Brief Garden, by Bevis Bawa

One enters Brief by driving past paddy fields, down narrow country lanes, until you get to a gate guarded by two statues with flower pots for hats. Parking your car in a circular clearing surrounded by bamboo, you ring the bronze bell for admission and walk up a sweeping staircase to the main reception area. Polished cement floors kept spotless, inside the house, everything is quiet and serene, birdsong echoing in from outside. A wall of books lines one corner of the main living room, a lifetime’s collection of reading – Oscar wilde, Winston Churchill, Hugh Walpole etc. Squirrels scamper inside the house, playing on the furniture, an eclectic mixture of modernist classics and antiques. A Coco De Mer fruit lies on the coffee table, Its dark wood polished and sensuous. A wall of bottles, inserted into the wall so that they catch the diffuse the light of the sun behind it, an outside coffee table features a colorful mosaic of a lizard with bulging eyes. Sculptures was Bevis’s Particular passion, and there are many fine examples dotted around the house & garden; Hanuman the monkey king, complete with club, lithe young men sporting vines and tendrils for fig leaves, many of them done by himself.


The walls are a pictorial history of Bevis’s life. Friends & Family, Passions & Politics. There are pictures of him looking dashing in his Aide-De-Camp uniform flanking the governors that he served during the years. There are pictures of royalty, both real (King Edward VIII looking piercingly at the camera) and from the world of movies. A framed photograph pictures a group of people lounging on the lawns of Brief, looking carefree, a summer picnic in the sunshine. A closer inspection of the inscription below it finds the words “To bring you happiest wishes for Christmas and the New year, Vivien & Lawrence Olivier” and the finally there are pictures of his beloved automobiles, everything from a- Rolls-Royce Phantom I to Austin 8, Talbot to Ford HP tourer, a Humber, a Morris Minor, a Morris Sunbeam – the list is endless and varied, an automobile enthusiast’s dream.


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