amaury   Blow? Son.. the designer of buildings...  

WHO is Selina Blow? Daughter.. The fashion designer.. 1 Ellis Street off Sloane St .. London S.W 1.. Selina has two children..Augustus and Violet.. 

Helga's marriage of 15 and a half years ended with Jonathan's tragic death ..... 

  

WHO is Desmond Perera?

Helga 's   husband and owner of 'Agarsland' ..One  of the oldest tea estates in old Ceylon ...which is open to 'Helga's Folly' guests... [H.F.Travels... interesting history here] Desmond transformed old methods to modern efficiency creating one of the finest tea estates in Sri Lanka..."Every one should have a Desmond in their lives"..says Helga..

 WHO is brother Sir Desmond de Silva Q.C.?

Described in the press as 'the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Bar' and is credited to many high profile cases.. many of the newspaper clippings   hang on the walls… Knighted  [Knight Batchelor] by Queen Elizabeth 11...when he was appointed by Kofi Annan to bring war criminals to justice"..Desmond married Her Royal Highness Princess Katerina of Yugoslavia  in 1992....They have a daughter Victoria..

Telephone: 0094 81 2234571, 0094 814474314 Fax: 0094 814479370 Email: chalet@sltnet.lk

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