Paula Gellibrand

“Gellibrand was a society beauty married at this time to the first of her three husbands, the Spanish-Cuban racing driver and founder of the Curzon Cinema, the 1st Marquess de Casa Maury. She was Beaton’s childhood vision who became one of his favourite models and a lifelong friend. He recorded her appearance in words and images (The Glass of Fashion, 1954), and Enid Bagnold’s 1924 novel, Serena Blandish, was based upon her life. Paula Gellibrand was like a Modigliani come to life. Rooms framed her. She dressed to the strict diktat of avant garde decorator Baroness d’Erlanger: for example, very plain nurses coifs or her nun’s habit wedding dress; otherwise, a hat trimmed with wisteria for the Ritz, or a coat of honey beige summer ermine to match the pigskin upholstery inside her Bentley. She married the Cuban-Castilian Marquis de Casa Maury, a Bugatti-driving Grand Prix ace. He owned the first Bermuda-rigged schooner in Europe, lost his fortune during the Wall Street Crash, and then remade it running the Curzon cinema in Soho”.

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