Raymond Mortimer

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Charles Raymond Bell Mortimer CBE (25 April 1895 – 9 January 1980), who wrote under the name Raymond Mortimer, was a British writer on art and literature, known mostly as a critic and literary editor.

He was born in Knightsbridge, London, and brought up in Redhill, Surrey, he was educated at Malvern College, and Balliol College, Oxford, which he entered in 1913 to read history. His studies were interrupted by service in a hospital in France from 1915; and then work in the Foreign Office, he did not complete his degree.

In the 1920s he was in Paris, writing fiction. A Francophile, Mortimer broke down in tears when he heard on 21 June 1940 that France had signed an armistice with Germany, saying it was as if half of England had just fallen into the sea,[1] he later became literary editor of the New Statesman, worked at the BBC and in liaison with the Free French in World War II, and subsequently as a book reviewer for The Sunday Times. He was appointed a CBE in the 1955 Queens Birthday Honours.

He was a friend of the poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West, and was involved in a long-term relationship with her husband, author and British diplomat Harold Nicolson. Raymond Mortimer joined the three original owners of Long Crichel House, Wimborne, friends Edward Sackville West, Desmond Shawe-Taylor and Eardley Knollys, as one of the residents, after WW2.[2]


  1. ^ Bell, P. H. France and Britain, 1940–1994: The Long Separation, London: Routledge, 2014 page 22
  2. ^ (Partridge F., Ups and Downs (Diaries 1972–75) 2001 Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

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