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…
De Silva...Artist...Designer of the original
house in the 30's...
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
Excellency Edmond Frederick Lorenz De Silva
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
Hon George Edmond De Silva
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
for fighting for women's rights...COURTESY of
'George De Silva' by Jane Russell
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
Marcia de Silva de
Vigier...Authoress,Helped with 'MARG'
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....
Minnette de Siva
...Credited as being one of the first Women
Architects of the East...
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.."
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....
HELGA de Silva
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
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..
Oliver Tollemache Blow?
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
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..
of 15 and a half years ended with Jonathan's
tragic death .....
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
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..