Brown Bread: Susana Walton

I have to say I find the Walton and Susana story fascinating – and I am not necessarily sure I really believe all of it. However, I particularly like the story of their courting in Argentina, where he asks her on a daily basis (a woman he had not previously even met) to marry him. I think sometimes one just knows, but even so …

I suppose today that type of behaviour would be regarded as stalking or harassment, but she obviously loved it, probably rather more than actually being married to Walton, in fact the obituary in the Telegraph makes one wonder how she managed to tolerate him:

The marriage began unpromisingly. Walton had given Susana a sex manual as a wedding present but informed her, on their wedding night, that children made him physically sick and that if she had any, he would divorce her. Unfortunately, neither he nor the manual had bothered to explain to her the mysteries of contraception and, inevitably, she soon became pregnant.

By this time the Waltons had moved to London, and it was clear that Susana would have to choose between Walton and the baby. She had no hesitation. Her husband, she decided, must come first. “As an artist, he needed space. He needed his wife to defend that space,” she explained. After employing the services of a backstreet abortionist in Chelsea, she was dangerously ill for a week.

Walton certainly seems to have been an unpleasant and adulterous husband, demanding that all be sacrificed for his great art.

Rupert Christiansen compares her with Wolfgang Wagner, both of them “keepers of the flame” and she certainly seemed to be indefatigable in that, especially when the music became unfashionable.

R.I.P. Susana Walton 1926-2010

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